Getting Out of the House With a Baby

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As first-time parents with only 10 months of experience under our belt, we are still operating under the "trial and error" method of parenting. We try hard to learn from those whom have gone before us, but really, we're just winging it most of the time. Especially when it comes to the sacred schedule of our little one.

It was a big focus for us in the first few months - training Rooney to be on a schedule, to lengthen the time between her feedings, and to get her sleeping through the night. To our surprise, it didn't take that long. We had her on a fairly predictable schedule after about 7 weeks. It's yet to be proven if we had anything to do with it at all, or if that's just how she is (probably the latter).

Regardless, we've definitely had a "schedule" mentality that has led us in nearly every decision over the past nine months. We want to be no part of throwing her off schedule. It causes crankiness, irritability and unpredictability.

However, over the past few months we have been realizing that maybe we need to lighten up a bit and let her experience life with us, instead of being on such a strict schedule.

This transition has been just as hard on us as it has been on our daughter.

Recently, we have tried to ensure that we get out of the house and "do something" every day. (By every day, I mean every weekend day that we are home as a family.) In the past, her schedule has been such that we have found it difficult to get out and do anything before having to be back home for a nap (our baby loves to 16+ hours a day).

This is where we have been pushing the limits and one day, we decided to do the unspeakable...two things in one outing! What? We went to the grocery store and then out to eat as a family, throwing all regard for our daughter's napping schedule out the window.

I'll let you in on a secret: It was awesome! We had so much fun. She super loved people watching up and down the aisles of the grocery store and had a blast sucking on some of the veggies from the salad bar when we went to eat. Never mind the umpteen pickle spears, carrots and cucumber slices I picked up off the floor after we were done - it was all worth it.

Rooney is becoming quite the explorer, and it was so much fun to watch her experience something new and exciting. When we got home, she was well overdue for a nap and we were pushing her bedtime, but she was still smiling and giggling as we gave her a bath, bottle and put her down for bed. She fell right back into her routine!

I tell you all this just to say that as new parents we have to remember not to take ourselves too seriously.

Note to self: Lighten up, live a little and get out of the house!