Tag Archives: routine

Like a well oiled machine…

When I think back to the time when the babies were little and how difficult it all was and how miserable I always felt and how chaotic our lives were, I really am amazed that we came out of that intact –thank you Jesus! Those days when I didn’t even get to shower because the infant wanted to be carried all day and the toddler was whiny because the infant was getting all the attention. Those days where I just couldn’t sync their naps no matter how many  tricks I tried, and how I was just so exhausted all the time because they were always awake – day and night. How the husband and I were constantly at each others’ throats about absolutely everything; it was the most difficult time of my life.

This morning we were going through the motions as we always do (I call our morning routine organised chaos) and while I was applying my mascara with Liam brushing his teeth giving me instructions on how to get it just right and Hannah unrolling the entire roll of toilet paper and flushing it down the bog, I couldn’t help but proudly ponder on how far we’ve come and how good we have become at this parenting thing… ok we are most definitely not good at this parenting thing… let me rephrase that… how good the husband and I have become at running the household. Of course it does help that the kids are a bit older now and can do many things independently, but our self imposed routines have really paid off and I can’t help but air punch when I think about how we generally run like a well oiled machine… except when we don’t, due to toddler tantrums, mommy meltdowns and daddy downpours – because we ALL have our moments when we lose it just a little hey.

Without even having to speak to each other, the husband and I feed off each other; while I’m getting done in the morning, he is waking Liam and getting him ready. While the husband is getting ready, I am brushing Liam’s teeth, lathering his face with lotion and brushing his hair. While I oooh and aaah over what to wear, the husband is downstairs making lunches and feeding Liam. During all this time, Hannah may or may not wake up, and she kinda hovers in the background and follows us around as she has nothing to do and nowhere to go during the week. But she does help me pick out shoes or fetch my perfume or whatever else I may need – bless her. Our evenings are the same, Zoleka starts my pots for me, so when we get home either the husband or I will finish the cooking. Before supper, the kids will draw, watch tv, read, run around in circles screaming – whatever floats their boats on that particular day. Either the husband baths the kids and I dress them, or vice versa, or we each bath and dress one kid – whatever floats our boats on that particular day. Daddy and Liam read aloud while I brush Hannah’s hair, we pray and read together and then we part ways with a kid each for bed time. And then we do adult things like watch tv, eat all the goodies without having to duck from the kids, talk about big people’s things and so on.

You may think it’s boring and predictable but I love the security and comfort that comes from knowing what comes next. Yes there’s room for spontaneity like when we decide to do free Spur burgers on a Monday night, or go for walks in the summer before bed time (ok they walk, I sit on a bench in the park), but on the whole I like the humdrum of everyday. It’s a far cry from the crazy days when we had two screaming babies and we both didn’t know what to do and we were always late for everything because we just couldn’t get it right, and everyone was always miserable because no one had slept enough or the food was always burnt or cold or mommy just wanted some alone time because it was all just too much!

Thank you very much, I like this well oiled machine with it’s buttons and knobs that I finally know how to work. And just when things get a bit too boring, we’re always surprised with an unexpected vomit, or a runny poo or a kid who just won’t  sleep at night… just to put things into perspective and make sure we don’t become too complacent. 🙂

