Before having a child, I was Mr. Spontaneous. On a whim, I made plans with friends, went to a concert, checked out an exhibit at a museum, took a vacation, you name it. Almost everything was done on the fly — very little planning or structure … and it just worked out for me.
Planning and structure increases, spontaneity dwindles. Structure and planning is vital to figure out the patterns of our son and it results in a more happy baby. Believe me, you don’t want to see the little guy at 6 p.m. on a day when he has not had a proper nap! After a while, I start expecting the nap to occur everyday around the same time. I expect if he eats meatballs each week with his pasta (and loves them), then he will want meatballs next week. However, after loving meatballs for the past two years, he no longer wants to eat them for dinner or even want them on his plate for that matter. What gives?
Recently, after a very active day, I put my little guy down for sleep at 7:45 p.m. (like always), but he rolls around and talks to himself for over an hour. “I don’t understand,” I say to my wife. “He should be exhausted after walking around the museum all afternoon, how is he not sleeping yet?”
She answers, “HE IS NOT A ROBOT! You don’t always fall asleep at the same time every night.”
My wife is right, it’s a good point.
That said, it’s frustrating for me when our son doesn’t stick to the mapped out schedule. Maybe it is his way of saying, “hey dad, let me have some more spontaneity in my life!” As I reflect, I realize I need to be less rigid with the parenting schedule, and roll a little more with the punches. Our son is not a robot! He is a little person with feelings, emotions, and opinions, and I need to respect that. Sometimes, this “gatekeeper” needs to be put in his place to learn a lesson.