Penny is over 8 weeks old, and I can’t believe how much has changed since we first brought her home. I think back fondly on those first couple of weeks, but remember them as a hazy whirlwind of diapers and blissful cat naps and sleepless nights and uncertainty. We were always asking ourselves questions, like “Will she ever make it through a feeding without falling asleep every 5 minutes?” and, “Can she possibly be hungry again? She just ate a half hour ago!” and, “Should we wake her or let her keep sleeping?” I was so afraid of doing anything wrong, and it was hard to know what was normal because for the first several weeks of parenting, there really is no normal. And there certainly is no routine.
Now, 2 months in, I really feel like we are getting the hang of things, and there is so much more confidence in everything we do. I was afraid to take her for a walk around the block in her stroller at first for fear of her crying and me not being able to console her. Now, we schlep her around on all kinds of errands, from restaurants to Trader Joe’s and Target. Luckily for us, Penny loves the Baby Bjorn, and we are almost guaranteed a good nap every time we strap her onto one of us and walk around. But even if we aren’t so lucky, we know what to do to calm her down when we need to. And if she cries for two minutes in a restaurant, so what? We aren’t worrying so much anymore, and it feels great.
Besides getting out of the house and feeling more like ourselves again, the other great thing is that Penny has developed a fairly predictable routine. Being a teacher, I love a good plan, and it is so nice knowing what to expect each day. My life finally has a sense of normalcy to it again. These days, an average day in the life of me and Penny looks something like this:
6:00(ish): Penny wakes up to nurse, then goes back to sleep. I stay up (usually) and have coffee with Kevin, go for a run, pump, do some chores, shower and get ready for the day.
9:00(ish): Penny wakes up for the day, gets dressed, and nurses again. Then we play together- right now playing usually involves some combination of me walking around and talking to her, me staring at her and trying to get her to smile or laugh, looking in mirrors, laying in her jungle gym, or laying in her bouncer. The past few mornings, it has been so nice outside that we have gone for a walk in the stroller. When she starts to get sleepy, I swaddle her up, rock her, and put her down for a nap in her room.
12:00(ish): Penny nurses again, plays again, then takes another nap.
3:00(ish): Penny nurses again, plays again, then takes another nap.
6:00(ish): Penny nurses again, then…Daddy takes over! We usually spend the evening cooking dinner or occasionally going out to eat, going for a walk with Charlie, and watching TV. Penny catnaps throughout the evening on Kevin.
8 or 9(ish): Penny nurses again, takes a bath (about every 2-3 days), and may catnap or play a bit more.
10 or 11(ish): We fill up her tank one more time and put her (and our exhausted selves) to bed.
*On a side note, Penny is still sleeping in her rock and play in our room, but we are planning on transitioning her to her room soon, something I feel very bittersweet about. It will be nice to have our room back to ourselves, but it makes me sort of sad that she won’t be sleeping right next to me anymore. I guess maybe it makes her seem more independent, and makes me think that it is only a matter of time before she is having sleepovers at friend’s houses and going to summer camp and then sleeping in a dorm room away from home and moving into a place of her own. Sigh. But I digress…
So that is a typical day for us. Penny is still a newborn, which of course means nothing is certain. Sometimes she gets hungry before 3 hours have passed. Sometimes she naps for 3 hours and goes past her normal feeding time. Sometimes she only naps for 20 minutes, and we end up playing or nursing earlier than expected. But still, it’s a schedule (and I love a good schedule!)
Looking at our routine, it seems very…repetitive. And some would probably say boring. I would agree that it is repetitive. And quiet and peaceful (usually). But definitely not boring. It’s funny how your idea of entertainment changes so much when you become a parent. I once needed a riveting book or edge-of-your seat movie to keep me entertained, and now all I need is a sweet smile or coo from my daughter and I’m set. As I fall asleep tonight, I will look forward to another day tomorrow, knowing that whether it follows our typical routine or not, it will most definitely start with this smile!