I think parenting a newborn is hard because of the sleep deprivation and interruption. It takes a lot of devotion, love, and sheer force of will to survive. But I really don’t think that in terms of actual parenting skill, it has anything on toddlerhood. I mean, I fed the baby and she ate. She got tired, I figured out how to get her to sleep best, and she slept. She was bright-eyed and awake and I provided her with the appropriate stimulation. She smiled, rolled over, clapped… I took photos and videos. I decided she needed a bath, she took a bath. I needed to do some things around the house or store, I strapped her into a carrier and away we went. Now, shit is not so simple. Now she has opinions about what we do and when. It’s time to eat? She won’t. She’s sleepy? Yes, but she won’t sleep. Want to take a walk? She doesn’t want to ride in the stroller. Want to capture a moment on the camera? She won’t hold still. She needs a bath? Hopefully she’s in the mood for bathtime. You say “no, no”? She does it anyway. Want to hold her hand? No thank you. Want to put her down for a moment? She’ll cling to you like a monkey. Want to pick her up and give her a hug? She’s got way better things to do.
So… it’s time to actually figure out this thing called parenting. I need strategy, I need skill, I need to be savvy and cunning and all-wise. I need some luck, too. Oh and I need help, a lot of the time. I need help with keeping my house from disappearing in clutter, getting my gardens in, and keeping her on schedule. I need the patience of the gods for those whiny times. I need a better camera, one that takes photos the instant whip it out, and never blurs.
I read several books about toddler parenting and discipline…unfortunately the vast majority are only applicable to toddlers 2 and older. My child will totally not understand a time-out at 14 months! But the Happiest Toddler on the Block had some interesting strategies that I’m trying to use (such as showing the child you empathize with their frustrations before barking orders, using clap/growl and kind ignoring to discourage behaviors, keeping to a strict routine, etc).
Here is our daily schedule, which should hopefully work for her when she starts “school” in September as well:
7-7:30: She wakes up.
7:30-8:00: She plays a bit or we snuggle or play in bed. I try to wrap my head around it being morning (I’m not a morning person.)
8:00-8:30: Getting dressed and eating breakfast
8:30-9:00: I get dressed and get ready, pack our bag for going out
9:00-10:00 Drive to somewhere (see next below)
10:00-12:30 Going out activities: errands, music class, children’s museum, park, visiting friends. Snack.
12:30-1:30 come home and nap, OR nap in car driving if we’re at a family member’s
2:00-4:00 Outside activities if nice, indoor sensory or motor skills activities if rainy/cold
4:00-5:00 Quiet activities, 2nd nap if needed
5:00-6:00 Self play, I clean and make dinner
6:30-7:30 Play outside if nice, motor activities indoors if not nice
8:00-8:30 Read books, make bottle, get inbed
8:30 Sleep, quiet time for mom