I’ve been recalibrating this week. We just wrapped up the first week with a new nanny and having all three kids at preschool. This means I’ve had pretty much every morning this week free to myself with no babies. You know what happened? I totally crashed. I spent all of Wednesday morning in bed listening to meditations and sleeping off the aches and pains of motherhood through sniffles.
I love down time and crave it indefinitely as time for introspection and recharging. This week, a small but significant win came when I realized how much I detest dinnertime when the boys get rowdy. Theo and August are already thick as thieves and set each other off with loud grunting noises that easily escalate into over-zealous screeching and indeed, straight out screams back and forth. It can be so laborious to sit there through the noise let alone eat dinner! My husband and I find ourselves trying to eat as quickly as possible just to get through it. We can’t talk over the noise – even if we wanted to align on some parenting strategy, we’d have to shout it across our plates - adding to the chaotic cacophony. This sucks. Try as we might to calm them down, strap them to high chairs, change the subject or just shove food in their mouths, sometimes the best thing is to separate them. Upon Kathy's suggestion from a few weeks ago, in comes date night with my Theodor – a calm, intimate time for us to hang out by the fire before bedtime. I eat my dinner on my lap. He eats and prances in front of me while we chat. He’s too tired to sit down and ‘behave’ but it’s perfect this way.
I could easily punish him for being disobedient and mischievous – and have. But by dinner, he is absolutely shattered and ultimately, seeking attention and even a one on one check-in with his parents. The trick in instigating date night as a reaction to something obnoxious is not to make it seem like a punishment – and it’s not! It’s just a “hey, wanna go eat together in the other room? I’d really like that.” It’s a win win and turns a really stressful moment of over stimulation into something nourishing all around.