I wake up in the morning when Mike’s alarm goes off, but I don’t get out of bed. The baby immediately starts making noise, so Mike goes to change his diaper while I doze. A few minutes later, Mike brings a dry, happy baby to me in bed. James either flops down on top of me and sleeps, or he pokes at my face until I give up and get out of bed.
From there, it’s all about the routine. Get Annie out of bed, feed her and James, pack lunch if it’s a school day. Drop off, pick up, bottles, sippies, interrupted naps, ten minutes of work here, twenty minutes of work there. Annie asks what day of the week it is, and then makes me run through all the days of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…Can you do it again, Mommy?
Annie wants to know what we’re doing today. And tomorrow. And the day after, and after that, and I’m pretty sure if I offered to go through her calendar day by day for the rest of her life she would let me. The girl wants to be scheduled and busy, but she also hates the sameness of it all.
I understand. Sometimes I look at the calendar and I hate it, too. At night when I finally go to sleep, I think, “Tomorrow it starts over.” There’s little room for spontaneity, and even when it’s possible it’s not always the best idea because some little people might not be able to handle it.
Still, I try, in little ways. Sometimes I take the long way home and point out different trees. Sometimes I buy cinnamon bread at the grocery store and we have breakfast for dinner. Sometimes we don’t leave the house at all but I declare it “Silly Voice Day” and we’re only allowed to communicate with funny accents. Sometimes I still feel like I’m going a little crazy.
We have many, many years of routine in front of us, and there will be a lot of good in that. I am excited to watch my kids in school and extracurriculars. But I also want my kids to enjoy the fun and creativity that comes in being spontaneous. Finding a way to add unexpected fun within the constraints of our scheduled lives is only going to get harder. I’m worried I’ll fail at it. I look at Annabel and I see a girl who longs for adventure. I worry that I’m not going to be able to give it to her. Silly Voice Day isn’t going to cut it for much longer.