My new new routine

My old routine has been eclipsed by a new one. That’s the thing about a baby-centered world, the routines you slip into mutate and change as the baby grows.

Barnaby is now eight months old and is very nearly able to crawl. He can fix his eyes on an object and make his way towards it by rolling, squirming and stretching, but he has yet to get his arms and legs working together sufficiently to crawl in a straight line.

But the fact remains that he is now a mobile baby, and I can’t just dump him on the floor and expect to find him in the same place a few minutes later.

He is constantly curious. Every new object catches his attention and must be investigated, first with sticky fingers, then with his pair of tiny teeth. He ignores his toys and prefers to play with everything else, all the things he shouldn’t – plastic bags, remote controls, my glasses, the bin we put his filthy nappies in, pot plants, anything placed in any precarious position.

The new routine, then, is a bit like this:

0600: Barney stirs and starts to wake, but we ignore him and try to sleep on. He might drift back to sleep, or stay awake and play with the toys in his cot (or just pull the sheets out from under him and chew on them), until

0700: Kate gets up to change his nappy, while I head to the kitchen to warm up his milk, prepared the night before. Kate is no longer breast feeding.

0715: Barney finishes his milk, slurped greedily while sitting on mum’s lap, and is plonked in his high chair for the next stage of breakfast. I feed him whatever we can think of – mashed banana, toast, yogurt, etc.

0800: Barney finishes breakfast on a good day.

0805-0830: Kate leaves for work.

0900: Barney finishes breakfast on a bad day.

0900-0915: Nappy change, then morning snooze for an hour or so. Most mornings I’d quite like to go back to bed myself, but usually there’s too much to do.

1000: Barney awake again. Fresh nappy, then downstairs to sit in his chair, wriggle in his playpen, or roll on the floor while I get on with other things (washing, washing up, tidying, work, etc).

1145: Lunchtime! Barney gnaws a breadstick while I prepare whatever he’s having for his main course. In nice weather we will sit outside for lunch, I’ll take a tray with his food and mine all prepared. Otherwise his high chair is set up in the kitchen, so spillages (there are always lots) can be cleaned up easily.

1230: Food munched. Barney might play for a while, or might already be feeling sleepy again. At about 1300, he’s plonked back in his cot for another snooze. Now’s my chance to grab lunch, check email, write anything that needs writing, do work, and so on.

1430: Wake B, change nappy, give him afternoon milk, which he drinks in about three minutes flat. Mop his chin and decide what to do next. This is the best time to leave the house if we want to go out in the afternoon. B is awake and alert and demands entertainment. We might go for a walk, or pop into town. Or we might read a story (much excitement – Barney thinks books are another tasty snack) or play peek-a-boo.

1700: Teatime! Sit B in his high chair once more and shovel yet more food down his throat. He eats an extraordinary amount, given his size. More toast, some fruit, perhaps a boiled egg or some cheese. Barney enjoys this meal and gets very excited, bouncing up and down and jiggling his legs wildly. Round this time, Kate comes home from work, which causes yet more excitement.

1800: Tea consumed, Barney goes upstairs with his mum for a bath. This is a noisy and hectic task, as Barney insists on rolling around the bathroom floor while Kate tries to dress and undress him. He squeals and shrieks with delight, and laughs while he sits in the bath. If teatime has been messy, I’ll use this time to clear up, brew some tea, and perhaps sit down with it in front of the computer while I check my mail again.

1830: Barney and Kate come downstairs. B, now fresh and E45ed (he gets itchy patches on his ears) is much calmer and quieter now, starting to feel sleepy. Kate gives him a final bottle of milk and within 20 minutes or so he is rubbing his eyes, making tired moaning noises, and ready for bed.

1900: Baby in bed and drifting off to sleep, Kate and I have a moment to breathe out, relax, and think about making our own supper. There are plenty of chores to be done before bed, though, not least cleaning out all Barney’s milk bottles and sterilising them.

I’ll often spend part of the evening in my little alcove, writing or catching up on mail and stuff. Barney tends to sleep well, and should keep going without a break until tomorrow morning. Hopefully.

(25th April 2003)