Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Rhythm of the day...


Tonight, Grammie and Grandpa are coming, just for the night. They're arriving at 7 PM. It is at times like these that I realize how set our day is, because the thought and energy that goes into figuring out how to do a 7 PM arrival time from Grammie and Grandpa is tremendous.

Like many families, mine is driven by ritual. Every day, pretty much lots of things are the same. Things happen in the same order every day, and then my kids know what to expect, and they also don't question what I'm asking them to do. I have never had a child unwilling to go to bed, because there has never been a question that after dinner, bath, and stories, one gets into bed and goes to sleep. This has always been the way it is, and they just assume this is always how it will be.

The ritual is beauty. It makes my life so utterly simple, not having to plan, or think, or arrange anything. The wake-up till breakfast is all pre-planned, the lunch-nap is all pre-planned, and the dinner-bed is all pre-planned. Best of all, the pre-planning actually schedules in time for me to be myself, to pursue what I want to do (like washing the floor, hanging out diapers :) or maybe sewing a little). I am so bought into the ritual, so tied to it, that I simply cannot imagine that there are people for whom this kind of life would seem rigid, and like work. And it might be, for them, but it's not to me.

To me, the structure, the routine, is simplifying to the extreme. It means that I don't have to prepare the kids for the next stage, because they already know what it is. It means I eliminate struggles and decisions and "choices" because the day just goes how it goes, and nobody really thinks to question it. I can't imagine how I would get my kids away from what they were doing and down for a nap if they didn't just naturally assume that reading was the next step, and they wander to the couch from their lunches, eagerly awaiting the books that they know they will hear. I think they are greatly comforted by this, it gives them, in a strange sense, power, because they know what is going to happen in their day.

So tonight, the ritual is thrown off- 7 PM is bedtime, usually, given that we eat about 5:30, then go up for Crazy time, bath, and books, which lands the kids in bed around 7. So today, I urged the kids to nap, to which Liam easily complied, knowing that his time with his grandparents depended on the length of his sleep. Aoife, less able to consciously make this choice, talked for an hour and I thought, Well, she might not make it for the visit... but then, by now at 2:30 I realized, I can take advantage of this opportunity for a late nap. So I went up, popped her the boob, and about 2 minutes later she was out like a light.

So tonight, it will be... music class, bath, playtime...then Grammie and Grandpa! Won't it be a treat to stray from the rhythm, as soothing as it is, to get in our one precious evening with Greg's family, en route to a conference in Rhode Island. The kids will be well rested, because in knowing their routine and their needs, I could restructure the day to be sure that they will be fit and happy to hang out with the family. Aahhh... Looking forward to a glass of wine on the porch myself.

3 comments:

Natalie said...

Amen to the wine AND to the ritual!
Nat

Meg said...

Glad it worked out. I also can restructure the nap tie for my girls so we can have the night for something if we need it. Hope you have fun!

Janya said...

what a perfect porch...