20 Months: A Day in the Life

Graham is 20 months old today, and today – twice – when people asked how old Graham is now, I responded, “Almost 2.”

In which they both replied something to the tune of, “Time for a second kid!” Hold your horses, people. Plenty of other people’s babies to go around. Although all those babies do take a toll on my fuzzy almost-2-year-old memory of what having a newborn was like… but that’s a different post for a different day.

Life with my favorite 20-month-old, how do I sum it up? Yes, at times it’s trying, but honestly? I find my front row seat to this display of early childhood development completely fascinating. Graham tries really hard all of the time. There’s no ‘lazy’ in toddlers – just mastery. From motor skills to language comprehension to emotional IQ, he is working that little noggin something fierce.

This is probably the primary reason why our days have become so scheduled. So routine. The day brings enough uncertainty of its own that being able to count on a fairly general, reliable progression of events brings comfort – to all of us, really.

I thought you’d like to see what it would be like to be a fly on our wall on any given day. :)

6:30 am: First peep. Graham’s usually happy to chatter to his animals (giving me the treat of hearing, “Hi, Diddy…” and “Cow!” over the monitor) and give me some time to finish getting ready and getting the car packed.

7:00 am: Go time. I walk into Graham’s room and hear him say, “Hiii.” We talk about his friends (crib friends: Baby, Kitty, Doggie, Elmo… his crew) and I rub his back a little. Eventually I go get clothes from his closet, and we decide it’s time to get up. Diaper change, get dressed down to the shoes, and walk across the hall to spike his hair. He helps rub in the pomade and then takes a comb to comb it through. We also make a lame attempt at brushing teeth.

7:15 – 7:45 am: Commute. Graham munches on a cup of Cheerios while we switch off between his radio and my radio. We wave and say, “Hi!” to people we [don’t know but] see on our way.

7:45 am: School drop off. Graham washes hands upon entering the room and then sits down for a small snack, which one of the other kids almost always tries to gank from him.

School schedule….

8:00 am: Free playtime

9:00 am: Morning snack

9:30/45 am: Outside time

10:15 am: Art or Sensory (read: Dirt, sand, rice or water) time

10:45 am: Circle time for a book or song, then free playtime until

11:30 am: Lunch

12:00 – 3:00 pm: Nap/quiet time, which Graham usually sleeps 1.5 – 2 hours then reads a book on his cot

3:00 pm: Afternoon snack

3:30 pm: Book

4:00 pm: Outside time

4:30 pm: Free play

5:15 pm: Pick-up. I arrive and Graham shrieks and runs in place, then shoots off to show me something REALLY COOL OMG YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOM!!!!! (AND THIS… AND THIS… AND THIS… AND THIS…) I chase Graham around the room then eventually pick him up to leave, and am generally able to redirect the tears of frustration at having to leave by saying, “Bye-bye, friends, see you tomorrow.” So we wave and blow kisses and ‘bye-bye’ our way out of the room.

5:30ish pm: Commute home. Graham drains a cup of water, because I think he forgets to stop to take drinks all day long. Then we sing songs if he’s bored or I listen to the radio if he just needs to stare out the window. When we sing, he makes the motions for Itsy Bitsy Spider (some of them, anyway), sings “E-I-E-I-E-I-E-I…” during Old MacDonald and does the motions for “Head & Shoulders” and “If you’re happy and you know it.” Sometimes if we’re really not in the singing mood, we stave off boredom by pretending to sneeze (which is hi-larious in his book) or by growling at each other. Oh… and I almost always have to reach back and help take his socks and shoes off at some point during the ride too.

5:45 pm: Arrive home. Andy usually has dinner in-progress. We catch up from the day. Graham does his chores, which consist of helping one of us get the mail and feeding the dog. (We don’t make him do these, obviously, but he delights in the tasks.)

6:00 pm: Dinner time. We’re getting really pretty good at serving Graham whatever it is we’re eating for dinner. It’s not always easy, but I’d say he eats what we eat about 80% of the time.

6:30 pm: One parent takes Graham up to the playroom while one stays downstairs and does dishes. Graham usually asks for “Ba-Gabba?” which translates to “Yo Gabba Gabba?” – asking to see the only television show he remotely pays attention to. He’s usually so spent by this time that he’s happy to get a paci and a blankie and sit on his very own red stuffed toddler easy-chair and watch the colorful watchamacallits dance around and sing.

6:45 pm: Wind down for bed. Change into PJs, pick out which books we want to read, pick which friends we want to read with, and settle into the nursery glider.

7:00 pm: Lights out. Graham always balks a bit when he realizes the reading portion of the evening is over – always asking for “More?!?” but we talk about his day and watch the mobile projection above his crib swirl around. He points out the shapes, “Stah, Moon, COW!!!!” (Quite frankly, everything is a cow right now, because he l-o-v-e-s saying his newest word.) And then he gets tucked into bed for the night. Usually after either Andy or I sneak out of the room, we hear a muffled, “Cow! Cow! COWWW!!!!” coming from behind the closed door. But eventually – silence.

And that is it. The weekends are obviously a bit more freestyle, especially after his nap, but these are generally how his little days go. Like I said – giving 100% all. the. time. No wonder these kids need naps!!


  1. How do I teach Charlie to just hang out in his crib when he wakes up? The kid screams out bloody murder as soon as he wakes up….maybe because he’s starving which brings me to my all time hardest question, how do I teach him to eat like G??? Seriously, I loved this post :)

  2. Grandma Sue says:

    You are so perceptive for a first time mother. It took me years to figure out a lot of it. One thing is for sure, kids love routine. It’s definitely a form of security, and they learn so much from their everyday routine experiences.

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