Friday, September 28, 2007

All hail

Another night, another bedtime routine, another sleepy baby. The spud has not only been sleeping through the night for the past two months, he has been happily going to bed with no complaint and for this I thank the God 'Routine'. I have to confess that for most of my life, I have not been the most faithful of worshipers at the shrine of this god. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I worshipped the Anti-Routine. Oh, yes I did. I have, in my wilder youth, stayed up all night and sat in a diner watching people get on the tram to go to work and sneered – oh, I did. You see, back then I had no need for routine. What is this thing ‘routine’? I would ask myself. But now, now, I have paid for my sins. I have suffered at the hands of the 3am fuss, the 4am cry, the 1:30am tantrum and the 5am wake-up and I am sorry, I will never doubt the power of the God of Routine, or, may I just say the 'Great' God Routine, ever again.

At the start of the spud’s little life, I confess that we played fast and loose with his bedtime. I mean, we tried to get him to sleep every night around 7, but if he wasn’t tired or if he kicked up a fuss, we were pretty flexible total walkovers. I can’t count the number of times we ate dinner with the spud perched happily in his little bouncy chair making googly faces at his toys and every few minutes or so looking meaningfully at my cleavage. He’d go to bed, sleep a bit, wake up and shout at us and the Frog would leap up and have him watching CSI before you could say ‘let him cry it out’.

After considerable reading and listening to friends, I finally caved in and worked out a sort-of-a routine. Slowly, slowly, we started to stick to it. And you know what? Bugger me golly gee if it didn’t work.

Now, after several months, our sort-of-a-routine has firmed up into something robust enough that the spud is now anticipating every little step. Come 6pm he’s whining for his sippy cup and I put on ceebeebies and he sits on his beanbag with juice and a little snack gaping at Upsy Daisy while I put out his dinner and then put him in his high chair. After a variable amount of food, he gets down and stuck into some serious playing – we’re talking Speed Playing here - throwing every toy out of his box and clambering around the house clutching a ball in one hand and often something in his mouth as well. It’s important, you see, because it the Last Play Of The Day and he has to cram it all in at once.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, he would stand by the bath while I undressed him and, inspired by the water running, might have had a little wee-wee while he watched intently as it filled. Now, however, he's not interested in the water running At All. Now, the bath running is like the final bell signifying 'end of playtime' so as soon as his clothes are off, my little naked son tears off across the floor as fast as he can crawl, giggling and cackling while I stomp behind him saying things like ‘I’m going to get you’ and ‘I’m right behind you’ until squealing, he throws himself headlong onto the sheepskin rug (I know, I know, it’s like a Mills and Boon novel round ours) to be tickled. It’s about as cute as a baby can get, frankly and I’m still not quite sure how I managed it. I guess I figured I’d probably pop out a baby who already had a tattoo and both Joy Division albums. But there you go, or rather, there he goes, giggling away madly. The end of the routine sees him lying with his bottle while I lie beside reading him a book. If he’s perky, once he's done he wriggles off the bed and tries to rush to his toys before I can stop him but once I pick him up and carry him into his room, no matter how lively he was the moment before, he snuggles into my shoulder and sighs a bit and most of the time, he’s asleep before I even put him to bed.

I do credit the routine for this. Every step of the way, from the moment Iggle Piggle gets into his boat until the moment he gets carried into his room he knows what’s coming next - and it all leads to a nice big sleep and, not to forget, a nice big martini for Mummy while the Great God Routine rumbles away happily in his alphabetised heaven.

Amen to that!

23 comments:

cara said...

and you do it again! enjoyable post

DJ Kirkby said...

'Speed playing' lol! We experience that too! Well the Aspergers version... actualy 'playing' doesnt really come into it...aw heck I know what I mean even if I can't explain it!

Sue said...

Oh man. Watch me turn a bright, violent green. Routine did nothing. I mean, it got The Bhablet to recognise the inevitability of having to sleep once in his cot, but it didn't save us from the screaming and the violent protests.

He has his say and only then falls asleep.

God bless nice little spuds.

Sparx said...

Cara - ack, you're so kind, thanks so much for visitng - and congratulations again!

DJ - I can imagine N3S doing a lot of things at high speed - playing just being the start of it! Good luck!

Sue - The spud took ages to really buy into the routine - after a few days of it he really resisted as he knew what was coming but now, a few months down the line we're A-OK with routine, praise be!

Jen said...

I myself was routine resistant, but now sing its glory. The problem with routine is, just when I, I mean Dylan, get used to the current one, he has changed so much we need a new one!

the mad momma said...

oh darn. what did you go and do that for. i hate routines. and i hate books that preach routine. and now you've gone and sold me on it. i've sold out.

