A typical day with an 8 month-old
Max has just turned 8 months, and clichéd as it is, I can't believe how time has flown.
And how my daily life is so different now. Days begin before dawn, when Max makes "I'm hungry" noises and I shuffle my way blindly into his room to feed him. Then back into the cot he goes, and I head back to fitful sleep, not unlike the days when I woke up, glanced at the clock and thought "Ok, one more hour." Except my clock didn't sporadically yelp.
It's uncanny how I usually wake up moments before Max does. Must be a biological urge to protect one's young? Or natural sleep cycles? Thus begins our daily routine, though I use the word routine very loosely here. If having a baby has taught me one thing, it's that there's no such thing as a consistent routine. Basically, though, the day is broken up into 4 sections.
The first is the 2 hours between waking up and his first nap. Babies are delicious first thing in the morning, because they're refreshed and see the world anew every day. You'd have to be a very cynical, jaded (ha ha) person not to be affected by the sight of a baby whipping his head around as if seeing everything for the first time. At the moment Max is practising syllables, so there's also a lot of da-da-da-ba-ba-ba-ma-ma-ma going on to make up for the lack of it while he was sleeping. We have breakfast (his is invariably much healthier than mine) and then I take him for a little walk along our corridor overlooking the courtyard, when various neighbours coo at him and mostly ignore me.
Nap time = me time. Now this is tricky because there's so little me time during the day that I'm often torn about what to do with it. Prepare food? Shower? Trawl online gossip sites? Or, what I really want to do but don't because it seems like such a waste of time, nap myself. In any case, 30 minutes or 2 hours passes, and then we're onto the second section of the day.
Since there's a little more time in this section, we usually leave the flat to (a) do food shopping (b) go to a playground (c) go to the shopping mall near us if the weather is crappy. I've come to enjoy food shopping, because I no longer do it at the supermarket, but at the butcher's, greengrocer's and bakery 5 minutes away, or at a produce market. I used to hate these interactions, because let's face it, most Hungarians are really not very service-orientated, and at least in a supermarket you only have the one cashier to deal with. But that was before baby. There is nothing like a baby to break the ice and make you feel a part of the community.
Then I rush home because Max has got bored/hot/hungry in the stroller, and another rice cake just will not do. Lunch for him, and then me time part 2. I keep reading that at some point he will only have one nap, which is akin to hearing that more of your land, part of which has already been occupied, is being encroached upon even further, so I'm sticking my head in the sand on that one.
Section 3 is the home stretch. I try to make this time as busy as possible, because Max is somewhat less delicious later on in the day. So we almost always go to the park, or meet up with someone, and then have dinner, a bath, and then time for bed. I'm not exaggerating when I say that sometimes I'm literally standing outside the door waiting for Max's dad to get home so they can have some quality father-son time (no ulterior motives of course).
Then he's asleep and we're in section 4. And would you believe that after spending all day trying to steal some time for me, I sometimes end up looking at photos/videos of Max before I go to bed? Ridiculous I know.
Finally I turn in and sleep for a glorious, uninterrupted 8 hours.
Maybe some day.