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Mornings with Two Kids

In our family, I've got the morning shift. I have ever since the Pumpkin was born. Londo has a long commute to work that goes much better if he leaves by 6:30, so he's usually gone or leaving right as we get up. So just about every weekday morning, it's me getting the two kiddos and myself ready for the day, fed breakfast, the Pumpkin to school and myself to work.

A few weeks ago, I had started writing a post about the fun mornings we were having. I wanted to record some of the tricks games I use to get us moving, including "racing crocodiles" when we are in a hurry. (I would tell the Pumpkin that we had to hurry and she would say, "Before the crocodiles get us!" So we played that on many mornings to get her moving along.) The Pumpkin also became a little minnie-me for a while, wanting to do everything I was doing from brushing our teeth together to pretending to put on makeup. Meanwhile, the Pookie would hang out in his swing in the bathroom or the bassinet part of the cosleeper where he would watch the mobile or play with toys. And often, the Pumpkin would play with the Pookie by swinging him, reading him book, handing him toys or making silly faces while I finished up one thing or another.*

But before I could finish writing the post and publish it, the good times came to a screeching halt. The regression that the Pumpkin was just kind of in came on full force. The sleeping through the night stopped (of course it did). The steps towards getting her on the potty in the mornings turned into complete meltdowns just trying to change her diaper. Her getting herself dressed in the mornings became frustrated struggles for her and tantrums when I had to end up helping because she just couldn't do it herself anymore. Breakfast was almost always miserable because this wasn't just right or she wanted something we didn't have, and she was unconsolable. The contrariness and meltdowns were constants throughout our mornings from the times we woke up to the times I tried to leave her at school. There were many times I carried her screaming into the car just to get to school, although once I left her at school she had a great time.

Meanwhile, the Pookie was still hanging out in the swing or the bassinet. He did/does have some issues. He was getting too big and heavy for the swing, but he didn't like not being with us in the bathroom. Also, although he is fine hanging out on his own for a good while, he can go only so long before he needs attention and to be held and/or nursed. But during the thick of the Pumpkin's regression, it takes all my energy and focus to get her ready for the day, not to mention I still have to get myself ready.

So mornings were tough again, but we got through them. In addition, the Pumpkin was hard pretty much at all times of the day. It is not limited to mornings, so Londo had his share of frustrations in the afternoons. By evenings and bedtimes, we were all pretty frustrated.

But now? I can see that the Pumpkin is starting to come out of this regression. Even Londo commented that he saw it too. Things are all rainbows and unicorns, but there are significantly less meltdowns.

In addition to her simply moving out of this tough stage, we also did a project this weekend in which we made a chart for her morning routine and bedtime routine. We went through magazines to find pictures to represent each main step of those routines and glued those pictures onto some big paper under the right step. Now, each morning and night, we check the chart to see what we do next, and that has seemed to really help.

The past three mornings, things have gone relatively smoothly (I'm totally jinxing myself, I know). Although she still protests the diaper changes ("I want the pee pee in my diaper!), she's been letting me do them with much fuss once I tell her that she can either scream while I do it and it will take longer or she can cooperate and we can do it fast, but either way I'm going to change her diaper. With some coaxing, she is washing her hands, brushing her teeth (and mommy gets a turn), and washing her face. I have given her the option of two outfits, and she actually picks one of the ones I offer! She has gotten herself dressed and didn't freak out because she had it backwards and needed guidance on turning it around. Breakfasts, getting shoes and coats on, and getting in the car are all much easier.

The Pookie is happier when I am able to focus some attention on him, too. It's pretty easy to change his diaper and get him dressed. He's enjoying breakfasts of oatmeal or rice cereal with toast or waffles as finger foods. Most of all, he loves to watch his sister and laugh when she's being silly.

I'm hoping things stay easier and continue to improve, but I am trying to steal myself in case there is one more set back before true improvement. With better sleep for the Pookie and I (thanks to the sleep training), I think I can handle it. It would be even better if the Pumpkin would start sleeping through the night again, but at least she's stopped having middle-of-the-night meltdowns/screamfests.

Of course, she'll probably get to the other side of this regression just in time for the Pookie to go through one! Ah, parenthood.

*Well, that paragraph sums up my other post, so I guess I can delete it now. It apparently didn't need to be a whole post.

Comments

Andrea said…
So glad to hear she's getting to be enjoyable in the mornings again. I had to mention that I'd given T the same speech about cooperating or me doing it anyway. He is still choosing "not cooperate". sigh. :)
Cloud said…
What is it with wanting to hang out in the soaked diaper? My Pumpkin does the same thing. Drives me batty.
paola said…
Mornings are the toughest in our house too. Hubby is home but has no time to help as he has to shave,have breaky and then run off to work as quickly as possilbe. And I'm the SAH parent so getting the kids ready is MY responsibility.

I find if I get up that 15 minutes earlier it helps a lot as I can my shower in then rather than at the last minute. My current issue is getting the 3 year old to the table ON time, so she can finish her breaky IN time, which rarely happens. Of course it's a power game, but hey, two can play at that. She has to finish by 8 (which means 25 minutes to eat wheatbix and a cup of milk)or she doesn't get her follow up of bran or prunes that she like to nibble on afterwards.
caramama said…
@Andrea - Yeah, we've had plenty of times when she chooses to scream while we do whatever needs to be done. I'm just SO happy that she is mostly getting on board with cooperating now. Tate will get to the other side too (soon I hope)!

@Cloud - What is UP with that? They can't mean it, and yet they act like they do.

@paola - It always go better if I get up before the kids, but that just doesn't happen often these days. I like the idea of having a set time for finishing breakfast. That would help us get out the door in a more timely manner. But we're (read: I'M) not quite there yet.

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