Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Holding Down the Fort While Mommy is Away

Photo by lrargerich

This is a guest post by Organized Mommy's husband, Mike (a.k.a. Disorganized Hubby).

Here's the tale of how I took care of the 9-month old and 2.9 year old for 6 nights while Josie was on a business trip. It certainly felt heroic, even though stay-at-home moms do it day in and day out.

Actually, it wasn't that difficult, mostly because Josie has created a truly ridiculous amount of structure to make life easy. I'll walk you through the routine and highlight the organized pieces.

The story comes in three acts: morning, evening, bedtime.

Act 1: Morning

Scene 1: 6am: Baby Wakes

Baby wakes up, crying and hungry. Grab the prepared pre-measured funnel of formula and the pre-filled water bottle from the dresser. Dump in, mix, and into the baby's room within 1 minute. (why a funnel? because I'm pretty groggy in the morning and have managed to dump half the formula outside of the bottle on several occasions without realizing it. No fear, the baby realizes that he's drinking mostly water and lets you know. Loudly. So now we use a funnel.)

Baby's fed. Change diaper on the diaper station (first grab toy from shelf above station to distract him).

Scene 2: 6:30 am, Toddler wakes. Straw cup of milk for her (no spills!), put baby in playroom with toys (in line of sight from kitchen), pack lunch for toddler (reserved portion from dinner last
night, TJ's applesauce cup, TJ's cheese stick, juice in 2nd straw cup). Hint: if your toddler is suddenly obsessed with color matching, do NOT say "the cup lid and cup body do not have to match". Otherwise your carefully optimized schedule will take a 5-minute hit for teary toddler soothing and then having to find and wash the matched lid anyway. So now I match the lid colors when taking the cups from the dishwasher.

What's organized about this?

1. Packing leftovers the night before into the little lunch Tupperware is a huge timesaver. Also, it's a quick like/dislike screen; if she enjoyed dinner last night, she'll like lunch.

2. There are 4 options for 'fruit cup': plain applesauce, berry applesauce, mango fruit cup, mixed fruit cup. They're all next to each other in the pantry and it's easy to cycle between them to add
variety (and reduce tears).

3. We cut our juice 3:1 with water. This is not to save money, but to reduce the amount of sweets that HB consumes. As a nice side-effect, it reduced the amount of juice that we consume by a factor of 3, eliminating a large, bulky, and frequent purchase. Oh and for variety, TJ's juices are fantastic: mango, cherry, black raspberry, peach; you name it, they have it, and the variety keeps HB entertained. Plus she can choose her juice colors: red juice, purple juice, or yellow juice.

Scene 3: The dreaded daily dressup, Toddler's room

Transition sequence: grab baby in one arm, shepherd toddler up the stairs. Try to prevent her from carrying ALL of the playroom contents into her room.

HB's outside clothes are all in one drawer, easily reachable by her. Yes, she has far more clothes than can fit in one drawer, but the week's contents are prepped ahead of time. Even better, Josie arranges little packs of matching pants/shirt/sweater, to prevent further outbreaks of what she calls "Daddy Dressed-me Days". I figure that there aren't any fashionistas at daycare, but for some reason Josie thinks that it's important for HB's clothes to at least match. In any
case, the little packs make it really easy to grab a set and give them to HB. These days, she picks her outfits by herself anyway.

Now the scene really wouldn't be complete without the baby crawling around the room and trying to pull open every drawer, and half-dressed HB running around singing the "I'm all naked" song.

What's organized about this? Mostly the weekly clothes cache, and the matched outfit packs, but also that we have some baby toys parked in HB's room so that the baby can play with those while we attend to HB. Oh, and the changing station is on top of the clothes drawer so that
it's easy to peel off the jammies and put on the outfit in one fell swoop. These days it's more challenging because HB wants to dress herself, but it used to be a good trick.

Scene 4: How to get ready for work yourself.

Get resigned to chilly showers. Got to keep the bathroom door open to keep an eye on the little monster and the tiny monster. Park the infant in a exersaucer (aka the Jail) right next to the bathroom door. Stick your head out of the shower and make eye contact every minute or so. Even then, his tolerance for being in jail is about 5 minutes, so get showered quickly.

Tune in next week for Acts 2 and 3: Evening and Bedtime


  1. Anonymous2:43 AM

    thank misha - can't wait for the next installment. - Mary Lou

  2. Thanks Mary Lou!


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