My New Normal: The Morning Routine

I’ve been back to work for nearly two weeks now, and I feel like we’re starting to fall into a routine. Things aren’t quite as I had expected, but it seems to be going well, so I’m willing to roll with it.

I start my typical day anywhere between 4 and 5:30 a.m. Technically my alarm is set to go off at 5:15. But if the baby (or Alex) is up earlier than that, and Tony was up at some point for a mid-night feeding, I try to run interference. I want Tony to be able to sleep as late as possible since he has a long drive to and from work each day. If by chance Tony got to sleep all night because my mid-night pumping session lined up with Kate’s mid-night feeding, I’ll let Tony take the first shift and try to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.

After the crew is awake, the circus begins… Vitamins for the boys. Milk for Alex. Nurse the baby. Get everyone dressed. Help Leo with breakfast. Find breakfast for Alex that won’t end up all over his shirt/face/pants or in his hair. (You’d be amazed, this kid can make a mess with almost anything.) Tell Leo to brush his teeth and get his shoes on.

All the while, I’m attempting to get ready. The boys are pretty good about playing in the living room as long as one of their cartoons is playing in the background. (Their current favorites are Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Miles from Tomorrowland.)

leo_and_alex_wait_for_the_busAt 6:55, we go outside with Leo to wait for the bus. This is probably the highlight of my morning. I get to talk with Leo about the things he’ll be doing that day and can sense his excitement for school. I also get to witness the love the boys have for each other and their sister as we go through several rounds of hugs and kisses saying our goodbyes.

As the bus nears the house, Leo runs down the driveway. I yell, “Love you, Leo. Have a great day!” And then Alex will follow up with something similar. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face to hear him yell, “lov oo!”

Then Alex, Kate and I head back into the house to finish getting ready. I usually have to do another round of diaper changes and finish getting myself ready. At that point we’re ready to start transitioning to the van. (That process by itself is usually three or four trips between the van and the house.)

If I’m lucky, we’re pulling out of the driveway by 7:30 a.m. (I’d say that’s probably actually only happened three times.) Usually it’s closer to 7:45, which means we’re at daycare just after 8.

Daycare drop off with Kate has been smooth. I carry her carseat and bag in, drop it off and give them the morning briefing.

alex_and_kate_at_daycareAlex on the other hand is like trying to herd a cat into the bathtub. It’s not that he doesn’t want to go to daycare, he’s just not been a big fan of it since he’s moved up to Todd 2. Every single step requires strategy and patience. Somedays I have him hold the keys and unlock the doors as we go into the center. Other days he’s my helper and proudly carries the baby’s bag for me. Every day I have to align myself between him and the day care center’s flower garden so that Alex doesn’t wander through it. And then once we’re inside, I have to stick to his right so he doesn’t take off down the long hallways to other parts of the building or run into the church’s sanctuary.

Ultimately I role into work between 8:15 and 8:30, and I pretty much already feel like I’ve already completed my first major accomplishment for the day.

Flying Solo: Part Two

This single parent gig is rough. I did it for awhile with Leo after my divorce and found it challenging. But now, with three kids, it’s a whole new level. We’re only two days in and I’m already struggling. I’ll chalk a big portion of that up to my early wake up call.

Around 2:30 a.m. last night I was up with Kate for her nightly nursing and my pumping session. I was back to bed around 3:15 hoping I’d be able to grab a few more hours of sleep before the boys were up. That definitely didn’t happen. Instead I was back up at 4 a.m. with Alex, who decided it was time to start the day.

We watched cartoons (Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse),crafty_alex ate breakfast and did art projects. Leo worked on his homework, creating a really cool poster all about him,
while Alex was coloring on sheets of construction paper. Even with the fun activities, it became very clear that with three kids, at least one of them was going to be upset and crying about half of the time.


Thankfully my parents came up to help me mid- morning, so while I had a busy day, at least for a good chunk of it, I wasn’t alone in trying to keep kids entertained and happy.