About 5 months into Nora's life, I started to panic. Only for a couple/few weeks, but in those few weeks I became so consumed with making sure her schedule was adhered to. Nursing, napping, nursing, napping and then of course BED TIME. I wanted to make sure that no matter what she was put to bed at the same time every. single. night. I wanted her to have her routine. Food. Book. Bath. Bed. I like so many new mamas wanted her to sleep through the night. Or maybe not even that, but I wanted to wake up feeling like a human being. I wanted to be well rested. I wanted all of us to be well rested. I wanted us to wake up ready to take on the day.
Luckily for us Nora was and is not a great sleeper.
Sure she has slept through the night a few times here and there, she has plenty of long stretches, even most nights, but what I learned was that sticking to a set routine never really directly correlated to her sleeping at night. Truthfully it was the times we stayed up late and all three of a shared a hotel bed, the times we let her get really drowsy at a pin ball bar in Calgary, or had a late night ramen dinner in San Francisco, or let her crawl around the beach waiting for Pizza in Costa Rica that Nora would go on to have some of her best night's sleep. I found that having to make sure we were home by a certain time every night, the idea of not being able to break the routine, or being worried about traveling, or camping, or just sharing all that we could with Nora became more scary to me.
I see Nora crawling around our Airbnb, and I wonder how I could possibly teach her to be adventurous if I myself am afraid of an adventure. I wonder how I expect her to go with the flow when she is 5 and in a new place, if we are unwilling to take her to new places now. She surprises me day in and day out, but in so many ways she allows me to surprise myself. So many things I never thought she would be able to do until she was older and I watch her now- sleeping in a hammock on the beach, figuring out that when she is tired she can sleep, skateboarding by herself as a 7 month old, going head first down a slide without a care, and I think- YES- this is my girl. Scary, but YES. This is what I wanted for her. To know that it was all possible.
It is always all possible.
I know that every child has different needs, and not every parent is going to want to take off for a weekend, or move into a mini bus and travel through Central America (more on that to come), yet I know that for so many parents it's easy to get stuck in the routine. For Joe and I, the routine makes the days longer, yet paradoxically makes the time slip away. Our favorite memories are these trips, even when she is having a meltdown on a plane, not our daily walks to the grocery store where the days become muddled together as we fall victim to our cycles. So just a little encouragement, to do something new, go to a new park, take a different route on your walk, buy the plane ticket, pitch the tent, and if your kiddo doesn't do well, that's okay.
DO. IT. AGAIN.
Do what you can with the time that you have, help cultivate the things you *TRULY* want.