Friday, August 17, 2012

A Day in My Life

So I'm going to preface this by saying I know this will likely be boring.
I'm okay with that.
I actually secretly LOVE it when other people do A Day in My Life posts, because I'm voyeuristic like that.  So maybe one or two of you will be, too?  Or perhaps you will indulge me a tiny bit and read about my boring life.

Around 6 a.m. Amarys starts getting restless.  "Moe?  Moe?  MUHOWAH!" and she wrestles with my shirt from the outside while I wrestle with it from the bottom, until she finally finds what she's looking for "MUMmumumumumummm....." and we doze off for a few minutes.  But I have trouble sleeping while nursing and just want her off already so I sneak my boob back from her as soon as I think I can get away with it.

AND REPEAT.  For about 2 hours.

Finally I admit to my groggy brain that it is time to get up.  By this time I have turned down about fifteen requests to watch television or play Wii.  We have a no-screens-before-noon rule but nobody ever, EVER remembers that and they all ask me numerous times every morning.

I get up, go to the bathroom with a toddler audience, give her some toilet paper at her insistence, and wait for her to throw it in the toilet and wave goodbye.  Flush.  Brush teeth.  Protect body, hair, shirt, pyjamas, etc from grabby toddler.  Weigh myself.

Pick up toddler.  Walk to kitchen and make/drink coffee.  Thank God for the existence of coffee.  Make breakfast x 5, nobody ever wants the same thing.  Stop eating to make seconds for about half the people.  Stop making seconds to lift screaming toddler from floor to bar stool, next to her brothers.  Restart making seconds for breakfast.  Stop making seconds to lift toddler off counter onto floor, as she has crawled from barstool to countertop and I'm trying to break her of this habit, since she climbs on the counter only to throw things off it.  Like the $38 French butter dish I bought from a potter on Saltspring Island several years ago.  Or tomatoes from my fruit bowl.  Or forks.

Toddler screams and flips body onto floor.  Preschooler cries because it is taking so long for me to make breakfast seconds.
Please, no advice regarding original portions.  If I make lots, I throw it all in the garbage.
Drink from my now cold coffee, eat a bite of my now cold breakfast.  Finish breakfast seconds.  Serve.  Sit down.  Pick up whiny toddler and place on lap, get smacked for fun.

Remember to take fish oils.  Put toddler down, toddler screams and flips body onto floor.  Get up, prepare fish oil, drink it, shudder, sit down to resume eating cold breakfast.  Pick up whiny toddler.  Nurse whiny toddler for two minutes of peace.  Repeatedly remove toddler's foot from my plate while she is nursing.  Field questions regarding plans for the day (particularly screen time plans and special treat possibilities) from Matthew, listen to long drawn out description of Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that I have read over a hundred times from Ayden.  Act interested.

Get up, put down toddler, toddler walks away calmly to play.  WOOT!  Empty dishwasher, reload.  Mitigate wrestling which gets out of hand in the livingroom, admonish Matthew to get off Amarys' Winnie the Pooh ride-on car because he's too big for it and will break it, and because it makes Amarys incredibly angry when anyone rides it.  Remind Matthew that "this is an all the time rule, not a just for today rule."  Know that I may as well be blathering BlahBlahBlahBlahBlahBlabbityBlah for all the difference it will make to his behaviour.

Shower.  Tidy my bathroom from toddler entertaining herself with my bathroom items while I was in the shower.  Clean bathrooms, make beds, empty dishwasher, start laundry.  Toddler in tow.  She wants to wash her hands in bathroom, climb on dishwasher door, and push buttons on washing machine.  Also wants to be carried up and down stairs every time I go up or down stairs.

