The last few weeks we have been establishing some normalcy in our household. I had the epiphany that I have a small window of time between morning sickness and the changes that come with a newborn to establish good routines and teach Emily some important life skills. Emily is really good about getting us to do what she knows should be done (for example she makes sure we kneel for prayers and that daddy kisses mommy before he walks out the door), so I figure if I plant the seeds now I won’t need to expend so much energy or mental effort trying to enforce new ideas. We are starting small with the spiritual essentials and morning and evening routines to make our lives easier.
I recently listened to a Q&A with Julie B Beck, former general Relief Society President, in which she talked about the 1 2 3 4 principle her mother taught her. 1 – get out of bed and say a kneeling prayer. 2 – spend some time in the scriptures. 3- make your bed so you commit to the day and don’t crawl in to waste a day away. 4- get dressed to show the Lord you are ready to go and receive his help and support. I’ve been striving to apply this personally and to our family.
My favorite thing that we do right now is read scriptures together after breakfast. Emily is usually still finishing her meal while we read the Book of Mormon scripture reader to her and then Andrew and I read a General Conference talk out loud. We end with family prayer. I feel like our entire day changes for the better when we start out this way, bringing the spirit into our home. Emily is already is mostly on board with this plan, at least until we get to the General Conference talk at which point she needs something or tries to hijack what we are trying to read. So we at least get the part that we read and try to hear most of what is being read aloud. In this case I think our effort counts.
We then try to get ready for the day right away, or right after I exercise. I moved Emily’s clothes around in her dresser this week so that she now has access to them. We are working with her to put her own clothes in the laundry, put her clean clothes away, put her pajamas in the drawer in the morning, and pick out the clothes she would like to wear during the day. This is a teaching process but I’m hoping she will have the hang of it by November.
We brush teeth together, put on makeup together (Emily’s favorite part), and do our hair. Sometimes this goes smoothly and quickly and other times it does not. Emily likes being right in on the action and climbs up on the toilet seat to lean over the counter. I’m amazed at how she can pretty much reach everything now. Today I am hoping to reorganize the bathroom a bit to make this whole process a little smoother. We then make beds and pick up each of our rooms a little bit.
Now this is a girl ready to face the day.
In the evening I’ve been having Emily help me wash the dishes after dinner and clean up her toys before bed. Last week she asked me to play my fiddle after dinner (she goes over to my violin and claps her hands) and then she climbed up on the piano. We played our own instruments side by side for 10 minutes and then she handed me the timer to set it. I told her we would play until the timer went off and then it would be bed time. She agreed. 10 minutes later the timer went of, she said and signed “surprise!” and then we ran upstairs to get ready for bed. Thanks to Emily’s genius, our jam sessions have become a nightly tradition, ended with the ding of the timer.
Bedtime we change her diaper, put on pajamas, put her clothes in the laundry (sorting between colors and whites), and brush teeth. We then read two books (maybe three if they were short and she needs more time to wind down), sing a few songs, and then cover her up with her three blankets – no matter how hot it is. She says “bye” a few times as we walk out the door and we see her in the morning (and occasionally before).
I woke Emily up on Sunday from her nap so that she would go to bed at a semi decent time, but not before snapping a picture of this sweet girl, three blankets and all.
We’ll see how these evolve and change, but right now they are a perfect fit for our life.