Day in the Life

My life is not particularly interesting or unique at the moment, but it feels like I'm doing the right things. And possibly even the Right Thing. That is to say, I am doing the Work I am called to do, and can achieve some level of flow in carrying it out. I'm not sure I'll remember this in 10 years, so I wanted to record it somewhere.

Max woke up before 6. If he wakes up crying, I can usually coax him back to sleep. But if he stands up in his crib and starts saying "Dadadadadadadadada..." then it's no use. M got up with him and they ate breakfast together, which apparently included a lot of blueberries (I learned this later in the day and you can guess how). I got up around 6:30. I think I can sense when M has finished making the coffee. Laurel and Marko are somewhat self sufficient in the morning when it comes to getting dressed and putting their pajamas away, but we always fix them breakfast. Breakfast is a total free-for-all in our house right now...not the way I'd like it to be, but haven't figured out a way to make one breakfast that everyone can eat. Max is allergic to eggs. M and Marko love eating bacon and eggs. Laurel is basically a vegetarian and usually won't eat bacon. Marko always asks for toast but doesn't eat it. I never fix my own breakfast and just dine on rejected breakfasts. Today Marko ate a bowl of cheerios, Max ate blueberries and toast, Laurel ate two English muffins (toasted, with jam), M made some kind of egg-thing, and I drank a lot of coffee. Later in the morning I was cleaning out the fridge and I ate a cheese and pickle sandwich someone had made and packed up but apparently forgotten. It was delicious.

Marko had preschool, so I drove him there and dropped M off at the busway on the way. We had a few extra minutes, so I stopped at Target because the kids ran out of toothpaste. I stopped by my friend's house for a short visit. Her daughter is just a little younger than Max, but has a very articulate "hi," which she pairs with an enthusiastic wave. Max ate a banana there and we tried to make plans for a better hanging-out time but were thwarted by our conflicting nap schedules.

I thought Max would fall asleep in the car so I went to the car wash, but it scared him. He was still awake when I got home and so I put him down for a nap and then spent the next 45 minutes carting boxes of things-to-be-donated that were piling up in the basement onto the front porch and scheduled a pickup from the VVA. I washed the breakfast dishes and made a lunch for Marko to eat. I wiped down the pantry shelf I had just cleared out because we had peanuts in there at one point and we just found out that Max is allergic to peanuts. I listened to a podcast but kept wandering too far away from my computer to really hear it so I don't even remember which one it was. When Max woke up he ate some oatmeal and mixed vegetables and a hot dog. He seemed like he could keep going, but it was time to pick up Marko so we headed back to the car.

Today I had to babysit, so after picking up Marko we went to get our neighbor, who is 5 and also goes to preschool, but a different preschool, so picking up both of them at noon is always a rush. We sing Scout songs in the car on the way home. I stopped on the way to pick up my grocery order. It was very warm so I nixed the idea of stopping at the park on the way. Would have been fun to play but I had 2 gallons of milk in the back of the truck. (And yes, my house goes through 2 or sometimes 3 gallons of milk a week.)

When we got home, they were too excited to play...they absolutely could not focus on lunch. They kept leaving the table and I am being super strict about eating at the table because of this food allergy thing with Max. So I put their lunches away and they went upstairs to set up a tea party. Max had a graham cracker and then we danced enthusiastically to Party Rock Anthem. Well, I danced and Max did deep squats, which is his toddler version of dancing, I think. Sometimes he does some fancy footwork, but he didn't break that out today. I gave him the whole container of poker chips and he poured them all out and then stacked them up and knocked them over. We did that for a while, and then Max went down for another nap and I made the preschoolers eat their lunches. Then we built a giant train track loop, but they started fighting over the engine that has a battery in it. I let them duke it out and went to chop vegetables for dinner. When I came back they were cutting a piece of wrapping paper into ten million teeny tiny pieces with scissors. I thought about stopping them, but they were getting along so well and very focused and that's a fine motor skill.

Max woke up screaming, but quickly calmed down. I had just enough time to change Max's diaper and give him a cup of milk before getting everyone into shoes and coats and out the door to pick up the big kids....Laurel from school and our neighbor from the bus stop in front of our houses. It was pretty warm today, so we played outside for a while. By the time I have gathered everyone from school, I have 5 kids in my care so the last hour or two of the day is just about maintaining harmony. Mainly this involves slow, deep breathing on my part. I was successful in getting dinner into the crockpot earlier in the day, so I could actually really pay attention to everyone and the afternoon passed without too much chaos. My own kids always behave worse than the neighbors. They swear more, yell louder and run in the house. But today wasn't too bad and by the time the neighbor kids left, mine were ready for dinner and bed. My kids seem to really pay attention to the daylight; when the sun sets early, they go to bed. In summer, they are able to stay up later. This means we don't really do much or see people in the winter months, but I'm starting to be ok with that.

I made Sloppy Lennies, which is like a vegan version of sloppy joes. Everyone ate it, with minimal complaints - definitely not the norm. I recently made Laurel and Marko binders with a list of their morning and evening chores, and Marko picked up all of those little paper scraps he cut out earlier and Laurel ran the vacuum. I told them they could use their Kindles if they were showered and in pajamas by 6:30, and they actually did it. By 7, M was home from work and helped finish putting the kids to bed. Max was having trouble falling asleep (I actually think he was waiting for M) and Laurel and Marko like to have M read them a story (they are doing the Hobbit right now). I washed the dishes and watched some youtube videos on how to fix the derailleur on my bicycle.

And now it's 9:00pm and time for bed. Not having the jobs I used to have means not having a stack of IEPs to write or lessons to plan after I get the kids in bed. And how blissful it is without the steady stream of text/email/phone replies on my to-do list. I definitely do not miss that life. My email inbox can actually be ignored for days at a time without calamity. I volunteer with the Girl Scouts right now and there's a few things I need to do for that, but I can do them tomorrow. Today was a pretty good day...I made some cash babysitting, played with kids, cooked a nutritious and affordable meal, got some fresh air, and have somehow convinced a 7 year old that vacuuming the house is a privilege.