Not really. The truth is, those clouds have helped it not feel so. Until today.
The first few days after implementing our clouds routine, I deliberately referenced the clouds for Monkey... and a little for myself, maybe ;) Because I kept much of the sections of our day consistent with our pre-cloud routines, there was very little adjustment for Monkey. The weeks following were beautiful. In fact, so much so that I found myself getting much more done around the house, and spending much less time on the internet, via my phone or the desktop (Does my blogging seem affected? No? Yeah, I wasn't doing very well to begin with, now was I?).
Then we went to Wyoming for a family reunion. The trip destroyed the clouds. Everything from driving for two days straight (Movies and stickers all day? Sure!) to simply being surrounded by new places and traveling with grandparents and aunt and cousins for four out of the six days we were gone. Recovery since then has been slow. We have been mostly getting back into our cloud habits, and therefore were recovering well. The first few days back we did skip playdates and occasionally some chores have floated into the afternoon, but moods were leveling back out. In fact, the computer was never even turned back on for almost a week upon return.
But today. My harsh reminder...
Today we decided to take the Puppy to the dog park. Of course, our outings are normally in the afternoon, but shade is essentially non-existent at this dog park and the temperatures have hit the 100-110 degree range every afternoon lately so we went this morning. Our friends joined us just to get out though they have no dog and we had a
Queen of Chaos and friend talked. The Puppy ran. Monkey and friend (let's call him Dude*) threw rocks in the pond. Queen of Chaos and friend and Monkey, but not Dude, bathed Puppy. Puppy on leash, Monkey and Dude play at playscape. Everybody (especially we mommas) hot; pack up and leave. Stop at store to get Dude some bubbles. Somewhere along the way, we all decide to just head back to our house and let the kids eat and play. We've been friends with these guys for about 3-1/2 years, totally normal to spend all day together.
Melting Monkey. Feed Monkey. Better Monkey. Melting Monkey. It's OK, thinks Queen of Chaos (functioning, by my own fault, on about 4 hours of sleep), Monkey will recover. Dude and Monkey like to push each other's buttons (they act like siblings at times, but they never get physical), this is normal. Monkey recovers. Ok, playdate continues. Melting Monkey. Melting Monkey. Waiting for recovery. None. Monkey hiding under kitchen table. Monkey officially completed melted when hand gets accidentally mini-squished.
Take Dude and mom home. Return home. Exhausted, but rapidly re-solidifying Monkey.
Lesson of the Day: Stick to the clouds. It's working. Don't do all-day playdates. (And watch the clock at night, you can't make good parenting decisions on four hours of sleep.)
Here's what brought the lesson home - The first thing Monkey did was curl up on the couch with her quilt all by herself. Eventually she wanted me to read to her, but even before some together rest time, she just wanted peace and quiet to herself.
So, I'm feeling pretty bad all the way around about the way that worked. Feeling bad I neglected her need for quiet and didn't respond her meltdowns with understanding of the underlying issue. Feeling bad that Dude had to deal with Moody Monkey, and feeling bad for friend who also dealt with all that.
But sometimes, things change, and we learn the hard way. Although maybe last summer Monkey and Dude could spend all day together with little issue, I can't press that on to Monkey this year. Clearly she needs her quiet time these days. I apologized to her, and she also told me she would try using her words next time to let me know she needed sleep/quiet/etc. Hugs and kisses all around make a mommy feel much better :)
So, back to the routine. And happy for it.
*Dude is the actual name Monkey used to call this friend when they were about 12-18 months old, since she couldn't remotely seem to pronounce his name. She eventually started trying his real name, and eventually got the hang of it, but the nickname Dude still shows up occasionally. I've made it clear, I think, that we spend a lot of time with this friend, so it is definitely worthwhile to give him his own blog name!