Time for another day in the life. I don’t know about you, but I have given myself some media fatigue recently. From Mizzou to Beirut to Paris I lament, and I could just soak up All the Articles, all the blog posts… but I do have to cut myself off at some point and just be. Be faithful to my calling right where I am, which is the calling of disciple-making. Be present and treasure the small miracle of a day with my children, their eyes, their ten fingers, their voices calling Mommy. Little as they are, they are followers of Him and learning how to live in this beautiful but deeply troubling world. And hopefully, if I do it right, they will be the ones living out compassion and justice tomorrow.
6:33 am: I wake up to two five-year-old feet in my face and a two year old peering over at us from the side of the bed. “I want to be next to Mommyyyyy” she says, so I put her in the only place on the bed where she can be touching me: on top of me. They continue to bicker and wake up the baby, who I then nurse (read: we doze) for a good forty minutes.
7:12: Hubs has breakfast under control. He’s made oatmeal and homemade yogurt and is, needless to say, especially cute this morning. “What’s the matter?” he says to me, which means I must look like night of the living dead. But then he hands me a cup of coffee with milk in it. Good job, Hubs.
7:40: After coffee and half a bagel I still cannot wake up for the life of me so I find Ben Harper on Spotify and absentmindedly mumble to the kids that we are listening to “mellow music.”
“No, mellow.” But I can see how that’s confusing.
“Waiting on an Angel” is an invite to hold my daughter and sway in the kitchen while wearing my robe. So I do. I need to listen to Ben Harper more often.
For a brief part in the morning the kids are happy, playing together, minimally bickering, and I sit on the couch and watch them. Tuesdays and Thursdays are off days for Sam’s preschool, so they’re often days to make doctor and dentist appointments and set up playdates. But I relish the mornings when we don’t have to rush three little ones out the door. Plus the slow-coming cold of November is like permission to stay in and get cozy.
The kids pile into our ottoman cover and Sam announces they’ve made a “battle boat.” Hubs kisses each of them goodbye and we discuss politics as he takes the trash on his way out. It’s a good day for marriage.
9: With breakfast cleaned up, the baby down, Sam playing Legos, and Grace reading in her room, I decide to take a shower. I love love love my night shower (it deserves its own post someday) but with being in my robe till 9 and having been up with the baby, it’s feeling like a two-shower day.
Grace comes in while I’m getting in the shower.
“Can I watch you?” she says, which is only not a creepy question when you’re two.
I say sure and close the curtain anyway. When we are finally both fully dressed, we cuddle and read in her room for a little while. Until I feel the pangs of hanger. As in, I am suddenly very hungry and we are all at risk. After a couple books I reheat an egg casserole. Everyone has a snack and when I finish mine I do a good-enough French braid in Grace’s hair then sit and do more reading to the kids while they eat.
10:45: Once Peter is up we spend the rest of the late morning putting upstairs laundry away, dusting in the master, kids piled up in Grace’s big girl bed, drawing, dancing. This is pretty much what unstructured time in our house looks like. I move in and out of doing housework, changing diapers, negotiating conflict and sitting down to focused kid time. I don’t know what people are talking about when they call being at home monotonous. I feel like there are always a million different things that need doing. Or maybe I am just an expert in finding the drama in stuff. And comedy I suppose.
12 noon: Lunch. Uneventful, but it’s after lunch that things go down. I’m sitting there cutting oranges for the little ones when Sam rushes to the bathroom then calls, “I didn’t make it.” So I leave Peter there strapped into his seat and he and Grace with only liquids so nobody chokes while I’m gone. I take care of that and when I come back down I see this:
Peter screams at me from his chair while Grace and I wipe up. As I’m getting out the steam mop, Grace tells me she pooped.
This, this is what parents of three kids are talking about when they say that three kids is game-changer. Especially three kids five and under, all raging narcissists, barely in control of bodily functions, and needing everything at the very same time. Cheers!!
1:30: I get them all into naps and quiet time, then crawl under the covers myself. After a little journaling and Bibling and soaking in the silence, I sink into a half hour nap. Then Sam’s quiet time is over just in time for Peter to wake up screaming with a dirty diaper and his too-short nap.
2:15: Grace is in a horrendous mood when she wake up. I get her out of it by singing “It’s grape time” to the tune of “Mack the Knife.” (I don’t know.) It works though and soon all the kids are snacking around the table.
Plans to see friends fall through which is just as well, as I don’t feel like changing out of my fleece yoga pants anyway. So we do some hanging out and cleaning up. I pop some rice into the rice cooker for our dinner, four-ingredient spiced lentils.
4 pm: I whisk them outside. It’s 46 degrees and if it were just me I’d be under a blanket reading a magazine, but because I love these kids and they need to get outside, I’m out there. It’s worth it the minute we step out, if only for their completely adorable faces in their hooded winter coats.
Sam wants to stay inside and keep playing the keyboard so I stay in front of the window where he can see us. But after a bit he joins us because really, he can’t resist climbing a tree.
Forty minutes later, all rosy-cheeked and breathless, we step inside. I put the pot of lentils on to boil, wrap up housework stuff, putting diaper laundry away and generally picking up in the bedrooms, in hopes of having the evening free with Andy.
5:30: Hubs is home (yay!). He helps open the jar of sundried tomatoes (I loosened it, obvs) and I throw all the ingredients in: tomatoes, feta cheese, parsley, and some kale/arugula/swiss chard mix. We have it over brown rice. Sam actually eats his lentils but asks not to have to eat the tomatoes, which is fine. I think our stubbornness in serving not-especially-kid-friendly dinner has finally paid off with him. It only took over five years.
The kids are hyper, glad Daddy’s home, eager to show off their antics. We have to keep reinforcing table manners. We go around and say our “grateful” and “grumble” for the day.
At this point Peter is pretty much melting down due to his crappy nap, so I whisk him off to bed while everyone else helps clear the table and get dessert on. Brownies and milk, then Hubs does bedtime routine so that I can clean up and have a little brainspace. Though I end up doing the last part, tuck-you-in part, due to popular demand. You know.
Later he and I restore general order to things, spend a little time wrapping things up (this) on our devices. I’m supposed to bake something for some potluck tomorrow morning, and I may just phone it in with a mix or get a surge of energy at 9 pm. We’ll see.
Either way, hopefully we’ll end the night watching some Parenthood. Because what you do when you’ve been parenting all day is sit down and watch fictional characters do it, which is somehow not stressful and completely cathartic. Or read someone else’s Day in the Life.