Remember when Leo was a tiny tiny baby? Or when he was still wobbly sitting up? Or when he didn’t have many opinions about things?
Those days are long gone (and sweet as they were, that’s a good thing). Leo is now a full-blown, full-of-opinions, always on the move, full-of-words-and-sometimes-anger toddler. It’s new enough that it still surprises Dave and I, how big he is and how much of a little person he is now.
Here’s how things have been shaking at our house:
4am: Dave and I wake up. As much as I would like to sleep in, I know if I don’t run I’ll be tired and slightly grumpy all day. I drink some coffee, eat some rice chex, then jump on the treadmill. I generally run for about an hour and do 6 or 7 miles.
6am: Leo gets up. Chances are he’s been awake for awhile, but he doesn’t get out of the crib until 6. We’re no longer under the illusion that “he might go back to sleep.” That ship sailed a long time ago, it seems. Leo gets a plate full of rice chex and raisins. Occasionally I might jump back on the treadmill and do a few miles while he roams about and munches, but most of the time I sit on the floor and hang out with him. Meanwhile Dave gets a run in – most of the time outside, but sometimes on the treadmill if it’s too cold or icy. Around 6:30 I shower while Leo runs around.
7am: Breakfast. Dave makes a big green smoothie for him and Leo to share. I find a breakfast of my own (which generally is also shared by Leo). We eat up in the family room on the second floor because it’s cold downstairs. And we’ll often watch the Today show while we eat, catching up on our news (and “news” because sometimes it’s so fluffy).
The rest of the morning is a mix of playing and snacks and probably one episode of Blue’s Clues. Leo loves playing with his train table while listening to music, jumping on couch cushions, playing with cars, looking through books, and coloring (which is sometimes just eating crayons). Around 9am he has a snack. Some days we might have a playdate, too, which is always fun for both Leo and I to get to hang out with friends!
11am: Lunch for Leo. Some favorites right now: buttered peas, hardboiled egg, cheese, peanut butter, any fruit, crackers. While he eats I’ll often do some dinner prep.
12pm: Leo goes down for a nap. I grab some lunch.
2pmish: Leo gets up. We’d love for a longer nap but often he’s up somewhere between 1:30 and 2. He has a snack when he gets up, then plays again. There’s probably another episode of Blue’s Clues. Ideally we’d go outside – Leo loves getting outside – but with it so cold right now we’re not able to do that as often as we’d like.
4:30pm: Dave takes over with Leo so I can finish dinner.
5pm: Dinner. Leo eats what we’re eating unless it’s tomatoey (gives him horrible diaper rash). Most of the time he is pretty good about eating what we eat. Sometimes he gets fussy about it, especially if he’s tired.
After dinner I clean up the kitchen while Dave fields Leo. Then it’s bathtime, pajamas, and bed. Then Dave and I hang out for a few hours – reading together, watching Downton Abbey – then we go to bed at 8pm. Yes, we are geriatric.
Also, as of last week we are pacifier free! We just decided to go for it last week and dropped the pacifier cold turkey. We had some rough moments (fighting sleep, short nap) but now 5 days later it’s barely an issue. Leo only had his pacifier in the crib anyway, so the habit was a little easier to break because he wasn’t used to having it all the time.
We are also baby gate free, at least at the bottom of the stairs. We still use the gate at the top of the stairs, mainly just to keep Leo corralled. But we hosted a party at our house a week or so ago and took down the big gate at the bottom. Then we decided to try it down and lo and behold, Leo doesn’t go up the stairs that much without us. He does love playing on the bottom few steps, which is fine. He’s really very stable on the stairs now – enough that we don’t totally freak out if we find him on stairs unsupervised. Also: stairs might be Leo’s favorite toy. Ever.
Words: Lots of words now, enough that we have a pretty good idea of what Leo needs or wants most of the time. Also, apparently both Dave and I are “pa.” Hmph.
Potty-training: We’re a far cry from using the toilet, but we are trying to help Leo make connections. When he’s pooping (which is really obvious) we try to be intentional about asking him “are you pooping?” (Funniest: one time Leo was pooping and told me “stuck!”) He’s sat on the toilet twice, at his request, but wriggled off after about 10 seconds, which is fine. Right now we just want him to start recognizing and understanding what he’s doing in his diaper.
Keeping up with work: I work from home, so I’m often asked how I work and stay with Leo. Here’s the convoluted, “depends on the situation” answer: my job is fairly flexible time-wise and ebbs and flows a bit. I’ll have some weeks that are really heavy with work and others where it’s a little more relaxed. On heavy weeks I might start working while I eat breakfast and do some work after Leo goes to bed. I also eat lunch at my desk most days. Leo plays really well on his own. He might need me to pull out his train table, turn on his music, grab him a snack, or toss the couch cushions on the floor, but that doesn’t take but a minute and then he’s happy to play again. And just like in the office where you’d have breaks to talk with coworkers, I take breaks to read a book with Leo or wrestle him on the couch. Some days Dave is home, too, so he fields Leo while I have a conference call or if I have a lot of work and Leo’s needy. Right now I’m taking a grad class online, so I work on that a couple nights a week, from 6-7pm (or sometimes more).
Keeping house: I also get asked how I keep up with housework. I squeeze it in and let things go. I clean the bathroom while Leo takes a bath. I clean the shower (never often enough) when I’m in it. I throw laundry in when I can and move it when I can. I fold laundry and stuff diapers while watching tv. I sweeper when Leo is fussy (because he likes the sweeper and it’s a new activity). I catch up on the weekends (and meal plan then, too). Dave takes care of dusting, trash, cleaning windows, most of the grocery-shopping, and runs a lot of the errands. Honestly, I genuinely like cleaning. It’s relaxing for me. That being said, the shower probably doesn’t get cleaned unless I get grossed out or company is coming. Floors should be sweepered more (especially the kitchen). I keep up on laundry because I need clean sports bras. And I clean quick and as best I can, but it’s not a deep clean. And that’s okay: it’s clean enough for right now!
When I read: If I have a book I’m really in to, I find time to read whenever – brushing my teeth, in the mornings after I run and Leo is eating his chex and raisins and running around. For the first 10 minutes of Leo’s nap. At night after Leo goes to bed and Dave and I are just hanging out. Weekends. I’m also a fairly fast reader, so I can get through books pretty fast.
Leo, you are a busy boy, full of activity and ideas and sometimes you wear.us.plum.out. You’re pushing boundaries and testing out what “no” means and figuring out how things work, which sometimes leads to frustration on both our parts. But you’re also sweet, playful, silly, and curious. We love your round cheeks, your giggles, your hot little hands, the way you throw yourself around with reckless abandon (although that’s also terrifying sometimes, too), how happy you are in the bath, and all your new words!