Elliott’s 18 Month Update Part 1 – Routine

WARNING! Super-long post alert. I was orignally going to do a full 18 month update in one post. Then I started typing and couldn’t stop. I was going to edit, after all, would anyone actually want to read ALL this? But I stopped myself, because I thought, yes, when Elliott is grown I will want to look back at what was, at the funny little things we used to do and the way we spent our days.  So here we are… Elliott’s routine at 18 months, grab a cuppa and your biscuit of choice (I recommend a good ole’ chocolate Hob Nob) and enjoy a read. Let me know if there are any similarities with your little ones too..

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7am – Elliott’s average wake-up time. If we’re lucky he may stay snuggled until 8am some mornings, other morning he’s interrupting mummy’s get ready routine at 6:30am. But on average he’s a 7am riser.

I always sing to Elliott first thing (our neighbours must love listening to me wail at 7am, but hey ho!). I remember watching Jonathan from the Saccone-Joly’s sing to his children and thinking it was a great idea, then when Elliott came along we kind of just fell into singing a bit of the ‘Good Mornin” song from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. He gets: “Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’, it’s great to stay up late, Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’ to you” – tickle on his tummy, “Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’, It’s great to stay up late, Good Mornin’ Good Mornin’ to you” – pat on his nose, then I pick up his cuddly toys from his cot and wiggle them around to make them ‘dance’ for the last round of: “Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’, It’s great to stay up late, Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’ to youuuu” – I then kiss the cuddly toys and pass them to Elliott who kisses them and puts them back in their place in his cot. So cute! Then we do “1-2-3, now we can see” as I switch the light on. Funny the things you wind up doing…

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Next, it’s up and nappy change – which can take a while as Elliott has a habit of running off, or hiding behind his cot… Once I’ve managed to capture him and change his nappy it’s milk time. Elliott has 8oz of full fat cows milk in a morning. He still drinks this from a bottle. I did attempt to get him to drink it from a sippy cup the other day and he looked genuinely disgusted with me. It was a bit like asking the Queen to drink tea from something other than a bone china tea cup. I generally have the news on in the background at the same time. I used to be really funny about having the TV on in the background, but this is one of my only opportunities to keep up with what’s going on in current affairs and with the whole Trump debacle – right now I definitely want to know what’s going on!

Once milk is finished. Elliott will pop his dummy (or his ‘mummy’, as he likes to call it) back in whilst I go and get his toothbrush. We were struggling with toothbrushing for a while, but stumbled across this video which seems to help to motivate Elliott to actually brush his teeth rather than just suck the toothpaste off the brush. I must warn you if you do decide to use it it’s a total ear worm and you will have it in your head for the rest of the day! More recently Elliott has wanted to brush his teeth himself. Great for independence; not so good for keeping his molars clean. So that’s always a fun battle! I generally hide Elliott’s dummy during toothbrushing and he’s got used to going dummy free until nap time, unless he’s upset about something, unwell or teething.

8am With the the TV on in the background, either scrolling onto the next YouTube video (Normally this one, which Elliott loves), or I put CBeebies on whilst I make breakfast. Elliott’s favourite at present is porridge made with whole milk. I cut pieces of berries up really small and add them to the mixture as I cook it to sneak some fruit into him! He also generally has a slice of toast or a bit of croissant.

8:30am Now it’s clean up time. Elliott does rather enjoy throwing his food once he’s had enough at the moment, so if we’re not quick enough to judge when he doesn’t want any more the place can end up pretty messy – fortunately we use a plastic table cloth underneath the highchair to catch any debris so it’s a bit easier to clean up. That said, Elliott is going through a bit of a phase of not wanting to sit in his highchair, preferring his little Ikea table instead. Again, great for his independence, but the fact that he can wander around mid-meal with sticky fingers sends me into a blind panic! Strangely enough, when there’s a yoghurt on offer he’s quite happy to sit in his highchair… Hmm…

Anyway, there’s the table and floor clean up and then Elliott gets cleaned off with a flannel and dressed. Just recently he’s started to pick his outfits out for himself too!

9am onwards This largely depends on the day. We might play for a bit before going to a toddler group, or meet up with friends. I might get Elliott to help me with some housework – he’s a dab hand at hanging the socks on our clothes airer now, although does get very frustrated if they fall off -bless him!

10:30am – Snack time – generally a banana or some fruit toast. Afterwards, again it depends on our plans. You can generally guarantee a trip to the supermarket for a top-up shop somewhere along the way. We do a nappy change at this time too.

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12:30 – Lunch time – something along the lines of beans on toast, or a Dairylea sandwich. I do get stuck with inspiration for lunch, so if anyone has ideas – please let me know! Elliott always has pudding afterwards too. I tend to give him all the savoury stuff first and then give him the sweet stuff once he’s had enough of his sandwich, or whatever, otherwise I know he would just make a beeline for the sweet stuff.

