I’ve finally been able to get some free time during the day.  (When I say free time, I mean time to toss in some laundry, make a meal for myself, go to the bathroom, pick up toys off the floor, and sit down for 3 minutes.  Free time in our house means free from screaming children!)

I knew that caring for a second child, in addition to the Worm, would make my life three times the lady it once was.  (Isn’t it impressive how I’ve thrown in a reference to the king of ballads, Lionel Richie, even if it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever?  I digress.)  Two kids requires not two, but three times the effort in managing triple the chaos.  I thought that a schedule would be a valuable thing to help me squeeze out some magical “me” minutes from my hectic day, but just after Smush was born and up until recently, I couldn’t even schedule the time to think about a schedule.

So, soon after Steph’s maternity leave was over, she went back to work and I began fumbling through the daily eat and sleep schedules of the little ones by myself.  Worm takes 2 meals and 1 nap a day.  Smush takes 3 meals and 3 naps a day.  I asked myself “How am I going to manage without hiring a really attractive nanny or a beer-slinging manny to help me out?”  (There were no negotiations.  Steph shot down the idea before I could convince her of its brilliance.)

With my dreams of an assistant stomped right out of my senses, I gravitated towards the hippie method of parenting in hopes that the universe would naturally organize my day.  I “let things try to work themselves out, dude…” for almost two months.  It didn’t work.  I was clearly not a hippie and therefore could not fool the hippie spirits to work in my favor.  Or maybe I wasn’t conjuring them up in the right smoke. *cough* *cough* *cough*  (Just kidding, NSA.  Tell the DEA I don’t do that stuff.  Please!)

It’s hard to believe that even with Smushie napping 3 times a day, there was never a time when both kids’ naps overlapped by more than 10 minutes.  Until I solved the riddle.  It’s all about sleep scheduling.  I learned that if Pavlov’s dogs could be trained, so could Honeydaddy’s children.

Babies and toddlers need structure, otherwise bad things happen (like creativity and abstract thought, neither of which make sense).  Their brains have not yet been calcified from the years of artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and over-flouridated water in our environment.  Their brains are, in essence, plastic.  Moldable.  Pliable.  Bendable.  Like play-doh.  During my short-lived hippie parenting phase, I was succumbing to the kids’ whims and fancies and it was getting me nowhere.  So, I turned the car around and drove in the complete opposite direction.  Structure, structure, structure.

Worm – you nap at noon. Period.  (Give or take a minute.  I kindly added some slack to the schedule.)  If you eat lunch before your 12 o’clock nap, great.  If not, I can stuff a sandwich and chips in your mouth while you’re sleeping with your mouth agape.  I know you can chew in your sleep.  I won’t let that talent go to waste.  Otherwise, you eat your next meal when you wake up.

Smush – you nap at 9am, noon, and 3pm.  (A minute here or there won’t hurt either.  I’m flexible.)  You’re so flighty that one minute you won’t touch your milk and the next, you’re starving.  I know how to work with you.  If you skip a meal and it’s nap time and you get hungry, you’re out of luck.  You’ll cry, wear yourself out and then fall asleep (which is the goal anyhow).  Enough repetition of this and your body will adapt.  I know you’re only 5 months old, but come on, how long are you going to use that excuse on me?

The result?  Sleep scheduling worked for me.  I can get anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours of “kid free” time without resorting to locking them both in the bathroom.  Besides, when the kids know what is coming, they’re less likely to flail and I don’t have to use the taser nearly as often.

I Caught You Two!  What Are You Whispering About?

I Caught You Two! What Are You Whispering About?

Gavin – 25; Honeydaddy – 15 (I’m more clever than I look.  For now, at least.)