My mum will be coming to look after Daniel when things do kick off and she asked me to put together a guide to his daily routine so she can keep things as close to normal as possible, particularly if I end up needing to go into hospital. It's the longest thing I've written in a while and I thought I'd post it here for any of you who might be interested in reading about the minutiae of a toddlers life and/or wonder what I actually get up to all day.
Needless to say, if you're not particularly interested in small children this will probably make for very dull reading and you should feel free to skip it. I also want to add that this isn't all I do - for a start there's the general housework of cleaning/shopping/laundry etc. which I'm not expecting my mum to do, as well as generally cooking something a bit more complicated than the pasta with bought sauce suggested here. Also there are various activities I go to like playgroup, swimming etc. or visiting friends and family, which vary day-to-day.
Guide to Daniel
Daniel generally wakes up properly between 6:45 and 7:30 am. If he’s ready to get up, he’ll sit up in bed & hand you his dummy to be put on the shelf above his bed.
He then has a nappy change, and is dressed. Clothes are in our bedroom with the exception of socks (in the drawer of the changing unit) and shoes (by the changing mat). He likes a choice of tops & trousers and may ask for a doh-doh (i.e. lorry) top – these are the long-sleeved tops with a small picture of a lorry on the front. He likes to pull off his pyjama top & put on his day top by himself as much as possible – will probably need help with arms. If he gets over-fussy and refuses either choice, just say “sorry, you have to get dressed” & put them on him yourself.
Once he’s fully dressed, I then get washed & dressed myself. He usually likes to accompany me into the bathroom & either play with the bath toys in the bidet (may ask for ‘water’ which in this context means turning on the cold tap on the bidet) or brush his teeth with his toothbrush and a small blob of the Milk Teeth toothpaste.
After I’m dressed, we go downstairs for breakfast. He sits at the kitchen table in the highchair (or improvise with booster seat as discussed) and has Shreddies & milk in one of his yellow bowls. Shreddies are in a glass jar to the left of the kettle and yellow bowls will be either in the draining rack or the cupboard above the worktop to the right of the sink. Cutlery (yours & his) is in the top drawer in the unit to the left of the sink, and bowls for you are in the cupboard to the left of that. He can feed himself breakfast, although he may ask you to do it – in that case I normally feed him a spoonful or two and then put his spoon back in the bowl and say “Daniel do it” (except for the very last few spoonfuls which are trickier for him).
His appetite varies, so he may finish the whole bowlful, or may only have half of it. If he has most or all of it, I’ll offer him a banana as well. He’ll eat the first half out of the peel, but then likes the peel entirely removed from the second half.
You know about the books and toys in the living room & the garden. Daniel may also be keen to play with playdoh (which he pronounces ‘ray-o’) which is in the cupboard above the worktop to the left of the kitchen table. Cutters are in the blue tin marked ‘Cakes’.
‘Whoo’ means slide & by extension playground (which you know where it is). You could also go to the town centre (where Daniel will probably point to the shops/places he wants to go in – he likes to sit on the various ride-on toys dotted about the place e.g. in Mothercare and outside TK Max on the first floor of the shopping centre; although I never put any money in them. He also likes going to look at the books in Waterstones, or going to one of the coffee shops e.g. the café in BHS, or Starbucks and having a croissant and an orange juice). Another place to go is the library which is on St Johns Road opposite Debenhams. To get to the children’s section simply go through the main doors and then straight on past the lift.
Lunchtime/nap and afternoon
If Daniel seems dozy or cranky at any point after 11am, I usually ask him if he’s ready for a nap (both in words and by using the sign for it – hand to side of face and head tilted as if sleeping). If he thinks he is, he’ll make the sign back; if not he’ll say a definite ‘no’ (sometime he’ll say no without thinking and then make the sign, which I take as assent). I usually take his shoes off, and allow him to grab his dummies, and then sit by the side of the bed reading until he drops off – if he’s not asleep within ten or fifteen minutes, then I’ll get him up again and try later.