Sparx said...

Jen - it's true, it does have to be flexible to a certain extent, eh? I think so long as the bones of it stay the same it works well - good to see you, hope it's all going well.

Sparx said...

Mad Momma! It's odd, we've gone back and forth. Originally I wanted to routine the spud because it sounded so good, but he just wouldn't stick to it and it proved too rigid for me as well. I've gone back to routine because it works, but we did develop a routine around his natural rhythms which is possibly why it works for us all. Good to see you, thanks for popping over!

Bel said...

I still have a love-hate relationship with Routine after four years. I LOVE the fact that I can rest assured that our boy goes to bed at seven thirty pm and falls asleep immediately, but I HATE that inevitably spontaneous nights out, or just hanging out on the sofa all Sunday afternoon are gone forever... Give and take, give and take ;)
Still, a good routine is what keeps children feeling safe and nurtured until they're about, what is it these days? Thirteen? :D

Self employed mum said...

I love routine, the kids love routine, they just don't know it. We have changed the bed times, Rebecca who is nearly 8 has changed from 7.15/7.30 to 8pm and Lee who's 10 has changed from 8/8.30 to 9/9.15 the poor boy all his friends are still roaming the streets, but I live safe in the knowledge they are not tired, they are happy and not cranky like some of their friends.
As for me, my routine has gone. I liked when they were both in bed by 8, I could still with a cup of tea and still had time to do something constructive like clean or iron, now I just drink tea and go to bed.

Elsie Button said...

i have to admit i have had a bit of a routine obsession ever since betty was born... feeding, napping, bedtime at the same time every day. I really firmly believe that that is why she started sleeping through the night from 3 months. i have met such critisicm along the way though - no-one else seems to believe in routine - i sometimes feel like a real alien. So it's good to hear you say all this. I also love hearing other people's routines, so thanks! A lovely post!

lady macleod said...

It's true, it's true! I do understand, I was an anti-routine girl myself until parenthood. In truth after having a child, I ceased to speak in absolutes - about ANYTHING!

holly said...

milk this for all it's worth. my son used to be an easy-bedder, unlike my daughter. now he is ghandi-like in his protesting. that would be fine if he weren't so heavy. i swear i only broke the routine once! okay twice. okay there was a weekend away. i'll go now.

Sue said...

Tag!

You're it.

Sparx said...

Bel - LOL! Yes, spontaneity has rather gone I'm afraid - but so has the spud's spontaneous bedtimes, ie, 9pm! I think at my age that I'm happy with that!

Sparx said...

SEM - I remember the joyous days when my bedtimes moved back! Unfortunately for my poor Ma I am nearly completely nocturnal when left to my own devices so whatever it was that my parents set as bedtime was never late enough. I guess I have that to look forward to, my Mum is rubbing her hands in glee at the thought of me getting my come-uppance! Good to see you!

Sparx said...

Hi Elsie! I tried to routine the Spud very early but it wasn't to be. I'm impressed by those Mums I know who have managed it without trauma. I was happy to let him cry but I had a very short limit on that so after 5 minutes it all went to hell in a handbasket! Lovely to see you online, hope all's well.

Sparx said...

Lady M - Every day is something new indeed, nothing is absolute - but it is rather nice to know I can be settled down to a nice dinner with the frog without baby interference, much as I love him! Good to see you back, will have to whip over to get the news on your trip!

Sparx said...

Holly - V funny! The spud will never be gandhi-like I'm afraid... too active! Only breaking the routine once, that's an achievement! Thank's for dropping over!

Sparx said...

Sue - ulp!

Anansi said...

I love your blurt! Will be part of my routine now to see how this routine works for the spud... And with luck he'll grow up to be one of those kiddos who hate routine the moment they grow up! ;D

Sparx said...

Anansi - thanks for coming by! I hope he's like that too, too much routine in an adult is a worrying thing. Now, I'm sure it's past my bedtime...

ilana (Helen) Pengelly said...

My kids are older now and I am sTiLl RoUtInE DePeNdAnT! In our house 8pm sees our 10 year old foster son off for 1/2 an hours reading time. As his light goes out at 8:30 our 11 year old is off to brush his teeth before settling in for a 1/2 hour of reading time. Quiet is finally beginning to descend on the house. 9 pm and it's light's out for Ryan and Callum at 13 is off to brush those teeth. He heads down to the teenager's lair in the basement and out comes the wine in the livingroom. I LOVE ROUTINE!
Blessings & Good Cheer
Helen