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There is no such thing as a “normal” day when it comes to life with a toddler. Now I am fully aware that no two toddlers are alike and no two lives are the same. We are a bit of a abnormal family in the fact that we don’t put munchkin down to bed until between 10:30 pm – 11:30 pm and then she does not wake up till about 10 am – 10:30 am. Honestly for me I love it, I am not a morning person at all. I work a part time job from 4-8 Monday-Friday as a receptionist. My husband works for Costco as a cashier and gets off anywhere between 5:30-7:15 depending on his shift. So for us having a later night time routine works out great.
Life with a toddler in the morning
I am not a morning person in any sense of the word. One thing I always dreaded when becoming a mom was having to get up in the morning. I am sure you know what I am talking about. When people find out you are pregnant you tend to hear a lot of “oh boy you have a new early morning alarm clock” or “hope you are a morning person”. I was so happy as my daughter started sleeping through the night and did not wake up till 10-10:30 am.
So we have a video monitor that we have above her crib. When she wakes up she grabs either a book that we keep right next to her crib and/or her phone. Her phone is an old iPhone of mine that has almost nothing on it. We put iTunes on there and have a white noise playlist that we use at night. This was my solution to not having to buy a white noise machine. I figured she could just use my old phone and it has worked well. If she grabs her phone she usually just finds some music to listen to. When she does this I hear it, can look to see she is awake and know it is time for me to get up.
We do a breakfast pouch (one of the Gerber Fruit & Yogurt pouches or we have added the Gerber Organic 2nd Foods Baby Food, Banana, Blueberry & Blackberry Oatmeal) while we watch Paw Patrol and after that we do something like toast, cereal, eggs or waffles (her favorite are Mickey waffles). We spend our “morning” watching cartoons and playing with toys. If she wants to play with her tablet she has to help me clean up the living room/playroom first. Her tablet is set up with a 2 hour daily limit to help us make sure she does not spend all day on it.
Activities & Toys
We got her a tablet to play things like ABC Mouse and be able to have it for trips. We got her a Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case which I absolutely love. It is easy for her to use and navigate. I can set up how much time she is allowed and between what hours. You can remove and block things you don’t want and add things you do. The case is great because it protects it when it is thrown by the toddler or she decides she wants to color it.
In our living room/playroom she has a variety of toy options that we rotate every few weeks to keep it from being overwhelming and to keep things fresh. We include a selection of books, Legos, puzzles, stuffed animals/dolls, dress up clothing, train tracks and trains (munchkin loves her Thomas & Friends trains) and some miscellaneous toys.
We found a couple benefits of keeping the amount of toys she has to play with limited. The biggest for me is that it is easier to clean up. Having her help is easy because she is not overwhelmed. Another benefit we found is that she gets a lot of use out of her imagination. She will recreate things with whatever she has available so things get used in many ways. Most of our toys are not electronic … which is easier on the wallet since we are not always replacing batteries.
Life with a toddler in the afternoon
So since I work 4-8 my mother watches munchkin for us. Usually she comes over to our house but on Friday’s I take munchkin over to her house. This way grandpa and uncle get some munchkin time. I always provide lunch for munchkin so my mom does not have to try and figure it out when at our house. Sometimes munchkin will eat it other times she “helps” grandma eat her lunch. Once she has solid food for lunch she gets a Plum Veggie pouch. We do this to help make sure she is getting her veggies in. We are working on it but I admit we are bad about eating veggies.
On the weekends when I am home munchkin and I spend the afternoon playing and trying to get some outside time. I have started doing some “no electronics” time. This is time where I turn off the TV, put my phone on airplane mode and put it away. I will grab a real book and read and encourage munchkin to read or just play. The other day after about 30 min of playing she had me read 2 books to her. My plan was just to do about an hour, but Saturday we went 3 hours. Did not even realize how long we went because we were having so much fun. After reading we got her hand puppet out and built a castle with her Legos. We played tag between her Lego characters and the hand puppet.
Usually if we are watching tv at this time it is cooking shows on the Food Network or the Cooking Channel. Hoping to get her interested in cooking early. Dad loves to cook so hoping to encourage her to do the same. I don’t cook and don’t remember ever being taught how. I can cook if it comes out of a box or can but that is about it.
Life with a toddler in the evening
So around 8 pm when I get off work is when our evening begins. Lately munchkin has decided that helping us feed the cats is her job. She loves to help pour their food into their dishes. We usually don’t end up eating till after 9 and we sit down as a family in the living room and watch Hogan’s Heroes while we eat. Munchkin knows this and loves to watch Hogan’s Heroes. She will ask for it, so we have some episodes recorded for weekends.
After dinner we give her what we refer to as a dinner pouch. It is a Plum Mighty 4 yogurt pouch that helps get some extra protein in her. We have found that for her it helps her sleep better because she does not get hungry in the middle of the night. If it is a bath night then around 10 -10:30 dad does her bath while I get everything ready for bedtime. If not then she plays till it is bed time which is between 10:30-11:30 depending on the night. She loves her bath time and usually does not want to get out.
I will get her crib set up and make up her night bottle. We do an 8 oz bottle with half toddler formula and half milk. Because she is a smaller kiddo we have always worried about her getting enough nutrients so choose to help this way. Her doctor has never had a concern this is just a parental worry. Bed time is the only time she still gets a bottle and never in her crib with her.
While I am doing this dad will get her dressed for bed, brush her teeth and read a book. Then he takes her into her room, gives her the bottle and will rock her until she falls asleep. She enjoys having daddy put her to bed. If she is having trouble falling asleep we do give her like a quarter tablet of Zarbee’s melatonin in some milk to help. Before we started this we did consult with her doctor. We give her the least amount we need to help. At most she gets half a tablet.
Other toddler related items
So at least once a month we try to go swimming during the parent & me time. Last year swimming was not fun, this year we have to fight to get her out. We try to go to the park at least once a week. Munchkin loves to go to parks. We try to do rotate between area parks for fun. She loves to climb and LOVES the slide no matter the size. Soon we are hoping to start her on an activity of some sort like gymnastics. She is always trying to stand on her head so we think this might be a good fit. We are also considering a couple days of pre-school for fun and other activities.
The biggest thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all schedule. We do our best to make sure she is having fun. That we take time to get on the floor and play or read to her. If nothing else we want her to remember the fun and that mommy and daddy made time to play with her no matter how busy we are. Many people honestly think we are nuts with the hours we keep. The thing is it works for our family. Do what works for you and your family. As long as your child is growing, happy and learning you are doing a good job.