Basically, I want to enjoy the rest of my leave, continue some of my habits from January (reading, music + keeping phone use in moderation), and start getting geared up for work re-entry. I haven’t finished migrating my monthly tasks yet so there is definitely more, but I just use this planner page as an overview of habit/bucket list-type items from the yearly list. Things I am tracking daily:
– spending less than 90 minutes on phone (Moment app)
– taking some time to read
– listening to some music
– weekly Question of the Week (through the ABP)
– weekly fam dinners
– focused time w/ A&C
One big to-do item is combining the kids’ rooms! I mentioned that we have been in a really good bedtime groove lately, so I am not terribly excited to rock that boat, but hopefully things will work out. I do have some ideas about how to make it work, but they are currently untested . . .
That said, I am going to share what I am doing now for bedtime that is somehow working. Putting all 3 to sleep was something I was really stressed out about pre-Genevieve — I’m often by myself from 6pm (usually this is when I arrive home from work & our nanny leaves) until bedtime, and was anxious about how I would handle this with 3.
Disclaimer: I am NOT alone every night — and Josh has been arriving around 7-7:30 many nights lately, which is great. But often at least 2-3x/week it’s just me. (And sometimes 5x on a bad week). This Tuesday, I was flying solo and this is how it went / what we did:
5:30 pm – nanny went home. I ate dinner with A&C. G sat in the bouncer (the Baby Bjorn one from this pic). (Shown because it is my savior during the entire bedtime routine right now).
6:00 pm – fed G. Kids played. They are aware that if there is any bad behavior (mostly . . . beating each other up in some fashion) then they do not get a TV show. They also know they have to clean up their toys before said show, which actually does prevent them from making too much of a mess.
6:30 pm – I let A & C watch a show (26 minutes of Wild Kratts usually!). I clean up dinner, prep the coffee maker & next day’s pump parts, G watches from her seat.
7:00 pm – A & C get nightly cup of milk & square of dark chocolate (Note: they call this ritual milk & piece and it is how we typically do dessert at our house. Sometimes I add some berries or replace the chocolate with something else like a cookie. I eat something sweet every night so I don’t think it’s a terrible habit – the quantities are small and ingredients good!). C never drinks much of the milk. A always does.
7:10 pm – Teeth / potty. I bring both into the bathroom at once and they switch off and I brush their teeth. G again watches from the bouncer. They know I mean business with this. I have basically zero tolerance of shenanigans during this 5-10 minute window and thankfully they now seem to get this. As soon as they are done, I ask both to get a book and bring it into C’s room.
7:20 pm – Read books in C’s room. Usually both listen; sometimes A does her own thing in her room. Bounce G with foot. She often falls asleep during this (while sitting up, in the bouncer — it’s a cat nap I guess). Usually we get through about 3 books. The more interested they are in the books, the better the nighttime behavior, so I do think it’s important to mix things up. The library helps! I went from a library non-user to a library die-hard in the past year or so, by the way. I LOVE THE LIBRARY.
7:35 pm – C goes to bed. He is always much more tired than A is. He doesn’t fight it. I put on his white noise & music (he has a little monitor that we don’t use as a monitor anymore but it plays twinkle twinkle little star). Exciting note: last night was the FIRST night he went to bed sans pacifier (we couldn’t find it and I think he was too tired to care much). It’s 6:47 am and he’s still asleep so I’d consider that a major win! I then bring G (sleeping) into A’s room.
7:40 pm – Read with A. Sometimes she likes picture books, other times chapter books. We’ve read Charlotte’s Web (she loved it) and are almost done with Little House in the Big Woods, but Tuesday night for example she just wanted The Cat In the Hat Comes Back (from the library). She does know how to read basic words (she probably could read the Dr Seuss herself) but doesn’t want to at night and I respect this. My brain doesn’t work well close to bedtime either and I just want to relax too.
8:00 pm – A getting tired, G awake . . . perfect. I feed G at the side of A’s bed while she falls asleep.
8:15 pm – A asleep, G fed. Watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend while holding G.
9:15 pm – G goes to sleep.
Sometimes Josh will come home at some point during this — then we’ll each take a kid and read to them separately. Last night, he did this and read Harry Potter with Annabel while I read several books to C (with G in bouncer as usual). I actually find that sometimes the kids have better behavior when it’s just me – like they know one person is in charge and not to play around, or perhaps I’m just less fun? Either way, I am fine with bedtime these days whether or not Josh is home.
Interestingly, I’m finding it easier than I remember it just a few months ago, but a) I was pregnant and the whole thing was so uncomfortable and b) I think I get home from work much more tired/depleted than I currently am right now. So we’ll see how this looks in a couple of months, when A & C are in one room and I am coming home from a full work day . . . but at least we’ve got a good rhythm going for now.
