I think (super scientifically, of course) that there are two main attitudes of parents, and that people tend to favor one end of the spectrum over the other.
The first kind of parent favors schedules, and they will feed their children roughly at the same time each day, enforce naptimes and bedtimes at the same time each day, and will move around all other social commitments to fit The Schedule as much as possible.
The second kind of parent is more of an embrace-what-may-come kind of parent. They fit in naptimes and mealtimes around whatever is going on that day, and they embrace new and fun experiences and fit them into the day no matter what, schedule or not.
We are totally the first kind of parent.
In fact, on multiple occasions, we have verbatim used the phrase: “We’ve got to honor the sacredness of the schedule.”
Basically, our schedule = our sanity.
This is why, after Raven’s third fourth of July celebration, she STILL hasn’t seen any fireworks.
Granted, we’re not SO live-and-die-by-the-schedule that we didn’t let her stay out much later than usual—9:30 p.m. rather than 6:30 p.m.—but we didn’t want to stay for fireworks (starting at ten, ending around 10:30), have to face the horrendous traffic for roughly 45 minutes to an hour (true story), and then get her into bed past midnight.
No, the hassle wasn’t worth it to us.
(And, honestly? I actually think, based on everything I know about her, that she would kinda hate fireworks at this point in her life. For one, she despises loud noises, especially when they’re unexpected. And something so new and so loud and so intense four hours past her bedtime? A recipe for disaster, if you ask me.)
We don’t intend to do this forever, of course. In fact, by next year, she might be on a late enough bedtime and used to loud noises enough that we’ll try it out.
But no one can say that she didn’t still have a blast at this year’s 4th of July celebrations:
We did the usual picnic-at-Eaglewood shebang that my mom and stepdad have been hosting every year since I was in high school, which involved LOTS of play time with cousins (her favorite), eating chicken and potato salad and watermelon and homemade ice cream, digging around in the sand, and enjoying all the other kids who were there (who were not cousins but who were friends based on the fact that their families had parked their picnic stuff down right by ours).
I do have a certain admiration for parents of the second type, who are so committed to creating fun memories that they are willing to throw away the schedule (and the possible sanity that accompanies that schedule) and just go ahead and embrace things as they come.
Over time, as my kid(s) get older, I hope to be a little more that way.
For now, I know that my brain doesn’t deal with chaos well and that I’m not a fan of meltdowns (public or otherwise) that accompany lack of sleep and routine.
Nevertheless, even though we left early, we were still graced with fabulously easy driving on the roads (thanks to literally EVERYONE ELSE going the opposite direction as us) and with the most fabulously vivid sunset that we’d seen in months.
The next morning, we’d planned to try and fit in the usual brunch AND parade (though it would have been a rush), but as the morning went on, and Raven wanted to join her cousins in the kiddie pool (with only a swim diaper counting as “real” swim clothes since we hadn’t planned on staying) and we wanted some time just to BE, rather than to RUSH, we stayed.
But we still followed through with our plans later to swim with Matt’s family, which meant that Raven got time both sets of cousins, two sets of grandparents, and LOTS of time in the sun, which effectively wore her out for the rest of the week, basically (and to which we were only too happy to oblige her with all the naps she desired).
A resounding success of a holiday, I must say.
Even if, by some accounts, we were “lame” and skipped out on fireworks.
You say lame, I say well-rested.
For the post about our 4th of July last year, click here.