Prepare for outing.  These vary, and sometimes we don't have one.  But most days, we do something.  Go to the park, visit a friend, grocery shop, do errands, etc.  Preparing for outing means: change toddler's diaper and get her dressed.  Anyone ever dressed a resistant toddler before?  Yes?  Say no more.  No?  Consider yourself blessed.  Chasing, flailing limbs, tickling, wrestling a shirt on an upside down, wiggling little person, and attempting to remain happy and calm.  Because it's a long day and if I lose my shit now I have nowhere to go later.
Also involved in preparing for an outing: request older boys get dressed.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Yell.  Finally get accomplished.  Also, Riley needs 'help' focusing on task of getting dressed; help choosing each item, help exiting PJs, help choosing which item to put on first, etc.  He's pretty independent but he likes moral support for life skills.  =)  And also focusing.
Also involved in preparing for outing: packing.  You would think going to the grocery store could simply involve a purse.  Maybe an extra diaper.  But actually, there are water bottles and snacks, sometimes, and always negotiations over can I bring my spending money and can I bring my lego creation and my personal favorite can I bring Big Bear (a large, four feet tall, three feet wide, furry teddy bear.  In a van with four kids.  And no air conditioning.  And a broken window.  Thank you for asking the answer is NO).
There are also cloth bags to consider, my shopping list to remember, my phone, and my keys.  Then we head for the front door, with all our gear in tow.  Shoes.  Shoes.  Put on your shoes.  Where are your shoes?  Where are MY shoes?  Sit down and put on your shoes.  Tie your shoes.  Tie your brother's shoes.  Amarys, stop throwing the shoes.  Those shoes are too hot/cold/small/they are your brother's.  ZOMG just GET IN THE VAN.


Return from outing, remove shoes at front door, try not to bump anyone with your hips or bum but there are five people in a five foot by three foot entryway and it is bound to happen.  Carry toddler up the stairs as she doesn't handle transitions well and we've just come back from Outing.  She needs cuddles to help her adjust to being home.  In her own house.  Where she has lived her entire life.  *eyeroll*  But I do it.  Balance bag full of crap, garbage, kids' legos, possibly Big Bear, extra diapers, and errand detritus on arm, toddler on hip, and grab some random items sitting on stairs waiting to be transported up, for good measure.  Because if I don't move random items, they sit there for ten years, collecting other items, and attracting rodents, and nobody bats an eye.  SAVE ME.

Unpack.  Carry whining toddler.  Fend off whines for lunch or snack from older boys.  Wipe sweat from face and pine for air conditioning.  Start lunch, usually involving sandwiches or spaghetti.  Sit toddler in kitchen sink with cold water on and several measuring spoons and a scrubber to keep her busy.  Pause lunch  prep to go pee.  Bring clingy toddler.  Re-deposit her in sink upon return.  Get distracted loading dishes in dishwasher and cleaning up from breakfast.  Return to lunch prep as result of crying four year old who is SOOOOOOO HUNGWEEEEEEE!  Feed kids.  Feed self.  Interrupt lunch eating to change poopy diaper. Wash hands four times to remove feeling of contamination.  Catch glimpse of self in mirror, fix hair.  Replace toilet paper roll which is empty.  Top up soap dispenser, which is nearly empty.  Wash hands again.  Return to lunch.

Surf Facebook and Twitter and Yahoo via phone during lunch :/  I just need to mentally check out at this point!  Lol.  After lunch I clean up, attempt to nurse toddler to sleep for nap, doesn't work.  Check Flylady for daily chore.  Do it.  Mitigate fights.  Separate children to different parts of house for cool down.  Wipe sweat from face.  Nurse toddler to sleep for nap again--SUCCESS!  Set up kids with fun activity; sprinkler in backyard, board game, reading, Wii, etc.  Make bread.  Plan dinner.  Remember my former life and wonder why I wasn't massively more productive.  Switch laundry, start new load.  Go pee. Step in pee.  Clean pee off foot and floor.  Grumble about little boys.  Write blog post in my head, promptly get distracted and forget entire thing.  Hear phone ring, upstairs, while still downstairs.  Sigh.  I never get to the phone before it goes to voicemail.  NEVER.  Go upstairs, grabbing something anything from the stairs to bring up, because wonder of wonders my hands are empty, and depositing it where it belongs.  Ask kids to clean up their activity, which, unless it was Wii, they have abandoned.

Sit down with glass of water and surf internet.  Get up for crying toddler, nurse her awake.  Tend bread.  Mitigate fights.  Hand out helping jobs, ideas for activities, or yell, depending on mood.  Kiss owie on four year old.  Listen to long description of imaginary play by play from Ayden.  Refuse requests for candy or more screen time from Matthew.  Finish water.

Catch wiff of stinky.  Change poopy diaper.  Catch wiff of another stinky.  Take out garbage.  Wash hands repeatedly to fend off germs.  Ick.  Mildly consider whether I have OCD.  Pat down hair with wet hands: still hopeless.  Sigh.  Ponytail.