If he does have a nap before lunch, he’ll be ready to eat when he wakes up whenever that is. If he doesn’t we usually sit down to lunch between 12:30 and 1pm. There may be some leftovers in the fridge from the night before that he would like. Other things he is most likely to eat which require no preparation are bread (‘bed’) or toast (‘doe’) with butter, cucumber, yoghurt (‘doh’), and banana (‘mina’). He also enjoys pasta, noodles, baked beans, or sweetcorn (he is happy to have the latter two straight out of the tin without heating). To drink he will have either orange juice or orange squash. Sometimes he eats a good lunch, sometimes he doesn’t have much at all – if he doesn’t eat much, he’ll probably have some substantial snacks around 4pm instead (see ‘snacks’ section later).
We will then generally have a short play after lunch and if he hasn’t had a nap already that day, I’ll try him again around 2 or 2:30pm. He can sleep for as little as an hour or as much as two and a half hours. Once he’s woken up, the same choice of activities apply as for the morning.
By around 5pm, Daniel is often starting to flag a little (as am I!), so this is when I allow him to indulge in watching television/DVDs or playing with the Wii, and also when he is allowed a small amount of chocolate or cake. Since these will be unusual circumstances, I won’t mind if you end up allowing these earlier in the day if it seems necessary.
All remote controls are on the wicker basket in the living room on the shelf near the laptop. The television remote control is the one labelled Panasonic; and you push the red button on the top left to switch the TV on. To switch to watching DVDs, you need to press the button labelled TV/AV followed by the yellow button. If you have switched the TV correctly but the DVD player is not on, it will display the word ‘Component’ onscreen. To switch to using the Wii, you need to do the same thing, but push the green button instead of the yellow one, and it will display ‘AV4’ onscreen. The DVD controller is the small white one. If he asks for ‘amal’ (animal) program he means ‘Zoo Days’ which is at 6:30pm on weekdays on channel 5. If it’s earlier in the day than this, you can either flick through and see if anything else catches his interest, or put one one of the Life on Earth DVDs (on the shelves on the left hand side of the fireplace, in alphabetical order)
We sit down to dinner around 7:15pm, and unlike breakfast and lunch, this is eaten in the dining room. The easiest thing for both of you will probably be pasta (from the jar to the left of the sink) with a pot of Dolmio stir-in sauce from the pantry and some grated cheese. This can again be served in one of his yellow bowls, and again he will have juice or squash to drink. After this I offer Daniel yoghurt or fruit (which in this context means one of the small pots of peach pieces in juice in the pantry), which he may or may not finish. Once he’s had his dinner, he gets his face wiped with one of the wipes from the packet on the dresser.
Bedtime follows on straight after dinner. The routine is: 1) go upstairs, 2) have a sit on the potty (though he probably won’t produce anything), 3) get into night nappy & pyjamas (nb night nappies are the Huggies Super-Dry ones, and Daniel likes to pick one out of the packet himself & usually discuss the picture on it. Same comments apply as for morning re. dressing/undressing himself), 4) have his teeth brushed, 5) close curtains & into bed.
If he says ‘bed’ and taps the pillow, that means he wants you to get in beside him If he asks for a teddy I get the box of cuddly toys down from the shelf and let him choose one or two. If he asks for ‘mimi’ (=’wormy’) that means either the musical caterpillar on the shelf above his bed, or Matthew’s yellow caterpillar in our bed. If he wants water, he can have it from the water bottle by his bed, which he can open and drink from himself, but keep an eye on him as in mischievous mood he may tip it into his bed. If he’s not drifted off or very close to after about half an hour, I call Matthew, who uses the following approach 1) Take him into our bedroom and look out the window and talk about what you can see 2) When he is fairly calm lie down with him in our bed 3) When he is very nearly asleep, transfer him back to his bed (though you can leave him asleep in our bed if he falls asleep there and you don’t want to risk moving or waking him).