Elliott will often go for a nap after lunch (sometime he will even go before, or over his normal lunch time – in which case we feed him later, obvs), this can range from  40 minutes to 3 hours and sometimes if we’re out and about (especially if we’re relative visiting he might literally have 10 minutes – imagine a *shocked frace* emoji here! If we are home, then it’s generally: nappy change, blinds drawn, Star Wars lights on, dummy in, cuddles until you can sense Elliott is ready to be put down, then pop him in his cot and cover him with a light blanket. I then tend to potter around his nursery for a few minutes, before telling him to have a good sleep and retreat, listening to him fight his nap over the baby monitor for the next five minutes before he eventually drifts off and I get some time to myself time to catch up on housework.

Once he wakes up it depends again. We might read book, have a boogie and play some musical instruments, paint, draw or head to the park. It really depends on how long Elliott sleeps for, what else we’ve got on and what mood Elliott wakes up in.

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3:30pm – Snack time – Generally fruit or Dairylea on crackers, although the odd sweet treat is now sneaking in too! We do another nappy change at this time too, I generally try to do it as soon as Elliott wakes from his nap as if he’s still a bit groggy he’s less likely to try to run off!

6pm – Dinner time! If Elliott is hungry he will literally stand by the kitchen or point to it as if to say ‘C’mon woman – make my dinner!’. Once it’s cooked and being served up, he will generally head over to the table and start shouting ‘TEA! TEA!’ in an excited voice (tea is what Midlanders call dinner sometimes). Tea could be stir fry, curry, lasagne, pasta, sausages & mash, pizza. We try to vary it up, but again, I need to add some more dishes to my repertoire, so let me know any that work for you! Pudding is generally yoghurt or jelly. But we do sometimes make this mousse or have banana and custard, or something different.

6:45pm – Play time – Elliott will sometime bring books for us to read, or will enjoy some rough play with his dad. Weirdly he often plays with certain toys at this time of night that he doesn’t play with at any other time during the day. There’s one shape sorter that’s a particular post dinner hit and he also enjoys emptying his ball pit (and sitting underneath the upturned pit) at around this time too.

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7:30pm – Bath time – Daddy takes care of this. We bathe Elliott in Oilatum because he has slightly dry skin. Elliott has his hair washed on Thursday’s and Sunday’s (and other nights if he’s got particularly mucky). Otherwise its a quick wash and then a chance to play with some of his bath toys  before moving onto tooth brushing. Next we dim the lights for PJs, and an 8oz bottle of whole cows milk milk and bed at…

8pm – Elliott still sometimes falls asleep on the bottle. Other times he would probably dive into his ball pit post bottle. Either way he tends to settle well once he’s in his cot. I kiss him goodnight, tell him I love him lots and that I’ve enjoyed spending the day with him and that I’m looking forward to seeing him the next day. I tell him to have good ‘nug nugs’ too (our word for snuggles). Sometimes I get a kiss, sometimes a cuddle, sometimes he’s fast asleep and I’m talking to myself. Other times I get a wave, or he blows me a kiss as his dad carries him off to bed.

We’re very lucky that Elliott generally sleeps through. He might wake once or twice but that’s generally a quick dummy rescue mission and he’s back to sleep. There are the odd occasions where he won’t settle but they’re not often. Sorry – please don’t hate me sleep deprived parents.

And on work days?

Obviously this is what we would do on a typical day off. On a working day. Elliott rises at around the same time and the morning routine follows the same pattern, except he gets washed and dressed straight after having his teeth brushed as he eats his breakfast at nursery. I drop him at nursery at around 8am and head to work, then pick him up at around 5:30pm. We’ve tried to mimic the nursery routine as much as possible at home to add some consistency to Elliott’s days, so meal times are roughly the same at nursery as they are at home.

That’s not all…

I feel like this post doesn’t give a full account of everything that goes into looking after and managing a toddler. It makes it sound a little too easy and, at times, it’s really not. It doesn’t take into account the continual bag packing, emptying and replenishing; washing; meal planning and prep, tidying, tidying and oh-my-god tidying, plus lots of other things that happen ‘behind the scenes’ to keep the household running as smoothly as possible. I say this, not to moan, but just to give some sense of reality to people who may not have children and don’t experience this first hand!

So, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed your brew and hope you enjoyed reading this too – oh, that rhymed! In my next Elliott update I will look at sleep.

I hope to film a ‘day in the life’ video to show Elliott’s routine from start to finish too, but wanted to get this epic blog post live first as when I wrote this Elliott was fast approaching 19 months and now he actually is!

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