Friday, January 4, 2013

Oh what a beautiful morning...

OMDG asked for a sample of our morning routine, so here it is. I need to qualify this with the fact that actually every morning is different, as we wake up at different times based on L's sleep overnight and how tired we are feeling. And since neither of us have to be at work at any specific time (save the one glorious day per week when I have 8AM patients and just leave the house no matter what at 7:30), the routine can take as little or as long as we let it.Since the fight we had Thursday morning spurred this, I will try to recap what happened that morning. I could not help editorializing so you could feel your blood pressure rise as you read it, too!

4AM: L wakes up shrieking. I extract him from his crib in boys' room and place him in pack-and-play in guest room to cry it out. He shrieks for less than 5 minutes and falls asleep. I am awake for 30-45 minutes, though. 

6:30 AM: We wake up to L shrieking again. Its still pretty dark outside and G actually goes and pats him and leaves him to CIO again, thinking it is the middle of the night. When he comes back up, I inform him it is daytime and to get him. He brings him into bed & leaves him with me while he goes to the bathroom to brush teeth & shave.

6:40 AM: G takes L downstairs & feeds him pancakes, cheerios, and milk while I brush & use bathroom.

6:50 AM: I head downstairs & pour myself coffee. G goes on walk with dog.

7:05 AM: I have finished coffee and go upstairs to change L's clothes & wake up B. B imitates surly teenager and refuses to get up for quite some time. Then refuses to pee. Then refuses to open mouth for tooth brushing or to cooperate in any way with getting dressed.

7:20 AM: Head downstairs, both boys dressed & teeth brushed, for B to eat breakfast. B eats nothing and there is toddler-y behavior. G returns from dog walk and proceeds to make his breakfast. Every day. EVERY DAY. he eats the same thing: 2 scrambled eggs & a bowl of oatmeal with banana/cinnamon/toasted walnuts. I go to get ready (bathroom/shower/dressed).

7:40 AM: I come down, ready to go. G is still eating breakfast & feeding L oatmeal. B asked for some. B ate nothing. I start pulling our lunches together and loading up the stroller. I put the cover on the sofa in the basement (dog started to sleep on sofa while we're at home and it was getting gross) G finishes breakfast and cleans up the breakfast dishes, etc...

8:10 AM: G goes upstairs to get ready (bathroom/shower/dress). I know this will take some time. I eat a protein bar. I let the boys play for a while & change another poopy diaper. I find coats/mittens/etc...Cleaners are coming today so I put $ in envelope and get the cleaning products/rags ready. Feed dog. At 8:30 I start dressing them to go out. L doesn't handle cold well so I have to put this whole-body suit with attached mittens on him which I take B to the toilet to pee, which involves tantrums.  B heads upstairs when I wasn't looking.

8:40 AM: G finally comes down. I make snarky comment about "took you long enough...". Fight etc...
Coax B downstairs, coax dog downstairs and close the gate (she has also started jumping on beds when we're not home so we have to baby-gate her downstairs). Get shoes on. L kicks his off. Repeat. Put hats on, both take them off. Repeat. Fight with B to get mittens on, he takes off. Repeat X 3.

8:55 AM Leave the house.

Ha! I'm sure you notice the million inefficiencies here, I am well aware of them. The problem is not so much how to streamline, but more, how to get husband on board without seeming too naggy? Or how to keep myself from losing my shit, regardless of what happens?

I'd welcome any advice.


  1. Ok, I have to admit that I laughed when I read about G at 6:30 in the morning. When Luca won't get up in the morning I either say, "GET UP NOW," and poke him repeatedly, +/- turning on the overhead light.

    It seems like a lot of your frustration is coming from B's tantrums and G's extended morning routine that has to happen right as you're getting ready to head out the door. Also, the diaper changes right as you head out the door. I've just come to expect that, but it's still sooooooo annoying! I know that you're not going to be able to get G to change his routine.

    A couple thoughts:

    - Put L in his own room so he can CIO and not wake up B, and then you don't have to get up and mess with him as much at night. If you do go to him, be as boring as possible.

    - When L starts shrieking at 6:30, instead of bringing him to bed with you for 20 minutes, leave him there and get up and brush your teeth and pee. Then go downstairs with him and G. L will not die if he shrieks for 5 min, and you will gain 20 minutes.

    - I do not know how you manage to find time to shower in the morning. I bathe when Dyls bathes at night before bed, and wash my hair every 3 days. Can you bathe at night to shave off 15 minutes?

    - Why is L eating for over an hour in the morning. Can his oatmeal be consolidated in any way with your coffee? Can G's breakfast occur while L is eating, and THEN he can go walk the dog? I am dumbstruck that G's morning routine takes an hour and 20 minutes AFTER he has walked the dog.

    - Our cleaners provide their own supplies. We also pay them with paypal, and just have to leave a tip when they come. If you want the name of the company we use (they have been great since we asked them to lock the door behind them), let me know.