Date Night

Zoleka lives with us. She has a lovely little room, just off the garage, which has built in cupboards, a shower and a toilet. She has room for her kettle, her radio and all her other belongings and she is content. I think. When we get home from work, after a brief chat and catch up, Zoleka retires to her room and we don’t see her until the morning. On occasion she watches the kids, if we have an evening engagement or if we need to work late, but I’ve always felt bad to leave her with both of them at night time because they require quite a bit of individual attention (they don’t require it, but I like to give it to them) and we’ve always followed a set bedtime routine, and my MG (mother’s guilt) won’t allow me to loosen the reins on our habitual practice. Fast forward to last night.
The hubby sent me a message at about 2pm yesterday afternoon, inviting me on a date for that evening (yes, text messaging is still our top form of communication, even when we’re under the same roof but in different rooms – crazy hey?). I got on the line with the first number in my speed dial directory – Zoleka. I told her that we would still bath and feed them and all she needed to do was put them down and hang around in the house, until we got home. I think I sounded slightly hysterical and kept apologising and all she kept saying was “fine mam, fine mam.” On the way home, I kept explaining to Liam that Mommy and Daddy were going “out” and that Zoleka would be looking after them, and that he needed to be a good boy especially when Zoleka was putting Hannah down to sleep, and I told him that he could watch TV in Mommy’s bed until Zoleka was done with Hannah and that if Zoleka reported that he was REALLY good, I’d get him a treat. My husband was rolling his eyes and sighing deeply as I went through this whole theatrical performance with Liam. He thinks I get hysterical every time I need to leave the kids anywhere and I think Liam agrees with him because he was utterly bored as I explained what the night would hold. When I was done, he started his 20 questions: where were we going, what were we going to do there, what time would we be back, what was Zoleka going to give him for supper, what TV programme could he watch, could he get under the covers on our bed, who was going to brush his teeth and on it went. When he was satisfied he said “ok” and smiled at me and went back to sucking his thumb. We got home, bathed and fed them, and left them propped on the couch as I once again began to explain that we were leaving. My husband was flapping his arms and telling me to just get into the car. I was expecting tears, but nothing. I was at least expecting them to follow me to the door, nothing. They waved me off like an irritating fly, as they sat glued to Mickey Mouse yelling “oh Tooooodles.” 
It’s not the first time we’ve left the kids, but usually I will at least put Hannah down before we leave, so that Zoleka can focus solely on one child and keep as much to the routine as possible – for the sake of the child, not her. After three years, you’d think my panic would have eased off, but I find that the older Liam gets, the more I need to explain things to him, and I guess it’s more HIS questions – which he really asks more out of curiosity, than out of his concern for his and Hannah’s safety, that get me into a tizz. When he asks things like “who will kiss me good night” or “who will close my window” or “will you be back when it’s dark-dark-dark outside” I just want to cancel all my plans and tell him that Mama is here and she will do alllll those things for him. Bless!
Anyway, we went off and had a grand time! It’s amazing how out of touch you become, we caught up on each other’s lives, we synced our calendars for the upcoming month (I know, I know, its crazy!) and we just enjoyed each other’s company without having to smack little fingers for soaking the linen serviette in their glass of juice, or chasing a kid around the restaurant or removing all the cutlery from the table lest Hannah stabs Liam or herself. Really, it was great.
So back to my opening paragraph. When we got home, everyone was sound asleep. Zoleka gave me a lengthy speech about how the boss and I (yes, that’s what she calls the husband) need to go out more often in the week, and that she doesn’t mind putting the kids down because it’s so easy, and they are so good and she doesn’t do anything really in a her room at night, so she doesn’t mind sitting in the house. PLUS she doesn’t have a TV in her room (I felt a strong hint at this point) and at least she gets to watch the news and her programmes once the kids are in bed. After that speech, I thanked her and we parted ways; she to her room, and me to check on my babies who were sleeping peacefully.
This morning I asked Liam if he had had a good time with Zoleka and Hannah last night. He was nonplussed, and I took this to mean that it went ok. Believe me, Liam would have sung like a bird if he had had any issues. On the way to work, I announced to my husband that I think the kids are growing and possibly do not need me as much as they used to. I acknowledged that the routine, although a great way to interact and spend time with the kids, was no longer Law, and we could deviate from it now and again, without much upset from the kids. And having received Zoleka’s consent to go out and let our hair down more often, I declared that date night should become a more regular occurrence, in fact, date night should become part of the routine. After he had recovered from the shock of my statement and steered the car to safety, he looked at me with a look that could have said “wow, you are growing up” but I can’t be sure if that’s what he meant.
So that’s another apron string that I slowly unwind. With every milestone reached, I do get that bittersweet tug that reminds me that my babies are growing and that soon they won’t fit into my lap. But I must admit that with each milestone comes some relief that MY life is starting to be more normal, and less crazy. Look at me, getting my groove back! … And it feels so good!