It’s official: we no longer have a toddler in our house. This big girl turned 3 years old, which ends an era for the Rambachs. And while I will miss the toddler years, I already know how much fun this next stage is thanks to her big brother.
As a fresh 3-year-old, Mia Belle’s personality is bigger and brighter than ever. She’s still a total mama’s girl, but she’s getting more and more independent by the day. I took her to a fairytale princess party over Memorial Day weekend, and she happily sat with all the other little girls in the center of the room, not minding one bit that I wasn’t in view. A little bittersweet for this mama, but I’m so proud of her for coming out of her shell.
Wasn’t I telling you about Parker starting part-time daycare just yesterday?
At least, it seems like just yesterday we were taking that big leap. But that was actually almost 4 years ago, when he was turning 18 months old. Now he’s approaching his 5th birthday, and kindergarten is on the horizon.
Up until this summer, I wasn’t home at dinnertime to eat with my family most nights. Since I taught lessons, led music therapy sessions, and taught classes in the afternoons and evenings, I missed out on meals with my family during the week. Zach either made the kids dinner at home or took them to his parents’ house to eat, and by the time I got home, we had to start the bedtime routine.
The older my children got, the harder it was to miss out on dinner with them — especially after being apart all day long. That was a part of my decision to stop teaching lessons at the end of May, and I’ve since adjusted my schedule to make sure I’m home every night for dinner together.
This has been one of the most chill summers my family’s ever had. Aside from a few performances and work-related obligations, my weekends were free and clear to spend at the pool or just hanging out at home, and I loved it. Slowing down summer was the best idea ever.
But we did plan one quick getaway to celebrate the end of the season: a trip to Florida that was anything but slow. No, the Rambachs don’t do slow while on vacation, thanks to my husband who likes to plan everything down to the hour.
Today started the same as most: with my 3 year old coming into my room, whispering “mommy…mommy!” until I rolled out of bed to accompany him to the bathroom, and then bringing him back to our bed so we could maybe, just maybe get a tiny bit more sleep.
He humored us for a few minutes, but then, as usual, began asking if it was time to go downstairs yet. (It was only 6:30 am and my daughter was still asleep down the hall). My husband, bless him, took Parker downstairs and I went back to sleep. I woke up to a work-related text, and listened for a minute only to realize that the house was empty.
My husband sent a photo of Parker on his bike and Mia in her stroller, headed to grandma’s house. “Wanted you to sleep and relax” was the caption.
I had a quick moment of panic, as I always do when I realize I have time to myself but no idea where to start. These are how most of my work days begin, regardless of how long I’ve spent organizing my to-dos in Trello. There is just SO MUCH, between my house, personal tasks, all the parts of my businesses…knowing what to tackle first is impossible.
So I started the way I usually do, with cleaning up. That meant putting away the stray toys all over the house, returning all the books in Parker’s room to his bookshelf, loading the dishwasher with the breakfast dishes, etc. I have a hard time being productive if my surroundings are messy — it’s a curse, really.
Then I made myself a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and went upstairs to my office. I sat down at my desk, and again went blank. All the things I need to do were right in front of me on the computer screen. I have emails to send, songs to post, website pages to tweak. But instead, I posted a photo from yesterday to Instagram and opened up a new blog post. I felt like writing whatever came out of my fingertips.
So I did, and this is the result. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s a little glimpse into the daily struggle of someone who is spinning many plates. You can probably relate all too well.
My husband just texted me that they will be home in 30 minutes. That’s just enough time to make the responsible choice by showering and getting ready for the day. I feel pretty good about going off-list to do something just for me, though. I hope you do something just for yourself this weekend, too.
Bedtime with a toddler and a preschooler is often a challenge, as you can probably imagine (or know from experience!). But it is MUCH easier than bedtime with an infant and a toddler, especially now that my husband and I divide and conquer. After baths have been taken and teeth are brushed, he takes Parker and I take Mia for the final steps in the bedtime routine.
Parker is almost 4 and has inherited his dad’s master negotiation skills, so actually getting him into bed and leaving the room can take up to an hour (which I secretly love, after two years of sleepless nights with babies while my husband peacefully snoozed).
Mia, on the other hand, has been a breeze ever since she learned how to sleep at 18 months old. One story, one song, a little bit of rocking, and then she asks for her crib.