Before you leave the room, check that the baby monitor is switched on (under the bed – if it is on there will be a green light showing, if not then push the button on the top to switch it on). The listening end of the monitor will either be in the living room or in our bedroom – again you will need to check that this is switched on either by looking for the light (which is slightly out-of-kilter and hard to spot) or by listening – there will be a faint hiss of static even if Daniel is making no noise.
Daniel will rarely go through the whole night without waking, though he often goes through until about 5am. When I first hear noises from his room, I will give him a minute or two to see if he settles back by himself which he does about half the time. If he grows more agitated, I will go into his room and lie down beside him, and check if he still has access to his dummy (sometimes it falls down one or the other side of the bed); and either wait until he is asleep and go back to my room, or else stay in there with him. Unfortunately, he may react badly if he wakes up enough to realise that the person beside him isn’t me or Matthew in which case you will just have to use your initiative and experience. You might want to try moving him to our bed, as that may smell enough of us to be comforting, but I don’t know for sure.
Daniel is allowed the following at any time: bananas, apples, bread, biscuits, cucumber slices, orange juice, orange squash. Bread is by the toaster and he can show you where each of the others are kept. He likes his apples peeled, though as he doesn’t always eat a whole one, I will only peel about 1/3 of it, and then peel more as required. Peeler is in the second drawer down in the kitchen, or may be in the draining rack.
Between about 4pm and 6:30pm he is allowed sweeter snacks up to: 1 square of Poulain chocolate (on shelf behind Alpen) plus 1 fun-size Milky Way or Mars bar (on lower shelf) plus 1 slice of fruit cake (from Tupperware container above washing machine). If he asks for these earlier in the day (generally by climbing the stepladder & pointing) I just say ‘no, not now. Would you like [something from allowed list]’, but as mentioned earlier, I don’t mind a bit of flexibility on this point.
We’ve introduced the potty but it’s currently very low key – the only fixed time he sits on it is as part of his bedtime routine, though I will sometimes suggest it after breakfast or lunch or if he gets that concentrated look that suggests he is about to poo (I keep a particular eye out around 9am as that’s when he’s most likely to go, but it doesn’t happen every day). Sometimes he will ask for it himself but if he says ‘potty’ while pointing at the television, that means he wants to watch the potty training DVD rather than use the potty himself.
While sitting on the potty, he may want you to read him books (there is a selection on the windowsill of the nursery) or play with toys from the shelves in the nursery. ‘a-mal’ means the box labelled ‘pretend play’ on the shelf to the left of the nursery window, which contains some farm animals; ‘naw-naw’ or ‘brm-brm’ means the box labelled ‘vehicles’ on the same shelf. ‘sape’ means the wooden shape-sorter and ‘a-bet’ means the ‘Alphabet Pal’ purple caterpillar. Once he is settled he will usually sit happily for between 5 and 15 minutes, but I don’t force anything.
If he wants his nappy changed he will usually say ‘poo’ (if that’s what he’s done) or ‘emmo’ (i.e. Elmo who is printed on the daytime nappies (Pampers Active Fit)). Aside from that, he’s not a very heavy wetter so changing every 5-6 hours is sufficient, typically after lunch and then again around 5pm.
Daniel is now mostly speaking rather than signing, but some that it’s useful to be aware of are
‘Home’ – hands held out palms facing forward, like a ‘stop’ gesture
‘Finished/Gone’ – hands held out at sides, palms facing backwards
‘Sleep’ – hand to side of face (also used to request dummy)
‘Drink’ – finger to lips
‘Fly’ – flat hand on top of clenched fist. This is important as he intensely dislikes big buzzy bluebottley flies, so if one gets in the house, he won’t relax until it’s been shooed out of a door or window. He may also want to go inside if one gets too close to him in the garden.