I can't think before I had Emily that I ever had that many routines or any routine of any sort for that matter. Maybe only small rituals, such as the Saturday morning lie-in after a long week at work or the full-fat latte and almond croissant from Waterloo station on my way to the office each day.
Routine became something that I embraced as a part of motherhood. And now I have embraced it, we have become as one and we have routines for every aspect of our lives it seems.
We have the Monday morning routine, when Emily and I are both up and dressed and out the house by 8am, her off to nursery and me to College. We have the Thursday afternoon routine (which I am still getting a handle on as my friend Theresa will testify), where we must be organised and out the house by 11.40am (lunch already eaten - which in the last three weeks has consisted of a tuna mayonnaise sandwich eaten on route - which may in itself become a routine) to get to my friend's house, to collect my friend, her son (Emily's age) and her baby daughter to go onto pre-school which lies at the top of a very steep hill by 12.15am. Dragging ourselves and the children (quite literally most of the time), negotiating the ever increasing piles of dog poo, errant sticks and muddy puddles. All enticing to a two year old, although not necessarily through actually choice, more by accident where the poo is concerned.
We have the Wednesday routine, where we go to the grandparents, the Friday afternoon routine where Emily goes to her grandparents and I go to College, the Saturday morning routine where Emily goes to her grandparents and the Sunday morning routine where we goes to Emily's other grandparents, namely nanny Joan and Uncle Paul. And yes I appreciate that this may lead to complicated question once Emily is older, as to why nanny Joan and Uncle Paul are together but yet it's Aunty Jo and Uncle Tim. Still it's easier than trying to explain to a two year old why Nanny Joan and Grandad Kelvin are no longer together, ahhh the complexities of life.
We have the night-time routine, the morning routine, the mid afternoon routine...well you get the idea!
So with all this routine, what then happens when you take the child out of the routine? Well you know the old saying 'You can take the girl out of the......(fill in the blank) but you can't take the ....... (fill in the blank) out of the girl', this, I'm afraid, does not apply where children are concerned. Take the child out of the routine and all chaos will ensue as I was witness to last night. At 10pm I had to call Gavin to come pick me up from my mother's house (where we were meant to be spending the night) because at 10.30pm when the rest of the house were about ready to drop from a frantic day of foggy, stress inducing, car journeys across country to Sheffield and back, Emily was bouncing up and down on the spare bed of my mothers rather small two bedroom cottage, with walls as thin as tissue paper, refusing to go to sleep! And having endured a night of hellish similarity the previous night, sharing a bed with a wriggly toddler, adamant that she would not sleep, raising her head off the pillow at the merest hint of a noise, the very idea that someone might be moving around and therefore she might be missing out on something. Restless sleep, interrupted with episodes of little arms flung in my face or little feet kicking in my back. I was determined that I could not bare another night of this routine-less existence.
So in conclusion not only do I embrace routine, I fear I may be lost without it. In fact I would go so far as to say that I may well not consider any overnighter with Emily until she is at least six? Ten? Twenty-one? Fill in the blank as necessary...