Saturday, February 22, 2014

Epic fail at the ideal routine for toddlers

Today, I tried to follow Mothercraft's suggested routine for a toddler. Here's how I got on, with the book's recommendations in bold:

6 - 7.30: Wakens, goes to toilet, has drink of fruit juice or water. Given a shower, dresses, cleans teeth.

Wakens - check. Has drink of fruit juice or water - fail. I didn't give my son either. Especially juice. Recommendation leaves me wondering if 1945 children spent mornings bouncing off walls if given juice before breakfast. Shower - fail. Cleans teeth - fail. At this point I feel slightly disheartened that the only recommendation I've managed is that my toddler woke up, and I can hardly take credit for that myself. 

8am: Breakfast. Bowel evacuation. Washes hands.

Again, an epic fail on my part. My toddler had breakfast of course, but I didn't do the other two. I did have a scoff, though, at the phrase "bowel evacuation", and wonder when it became normal to say "poo". I also started to feel better about failing the first part of the day's recommendations when I realised it suggests that teeth be cleaned before breakfast. Huh. 
9 - 10.30: Plays either outside or in a well ventilated room. 

Hurrah! My son did this, as we went to playgroup at that time. 1945 mothering success! 

10.30 - 12: sleeps, or plays out of doors. 

Now for some more epic failing. During this time, he didn't sleep, or play outside. Instead we went to the supermarket, where he yelled "it's a man!" at a hairy lady, and "it's not a sister, it's a baby" to another woman who'd asked him about his sister. He then took of one of his gumboots and began chewing on the rim, prompting a checkout operator to say "don't you feed him at home?" So, all up, not only was this part of the day a 1945 parenting fail, but a supermarket trip fail as well. Boo. 

12 - 2.30: Midday dinner. Sleeps, otherwise helps mother with the family chores and amuses himself with his own toys.

After lunch, he amused himself with his own toys for a while, especially this fabulous puzzle from the toy library. He then amused himself with his cars, his xylophone, and asking if he could jump up and down on my bed while I sung "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". You know, one of those "fun" things you do once, regret, then get asked to do again for a very long time because toddlers never forget such things.  After all of that amusing, I then decided he could amuse himself with Peppa Pig so I could get on with the family chores while his sister slept. And by "family chores" I really mean "surfed the internet".

2.30 - 4: Goes for an afternoon outing to the park, or plays out of doors with young friends, when the weather permits

Hmmm. This section doesn't account for when your city is covered in weird fog and you can't go out. In which case, see the above section for more of the same, except with Duplo, a number of Hairy Maclary books and singing "wheels on the bus".

4.00: Has a drink of fruit juice or water or a piece of fruit

What, more juice? He did have a milk at about this time, though, which I see is missing in the recommended routine, but that didn't take a full thirty minutes. He also ate apple. Yay! A 50% success rate on this recommendation. 

4.30 - 5: Bath time. Helps mother put away his day clothes and plays quietly until tea is ready.

4.30 feels very early to me to do all those things, which we usually start at about 7pm. If you ignore the time, this would have been a success. My son currently loves putting his clothes away especially, yelling "yes please" when I ask him to put dirty clothes in the laundry basket. But, then, the book did specify 4.30, so I suppose in all honestly, this is another fail.

5.00: Tea for the children. Story or quiet game with father. Puts away toys.

I covered my reasons for why this doesn't work for me here. Plus, like many other women I know, this is the time of day when my toddler is most likely to watch TV. I'd love to talk to my grandmother about what she did with her seven children during the arsenic hour before TV was invented. Did she play with them quietly  in manner of domesticated earth-mother goddess? Or did she go quietly balmy while trying to manage both them and dinner? Not for the first time I wish I could travel back in time and talk to the women who came before me about the minutiae of their lives. 

6.15: Bed. 

Excuse me while I leave the computer for a moment to have a self-pitying laugh. I don't need to elaborate, except to say my ability to stick to this recommendation is also an epic failure. My son is pretty good with being in bed at a regular time, but that time's over an hour later. I also wonder: did kids sleep more in 1945? It seems to me that waking at normal toddler o'clock, sleeping for 2 hours a day, then being in bed by 6.15 is a lot of sleep. Especially when they're drinking so much juice.

Hopefully, next week when I attempt to follow the suggested routine for a baby I'll have more luck. Although given it allows over two hours for 'domestic duties', I somehow doubt it.

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