An outtake from photos my sister-in-law Leah took of us on Easter. Gosh, I love that little bald spot!
I’ve read a few “daily schedule” posts this week and always find them fascinating (this one is much funnier than mine, but then again, she has 5 kids under 5 and you’d have to somehow make that funny!). It’s interesting to get a glimpse behind closed doors to learn what people really do all day long. And I want to be able to look back and remember what days with six month old Maya were like, because I know how fast I can forget the everyday things. Neither Michael nor I can remember what it was like to have a one month old, or even a two month old. It’s like really strange amnesia!
So, a day like today, perhaps.
Maya wakes with chats and giggles. It’s gone from squawks to ba-ba-ba in the last few weeks. The last few days she’s been debuting a new dinosaur roar like a little quiet growl. It’s hilarious. We leave Maya to chat to herself for 15 minutes while we hit the snooze and have one more snuggle in the dark. One thing about Houston is that the sun doesn’t rise until way later than we’re used to by this time of year. It’s still dark at 7, making it really hard to motivate, even for this morning person.
Michael goes to get Maya from her cot, which is something we both love the chance to do (mostly, depending how much sleep was had the night before!). When she sees the person who’s going to free her, she gives her biggest smile that takes up her whole face. Michael changes her diaper, makes her a bottle and then delivers bottle, baby and burp cloth to me in bed. It’s probably the most luxury I enjoy all day!
Michael leaves for school and Maya’s fed and gotten a few wiggles out in our bed. She and I get up and get the day going. I get her changed out of pjs first and lay her down on a blanket in the living room (slash dining room slash kitchen) while I put the house back together. Michael always manages to make more mess after I go to bed, go figure. I put away the remnants of his late night snacks and unload the dishwasher. I do whatever dishes are in the sink and wipe down the counters. I make the bed and put on work out gear (just until lunchtime, most days).
Maya usually manages about 90 minutes of awake time, so we sit on the floor and play. She’s just mastered rolling from her back to her belly, so she wiggles around until she gets frustrated that she can’t get too far. She’s working on sitting, so she’ll sit in the bumbo seat and bash at the toys on the tray. Sometimes we sit on the couch and she tries to sneakily grab big handfuls of my hair and yank them. She giggles when she meets resistance and I yelp with pain. If she’s not grabbing my hair or my chin, she’s grabbing at my neck with tiny lethal pinches. She likes to get right up close to my face and look right at me, especially if I’m looking away. It’s hilarious to turn around to her face two inches from yours, staring intently.
She’s starting to get grumpy, so I swaddle her and put her down for her first nap. I pull the string on the musical bunny (thanks for that one, Grammy!) and shut the door. Sometimes she chats to herself for ten or fifteen minutes, but sometimes she’s quiet straight away. We worked hard on nap training, so I always count her falling asleep as a major victory. I make myself two eggs, scrambled, with a wedge of cream cheese (I’m aware that it’s odd) and reheat coffee from the French press that Michael made before work. I sit at the dining table to eat breakfast and then answer emails and work on articles or blog posts for the two-ish hours she’s asleep.
I can hear Maya waking up so I go free her from her swaddle. She’s wiggled herself sideways so she can kick the side of the bassinet. I always wonder how long she’s been awake in there before letting me know. She’s oddly content in the dark by herself sometimes. I change her, then feed and burp her straight away and she slowly waves her tiny little hands in the air while she eats. It’s like her interpretive dance, swishing them around in circles and running her fingers over the ridges on the bottle. She’s very deliberate and extremely tactile.
We usually try to Skype or Facetime with a grandparent when she’s up again. They love seeing her as a little bonus during their work days. We try to make her perform her latest tricks and it rarely works. She definitely recognizes her grandparents and likes watching them while we catch up.
Sometimes we’ll try a snack now that she’s starting solids. Today I made an extra scrambled egg and let her gum on a few chunks. I’m not convinced she’s getting much down the hatch, but my sister-in-law reminds me that “food before one is fun” so I count it all as exploration. So far, we’ve tried oatmeal, Greek yogurt, banana (too slippery to grab really), corn on the cob, sweet potato and red pepper.
Michael comes home from work on his lunch break. He grabs leftovers from the fridge while we chat about his morning. Then he takes over from me when he’s finished eating so I can go to the gym or go for a run. Another luxurious perk of my day!
I come home and Michael’s already put Maya down for her second nap. I shower and put on real clothes for the rest of the day. I pick up the trail of toys again and put away whatever Michael took out for lunch before finishing up whatever I was working on online. For her second nap, Maya sleeps for 45 minutes then usually wakes up. We give her the pacifier and she’ll knock out for another 45 minutes to an hour. It’s not perfect, but she’s fairly easy to figure. If she wakes up whining, she’s still tired. If she wakes up talking to herself, we’re good to go.
I make myself a smoothie with bananas, strawberries, spinach and Greek yogurt and eat it with a few spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter for lunch. My favorite combo! But did you know how hard it is to find peanut butter without added sugar in this country? Took a while. In Dublin, I used to make almond butter but here I don’t have a food processor and almonds seem more expensive. Such is the season we’re in, folks.
I hear Maya chatting so I go free her from her swaddle again. She has another diaper change and another bottle before we head out the door to run errands or go for a walk. She’s a trooper in the car seat and loves watching what’s going on around her but she always gets so sweaty! And that’s only going to get worse as it gets hotter in Houston!
Errands get a 90 minute window, sometimes two hours before Maya will fall asleep in the car seat and mostly ruin her last nap, because there’s no way she’s staying asleep once I bring her in the house.