Enjoying the shared commiseration on the daycare/school pickups, ha! I picked up both kids yesterday by myself for the first time since our second child was born and it was complete madness…the whole time I was thinking, is there an "It Gets Better" movement for THIS?
I think it gets easier when your kids can buckle themselves in! Even though my Kindergartner is in a booster seat, he can’t buckle himself in my car. And I have a 6 month old, so I’ve got at least 5 more years of buckling seat belts ahead of me. And I imagine it will be a little better when the baby can walk, so I won’t be holding him and ALL of the bags.
Yes!!! 2/3 of my boys buckle themselves now and it changed my life!!!
Reading these notes, I am currently getting myself PSYCHED UP for next week now that I’m reading this -how to make it not suck. Ha! Pickup will be around 3 though not end of day so I’m sure that will help.
You”re doing great. Same here as well-we often find that the kids behavior is better with one parent in charge!
So thanks for just setting out my new bedtime routine with three kids starting here in the next few weeks when number 3 arrives! Hahaha. This is what I’ve been most worried about. My husband is at his hospital late Friday, Saturday and Sunday night so it’s always me flying solo. I am in a good groove with the two, but the thought of number 3 has been throwing me for a loop. I’m a smidge nervous because number 2 is only 19 months and shows zero interest in a tv show or even listening to reason, but it’s worth a shot. I’ve got the baby bjorn bouncer ready to go!
For the previous two years we had the kids at two separate daycares as my son was in the school daycare that we had to take when he started kindergarten or else we wouldn’t get a spot but my daughter who was 3 at the time stayed in the home daycare we were using. The drives weren’t super far apart – 8 minutes. But my daughters daycare closed everyday at 4:45 pm so I always had to rush from work to get her first and then get my son. I had a half hour commute from hour plus a half hour of picking up the kids. But that changed this past year!
Daycare pick ups do get better as they get older! My oldest is 7 and youngest is 5. They are both now in the school daycare. Sometimes pickups are long – it’s like herding cats to get them both to transition from doing daycare activities to want to leave. I often get the wail "you came too early" no matter what time I pick up because they are happy doing something. I try to remind myself that it is a good sign of a great daycare. Thankfully my husbands shift changed and now he does all the drop offs which I find much more stressful. I’m so thankful that I don’t have to do those as much.
Thankfully my drive is only three minutes so there isn’t too much hangry fighting.
And for evening routine, it is always a work in progress but less physically demanding as they can do showers now and do some teeth brushing.
I should have written more of my routines at the various ages as it is hard to remember them now. When my daughter was a baby she went through a rough patch from 9 to 11 pm fussy and crying for a few months. That was a tough time. I do remember though from about her ages of 2 to 3 and a bit when she still slept in a crib she went down pretty easy and then I would read/lay down with my son afterwards!
You are doing awesome!! And I would also be interested in hearing about discipline or tricks you use for encouraging good behaviour and consequences for bad behaviour. Thanks!
YES I have been looking at old blog posts trying to remember how I handled things at different ages! I wish I had written more down, too!
And see my comment above re: behavior. I can put this in a post, defintely, but trust me I am NOOO expert and my kids are not perfect angels. All I can share is what works (sometimes) and what doesn’t for us!
My kids are also easiest when it’s just me, but I am more of the disciplinarian so maybe it’s that 🙂
My twins were separate for about a year before we moved into this house, had separate rooms here, and then wanted to be together so we moved them back together for about a year. This weekend we moved them separate again (big schlep!) but thankfully, the talking forever at bedtime has stopped and they actually go to sleep!
Good for you – sounds like you have a good handle on the bedtime routine.
I’ve found that it has gotten a little easier as my youngest two (6 months) now go to bed by 6:30PM. I come home and put them to bed (the nanny has given them a bath so I just prop a bottle up on the Baby Bjorn toy bar when I get home-do you have one? Its a lifesaver with twins once they are 4-5 months or so). And then I get the older two to bed starting at 6:30 after the babies are asleep-they just turned three so I try to do bath, teethbrushing and books by 7:30 or so. It’s actually not that bad and seems to work better when it is just me!
Emily, do you have two sets of twins?! That’s remarkable that you can do bedtime on your own. I just have one set (11 months) and I don’t feel capable of doing bedtime (or even nap time!) on my own. On the rare times my husband or I can’t both be home for bedtime (they also go to bed at 6:30), we pay our babysitter to help the other get them down.
