I have never been good at maintaining a daily schedule. Terrible in fact. They highly recommend schedules, or at least routines, for foster kids. So we knew that was going to have to be a thing we needed to do. Of course then we got infants so schedules weren’t so important. And then we got the toddlers.
In order to not go insane with four babies, because let’s be honest, 1 and 2 are still babies, I have had to form a daily schedule. One of the first things we have to turn in with a new placement is a daily schedule. I pulled that one out of my butt. I had no clue even what time these boys would regularly nap after only a week with them.
After almost four months with all four boys, I wouldn’t say I’ve got a schedule so much as a relatively strict routine. Sometimes things like, say, a dozen poopy diapers in one day or a baby hitting a developmental leap super hard totally throw things off, but for the most part our days are very predictable.
I get up at 6:30. My hope is that I’ll then have a half hour or so to do some things without kids around but inevitably at least one wakes up when I do. Luckily they are all good at playing on their own so I can still get things done even with one or two awake (it gets a bit harder when three or four are up and needing my attention.
We do our morning assembly line and then it’s play time (nap time for the babies – they go to sleep whenever they are read which turns out to be some time between 9 and 10 usually and they sleep one to one and a half hours) until about 11:30. Then it’s lunch time.
I’ve discovered the toddlers eat way better and are more cooperative about taking bites if they are watching TV. So for now they eat breakfast and lunch in front of the TV. While they eat I feed another four ounces of baby food to each baby. We’re slowly transitioning to table foods, but for now their solids are mostly from jars. The babies are fed bottles on demand. They usually want one every 4-6 hours. When they are hungry, we feed them. That is one thing we definitely do not schedule.
After they eat lunch, the toddler get their diapers changed and we head up to their room. N goes in the crib and A gets in his toddler bed and I put on a Moshi. Usually they are out within 20-30 minutes.
The babies often play together for a little while after the toddlers are asleep, usually showing they are ready for a nap about 1pm. We change them (it’s always nice to start a nap with a clean diaper) and rock them and once they are asleep, they go in their cribs (which are in our bedroom).
The babies usually sleep an hour and a half and the toddlers usually wake up about 3. N has been having some nightmares lately so those sometimes cut his nap short (and sometimes his crying from them wakes A as well). Since A is in a toddler bed, he gets up on his own and almost always heads straight to Jamie’s office for a few cuddles before coming downstairs (A is able to open doors and operate the baby gates – actually just recently N learned to do those things as well).
The boys play from the time they wake up until dinner. If it’s not too hot they’ll play outside a bit (both in the morning and afternoon). They all love anything with wheels – cars, trucks, airplanes, etc. – so we have a whole lot of those. The babies like stuffed toys. Baby B is a big fan of puzzles. The toddlers love Duplos and they all like playing with Magna-Tiles.
Dinner is about 5:30. We always eat together as a family. We’re working on keeping A at the table with us. The babies get another 4 ounces of baby food plus whatever from the table they can eat with the few teeth they have. N has an excellent appetite and is pretty willing to try things he isn’t familiar with. It’s a little harder with A. Usually if we can get him to try something he does like it.
After dinner we go for a walk. We started that for our sanity with the lockdown. Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of the house. Honestly, I’ve never seen so many people outside in our neighborhood in the almost seven years we’ve lived here as in the last month or so. It’s nice.
After our walk, Jamie takes the toddlers up for their bath. We’ve discovered that N’s eczema gets worse from pollen so he sleeps way better if he gets a bath and then lotioned and gelled at night. The babies play while the toddlers have their bath.
And then it is bedtime. If all goes well, they will all be in the cribs or toddler bed asleep by 9 or 9:30. All does not usually go well, at least where the babies are concerned. Once again the toddlers get in their crib/toddler bed and we play a Moshi. They are usually asleep within 10-15 minutes.
The babies are more difficult than the toddlers to get down at night. There’s always one twin who would rather play. We’re working on it.
And then it all starts over the next morning. I try to go to sleep by 10:30, but rarely do. Jamie usually works on his college classes after the toddlers are asleep until 10:30 or 11.
We usually end up with A climbing in our bed at some point during the night. Sometimes he wakes up fully and then we’re up a couple hours trying to get him back to sleep. Occasionally we’ll have to go in and settle N back down during the night, but he doesn’t get out of his crib, but rather just needs his bear, his blankie, and a little pat and he settles right back down. The babies wake once or twice a night and always have at least one bottle each at some point. So our sleep is definitely broken at this point.
I’m really glad we’ve been able to settle into such a good schedule/routine with these boys. It makes things much easier with all these little kids. Too bad I was so resistant to having one when my bio kids were small!