Sunday, January 15, 2017

On routine

These tip-toes🙈 On Mondays and Fridays I wash my hair. On Thursdays I wear it high in a big messy flop.

Most weeks on Thursdays we go to dance class, Mondays music class. Wednesdays are for story time at the bookstore while Thursdays host story time at the library.

On Saturdays we go to the farmers’ market.

On Sundays we try to outwit our neighbors and snag two cartons of a limited winter supply of our favorite local eggs from the bodega down the block.

This is the structure of our week. My first few weeks at home with Georgia were downright jarring, not just because of the screaming, but because I was floundering being off a routine I’d established years ago and faithfully followed. These activities are my touchstones, keeping the days from running together in a mash of endless mini-sequences that make up our days.

UIKEYINPUTDOWNARROWWhile I would not describe my daughter, who casually tosses her beloved Baby over the side of the couch yelling “BABY FALL!”, as delicate, I have no qualms tossing out the word sensitive. All through the day she requires many snuggles, a feature we discovered in her programming early in her newborn days. She is observant and understanding, and like me, she thrives on routine. She repeats everything. She literally repeats questions, requests, comments. And makes me repeat myself back. She wants to watch the same movie (101 Dalmatians), read the same book (Blueberries For Sal), listen to the same song ("This Town" or "Baa Baa Black Sheep", depending on how lucky I am), play the same game (Memory).

I get up at 6 am. Actually, Georgia gets up at 6 am. She plods down the hallway into our room and announces, “I waited for my green light!” Her green light is the $30 contraption that keeps our day from starting earlier than 6 am. It is worth a million more dollars. She climbs into bed, answers “No dreams” to my foggy, routine question and I try to drift back to sleep for any more minutes I can.

“I ready to go to the liv-room when mama’s done restin.” Sigh. We get up, get water, and I try to drift back to sleep for any more minutes I can from the big brown chair in the living room. She gets her own breakfast from a plate we set up during the bedtime routine the night before (an oat/carrot/zuchinni/apple/coconut/walnut/banana/blueberry/craisin/whatever-was-on-hand muffin that I make in batches to keep in the freezer and a satsuma).

This is how we start every day.

Nap is at 11:30 am, daily. We eat lunch together at 10 am and Georgia has dinner at 4:00 pm. In between we tinker, do dishes, take walks, do dishes, run errands, do dishes, cook, and read books. We sing, we dance, and we do dishes. I do so many dishes.

Then we end every day the same way: bath time at 5:45 pm, followed by Georgia picking her jammies (“I want my penguins!”), making breakfast (“Time to clean up.” “Let’s do muffin fiwst!”), cleaning up the toys (“Mamahelpme!” #herfavoriteword), brushing teeth (“I strong teeth!”), reading the Going To Bed Book (“What’s bear wearing, what's rhinosasaur wearing, what's Woofie wearing, what's bunny wearing? Red jammies, yelwoah jammies, pur-pah jammies, bue and white stripe jammies.”), and getting into bed by 6:30 (“Let’s chat!”).

The same every night. Down to her little comments. It’s like living in a play, she's got her script and I’ve got mine. Nobody flubs a line.

And it's these repetitions that can become monotonous, tiresome. Her relentless "What else is a bird?!" Until she learns something new, wonders something else, picks a new favorite, and there’s a revision to the script. And I realize we’re saving over instead of saving up. There’s no going back to an older draft, no track changes I can recreate by comparing documents. Just my unreliable memory trying to simultaneously host each Georgia we’ve known. An impossible feat when I’m completely consumed by her current self, crowding out the older versions. Because it’s not living in a play, it’a a living play. So I say my part, hit my marks, and hope I can remember this stage and that, and that she doesn’t put the phrase “what an asshole” into the revised script.

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