Friday, April 14, 2017.
I am a youthful 35 years old, Dan is an elderly 36, Gus is 7, Louie is 5, and Olive is 2! Today is Good Friday, so Gus is off school and Olive and Louie are both home with me, per usual, because Fridays are my days off.
Dan kisses me goodbye at 5:15 am as he heads to work. He is crazytown and I envy his morning-person ambition.
At 5:50 I hear Olive awake on the monitor yelling for me, and know that any time after 5:30 means she's up for the day, so I brace myself for the harsh reality of the morning. I read in bed way too late last night and am regretting my choices this morning. Why is it that I forget how much I love sleep until morning?
I go upstairs quietly to retrieve my screechy child, hoping not to wake the boys in the process. (Old squeaky doors/stairs/hardwood means we've got white noise blaring in every bedroom all night long.)
She requests puzzles and I suggest Doc McStuffins instead, which she complies with. I get her a cup of milk, turn on Hulu, prop up some pillows in our bed, cover her with her yellow blankie, per request, and climb back into bed and snuggle up next to her. She loudly and somewhat violently objects to my eyes being closed and I tell her to pipe down and watch her TV. (We are both peaches in the morning!)
I snooze while she cartoons it up.
Gus is up shortly after this all occurs and comes into my bedroom and lounges with us for a few minutes, then announces he was going to go watch some sort of Ninjago something in the basement family room, somehow I convince Olive to go downstairs with him and I am able to get a little bit more of legit sleep. (Feeling a little bit guilty about disclosing the true extend of my laziness to the world here.)
At 6:30 she is back in my room bugging me about doing puzzles again. From the bed I implore her to go find some babies and tuck them in the doll bed in the corner of my room. I suggest that maybe her babies need some breakfast, and this sends her off on a mission to get her baby all propped up in the doll high chair. She plays sweetly in my room with her babies for about ten more minutes, at which point I finally drag myself out of bed. I have vivid memories of my own mother being equally hard to get going in the mornings when we were kids, life is sweet and strange and funny isn't it?
Olive and I let out the dog and go check on the boys in the basement. Mornings without school involve plenty of screen time in this household and I have no shame there. The boys know they aren't allowed video games or tablets though until 8:00 am, our little rule to encourage them to TRY TO SLEEP IN FOR GOODNESS SAKES on days that they are able.
I sit on the couch with them downstairs for a few minutes and get a chance to see the ridiculousness of what they're watching... some sort of strange You-Tube ish something on Amazon Prime where they're watching people play Ninjago tablet games or watching sets being built, lots of very details descriptions of specific mini-figures. Kids are ridiculous.
We head upstairs to start breakfast (and coffee!).
I ask Gus to let Bella in and he runs in yelling, "Hace Frio!"
I agree. I promptly turn up the thermostat and put some warm socks on. Spring is weird, one day I'm turning up the thermostat, the next opening windows.
The kids want Captain Crunch for breakfast... we bought it recently as a treat and they are OBSESSED and want bowls of it essentially throughout the day at random times. It's gone when it's gone kids. (Also have very fond memories of a similar sugar cereal obsession as a child, and if I didn't eat it every day from the day it was purchased, I risked getting none of it, my brothers were animals with the sugar cereal. No decorum or etiquette whatsoever.
I make eggs for Olive and I (she gets about three different breakfasts on weekends/days off, whatever I'm eating, whatever Dan's eating, and whatever the boys are getting.)
Finally... coffee. 1st cup. Olive relocates with me to dining room once our breakfast is pulled together. The boys, per usual, eat breakfast at the little counter/island thing in our kitchen.
I check social media on my phone, read Lisa's Day in the Life post, and then text with my brother Ben about doing something today. He is off work for the holiday, and they may go to the zoo, the big one 40 minutes away. That sounds like a lot to take on, but I say we're in, if that's what they're doing we will join. It's so hard lately to get our schedules to work to hang out with him and Michelle and their boys. They're worried about the weather though, and that's an awful long way to drive if it's going to rain at noon, so we decide on meeting at a pretty cool park in a nearby suburb. A much simpler outing for our morning.
After breakfast I go about tidying up the kitchen and making the bed. I help Olive find her "tablet" so she can be like her brothers (just a weird toy that looks like an ipad but is just a flat thing with a bunch of buttons that play music and make noise).