    - Caveat: I know NOTHING about toddler behavior, but I've heard that ignoring undesirable behavior can work over time, and that sometimes rewards work better than punishment. What happens when you act really happy when he does what you want? Can you let some things slide? Even things that you feel like you can't / shouldn't let slide?

    - Can the stair gate be kept closed so B and the dog don't sneak upstairs? If B is savvy enough to open the gate, can he also learn to close it behind him? Can you involve him with morning tasks so he can feel like your special helper?

    - Make a plan to have yourself out the door by 8AM regardless. Enlist G's help in making this happen, i.e. G needs to be ready to go himself by 8, which means he needs to be upstairs getting ready by 7:30. He can change L's diaper himself, load the stroller, pay the cleaners, put the cover on the couch, take B to pee, etc. after you leave. If this stuff hasn't been done by the time you need to leave, leave anyway. If you are afraid that G will forget something that needs to be done, then leave him a list.

    - NO COMPUTER OR NEWSPAPER TIME. Hide the computers if you must. (You didn't mention this, but I have my suspicions... haha.)

    1. Thanks for reading and for the advice. We have already decided to put L in his own room for a while. we do like them to share the room, and when L was sleeping through the night (basically most of last spring/summer) it worked beautifully. but now its a problem. since we don't anticipate guests for the next couple of months we are going to re-try sleep training with him in his room. i will still hear him and wake up, and have to go pat him if he cries for too long (we go in after 15 minutes), but if it works...he won't cry for >15 minutes for too many days!
      I remember looking into your cleaners a while was way more $ for some reason, & we are OK with these ladies for now.
      I love the idea of leaving L while I brush & pee...i used to do this bc he used to wake up happy. Now he has some serious seperation anxiety and he literally shrieks bloody murder, it is hard on the nerves. but maybe we can try it. also, we have one tiny only one of us can brush at a time, so we take turns.
      I also love the "leave by 8" plan. but I haven't had luck getting G on board. his response is "just go if you want to go", but i can't really leave the kids on their own while he is showering on the 3rd

    2. The passive aggressive b*tch in me would suggest rolling out the door at 8 even if G hasn't gone upstairs to shower yet. I suspect he realizes that you won't leave if he's upstairs even if he suggests it. Solution: Tell him you're leaving at 8, and then leave at 8. If he rebels by going upstairs to shower at 7:55, deposit the boys in the (extensively childproofed) bathroom with him and then leave. Seriously, that is totally out of control. If he needs that much time to get ready then he needs to get up earlier in the morning.

      We ended up going with a different cleaners in the end (DFF was $$$ and they did a bad job). If you ever want their info, I'm happy to pass it along.

    3. I am tempted (and in fact I did it a lot, when I was working on my grant, or when I'm on service where I can't really afford to lose my patience so early in the AM), but when I do, I get to hear about how hard it all was in the evening. sigh.

  2. omg this terrifies me a little bit! especially because -- in contrast to your routine -- i may be completely on my own for most of mine as my husband has to start his workday at around 7 [which honestly sounds like paradise compared to surgery residency/fellowship!}. my completely honest assessment after reading this -- it makes me convinced that when we have 2 kids that if financially feasible, we are SO having a nanny.

    ps: i say give yourself more credit than you are. 2.5 hours to get 2 little ones fed and out the door doesn't sound completely unreasonable to me.

    pps: those last-minute-before-going-out-the-door diaper changes are THE WORST. i can't imagine how much harder it would be if two kids needed them!

    1. (sorry, confusing -- for the first part i was projecting into the future when theoretically we will both have jobs and have 2 kids if all works out as planned!)

    2. Sarah, this may sound strange, but it some ways it is easier when I am on my own. It takes the same amount of time when i've done it on my own (i get ready really quickly and generally eat breakfast after I get to work) and I don't have to worry about yet another human being that needs to be coaxed along the routine.

    3. If it's easier on your own, can you leave G with all dog and house responsibilities, and just commit to the kids stuff yourself for the time being? Maybe have him prepare the kid's lunches too - to be ready by 8AM? I feel like that's anti-feminist to suggest, but if it leads to less marital strife and greater efficiency, maybe it would be worth it? I'm sure you realize this arrangement would piss me off, so I completely understand if you feel the same way.

      PS -- OMG HAAAAAAATE the out the door diaper changes. However they seem to happen every day. The only possible silver lining I see is that when potty training happens, at least she goes reliably at the same time each day. :-P

      PPS -- YES NANNY. (Eagerly awaiting the arrival of mine.)

  3. Wow. It's amazing. And it seems like G basically gets the dog and you get everything else. A nice walk with the dog every morning sounds GREAT. I am not going to bother offering advice, because mainly I just feel so much sympathy. It sounds really hard to wrangle all this stuff. I think you're doing really well to only fight once in a while...