Sarah, you seem like you are doing great! G is SUCH a good baby. Mine were BOTH so, so fussy at that age, they never would have gone along with all that. At that age, I was bouncing on a yoga ball for a half hour to get them to sleep for each nap and for bedtime as well!
Would you be willing to do a post about Cameron’s asthma? Just wondering how it was diagnosed (pediatrician or did you see a specialist) and how it is managed. I am suspecting that my 2-yr has asthma (no wheezing but a lot of coughing at night and outside in the cold, especially after viral illnesses). We have an appointment with his ped next week but would love to hear from someone who has been through this!
I don’t think I want to do a post (don’t want anyone to conflate as medical advice) but I’ll email you later today 🙂 We only just saw a pulmonologist a couple months ago, everything else was with his ped.
Kids definitely behave better when only one parent is in charge. When we are both doing bedtime routine, there’s more chances of bad behavior.
Your routine looks awesome! I am wondering how you handle.bad behavior, though. What do you do when start "shenanigans"? You say they know when you mean business… I would love to hear your and Laura’s thoughts on how to discipline or what helpful resources you have used.
Omg I am very close to the arrival of my second and I”m terrified of the bedtime dynamics with 2 kids. My husband should be around for bedtimes for a while but will eventually need to travel again (thankfully not too much) and I guess we will just figure it out! My daughter never fell asleep with our a minimum of half and hour of being walked and soothed as a new born so I am always shocked when I hear about babies just falling asleep like G seems to. I guess it”s something to hope for!
I haven”t even let my self think about the logistics of pick up yet…. will deal with that when we have to.
oh man I hope that your next one is easier!
yes, G falls asleep pretty easily for now – or even if she doesn’t fall asleep she’s pretty calm. but every baby is so different!!!
This sounds way calmer than when i am alone with all three at bedtime! Good for you! My almost three year old is the toughest one at bedtime by far. I dread being home alone with all three at bedtime, and it does happen a lot.
well it helps a great deal that I don’t HAVE an almost 3 year old! I have to say the age spacing worked out really really well and I think it’s part of why I am in a good place right now. (Also, C can be challenging but he’s always been decent about bedtime except for a brief period when he needed to drop his nap! So part of this is LUCK, but I thought I’d share anyway!).
Ugh school/daycare pickup. There are so many bags! And random pieces of artwork. And children who dart into the parking lot and don”t want to hold my hand….it is the worst. And we only live a 3-5 minute drive from school yet there still often manages to be a meltdown or fight on the way home.
Dyl is much better at bedtime when it”s just one of us also. I think we may try to split bedtime duty to 1) keep the assigned Parent engaged in the process, and 2) keep Dyl from playing us off one another. Like Erica I haaaaaate childcare pickups. So time consuming and stressful at a time of day when everyone is exhausted and has a short fuse. I”m glad to have mostly outsourced this activity.
I need to know how you outsourced this! And I agree that it’s definitely my lowest point in the day anyway: exhausted, hungry, and just want to be home, and the kids are at the same place.
Interestingly, bedtime goes better when it’s just one parent in our house too (which thankfully is only about once a week). I think G knows that I need a break and tones down his silliness. And I was really surprised, but he has accepted that his bedtime is 7:30 (that’s lights out time) and that the baby’s bedtime is more fluid than his without fuss. He has never complained about the baby going to bed after him. I was expecting him to tell me this was unfair! 🙂
The hardest part for me when solo parenting is the daycare/school pick-up shuffle. It’s such a cluster. I pick up the baby, go to the school, carry baby around school while gathering child from after-care, dodge dodgeballs in the gym while holding baby and carrying backpack and wrestling child into coat, getting both kids strapped into car, and then unloading both kids, their bags, and my bags into the house (the pump, purse, lunchboxes, oh my god so many bags!).Then cooking. And feeding baby while cooking / eating because his dinner time is our dinner time. After that, the bedtime routine feels like a vacation!
Last week I did 4 days in a row while Dan was out of town and I finally wizened up and started putting the baby in the stroller while I do the pick-up at school. It is one more thing to get out and put in the car, but it’s so much easier to handle getting G out of school than when I’m carrying a 17 lb turkey.
Loved reading this. I just sent a screenshot of this to my husband… I’ve bee. Trying to nail down a routine but we just haven’t been able to.make it stick… My kids are a little bit older than yours. I actually have a terrible time getting the kids in bed some nights by myself. My oldest seems to take full advantage of it just being me and tries to get away with everything. I don’t know what it is, but the rebellion has been going on forever and it’s exhaust and a bit soul crushing. But reading your experience gives me hope… I will.be a sahm for the next school year and I think the consistent schedule will be easier to set up a routine.