My typical bent is towards romanitcism and nostalgia; I write about that often. Lots of life feels poetic to me, on the best of days. And these hazy, crazy (decidedly not lazy) days of early motherhood feel heavy and beautiful. Someday, I'll strain to sift through the dim memories and wonder what were our days like, and so for future Andrea and anyone wondering, I wanted to preserve a little bit of what our life looks like right now.
For practical purposes, I'll write about what a typical weekday looks like, with Daddy at work, and a bit more of a routine. Of course, every day looks different, some days radically so, but this a good idea of an average day with an almost eight-month-old:
5:30-6:45 — Cooper wakes up. Most often, it's between 6:15-6:30. If Nicholas is still home, he will get him while I prep breakfast, since N and I get up at 5:40 every day. If Cooper is still sleeping when Nicholas leaves around 6:10, sometimes I get a few more minutes of sleep. When I hear Coop stirring, I quickly make our bed and then get him out of the crib and nurse him. Then he plays in the activity jumper or on his playmat while I make coffee for myself and breakfast for us both. We usually have reheated PB baked oatmeal, or eggs and avocado toast. Cooper usually takes a few bites of avocado rolled in flax seeds (or rice cereal), slices of apple, or a chicken sausage. Sometimes I make him mini pancakes that I keep in the freezer and toast up the day-of. We sit down and eat together, making silly noises and chatting.
7:30-9ish — We play on the mat together, listen to music and clap with the beat, read picture books together, or a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible. Sometimes I Marco polo friends and Cooper joins in. When he starts to get sleepy and we're approaching 9 or earlier, if he was up before 6, I change his diaper and lay him down for a nap. During his first nap, I usually try to get organized with my bullet journal, meal-planning or grocery-list-making, reading my devotionals, or getting a workout in. I usually try to get dressed and (sometimes) apply a little bit of makeup.
10:30-11ish — Cooper is awake, so I nurse and change him and then we play for a bit. Closer to 11/11:30, I work on preparing lunch. I usually eat leftovers, sometimes veggie curry, if I made a batch that week, or make eggs or a sandwich, depending on what I ate for breakfast. Cooper eats a variety of things, usually veggies or yogurt or the like. We're pretty laidback with the baby led weaning. Then, we play some more, sometimes he sits on his playmat while I vacuum (his favorite thing ever), mop, or do a daily cleaning task. If I need to run errands, this is usually the time I do that, as well. Sometimes, I nurse him an extra time, around 12:30ish, if he's been awake for a long time. He's getting very few calories from food at the moment, so sometimes he needs a little extra milk.
12:45-1:15ish — Cooper is ready for a nap, so I change him and lay him down. If the first nap was long (2 hours) then the second nap is closer to 1.5 hours, or so (or vice versa with nap length). While he sleeps, I try to do a little dinner prep, if I can, tidy up, do laundry, or other little house bits. If I hadn't gotten to it earlier, sometimes I work out, or sometimes I make a cup of coffee and fold tiny clean baby clothes.
2:30-3:45ish — Cooper is awake for the rest of the day. I get him, nurse and change him, and then we play or go for a walk, or sometimes run errands, see friends, visit grandma and grandpa across town, etc. I make dinner while he plays on his play mat or sits in the high chair "helping" me and chewing on a measuring cup. We sing silly songs, do tummy time or play, in general. I usually shower during this time, bringing him with me in his bouncer. This is his longest waketime, usually, so sometimes we have to get creative to pass the time before Daddy gets home. I often wear him in the carrier and we do lots of snuggling, sometimes I put on a movie on Disney+.
6:15-6:30ish — Nicholas gets home and regardless of any tough times he was experiencing ten minutes earlier, ;) Cooper is thrilled. The two of them play and giggle and run around together, and then I take Cooper to the nursery for one last nursing session, change him into pajamas, etc.,while Nicholas showers. And then the three of us read together before one of us lays him down for the night, usually between 6:50-7:15ish.
Once Cooper is asleep, Nicholas and I eat supper and then unwind for the evening. Sometimes we watch a show, or talk. Sometimes he plays games and I knit, watch a podcast or read, or write a little on a blog post. And then we go to bed. Cooper sometimes sleeps through the night, but as of this week, I think we're going through an 8-month regression, so sleep is a bit more broken up. In everything, there is a season. The days can feel long, and sometimes hard, but there is true joy in all of them, even the hard ones, even when I have to focus my eyes on it a bit more.
I'm a self-proclaimed winter-lover, but I couldn't resist the warmth I felt at a deeper level as the sunlight burst through our living room window this morning. Cooper was sitting on my lap as we neared naptime. His little fuzzy head tucked under my chin as he reached for a wooden bell toy or his pizza slice teether and we swayed to a mellow song playing on spotify. My hair wasn't brushed, I have dark circles, but the sun was warm, highlighting the joy and beauty in the thick of mothering a babe and figuring things out, highlighting this imperfect and grace-filled moment (this one and others like it throughout our days).
The thing about nostalgia, it's so often something we look back on and say those were the days. But what if I look at these days, these imperfect, long days, and say yes, these are the days. I'm going to find the beauty in them while I'm still in them.