Naptime again for one sleepy lady. Sensing a theme? Ha! We recently weaned her from four naps down to three but it’s still a little bit of a stretch to keep her awake between those. I try to remind myself that some babies need more sleep than others, but we do really try to maximise her awake time with action and play because she sure sleeps a lot still!
While she naps, I work more on my computer, put away the car seat and stroller, and think about getting dinner ready. It’s nearly always some version of meat and vegetables, and I rarely know what it’s going to be until a half hour before I start making it. I try to make it interesting with a few new recipes each week, but we are fairly boring clean eaters during the week (but more than make up for it at the weekends). Last night it was grilled chicken (Michael’s purview) with onions, zucchini, asparagus and thin spaghetti and vinaigrette. The night before that I made Camille Styles’ sweet potato and black bean chilli which was super fast and yummy. Definitely a make-again recipe. Tonight, we had a very bizarre combo of chickpea, kidney bean, corn and green chili salad and a chicken dish I made up as I was making it. Sometimes I even impress myself. Michael always reminds me that I learned all my made up dish ability from my mom. She even coined her own term for it – wung food – what you come up with when you wing it! Ha!
Maya wakes crying so I pop the pacifier in and hope she knocks out for another half hour. Go back to looking up recipes for non-boring vegetable recipes on Pinterest.
Maya’s up again so I get her out, change her and give her another bottle. I remind myself once again to order the Level 3 nipples for her bottles because she gets fed up halfway through. There’s exploring to be done, enough laying around, mom! We struggle through the end of the bottle and play for a little while on the floor before Michael comes home. He goes to the gym after school so he’s usually home by 5:15. We load Maya into the stroller and head out for a walk around the neighborhood if the weather is nice enough and not too hot. We stroll and chat for 45 minutes and it’s one of my favorite parts of our routine.
We get home in time for another snack for Maya. If we feed her anything with a spoon, like mashed avocado or sweet potato, she insists on holding the spoon with you and shoving it into her mouth. At which point, her little tongue pokes whatever is on the spoon farther from her mouth. It’s not efficient and usually results in her needing a bath directly after. The mess of feeding babies isn’t my strong suit but I’m trying to let it go. She eats sitting in her Bumbo since she can’t sit upright enough in her booster seat yet, so I hose that down in the sink while Michael runs her a bath.
Bedtime follow bathtime. Pajamas, another bottle (usually the most quickly gulped ounces of the day), then she’s into her swaddle again for bed. We put her in the cot (she’s been sleeping there at night since the first week we brought her home, thank goodness), explain that it’s bedtime and that means time to pray with her. We both stand over her crib and one of us prays while she looks up at us with that giant smile. Every night we pray that she has a peaceful night sleep, that she has sweet dreams, and that she wakes with a smile on her face in the morning. Then we pray for her birth parents, for our family around the world, or for anyone who might need extra boosts from our family of three. For whatever reason, Maya loves this part of the night.
Then we give her way too many kisses, tell her we love her billions, and pull the cord on the bunny that plays a little tune. (We use that bunny for naptimes and it’s a great Pavlovian reminder of what should be going on!) We close the door and listen to her babble for fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on the night.
I usually make dinner while Michael takes care of most of the nighttime routine, so we sit and eat together while Maya babbles herself to sleep. We usually leave dishes on the table and decamp to the couch when we’re through. We should really try to clean up before but that never happens.
Veg out time on the couch with either sports if Michael’s in charge or West Wing if I’m in charge (did you know Connie Britton was on West Wing? Completely forgot.). Kind of depends on who gets there first and/or what important sport thing is happening that night. You’d be surprised (maybe not?) how many very important sport things usurp my right to the remote.
Some version of me working on the article that’s taking me too long to finish, one of us running to the grocery store for half & half before we really need it the next morning, and slowly picking up the dinner mess. Sometimes we talk to Michael’s brother in Colorado since he’s the only one behind us in the time zones.
I make moves toward bed so that I can read for a little while (part of my anti-insomnia plan that, so far, is working brilliantly). I just picked up a Camilla Lackberg mystery novel on our weekly library run (a whole one block away!) and I usually read approximately seven pages before knocking out.
Michael usually dream feeds Maya, although if I’m up and he’s still doing school work (or watching important sporty things) I do it. She sleeps through the bottle and whoever feeds her usually sits there and looks at her sleeping face for five minutes before putting her back in the crib. She’s been sleeping in a cot or bassinet or bouncer for naps and nighttime since she was six weeks old, so sleeping Maya is a novelty. In some ways I wish there was a happy medium between having her trained to sleep on her own so well and getting some snoozy cuddles. I have millions of photos of my niece Eabha sleeping on me but so few of Maya. Sometimes I snap photos of her sleeping during naps just to remember how peaceful she is.
By 11, I’m definitely passed out. Sometimes Michael watches more sports and then comes to bed. That guy can run on way less sleep than me! If I’m still awake when he’s done feeding Maya, he always comes in and we talk about how cute she is. We are so in love with that girl, it’s silly!
It feels like we’ve had this routine for ages, but it’s really only been about a month. When Maya was still waking for a bottle between 3-4am I would have to nap during her first nap. And of course, when she wasn’t able to stay up more than an hour at a time (which wasn’t that long ago!), there were even more naps involved. But I’ll count her sleepiness as a blessing – I get a whole lot done and still get to spend quality time with her whenever she’s awake. And she is one happy chica when she is awake.
I can’t wait to share photos of her sweet face with you soon. Only a few more weeks!