Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finding A New Rhythm


As those of you with children know, the early months with a baby aren’t easy, especially when it comes to getting out of the house.  Simply managing to have your nappy bag packed and everyone into the car feels like a task that takes hours of planning. Back when Grace was born, it was no trouble at all to have her nap in the pram as I window shopped or to strap her to me in the baby carrier as I went for a walk. I’ve found doing so with two little ones however not to be as easy.

My biggest fear has been interrupting Sophie’s naps. While I know that my daily life cannot be totally controlled by this, after all those unsettled months we experienced, sleep time has become so precious that I hate to disrupt it. As my wise friend Jane advised me, ‘this is a time for being, not a time for doing’ and to date, I have been strongly adhering to her advice. Consequently, most of our outings have been brief ones, popping to the grocery store to get a handful of items or to feed the ducks at the park down the road. Grace doesn’t seem to mind our latest pattern of quieter, simpler days at home. In fact, she adores just pottering around in the yard more than anything. However, I feel that it is time for us to get back into the swing of short morning outings for her sake, especially seeing as I want to make her last year at home full time, before she starts kindergarten next year, a memorable one.

So, I’ve come to a compromise. While I never spent all day every day out and about pre-Sophie anyway, Grace and I did tend to have regular morning outings. I’ve decided now to alternate these with days spent at home. Two or three mornings will be outings such as going for a babycino, dropping by the library or visiting friends for play-dates. I am also thinking of taking Grace to a little dance class nearby or to swimming lessons so she can start socialising a bit more with children her own age. The remaining two or three mornings will be spent at home and during this time, I am setting aside special one on one time for my big girl. In the morning while Sophie has her first nap of the day, Grace and I have been doing a fun activity together like painting or baking, something out of the ordinary that involves something other than her usual playtime activities. It is nice to have time for just the two of us and I feel better doing something constructive with her that she enjoys. As for the afternoons, we do another activity together, usually outdoors when it has cooled down a bit. Or, if we’ve had a morning at home, we might head down to the park for a play. The rest of our days are taken up with meal times, chores and of course, free play.


A few weeks back, one of our outings was a visit to the Pickled Fairy in Fremantle, somewhere I had promised to take Grace to many moons ago. I let her wear her fairy costume as a special treat. We stopped at a café on the Cappuccino Strip and perched ourselves on the stools along the window where we enjoyed our babycino and cup of tea and played ‘Spotto’ as the traffic passed by. Then we headed to the fairy shop. Grace was in awe. Every corner of every wall and every inch of ceiling space was covered in fairies and butterflies and other such prettiness. We spent some time looking at all the cute things for sale, put a coin in the wishing well, did some colouring in at the fairy table and chose something to buy with the few dollars I let Grace have (she chose a three dollar fairy figurine). Miraculously Sophie fell asleep in the pram and while her nap was shorter than it normally would be at home in her cot, it was manageable.



One day last week, for a morning at home activity, we made fairy bread with cookie cutters. Grace enjoyed punching out stars and butterflies and was excited to be allowed to use a knife for the first time to spread the butter onto the bread. A simple activity, but something that I know Grace loved doing.



Gradually, I realise our current routine will probably change again as Sophie’s gets older and as the weather starts to become chillier. For now though, this feels right and I am happy that we have a rhythm to our days, one that suits all of us in our little household.

23 comments:

  1. I'm glad you've found a gentle rhythm that is working for you. Once you find the groove things seem to flow so much more smoothly don't they. Love the photos - those simple activities really engage them don't they. x

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  2. Sounds lovely Amanda. I am a big fan of routines and predictability for children. I love the fairy dress.

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  3. Finding a rhythm is the only way o dance through these early years. Keeping it simple and manageable is what it's all about. So lad to hear you are doing so well. x

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  4. you're a very thoughtful mama :) gentle days and little outings sound perfect...i've been wondering how parents with two or more children do it!
    x

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  5. i'm glad to hear you are getting used to things more easily sometimes small changes is all that you need :) your doing a fantatsic job,always rememeber that,the images are adorable especially teh one with Grace in her fairy outfit:) xx

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  6. Oh gosh, I know exactly what you mean Amanda...in fact I blogged earlier in the week about finding our new normal :) With Ella already heavily involved with dancing & Kindy, little Ryder was already being dragged out & about all day everyday from the day he was born. Being near Christmas/end of year, we were so busy. He just got used to the constant car rides & day trips. I found it easy while he was a newborn. But now, as we get into a routine with his sleeps & feeds etc, I'm finding it harder to get out the door. Every morning feels so chaotic to just get the house organised & on time to wherever we have to be!!! Today, we had nothing on...a whole day of nothingness...which was lovely. So we had a slow morning & then headed up to the local forest for a picnic & walk! Calm & easy...just what I needed with my 2 cherubs :)
    I love your plan to get out & about with your 2 gorgeous girls. And your photos are beautiful. I know I have been slack with replying to email & keeping up with blogs....but I've had print orders galore {which is a good thing} and just general life being busy {as you know well}. But I think of you often & love popping into your blog to catch up :) xxx

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  7. It's tricky isn't it? I feel like it took until Charlie was 6 months old before I felt some what normal again!
    I still feel like we need to do more activities with the boys but once Charlie is down to 1 sleep a day, it will just have to be!

