My arms have been perpetually full lately. I have had tons of bloggable thoughts that have slipped through my grip as I waited for the time to set Fuss Gus down and really type some things out. But there is no time that will just happen. Gus has been passed off to Ben for the moment, and from the sound of things is not yet screaming, so here is my moment. I must blog as fast as I can, blog like the wind…
Here is a sample of how life looks like in our home right now.
On a weekday the alarm goes off on my phone on my nightstand. I hit snooze a couple of times and Molly starts begging to nurse. But Gus is still nursing, so Jay takes Molly to the bathroom, wakes the rest of the kids, and tries to convince Molly to eat some oatmeal for breakfast. I finish nursing Gus and reluctantly crawl out of bed. Very often Gus will stay asleep in bed for a few minutes. This will be the only time during the day that he will sleep without being in direct contact with a body (usually mine).
Jay works on fixing kids’ lunches and breakfasts while I seize the moment to jump in the shower, get dressed and comb my hair. I might even have enough time to brush my teeth. Sometimes Gus is up at this time and gets passed around to whoever is least busy while I shower. Then I nurse Molly while checking email on my phone, Gus is changed and nursed, potty stops are made and with much hustle and bustle, everyone is loaded into the car by 7:20.
We drop kids off at their respective schools and head home to start our day there. After getting home I nurse Gus and Molly, attach Gus to me in the sleepy wrap, try to eat breakfast and make an attempt at the laundry or other household chores. James usually handles the kitchen in the morning.
And then… and then I can’t really say what happens. That is the frustrating part of my time right now. I know I breastfeed quite a lot. Help Molly go potty, change Gus’s diaper, think about how I should switch the laundry and ohmygosh I’ll need to make dinner, what should I make? I find shoes, kick the girls out of the kitchen a few times, sometimes I even get Molly and Lily’s hair combed. In and out of the car for preschool co-op or a doctor appointment or an errand. I listen to Gus scream any time he is in the car or not in my arms. But the morning is nebulous and passes in a fog of bouncing the baby and a vague feeling like there is something I should be getting done.
The lunchtime passes and we eat a little bit too late for Molly to have an effective nap. It never fails, I can’t get lunch on the table on time, even though I haven’t been able to quantify anything (besides nursing) that I have done all morning. So I give up on the nap and put a movie or show on for the girls. In the blink of an eye it is time to load everyone in the car again and do the pick up routine. So I have to find the girls’ shoes (again) and make sure they are wearing essentials like, oh… underwear, change a diaper, make little people visit the potty and we are off and running.
Once home again, everyone is famished and needs a snack. So the kitchen is ransacked and they all scatter, lest they get asked about homework. Thankfully this means that Molly and Lily will have someone else to play with for a while. So I nurse the baby (duh!) and sort mail, finally switch the laundry, make some phone calls, ponder dinner again, and look at all the things left undone again today.
Jay gets home, the older kids get home, and the house is running now at full volume. Poor sensitive Gus begins to get overwhelmed with the commotion just as dinner prep is becoming crucial. But somehow, it gets done. Only occasionally do I give up and resort to pizza.
Then the party starts. Dinner is the best time of day. It’s loud, it’s messy, someone always hates what was made, and someone declares it their favorite, someone spills, someone drops their fork. Poop or vomit are discussed, inevitably. When dinner is over, it gets about 75% cleaned up and then it’s homework time.
Homework time is filled with Max’s protests, Lily and Molly begging to color or do workbooks, Ben trying to sneak to one of the computers to watch something on Netflix and get on Facebook, Tessa slinking off to her room – I hope she is doing homework in there, Gus fussing and needing a quiet and dark room, and either Jay or me presiding over the whole thing trying to keep things on track. Kids get shuffled into baths and showers (sometimes) and get a book (usually) and then its bedtime.
A bedtime snack is begged for, teeth get brushed, medicines and water bottles are passed out. One parent sits in the little kids room and one rocks Gus.
After all that, we are exhausted and brain dead and ready for bed ourselves.
So there you have our “typical” day. But few days are fully typical around here. Sometimes there is a meeting for one of us in the evening. Sometimes Jay’s schedule is different for the day or he is out of town. Sometimes kids need rides places in the evening or a trip to the store for emergency school supplies.
In the midst of this chaos, this post has taken me fully two days to write. Part of my purpose in writing this was to show you why I plan to post much shorter posts.
I’d like to include some acknowledgements here – of people who make these difficult days easier. I offer my sincerest thanks to:
Jay – he gets me through my days and allows me to have a crazy meltdown now and then when the frustration gets to be too much.
Lucy – she’s always available to be a grown up to touch bases with when I feel like I have been sucked into the Twilight Zone of Toddlerhood.
Meg – who brings my older kids home from school and prevents an hour of baby screaming, brings a playmate for the little girls, and is always available for an interesting and stimulating conversation.
Nana – who bails me out when the kids need a ride if I can’t get to school in time.
And last but certainly not least: James – who is another set of hands around the house whenever he can be. He knows when I am losing my mind and jumps in to help.