Friday, March 14, 2008

Thinking About A Schedule

Spring sprung at our house while we were gone for nearly two weeks. All the fruit trees are in blossom and the California poppies are blooming. It's such a pretty time.
So, I get to be home with the baby for two months. I've arranged to take this time off, then Ken will take over on the home front and I'll return to work. For various reasons it makes sense for us to do it this way, and I am so so grateful for my time at home with the boy. I very much want to spend quality time with him and I'm thinking I'd like to have a little structure to our days, a "schedule" if you will. I took long maternity leaves with both babies and I never felt like I spent my time well. I do so much better with a routine--that's one of the things I like about working--and I want to build our days around some kind of rhythm.
Do any of you stay at home mamas have any thoughts on this? Specific suggestions? I want to get the most out of this special time we have together.
:: ::
Thanks for all your comments my last posts. All your support and bloggy friendship means so much to me. Yes, Rainer is looking good, isn't he? I didn't post any pictures from when he was very sick, but believe me, he is looking much much better now. And so far, no hair loss (we don't know when that will happen because it is different for everyone). He is adjusting to being at home again and is starting to crawl around some and stand a little with support. He can't go around other people, but he can go outdoors, for stroller walks and playing in the back yard. We are very much at home for the time being. Dieter has been staying with my wonderful parents for the last two weeks and we get him back tonight (thank you Mom and Dad--you guys are amazing! Really!). Happy weekend to all.


Sarah and Jack said...

Sometimes when I need a schedule for Jack, I set us up roughly like it would be at a preschool, but Jack is quite a bit older than your wee one.

Breakfast, morning walk, play outside, inside for a craft and "school", have lunch, have a nap, read books, back outside, dinner, bath, more books, bed.

Erin said...

Mary Beth-
Thank you for letting us all share this time with you. I check every day to see if there is update on Rainer and am so happy to follow along on this journey with your family. I'm always thinking of all of you and sending strength and healing thoughts to Rainer.
I'd love to also get in a routine with my daughter (who is only 2 weeks older then Rainer) I'll be checking everyone's ideas:)

jessi said...

It's so great that you get to be home with Rainer. As far as a schedule goes, I'm not so great at keeping one, but I do think having some sort of routine is good for you and the kids. I've made schedules before by deciding what I want to and have to fit in a day and thinking of what the best time of day would be for that. I think it's just important to be flexible, but I'm sure you already know that.

Amy said...

sarah and jack sounds like she has it down!
Just be forgiving of schedule sways and don't forget the spontaneous! Be sure to always dance in the kitchen and run down hall ways, stairs ARE meant to be played on despite what our Mothers told us, and animal cookies are food we should ALWAYS play with! Laundry and dishes can be done later, bubble baths are far more fun that regular ones, go to bed each night with a little dirt under your nails, and just have fun Momma! Just be sure to have fun!

Susan said...

I'm a big "routine" person too. (And it seems even more important for my kids- ages 3 and 1/2 and 21 months.) In fact, my husband used to laugh at me when my kids were Rainer's age because I would create daily written plans. (I had to, to keep my sanity!) When I'm figuring out my routine, I always start by writing down times for set things, like lunch, naptime, supper, and bedtime. And usually my kids wake up around the same time every morning. So then I have blocks of time to "fill" in between meals and sleeping. I've learned that it's really important for us to get out of the house in the mornings. This may be challenging for you since Rainer can't be around people, but even a walk around the block or exploring a park can be a great "escape" from the house. I also try to plan at least one "activity" to do each day, such as Play-Doh or fingerpainting, etc. More and more, I'm trying to get away from structuring all my kids' time so that they can learn to self-entertain, have some down time, etc. BUT, that's hard with a 16 month old! They really aren't ready for all that much "independent play." So, two other tips for you:
1- Create a list of ideas for things to do so that you have a variety of things planned to do while indoors. Examples: puzzles, read stories, play with blocks, play with puppets, make a fort out of sheets, etc. The book "Things to do with toddlers and twos" has some very good ideas.
2- Rotate through your toys. When my kids were Rainer's age, they didn't need lots of toys to play with, but they needed fresh toys. So, I sorted our toys into a few tupperware bins and traded them out every few days. That works great!
Sorry for the LONG comment! Hope it helps.