I make another cup of coffee and notice my sneaky toddler carrying her breakfast plate still full of toast and strawberries (she ate the eggs at least) into the living room. Ignore this little incident of rule-breaking because I'm being productive and unloading the dishwasher and have no desire to mess with a toddler on a mission. Sure enough, three minutes later I hear screaming from the living room. The dog had swiped her toast from the coffee table. I scold her and she drops the toast and runs under the table, and I rip off the part of the toast that had been in the dog's mouth and give the other piece back to Olive. Terrible I know.
Then I basically reward the dog for her opportunistic naughtiness by tossing her the toast she had gummed up.
Olive is now running back and forth manically between the kitchen and living room yelling "No! No! No!" to the dog, and then laughing, "I'm running! I'm running!"
I go brush my teeth, wash my face, and get dressed. Olive brushes her teeth and plays in sink with a cup and a straw she found in a basket in the kitchen. Boys are still on tablets and will be kicked off soon...
I turn on Pandora while I take a curling iron to my messy hair (I showered last night before bed but didn't wash my hair.)
The Justin Timberlake song that everyone in the world outside of our household is sick of comes on (Sunshine in my Pocket, or whatever) and Gus, Olive and I have an impromptu dance party. Louie cannot be bothered to participate.
Continue getting ready. Olive is a bit hyper from the dance party and switches from playing in the sink to jumping on our bed while I finish up.
I go down to the basement and pick out clothes for the kids to wear from the laundry baskets where we store all their clothes. (Not really, but seriously. Very rarely drag their clothes up two flights of stairs to put away.)
Olive is playing with babies, I tell the boys video games are done and it's time to get dressed. They grumble but comply and both go up to their room to get dressed (and to look for some specific Lego guy somewhere). Olive also gets dressed. Or at least she tries... so hard she tries. "I do it!"
Louie and Gus come down from their rooms yelling about showing me a super secret special surprise! Louie lost a tooth in the middle of the night! I knew this, because he was yelling for Dan at 3 am and Dan told me about the tooth. So exciting! Tooth number 3 for this kid. (I am writing this one week later and the tooth fairy has still not come, first she had no cash so she did not remind Louie to put the tooth under his pillow, then we all forgot about the tooth in a bowl in the kitchen for a week, then last night when Louie remembered, the tooth fairy forgot. So. Magical.)
The boys play Legos for a bit and are showing me the house Gus made that he plans on submitting to the Science Museum for their builder competition. (Ha, we went to the Science Museum yesterday and saw all these kids' displays from some competition and he came home on a mission. Now we have this Lego house thing that we are to keep intact until Gus can "bring it to the Science Museum." Okay.)
There's some arguing over some unwanted additions Louie keeps trying to make to the display.
I told Ben we'd leave at 9:30 and it's getting to that time, so I'm running around pulling together water bottles and snacks and wipes and extra diapers and sweatshirts. Phew. So exhausting. There is much arguing over nonsense while we're trying to get out of the house, a lot of frustrating meanness between the boys, then hurt feelings and anger, over certain swords specific Lego guys should be carrying... it's so hard to listen to or care about, but I keep being brought into it. I lose my cool maybe once or twice.
The school Gala is in two weeks, we have 20 silent auction baskets spilling all over our breezeway.
Friday is trash day, I pull in the empty bins from the end of the driveway.
We finally get everyone to the car and then there is actually peace in the car for the 15 minutes it takes to drive to the park.
It is quite a bit colder than I thought it was when the sun is behind the clouds, I wish I had worn real shoes and pants instead of Toms with a hole in one toe and capri leggings.
Ben and Michelle and the kids pull up just a few minutes after we've all unloaded.
Lots of park fun, lovely to be there with Ben and Michelle and get to catch up with grown-ups a bit in a place where kids have room to run and be loud and be kids. Michelle is doing Whole 30, we talk a lot about that. I've been intrigued about trying it, and all the food she's making sounds great, but also she has had to make her own meals and bring them along anytime she is invited to someone's house for dinner. Also if I'm going to eat salad that much I need it to have cheese on it. And NO beer or wine of any kind? No. Why? Just no. I am perfectly fine with my 50% or less clean-eating lifestyle.
We stay until about 11:30 until I can stand the cold no longer. (The kids are not phased by it AT ALL.) Also it is starting to rain, and I am hungry.
The kids talk about chores on the way home, Gus wants to start doing chores and earn some money. I suggest they start with the dog poop in the back yard and they act like I'm a crazy person. Absolutely not. They will do anything else but that. Good Lord.
We pass by Dunkin Donuts and Olive starts ranting and raving about donuts and it being her birthday (?) and she is SO ANGRY I am not stopping for donuts. I literally have NEVER stopped for donuts. I don't understand what is going on.
