Friday, March 23, 2012

Finding Morning Calm and Rhythm

I really want to create a more developed and deeply rooted morning rhythm with the kids.  Maybe that's too lofty a goal with a 16 month old and a 2 1/2 yr old...but it's my goal none-the-less.  I was looking online for some ideas, but all I could really find was a woman selling her four secrets to establishing rhythm for over $100.  Maybe it is magical, but I'm not willing to spend that much to find out.  Anyways, it's a work in progress at our house right now...think giant orange construction cones and flashing lights. 

Mornings can get messy around here - trying to get two kids to eat, brush their teeth, and then get dressed is usually enough to send me running for a second (or third, or...) cup of coffee (or wishing it was 5:00 so I could get something stronger).  So, for now, I'm just trying to create at least 15 minutes of calm and stillness when the kids first wake up.  Just 15 minutes of sitting on the couch (or in Mama's bed) drinking juice and reading books.  When this 15 minutes of calm happens first thing in the mornings, the whole day runs smoother.  We are able to wake up slowly and I feel like we connect better.  On the mornings that I'm home, this happens almost everyday (unless someone has an exploding diaper in bed and then everything seems to just erupt into shear chaos from that moment on).  It doesn't guarantee a temper tantrum free day, but it seems like the kids are more agreeable about getting all the morning "must do's" done.  Big breakfasts are eaten and getting dressed doesn't turn into a wrestling match.

The problem days are Tuesdays and Thursdays when I need to be out the door right after 8:00.  We are still in the process of making the switch to daylight savings time.  The kids have been sleeping later and so have I.  Instead of easily getting up around 6:30, now I'm getting up at 7:30 and FREAKING OUT about all I need to do for myself and the kids before the baby-sitter arrives (I've been very late this week and last).  Then, the kids aren't getting up until close to 8...so needless to say that 15 minutes does not happen on those days.  Sadly, those are the days I wish we could have it that much more.  I want time to snuggle and soak up my babies before I have to go sit in a computer lab for six straight hours.  I know, I know, there's a simple solution to this - set the alarm.  And maybe this week is the week that I will, but I've really enjoyed getting to wake up naturally, not from a loud buzzing/beeping clock right by my ear.

Back to the point, I'm hoping that by starting small and trying to deeply establish this short period of quiet in our mornings, eventually our entire morning rhythm will run more smoothly, like our evening/bedtime routine.  Any suggestions?

Here are a few unrelated images just for fun.
 Justin and I took Jackson to the museum of Natural History over St. Patty's Day weekend.  He enjoyed the dinosaurs and other animals, but the highlight for him was getting to right the "choo choo train" (i.e. Metro).
 We love Triceratops around here.


 For St. Patty's Day (actually we did it a day early) I created a treasure hunt for Jackson.  I never did get around to finding a picture of a leprechaun for the first clue/card, but oh well.  I'm excited to do this again with Jackson and I know now that I can make the clues more difficult next time.  He knew these without the slightest hesitation.  

 All three clues.
This was at the end of the hunt, along with a bag of chocolate coins.  Jackson loved his special treat and the rainbow - which he later insisted we hang in the dining room.