Go outside and play a bit.  Sprinkler, volleyball, baseball, swings, maybe.  This is not actually a daily occurrence, I just put that in there to make me sound like a better parent.  =P  I play with my kids but not as often as I used to, because now they have each other and I have a shitload of housework and cooking to do.  Usually if I have afternoon downtime, I go on the computer (like today), or I crochet.  If Brent is home, I might paint.  Or go for coffee with a friend.  Or read.  A book!  Fancy that.  Or we do another outing together.  Mostly, I don't read except for really late at night.

Make dinner.  Serve dinner.  Involve people in dinner prep as they request it.  Hassle Matthew to eat.  Hassle Ayden to sit down.  Hassle Amarys to stay off the table during dinner.  Stay cool.  Count to ten.  Try to be pleasant.

Clean up dinner.  If Brent is home, we divide and conquer: I clean, he does bedtime.  If he is working, I clean and then I do bedtime.  Bedtime starts after dinner and goes to when its done.  Usually 90 minutes to two hours of bath/showers, PJs, tooth brushing, room tidying, stories, and cuddles.  I have no idea why it takes this long, but it does.  Possibly because we have four kids.  Solo bedtimes suck.  That's when only one parent does bedtime, alone, because the other parent is not there to tag team (after I clean I usually join the bedtime bedlam, unless I'm going running or to aerobics or something).  Sigh with relief.  Admonish middle two to stay in bed.  Help Ayden settle in, mitigate nighttime fears, and fetch water.

Retrieve laundry from downstairs (Oh you thought I was done because it is 9:30 at night?  No way.).  Wash diapers, fold 2 loads of laundry, put away.  Scrub kitchen sink.  Relax with husband for an hour or two.  Go to bed.  Wrestle insomnia.  Barely sleep.  Start again tomorrow.

This is the work that is my life, right now.  Whew, it is a lot!  There is less work some days, and more on other days.  And it doesn't describe the rewards of what I do, just the work.  I really enjoy my kids (I do!), and we have lots of laughs and good times.  But I also do a shitload of work around here, and barely realize or feel like I've done anything at the end of a day.  Crazy.  Nutbar.  Wild.  Fun.

It is true that what I wanted most in life was a family.  It is not the only thing I wanted in life, but it was what I wanted most.  And I have it.  And I'm so grateful for it!  And this busy season is only a season of life.  Already, they can do more to help me, and I can take more breathers.  =)

Add in variations for exercise, sex, book club, dates with friends, summer trips, holiday celebrations, birthdays, playdates, family pizza movie nights, and etc, and you've got my life in a nutshell.  Oh yes, and I have a job.  I work.  Part time.  From my house.  Writing for a SEO company.  And I have hobbies.  I crochet, run an etsy shop, write for Mothers of Change, promote for Mothers of Change, go to La Leche League meetings, board meetings, birth rallies, read books, paint, hike, camp, run, etc, etc.

Life is short.  Stay awake for it.
(And: coffee is my friend).

The end.


Louise Chapman said...

I read it:) I would post about my day to day but I'm not funny like you so it would be reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally boring. Although, it might be fun to look back on it in 5 years or something.

Also, the Wii is so loved by our Kai Bear. He gets one hour per day (he does it instead of tv) so he only asks once and then I don't have to deal with it. But ya, the play by play on whatever he's talking about? I tune out immediately.

OH man, i hope Nya isn't as clingy as Amarys because I think I would get nothing done! And, my back would hurt.

And, doing bedtime on your own is way too hard!! I feel like supermom every time I do it (which so far with three kids has been maybe only 3 times:). Although, once basketball starts, it will be all the time.

Okay, too long. Good job super momma!

melissa said...

The cleaning and the cooking. Oh my goodness, the cleaning and cooking! I have always figured it wouldn't change much, since I already do it and will only need to make the same thing in larger amounts, but I never consider the different preferences, the second and third and fourth portions. You have given me a taste of my future and I won't lie - I'm a little intimidated. You are super woman!

Julia Mangan said...

I always enjoy reading day in the life posts! Thanks for sharing yours. :)

Helen said...

I really loved this post, thank you. It helps me to know I'm not the only one spending most of their time dealing with a clingy toddler who has to be carried up and down the stairs, and held at adult height at all times. But he's my only one, so serious respect to you for managing the other three too! Makes me feel like I must be able to manage with just the one (and, like you, part time work, a marriage to tend to and, whisper it, other interests)

Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

You have just helped me make a very important life decision: 2 kids - MAX. Haha! :) but really, you are a superhero. You are.