Between 7 and 8 (it's not clockwork around here) I wake up and get my 1st grader's lunch (we'll call her Loves) put together and breakfast for all fixed. At eight, if she's not awake yet, I wake her up to get dressed and eat breakfast. If she wakes up on her own she goes straight to the computer to play her new found delight-- video games (she has been loving playing one similar to Super Mario Brothers called SuperTux). My husband, an avid video gamer in his day, is ecstatic that she is showing interest in playing. We don't have a gaming system yet (Christmas is coming up), so she plays with the arrow keys and space bar (that is devotion!!)
In the fall, I pack up the kids into a used turqouise bike trailer and walk the mile to school with a couple of ladies in my neighborhood and their kids. Now that the temperature has dropped and winter is upon us, my daughter happily gets a ride with her Daddy in The Barricuda (he owns a 1967 dusty red barricuda passed down from his Dad).
Loves is off by 8:30 a.m. So it's me, the tiger and the chickpea (age 4 and 13 months). Tiger eats her breakfast and I try to sit down and eat with her. On Mondays and Wednesdays, unless we are sick or just don't feel like it, we do a joy school/preschool where we get together with my dear friend at 9:30 am for an hour and a half and learn a letter and play. Mondays we go to her house, Wednesdays she comes to ours. It is very loose and we both have the rule that if one is maxed out and doesn't feel like it, we can cancel even 5 minutes before-- I LOVE those kind of arrangements... I am not a schedule-lover. Having said that, I do try to make sure Chickpea get his nap around 11:30 am (which has changed just recently from 10:30 based on him being more active).
I usually put on a show or get out playdough for Tiger while I'm putting Chickpea down for a nap. He still breastfeeds, so I lay down with him til he's asleep-- usually only about 5-10 minutes. Then I get up or Tiger wakes me up if I've drifted off for a quick cat nap) and I start on lunch. We usually have leftovers or sandwiches (egg salad, tuna or pb & honey/jam), sometimes we'll have potatoes with baked beans or soup. It's nice to sit down and have lunch together-- it reminds me of when it was just Loves and me and we would have an hour long lunch just munching and talking. I have to get myself to relax with Tiger and not jump up and do housework, because she needs that time with me. Most days we'll try to read a scripture and a story from the Friend magazine (a religious magazine for kids).
After lunch Chickpea wakes up and I try to tidy up, get a few things done that are in need. My days are a mixed bag. Sometimes we'll have friends over for lunch and the afternoon, sometimes we'll get stuff done.,.. I am more on a daily schedule-ish once my babies are older. Right now Chickpea still takes multiple naps (3 naps each an hour long) because he is not sleeping well at night because he's getting in his molars, so we're constantly adjusting to that. Amidst the afternoon mayhem, Tiger plays with friends if they're over, if not she putters around lining toys up on ledges, tables, any flat surface and saying hilarious chatterings as she plays, or draws intricate drawings of swirls, stairs and hotdogs. SHe loves to play playdough where she makes cookies and bird nests. She would love it if I would let her take a bath 24/7, but it seems like too much hassle, so I usually don't. Bath days are Tuesdays and Saturdays with an occasional Thursday thrown in. (During the week it's in the evenings and then Saturday mornings)
At around 2:50 p.m. I announce "We gotta go pick up 'Loves'" We leave at 3 p.m. ish to get Loves from school. We drive. Most days Chickpea falls asleep on the way, about twice a week Tiger does too (she has not been a consistent napper since age 2 1/2). Loves doesn't get out til 3:25 but if we don't leave early we won't get a parking spot. Then I read while we wait or, with both of the kids seat-belted in-- zonk out for a "power nap" much, I'm sure, to other moms' amusement as they pass by my car to pick up their kids.
When the bell rings I get out of the car and when I spot Loves she starts to run to me. I run to her and we chatter all the way back to the car and home as to what she did at recess, did she eat all her lunch?, who she played with. My heart pangs when I think of her having all these experiences without me there to enjoy them with her. She is such a sweet girl and I miss her in our home during the day.
We're home to do homework straight away so we can enjoy the evening. It's really just reading practice most days. Mondays she gets a packet of 3 worksheets and a reading record sheet to work on during the week. We finish the worksheets that day so we can be done with them and all she has to do is 1 reading practice sheet each day and general reading the rest of the week.
Time quickly tumbles from here. The girls play, watch shows, fight, giggle...the usual. Around 4:30pm I wash the dishes and clean up messes in the kitchen to prep for dinner. I make dinner - we've been eating a lot of taco-ish stuff lately ... taco salads, taco soup (chili), taco cheesecake-- no, not really...I'm kind of in a rut right now-- If not a variation of tacos, we have homemade fish sticks and fries or some dish made with pureed canned tomatoes-- ie. pasta with marinara sauce, tomato soup, beef stew, etc...L gets home between 5:30 and 6-- usually closer to 6. We eat. (I don't always have dinner right on the table, mind you, but it's nice when I do)
The evenings are varied.
Monday nights we have a family night where it's just us doing fun activities together and taking time to discuss things that are important to our family. I CRAVE this time-- it lifts all of us. Monday nights always include a treat-- usually a run to Pace's Dairy Ann-- a local mom & pop burger stop that has 45 cent ice cream cones... so sweet. I am a complete believer in ice cream-- it heals the world.
Tuesdays are bath nights. It's an event in our house and there's a lot of water splashing and wet bodies screaming in glee running through the house. To be completely honest, I kind of dread bathing my children, but I know they LOVE it.
I am trying to not get so uptight in the evenings. I used to feel so frazzled in the evenings with little ones who needed my love and attention and discipline and milk, I felt like all I had to give was gone by 7 p.m. I've become a lot more relaxed being a mother of three -- I've had to to survive. I am now trying to enjoy the precious time I have with Loves. She still craves playing with friends so many afternoons/evenings we have a friend from the neighborhood or cousins come play. But when it's just us, I'm trying to relax and just be present...
Having said that, Thursdays hit and I usually have reached my limit... L is gone Tuesday nights volunteering with our church youth group and once the girls are in bed on Wednesdays he plays in a band, so Thursday comes and I am ready for some time on my own, not at home. Most of the time it means a run to Barnes and Noble bookstore to read for an hour or so. Sometimes its a girls night with a friend or friends in my neighborhood. Whatever it is, it rejuvenates me-- gets me back in the game-- ready to fire it up for the weekend.
Aah-- I feel a literal sigh of relief thinking of the weekends. I still LOVE Fridays. It means laid back mornings, pancake breakfasts, having Loves & L both there all day long for two straight days, the girls playing together and chickpea happily crawling around - loving the buzz of everyone, church and feeling some peace and some quiet or not but knowing someday I will, and long visits with family - we go to my parents then his every Sunday evening. I still live for the weekends. They motivate me. They help me remember on the hard days why I do what I do. By Monday we live in a literal tornado because of the whirlwind of weekends.. but it IS worth it. It IS.
There it is.... What I do...beedoobeedoo