For the first few weeks in our new home, I struggled to adjust to new routine/schedule. While Dominique often had late night practices or weekend games before the move, I was rarely home alone with both kids battling bedtime, as I lived with not only my two parents, but also my younger brother who while he worked massive hours, always seem to get off early on a day I was ready to go berserk.
In addition to the number of family members in the home, I also had a million and one options for daily entertainment for my kids. From indoor play spaces to our gym/pool/cafe/babysitting service mecca to my grandmom’s house and so much more. We had memberships at children museums, zoos and always found places to entertain ourselves when the weather wasn’t great. We were always out exploring new places.
As I adjust to life up here – I am realizing there is no “replacement” for these things. I cannot find a new mom to come in and listen to me debrief my day at 6:30 every night (unless I can get adopted at the age of 31 up here). There is no Lulu’s (yet – please brother-in-law make this happen), no grandmom and actually not even Chick-fil-a playground near by. While there are so many beautiful and wonderful things – they often require being outside and embracing all sorts of weather ((or not open until the weekend). While I loved taking the kids to Tyler Park or over to Core Creek before the move, I loved doing that when it was 70 and sunny. We are learning to embrace all weather and be outside regardless of the sun or temperature.
Since my return from my Halloween visit home, I decided that I cannot replace. I cannot just find those things from home up here. I have to create new. I have to find a new normal. And so the first step was creating a new nightly routine. Sorry Nola, but your days of being a late night diva are over. You will have to practice your dance routines during the day, as the lack of nap and lack of a second adult come dinnertime, makes this lady really need a break!
For the past week and half, I have thrown my kids in the bath every night between 5:45 and 6:30 depending on if/how they napped. To be honest – my kids never bathed this much in their life, but every night we shlep toys to the tub and start the routine. Since our house is one floor, I can run out and quickly clean-up toys and shut down the living area while still monitoring the fools in the tub. We then get on PJ’s, brush teeth and begin to read for a good 20 minutes. Nola started out not laying, but she has since listened to the stories – interjecting every 15 seconds with some question, comment or concern. I then start the whole rubbing Flynn’s back and getting him settled. Most nights, especially if his nap was short or did not exist, he will fad away relatively quick. It would probably be shorter, but he is more often than not serenaded by Nola’s late night monologue. Once Flynn is out, I try with all my might to calm the crazy one to sleep. She recently is potty trained so she often requests to pee one last time (and I let her since she actually wakes up dry most days). We then rock, sing, rub backs until she eventually fades. It can at times take another whole hour. Dear Lord thank god for instagram, audiobooks (when I remember headphones) and my ability to say to myself “if she isn’t asleep after I count to 100…” a couple of times before actually losing it.
While this routine is far from perfect and can often take 2 (or more) hours – it has provided me with some relief at the end of the day. Some time to clean up the crazy mess or to sit and stare at a blank wall wondering what the hell we will do tomorrow, or in tonight’s case to write a long blog post while eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking milk waiting for the first wake-up of the night. (which according to my tracker will be around 10:45 this evening).