Susan said...

Sorry- one more thing, but you've got to see this. It's the motherlode of things to do with a toddler!
Write Mama Write's 50 mood changers for toddlers:

Florence said...

I'm so pleased that Rainer sounds to be doing so well. As ever, you have my admiration that you are coping so well and seem so focused.

I think structure can be a real comfort when you are feeling like everything else is sligthly beyond your control. In terms of how I get structure into a day...I always find if I write a list of things that I want to do the next day (I only do this when I'm feeling demotivated or as if I haven't done enough special things with the children, but actually I get so much more done, that I don't know why I don't do it more often) then it focuses me in getting those things done, rather than just thinking: oh yes, it would be nice to do so-and-so one day, and never actually getting around to doing it.

But I think you could also impose your own bonkers structure, it doesn't need to necessarily be the logical order in which to do things, as long as you feel like you know what's coming, perhaps? If I bath my children at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, it seems completely different from the evening bathtime when I'm more focused on just getting them properly washed and quickly into feels more like taking them to the swimming pool, so occassionally we do these things at the wrong times as they love the change in routine.

As everyone else said of the last post - Rainer looks fantastic. Thinking of you all and hope your reunion with Dieter is lovely. x

About Us: said...

Great to see a post Marybeth! The flowers and trees look great in your yard. I bet you will be glad to have Dieter back.

Since we don't have kids yet (we're adopting and waiting for our homestudy to be written up) I am glad to read the suggestions about a schedule. And the toddler blog with suggestions - I'll be bookmarking that one.

Good luck MaryBeth, I know you'll end up with a good routine for Rainer.


Lina said...

Glad to hear you're trying to find a new rhythm - I find this very important and comforting too. I tend to see my days as pre and post lunch. I try not to do much in one day. In the morning we generally do errands and chores and then usually something crafty - playdough, painting, baking or drawing and then the afternoons are the times when we're outside playing or doing something active (my children no longer nap and seem to benefit from burning off some energy in the afternoon). But this is by no means set in stone. More than anything I like to keep things consistent in simple ways like the same meal, bath and bed times every day.

AnnieB said...

Hi MB - sorry I don't have much useful to say on the matter of routines, never having quite managed to hit one myself, but I am guessing you need to find one that is adaptable enough to enable you to enjoy the spontaneous stuff that comes from spending time with a child that and Rainer and your whole family are in my thoughts as always. Wishing you continued strength. I'll email you soon but don't worry about emailing back - I know how time goes at times like this...

Suzanne said...

Hi Mary Beth,
I do use a shedule and I followed the form from called Managers of their Home. I don't agree with everything and we adapted it to fit our family lifestyle but I took "the meat" of it and left "the bones" :-) Glad to hear the little guy is feeling a bit better, still have him in our family prayer journal and we will update his page when you send us news. New flowers and blooms=life! Your a wonderful Mama.

amanda said...

Hi Mary Beth-- I really wanted to comment on this post, but I first read it with a child on my lap and couldn't type a response. As far as structuring your days together, it can be a hard transition moving from a fast-paced job at a school to being home with a one-year-old. At least it was for me when I did it. It may take some time to slow yourself down to a snail's pace. When Ivo was 16 months, he napped from 1-3, so basically we did wake up, breakfast, playtime with toys, outside, lunch, stories, nap, snack, more playtime. I think the other moms have some great suggestions, I just wanted to offer some support and let you know that if it feels really slow and kind of boring at times . . . then you're doing it right. Ha :) Enjoy it! And I hope he's feeling as well as he can. ((hugs to you))