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Katy England Katy England
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Schedule shifts

August 1, 2013
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Schedules are big deals to parents. With newborns, it's getting them on a sleep/eat schedule. Then a napping schedule. You always have to be thinking of scheduling appoints, play parties (the term playdate makes me gag. Not that play party is much better, but it's something), walks, bedtimes, everything.

When the kids were little and much more suicidal, scheduling anything while they were awake was different. Now that the fear of certain death has been tempered somewhat by experience (they learn that standing on the chairs and leaning forward to grab something off the table is not just a bad thing because Mom gets mad, it's a bad thing because it hurts when my face connects with the table top), I can start doing things around the house when they're up.

I'm still not quite used to this concept. Before, if I tried to do dishes while they were up, it was pretty much license for them to empty everything from the cupboards. Everything. I mean, I haven't had anything dangerous in the cupboards since they learned how they opened (even with the locks, I decided cleaning products were better off out of reach on the shelf in the broom closet). But it still meant every single plastic container we own, all the pots and pans, strainers and casserole dishes, wire rack coolers everything ended up on the floor. That meant I'd have to at least rinse it off before putting it back, which was an extra chore I wasn't really in the mood for. 

Now, the kids entertain themselves to a certain extent. Yes, there are still meltdowns when one of the little thieves steals something from one of the other little thieves. But that happens with somewhat less frequency (depending on the day and the alignment of the stars).

But even with the intermittent intervention, I can do things that were impossible just months before. Like dishes. If I tried to wash cups without the beans strapped firmly into their chairs, mayhem could ensue - typically in the form of someone clubbing their face into the floorboards. Now, everyone is a decently stable walker (occasional runners and jumpers, now too). But also apropos is that they play with each other from time to time. That makes for a slightly less ridiculous over-reaction when someone grabs someone else's toy. There has even been (gasp) sharing. 

Once, the boy, who is notoriously grabby when it comes to the trucks (he brings them to bed with him), actually handed one over to his sister. Of his own free will. The two of them raced up and down the hallway. Seeing that sort of cooperation gives a mom all manner of warm fuzzies. But it also gives me time to clean up around the house: fold laundry, do dishes and sweep. Things that were only exercises in horrible frustration before have become very possible.

So, if you're a parent, still in the throes of newborn/early toddler blues, just know that it will get better. You'll have new things to worry about, but at least you'll have clean dishes.

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