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Why? Stop the Insanity!

why2While my brain is still humming along on the the theme of routine, can anyone explain to me why children have their own little routines they insist upon, and yet routines that would greatly contribute to their parents’ sanity go out the window?

For example, at some point in the day, EVERY week day, I will have the following conversation with JavaGirl while she, JavaBoy and I are out somewhere.

JG: Something’s missing?
Me (knowing full well what it is, but having learned that varying from the script doesn’t help): What?
JG: Daddy! Daddy’s missing!
Me: And where is Daddy?
JG: At work!
Me: And when is he coming home?
JG: At dinner time.

Sometimes I’m the one who says Daddy is at work, but there is no way we are going to get through this conversation without her pointing out that Daddy is not with us and without the conversation somehow concluding with an assurance that Daddy will be home for dinner.  As if the man has not followed this basic routine M-F most of her life.  But fine, I humor her.  It’s a small thing to do.

Both JavaGirl and JavaBoy have small bunnies they sleep with — sort of bunny heads with small blanket bodies — so it is part of their nightly routine to make sure they have those with them before they go to sleep.  Since they also play with these bunnies throughout the day, this means a pre-bedtime hunt for said bunnies, but there are usually a few key spots they end up and the bunnies make them happy so JavaDad and I roll with it.

So WHY is it that other routine events, things that we do dozens, if not hundreds, of times a week, seem to flummox them? I mean these are bright children — and that’s not just their proud mama talking — children who learned their ABCs early and dazzle people with their knowledge every day… so why do they seem to find something as simple as the act of walking out to the car, opening the door and getting IN the car and buckling their belts so confusing? It’s as if they have never heard of this routine before.

Getting IN the car? Wow, what a novel concept, Mommy! I thought we were just supposed to walk in circles around it. Oh, once the door is open, you mean I am supposed to climb INTO the car? Not just stand there, staring off into space? That’s what you meant by getting IN? Into the CAR you say?

What? I’m in the car. Oh, you meant you wanted me to SIT in the car? Not just stand inside the car, with the door open, staring into space or playing with a toy or munching on a snack, but actually sit in my seat? Really? Wow! I’ve never heard of such a thing! What an interesting concept!

Then the whole thing happens in reverse when we arrive at our destination and it’s time to get out.  First of all, for some unknown reason, JavaGirl has invariably taken off her right shoe.  Every. Single. Time.  No matter which pair of shoes.  I have yet to find a store with a sign that says “Only left shoe required.”  If it weren’t child abuse, I swear I’d hot glue her shoes to her feet <I joke, I joke>.  After re-shoeing her, I unbuckle the children, and they sit there. 

Ohhhh, you want us to get OUT of the car now?  OUT, you say?  Didn’t you just tell us to get IN?  Well, make up your mind crazy lady!  Okay, I’ll get out, and stand here, right here, where you can’t close the door.  What?  You want me to move?  You need to CLOSE the door?  Oh, okay, how about I run into traffic then, so you can close the door?  Huh?  Why are you yelling?  You just told me to move, didn’t you?

Repeat 5 times or more a day and you’ll see why I’m the wild-eyed woman with those two “perfectly behaved little angels” at the store.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Routine

One of the most challenging parts of parenthood is coming face-to-face with my love/hate relationship with routine.nablo0709_120x200

It is very difficult to be a Type A personality with an creative person’s soul. I crave a certain amount of order and predictability and yet I hate to be tied down. I have two Christmas Countdown binders (no, really, I do) — one begins in August, and just in case I get off-track, a second plan begins in October — and yet since birth (seriously, ask my parents), I have resisted having a bedtime. I am incapable of following a daily routine to the letter. As for JavaDad… well, he’s so consumed with dreaming up brilliant technical things in his head that he loses track of time, and other concepts, without the rest of us to remind him from time to time to get his head away from the computer and, you know, eat… shave… those kinds of things.

From the moment I was pregnant with JavaBoy I’ve been told that kids need routine, and I wholeheartedly agree — I really do see the benefit for them. As a parent, I try my best to stick to a routine for the kids and I’m pretty proud of myself for how well I’ve tried to keep this household running on a routine for the kids’ sake. We’re not perfect, but we’ve managed not to be THAT family — the one who always forgets the class projects or the library book that needs to be returned to preschool or when the school performance is or whatever. (No, I’m not referring to an actual family, just a concept.)  I have grown a lot as a person in this area, for the children’s sake, but I still have a long way to go in other areas of my life — I still resist routine, even when I really want to embrace it.  

One area where I’d like to introduce more routine is in my blogging life. 

There is a blogging initiative that first started as just a once a year thing and is now a monthly challenge called National Blog Posting Month.  The idea is to encourage daily blogging (EVERY day), which is what I am working towards.  November is the original NaBloPoMo as it is nicknamed, but to encourage people throughout the year, they have developed a website with a theme for each month (blogging on the theme is optional).  This month’s theme is… Routine!  How appropriate, I thought, for the month when I finally decided to give this a whirl.  Will I manage to blog every day this month?  Who knows?  I can already think of a dozen reasons why I may fail.  But I’ll certainly never succeed if I don’t try.  I will not blog about the topic of routine every day for the month of July, but the idea of “routine” keeps cropping up in my life — as I am trying to <GASP!> give up my beloved Diet Coke yet again, get back into a walking routine, and get into the swing of our summer routine, so you may see a few variations on the theme.

How about you — do you love routine?  Hate it?  Or find yourself caught between the two like I am?