Previously I had a royal failure of a day with the Boychild. I’m happy to present you its antithesis, one of the most in sync and productive days so far.
4am: I took over feeds. Pretty simple this time. The Boy, three-quarters asleep, guzzled down his breastmilk. Not from my breasts but from a bottle. He’s four months old and drinks roughly 160-180ml every three hours. although he’ll often do 80-90ml after 90 minutes instead. For now, we’re following his whims. Once he stopped feeding, a quick, sleepy diaper change and straight back to sleep for both of us.
5am…ish: an odd wake-up. He drank a few millilitres (i.e., not hungry) then fell asleep in my arms. I put him back in his crib and all was well.
6:30am: again, he woke for straightforward feed. At this point he is officially awake for the day. Daddy however, is not. At this time I tend to put him in his crib, turn on his mobile, and let him space out or nap for a while. I worry I’m training him at the baby equivalent of hitting the snooze button, but I think the extra sleep for me is worth it.
7:50am: a small gap in the day but suffice it to say that Baby Momma, needed Daddy.
8:30am? Or 7:54am? I can’t remember: breakfast time. The Boy is chill so I make my morning coffee, grab my oatmeal bars, prepare milk for The Boy, then set him down in his bouncer. Over breakfast we watched Japanology, an episode about coffee.
Follow this with playtime. Read him some books: Buzzy Bee, Giraffe and Friends. Sing some favourite songs: Happy and You Know It, Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Grand Old Duke of York. Plus our latest game which is him holding my fingers then fighting to maintain grip. I figure this is the start of some form of play fighting, which he appears to enjoy a lot.
9:30am: Daddy has a shower. The Boy sits in his bouncer, then takes a bath. A quick feed, some more playtime, laundry on, and we’re set to go out.
10:30am: he falls asleep in his stroller as we walk to the shop. Grab a few things for dinner then walk back. Nothing much to note except for drawing attention to my stroller skills in the supermarket. Epic control with only one hand, the other carrying a basket, stopping only to check my shopping list.
11:15am: stop in a cafe near home, order lunch. The Boy wakes up and joins me for lunch, after a short cafe tour and two re-reads of Buzzy Bee. We hang out here a good while then head upstairs.
12:30pm: he’s hungry again and drinks up a half portion of milk. Once he’s settled, I burp him and put him in his standing play table. It’s supports him by the waist, and a suspended foot plate encourages him to practise standing. The toys tend to keep him engaged for 10 to 40 minutes at a time. Time to start cooking.
12:50pm: cooking with a baby means careful attention to the critical phases of the dish. These are the points when interruption causes maximum chaos, so you need to make sure he is happy and occupied before entering any such phase.
Today it went…OK. I got everything vegetable chopped, set my onions and carrots to soften, then started chopping the chicken. This is when sleep and upset took over, so I quickly wash my hands, turn off the hob, then attend to The Boy.
A little rocking and he’s asleep. Pop him on the bed. Get back and finish the food, chicken curry. Exquisite.
As he’s now asleep I celebrate by doing the dishes and taking out the laundry.
2pm: he woke pretty quickly. He’s teething and often wakes upset. You can spot the teething because he chews on his fingers and pulls on his ear. A little comfort sorts him out here and once he’s settled, another feed. Then, more play. We (he) did a lot of rolling around on his play mat, some tummy time, and chatting with his toys.
3:30pm: he’s going to be sleepy soon so I put him back in his standing play table. I try to make sure he is well and truly tired out before putting him to sleep. While he plays, I prepare some dough for bread.
4pm: he sleeps again. This gives me time to continue with Sam Harris’s meditation app. Without headphones this time because I’m alone with The Boy.
4:30pm: awake again. Fortunately the meditation is long since complete. I’m hungry but want to wait until a little nearer to dinner before I eat. The same is necessary for The Boy. So, we walk. Downstairs to the pool area, taking advantage of a cool, pre-thunderstorm afternoon. We get in about 50 minutes of meandering, creating chicanes and hairpins out of whatever obstacles we can find. Then, back upstairs.
5:30pm: Dinner. First The Boy, feed him up. Change his diaper. Let him play at his table thing. Cook the bread, warm the curry. Set him up in his bouncy chair, watch more Japanology, and eat.
6:30pm: he can get very sleepy and grumpy at around this time but fortunately today, it doesn’t happen. I think we avoided it by playing a lot. This time a lot of songs, which I kept going with until his smiles were overtaken by minor upset. Phase two is carrying him, a tour of the house, show him himself in the mirror, then gently rock him until his head lolls onto my chest. Wait maybe ten minutes until he’s truly asleep and pop him on the bed.
7:30pm: Baby Momma gets home. I’m writing this, but the interruption drops me out of the flow. In getting back to writing her shopping delivery arrives. She’s pumping milk so I stop again, sort that out. The bell wakes The Boy. I go soothe him, give him a top-up feed, and set him to sleep again.
8:00pm: Slightly grumpy I return to the writing. Only slightly though. Baby Momma is still officially awesome (*). The Boy wakes a couple more times and she tends to him. I re-enter the flow zone and get a couple of drafts written up. Very pleased with myself.
9:50pm: nearly two hours of writing passed like lightning. Flow time and alone time are two of the most difficult things to come by these days so it’s highly appreciated.
Now it’s time to attend to Baby Momma, as she’s been sat quietly by me for a while making sure not to disturb me. Most likely we’ll sleep in an hour’s time, Momma will take the night feeds, then I’ll resume after 4am or 5am or 6am. Something like that.
* I have to write this in case she’s reading.