What do roller coasters, iPhones, and Harry Potter all have in common? In the last few weeks I've been invited to stand in line and wait for each of these things.

Our local amusement park opened a new roller coaster this season called Firehawk. In those first weeks of the season, people waited up to 6 hours to ride this ride (according to reports, the ride was broken a lot, making waits longer). Although I was invited to wait for Firehawk, I couldn't imagine spending half the day standing in line for a roller coaster.

Many of you will remember the iPhone release a few weeks ago. It was scheduled to hit stores at 6 pm on its release date. That morning my husband seriously considered standing in line to be one of the first with the new phone (he's a bit of a techno-geek -- the plan was to sell it on eBay). Although it's always fun to be part of the excitement, and I usually enjoy a day at the mall, I couldn't imagine standing in line all day to buy the latest phone.

J.K. Rowlins released the latest and final installment of her Harry Potter series at the end of July. Our local Meijer advertised they would have it on sale at midnight on it's release date. According to the news, people started standing in line the afternoon prior to ensure they got one of the first copies. I found this wait to be the most tempting, as I'm a Harry Potter fan, but I still couldn't let myself spend hours waiting for a book.

Why can't I wait for such things? Am I just that impatient? Or am I just that boring? Could be a little of both, but mostly it's just that I don't have the room in my schedule. My life is generally scheduled down to the 1/2 hour because I keep the boys on a pretty tight schedule. We eat breakfast, lunch, and usually dinner at the same time every day. They nap and go to bed at the same time every day.

Here is a copy of our current schedule:

Living in a schedule has been helpful for so many reasons:
  • the kids have become used to our routine and know what to expect and when to expect it.
  • grandparents and babysitters know what the kids need and when they need it.
  • we know within a day when one of the kids is sick, because they suddenly stop acting within their schedule.
  • we have more flexibility. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out on this. With the kids being so young, if we waited until they told us they were hungry or sleepy, we'd never know when we could go out to eat or go see a movie. Because I have a schedule, I know that I can plan dinner with friends next Thursday at 6:30, and the kids will be ready to eat. I know that I can schedule a doctor's appointment for next month at 10:30 and Azlan will have just enough time before his next feeding. Having a schedule actually gives me more freedom.
The trick with a schedule is establishment -- deciding what needs to be in your schedule and what order things need to be done. For both boys, we used Gary Ezzo's "Let the Children Come Along the Infant Way" to determine our schedule. We started establishing the schedule the first day we came home from the hospital, feeding our little newborns on an appropriate schedule. It didn't always go great (there was some crying involved from both the children and the parents), but within 12 weeks they learned the schedule they'll follow for the next few years. Both boys are now great sleepers and eaters, and are generally pleasant to be around (Patriot is 2 1/2 . . .), greatly due to the consistency they enjoy daily.

As a side note, I rode Firehawk last week after waiting only 45 minutes. There were plenty of iPhone manufactured and the stores even had some left after the release-day rush. And, I've been enjoying my sister's copy of "Harry Potter," which she loaned me when she finished it. I believe it's true: Patience is a virtue.
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