Who wants to read what I do every day? Nobody, probably. But everybody likes to know that they are not alone. I’ve found inspiration and comfort in Day in the Life accounts on other blogs and thought it may be fun to document and reflect on one of my days in the trenches. I hope you find a little bit of yourself in this account, and if not, then enjoy a laugh at my expense. Or at least, I’ll have documented it for posterity.
5:58 am: The five year old comes bounding onto the bed while the 1 year old simultaneously screams. Hubs comes out of the bathroom with shaving cream on face and hands. Yes, I say, I hear the baby. (How long has he been screaming?) Good morning!
6:30 am: Hubs has a meeting out of town so he leaves while it’s still dark out. He’s put on the kids’ “morning show” (20 min on Netflix) and I brush my teeth, change a couple diapers, grab myself a coffee, chat with the hubs and say goodbye.
6:40 am: Kids have cold breakfast: granola and milk for Sam and yogurt, fruit and Cheerios for the little ones.
Note about food: We are fairly predictable about breakfast and lunch (i.e. we have a few options that work and we stick with them) and it’s with dinner that I’m a little more adventurous. That way, I tell myself, if the kids don’t eat much of their dinners, at least they’ll have tried some good cuisine and have bellies full of breakfast and lunch. And snacks. So, so many snacks. But that will come up soon enough…
While there’s a lull in the action I pop some potato bread in the toaster for peanut butter.
Grace comes over to see while I’m typing. She asks about the letters on the keyboard and I think it’s pretty cool that she sees she has a mom who writes. I think I can do this blogging thing after all.
7:42 am: Here’s what my toast looks like an hour later.
8:00: After baby is down for a nap (has it been 2 hours already?) and the last of the Cheerios are swept and the last of the yogurt wiped off the table, I let myself sit down to read books, play “Lego Store” and watch Grace spin in her princess dress. These are the best moments and I need to “let” myself have them more.
8:40 am: It all goes well until a hunger meldown/argument over some toys. They can’t work it out so I confiscate the toys. Some yelling (me), more siblings scuffles, a timeout, some tears. In another minute they’ve snacked and eventually settle down to color and do play doh. Routine procedure.
I sit down to color a few superhero bad guys then straighten up (constant, constant straightening), get the baby some goldfish, wipe random things that I see, check Facebook, fill out paperwork, roll balls for play doh snowmen, toss in some laundry. We riff like this for a while. In a minute we have to start getting ready to meet some friends at the playground. We leave toys everywhere but I don’t care because we have to get going.
10:30 am: Unbelievably gorgeous fall day.
Friend brings coffee from Mickey D’s (she’s amazing) and we have one of those soul-nourishing, heart-drenching conversations that I so needed. We laugh at the kids’ antics and, together, handle sand-throwing.
It’s not the greatest outing kid-wise. There is whining, a time-out in the stroller, some wood chips in the baby’s mouth. But there are also improved manners (Sam is learning to put his hand on my shoulder and say “excuse me” while I’m talking with someone else), kids running around in nature on a perfect October day, and best of all, a friend to take it all in with. I drive away and am thankful.
12:30 pm: Lunch.
Grace decides she hates her sandwich and pushes it away dramatically, true to the two-year-old style. Fine, she doesn’t have to eat it. But when I don’t let her do play doh at the table where everyone else is eating, it’s tantrum city. I park her in her room to finish up while I eat reheated leftovers with the boys. The neighbors must think we have a madwoman locked in our attic (not too far from the truth).
Sam is a sweetheart and asks to go up and see her when he’s done eating. In a moment I can hear him reading to her and speaking gently to her. It’s moments like these I am immensely grateful for who these children are and the way that God works in them despite me and my small offerings.
I change the third diaper in twenty minutes and get them all down.
The quiet is tremendous. I do my Bible study in my room and then lay my head down on my pillow just soaking in the silence, relishing the stillness in my legs and feet. I am somewhat militant about getting everyone down for naps/quiet time at the same time. I find that when I get that refresher in the middle of the day, the rest of the day goes a lot better.
3 pm: After his quiet time, Sam has a snack and I decide to sit with him as he eats, savoring the one-on-one time with my big kid. I just look and look. I notice he needs a haircut and his cheeks are rosy, which happens when it starts to get cold out. He is pondering and telling me about the show he just watched, RescueBots. Suddenly he asks, After my snack can we play something that we don’t get to play much? I am overcome with his earnestness and I say Yes, what would you like to play? He says Trouble. We play.
In the middle I tell him I have to take a quick break to get dinner in the crockpot (Black Bean Soup, one of Andy’s favorites, and insanely easy). When that’s done we finish up the game and I win. He is a good loser, and I’m proud of him; it’s something we’ve had to work on.
When the littles get up, they snack and I get yet another load of laundry in, read a text from the hubs, sit down to write this, and straighten up just enough in the living room to keep me sane but not everything so that the kids have to take responsibility for it themselves later. Hashtag balance. Hashtag sanity. I tell them our plan to go to Target for some essentials.
4:30 pm: Still haven’t left. The afternoon has unraveled somehow in that way that the late afternoon does. We try to pick up all the toys, and Sam is super distracted. Even after we’re cleaned up, the kids can’t find a way to play together. After the 50th reprimand I decide we are not going to Target, that everyone’s behavior has been unacceptable and whiny, and fighting kids don’t go to special places. There are major tears because of this. There’s yelling too (everyone’s.) (I keep it real on this blog.)
Meanwhile Peter is writhing on the floor having epic teething struggles so I pray that we have some infant Tylenol left (naturally, that was one of the things on the Target list!). We do, mercifully. He does usually wear his amber necklace but he has trouble keeping it on at night, so Tylenol it is.
I make the executive decision that we are having “kid dinner” at 5:15 and it’s going to be leftovers. This is my plan when Hubs isn’t home for their dinnertime/the kids just can’t make it to a real family dinner. I’m relieved that dinner for the grown-ups is in the crockpot and we’ll have an uninterrupted dinner later. For now, I’m flying solo for bedtimes.
6:30 pm: Peter is in bed, the other two get dessert (brownies) and a bath. Then they choose Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss books and these are so lovely and quirky that our afternoon has been forgotten and the kids are quietly listening and cuddly as lambs. I apologize to Sam for yelling earlier that afternoon. This is a ritual I wish happened less often. But he is learning grace, too. It’s a grace to learn to forgive, I suppose. We pray, I sing them songs and they’re in bed. Grace and I do the dance for a while. She had a late nap and she’s not tired yet. But looks so tender in her pink jammies. Eventually she is down.
I wander downstairs and survey the damage. I’m exhausted, but grateful. Spaghetti on the floor and all, I wouldn’t rather have been anywhere else today. That’s how I know it was a good day.
7:40 pm: When hubs gets home we have a quiet dinner over red wine, then end the day with some 30 Rock. And he cleans up from dinner. That’s a pretty good end, I think. I think I like these folks.