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  8. I hear you lovely...still trying to find our rhythm here at home...baby steps I suppose ..is all I can take until we find the groove in our step? So great that you have a little routine that will work well for all 3 of you...its hard I know..but I think you need to give yourself a really good pat on the back because you are doing more than most mums would ..even at this stage..gold star to you lovely..thats awesome!
    The most important thing out of all of this is that every day doesnt feel like ground hog day..especially for the mummy's..thats what would drive me stir crazy.

    I think Grace would LOVE dancing lessons..and it will be super for her to socialise with other little ballerinas ; )

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  9. Grace sounds like a sweet and easy going little girl I imagine she is happy to go along with the quiet days that you have and enjoy those special activities that you are doing with her too. You are such a thoughtful Mum Amanda, I think your ideas are such a lovely way to have special one on one time with Grace, making fairy bread looks like fun:) Miss 8 had a favourite purple fairy outfit just like the one Grace is wearing. She wore it till she was 6 and it was a size 2, we still have it put away for when she gets older. xx

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    1. Grace seems to live in her fairy outfit lately too :)

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  10. Ohh absolutely!! Enjoy those days at home, the ones that you don't HAVE to leave home if you don't want to, because when school and kindy begin, they are few and far between. So sad. However I have found that Angus , our 4th and we have 4 under 4, is the most adaptable and cruisy baby, purely because he has had to be. Love your blog, off to read back through!!

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  11. I love The Pickled Fairy! Still, at 30. Not at all ashamed.

    I think you are doing great, going out twice (let alone three times) a week with two kids under 4. I struggle to get myself out of the house twice a week without feeling exhausted at the moment.

    I have no doubt that this year will be memorable for Grace, with you doing all those fun activities and having a new baby sister to play with, it's going to be great!

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  12. how cute your photos are.....i've been told it's harder with two {well more time consuming} getting all the things ready, sounds like you have a great plan though, even when zeke was a baby we would have an out day then an at home day {i think it works well too} i just want to say thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time smooch lisa xx

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  13. I can tell that you are a wonderful mother, Amanda. I don't have kids, but it sounds like you're doing everything right, always with your daughters' needs in mind. Your girls will grow up happy and well-balanced -- and I'm sure they'll have a beautiful, close relationship with you as they get older.
    Claudia

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    1. What a lovely comment, thanks so much Claudia x

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  14. You are a fantastic mum Amanda, you sound so organised and thoughtful with both your girls. It is great that you can be flexible with your time and it is so lovely that you make time to spend alone with Grace (who is looking adorable). xx

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  15. sounds good amanda :) personally I really struggle with not obsessing over rose's sleep time. it's so important to me that she gets to nap at home if possible but with two big brothers that's not always possible. still, I try!

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  16. Bravo, Sweetheart - I'm so delighted to hear you've found your rhythm. It's such a trial and error matter. And then when you think you have it all sussed, they change their routines on you! Thanks for the sweet mention as well ☺. J x

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    1. Thanks for your words of wisdom x

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  17. A beautiful post Amanda , I remember those days just a few years ago. It only seemed liked yesterday & now my little one started prep this year. Cherish these special times with them both at home.
    Have a lovely weekend
    Karyn x

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  18. When I started looking after Rowan at 4 months I didn't bother with his sleep routines. Why? because I didn't bother too much with routines with my girls. Well that was a while ago and perhaps I am more organised these days or just know better that children are much friendlier when they have had a lovely nap!

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  19. I am so jealous! Ollie and I go a bit stir crazy if we are at home for a whole day - so on the days he doesn't have little school we have morning and afternoon activites! Unfortunatly what this means is Em sleeps when and wherever we are. I was so much stricter with ollie's routine and rarely left the house when he was due for a nap - but with school pick ups and drop offs 3 days a week I am struggling to get Em into a routine. Such is the lift of a second child in our house. Love the sound of your outing to Pickled Fairy.

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  20. You seem like a wonderful mother to your little ones! Sounds like you are easing into a nice routine. I too, need to get my daughter in a dance class, so she can socialize a bit with other children.

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