My wife is doing some Choreography for Clubbed Thumb right now. They’re a great Off Broadway company known for producing interesting and creative work. The schedule is quick and dirty, as she will go in for a rehearsal tonight then a couple this weekend, and maybe one next week. I can’t remember exactly. I’ve always thought that choreography was amazing, and Nicole, is very good at it. I’m not sure if she even knows just how good she is. That kind of work requires a dialogue between bodies, and a person who understands their own body, to be successful.
Let’s me tell you about our daily schedule. everyday we get up more or less when Max tells us to. He’s not demanding about it, but in his own laid back (not laid back) way he tells us he’s awake and he would like something from us, be it food, new underpants, or what have you. Usually this happens between 6 and 630 in the morning, but that varies, depending on if he has new teeth coming in, or several other variables, but these days, mostly it’s about teeth. So I get up and hop in the shower while Nicole breast feeds, something I would love to help with, but as Max now knows, due to an awkward and possibly life scaring moment, I can’t do that. We are lucky to be in a place where he is only breast feeding once a day now, and in the next week or so, he should be done completely. After he is finished with step one, then it’s play time!! Max runs about the house for 15 or twenty minutes climbing, chasing, messing, moving, sitting, walking, if it has an ing attached to it he does it. Then suddenly he gets very grumpy. That’s when we know it is breakfast time. At this point I am usually out of the shower and sipping a cup of tea while Nicole is trying to drink a cup of coffee. Max is a bit of a Mama’s boy so it’s a little harder for Nicole than it is for me. I help as much as I can but if the boy wants his Mama, he wants his Mama. I help prepare breakfast as much as I can, usually that means sitting with him as he eats, or putting a waffle in the toaster for him (he loves multigrain waffles with butter) and cutting it up for him. The entire time I’m doing this Nicole is preparing for the next thing. That could mean she is getting dressed, making food for lunch, or breathing into a paper bag for fear that today will be one of those days, luckily we don’t have those days very much. At 730 I leave. We blow kisses, sometimes walk to the corner together, do hugs. In other words, bye bye Daddy.
Nicole then finishes breakfast with the boy and takes him for an early romp in the park. What’s she’s discovered is that in order to get in that nap he takes at about 10am, a lot of activity helps make the transition easier. You have to keep in mind that he only learned to sleep in the last 6 months, so he has no idea what it means when he gets tired. It’s amazing that people are not just born with a sleep schedule, but they aren’t. We all learn that, and as we get older, that changes not matter if you are a baby or a 40 year old. So at 10am, hopefully, he takes a nap. If he does, Nicole is able to get things done. She cleans the house, returns emails, works on our insurance issues, choreographs, and prepares for the next thing with Max, which in this case is lunch. Baking sweet potatoes, getting beans ready, or pureeing banana with avocado. The goal here is to be as ready as possible. That being said, there is always the possibility that he does not nap. These are not good days. This means that little gets done. That Nicole has to work extra hard to get things set up for her job and for our child. It’s exhausting for everyone.
After the nap he is usually a little groggy. I’ve observed that this requires a delicate touch. You don’t want to present to much energy because he’s not ready for the excitement, but too little means he will be grumpy and hard to put down. If you can put him down, and he plays alone, then you can get lunch ready and avoid a meltdown. Meals with Max are interesting. He’s a smart kid and he’s started feeding himself. It’s messy, but there’s progress every time he does it. You sit next to him and let him shovel he food in, while at the same time you offer a helping hand with your own spoon, otherwise it could take a while. The thing is, Max like to control the spoon. He’s into that. So there is a good chance that he will start complaining and pointing at you at one point. Then he reaches out, takes your spoon, and gives you his. After this there is a good chance that he will start pointing at something on the counter. You must figure out what this thing is. It could be anything from a banana to a soup ladle. Until you find that thing and let him hold it lunch is at a standstill (This can go for dinner too, doesn’t seem to happen at breakfast) Repeat all this twice and lunch is over.
After lunch Nicole has to start thinking about dinner, but before she can do anything, she must look at the schedule. If she is teaching or rehearsing it means that Max will be getting dropped off at a friends and I will pick him up after work. This way he doesn’t have to go to the studio with her and she can actually teach. Before he started walking is was fine for him to come with her. She would teach dance with him strapped to her and since a lot of what she did was watching her students, it worked out well. When he started walking everything changed. We realized he had to find an alternative. At first we had a babysitter that came over on those days when she would have to leave early for the studio. Then I would come home and take over. We lost her when she realized she needed a job that she could live on. A fair choice. Thankfully Nicole is in this wonderfully supportive Mom group and two of her friends have been gracious enough to look after Max before I can get over to pick him up.
Sorry, I’m wandering a little. The point is, now, she has to look to dinner. What will he have? Did he have it yesterday. Is it cotton candy? She’s great Mom, and when it comes to food, she is always thinking. I will call her periodically throughout the day just to check up on things. I find that often she is looking at recipes for him, always trying to find food he might like, and above all that it is healthy. We’re not over protective about what he eats, we let him have the occasional cookie or tiny cupcake, but we both like to make sure what he eats is good for him. So even when we buy prepackaged food Nicole makes sure it has the fewest ingredients possible. Or when she is cooking for him she makes things like a toddler version of broccoli casserole, which he hated and I ate, but still, it’s the thought, and it’s always like that.
When dinner is planned it’s time to do one of two things, go to the park or to a meet up to see Max’s friends. He plays for an hour or so, and then, if she’s working, drops him with one of the aforementioned Moms who watches him until I get there at 530 or 6.
The thing is, all that stuff above. that’s really just a few things. I’m only scratching the surface of how much she does. There are thousands of things in between those things, and she has to make sure all of those things work together with the other things. That there is communication. Nicole choreographs dances all day long. She figures out ways to make it work and look good. In between meals there is crying(Max and Nicole), chasing, holding, running, loving, sleeping, tantrums, cuddles, smiles, spilling, cleaning, drinking (Milk/Water), laundry, picking up, putting down, dishes and a million more. She makes it all work. She makes the days dance, and everybody knows that dancing is hard, but it takes a good dancer and choreographer to make it look easy.