We pull into the garage and an epic tantrum over donuts commences as we try to make our way in the house. She is so mad we are home and not somewhere else eating donuts. Super frustrating because it just makes no sense! She also won't take her shoes or coat off, which, whatever, but is equally perplexing. I smooth things over by offering her some raisins.
We get settled and I make lunch while the boys play Legos in the basement. Olive plays at my feet with a truck.
I notice that Olive is wearing a BFF necklace that Gus found at the park, definitely did not realize he brought that home with him.
Everyone has something a little different for lunch. Louie gets toast and summer sausage with his grapes and carrots, because he won't eat peanut butter and jelly, which is what Olive and Gus are eating. Gus also wants a yogurt. I heat up a bunch of leftovers for myself.
The quinoa enchilada casserole looks very unappetizing... promise it's good.
Lunch is chaotic, lots of naughtiness. Get me out of here. Olive at one point is wandering around with a toy basket on her head. So much potty talk and incessant giggling. Help.
I don't feel good about this but things devolve into yelling. I start cleaning up and then have to endure another tantrum by Olive because I got rid of her plate that she wasn't eating. (This happens almost every day, when will I learn? Or on the other hand, when will she learn?) While I'm doing dishes Louie starts asking for more summer sausage. Because lunch was 5 whole minutes ago and now he's hungry again!
Things calm a bit, I take some deep breaths and think about my goals with this whole parenting thing and yelling and being on edge just because my kids are hyper and not listening is not really one of them.
Gus walks in the room with the big tub of play-doh. Ugh. More deep breaths.
I tell the kids yes, they can play with play-doh, but they need to clean up the kitchen table before taking it out. Lunch dishes need to be completely cleared, the table full of random artwork and flyers and Lego pieces and baby doll socks has to be cleaned off. Gus can tell I'm frustrated and tired and wants to please me. I can see the shift in his attitude, it's like a light bulb went off in his head. Now where did that come from and how do I get that attitude shift to happen when we're all sitting around the table together eating a meal?
Gus cleans up and gets the play-doh all out on the table, and then helps Olive get set up to play.
Finally some peace. It's 12:30 at this point (wow, that was one chaotic hour!) and I finish doing dishes and sweep the floor while they play. Olive is up and down from the table, going from thing to thing, as toddlers do. She make me laugh when she walks into the kitchen wearing the BFF necklace from the park, one of each of the boys shoes, and Louie's huge backpack.
The kids play with play-doh amazingly for over 30 minutes and then when they're done, with no prompting from me whatsoever, they put it all away and cleanup the table completely! Gus even goes and gets the trash can and brings it to the table so they can throw away little scraps. I am flabbergasted and impressed and so happy. I lounge on the couch for a whole 10 minutes while this is happening and no one needs me or argues or whines for anything.
Time for Olive's nap. I grab her a cup of milk and find her blanket and we head upstairs. The boys are digging around in the toy closet upstairs for some superhero stuff so I help them get that out and carry the big tub downstairs for them. Then it's off to Olive's room for snuggles and sleep. We still rock her to sleep, which I'm sure contributes to her waking at night, but I love it and she's my last baby and I've done this with all of them, I know they grow out of it and become very capable, independent sleepers, and I will surely miss it. Sorry, not sorry.
Gus and Louie are playing peacefully when I come downstairs ten minutes later. My brain is a swirl of multiple to do lists, so I decide to sit down and get them on paper. I make a list of stuff I need for Easter and note that we need to make a Costco run asap. I want to start thinking about dinner (because I have no idea what I'm going to make tonight and should probably take out some sort of frozen meat), but I'm so tired.
The boys are already asking for video games (what they usually do in the afternoons when Olive naps), but they got too much screen time this morning and I suggest they do art or something for a while. They get the colored pencils and paper out of the cupboard and are drawing at the table. I grab an apple and crawl into bed with my book. I am so beat. Must be the 5 hours of sleep I got last night. Dan and I worked out at 9:00, then I worked until almost 11:00, still had to shower, and then messed around on my phone for over an hour and had a big glass of wine. Dumb.
I realize I'm dozing rather than reading when the boys come in the room and ask if they can please play the Wii U. I am vulnerable and sleepy and agree, and then end up taking a 40 minute nap. I NEVER nap, this is unheard of. Before doing so I set my alarm so I don't sleep through the afternoon and cause us to miss swimming lessons. I force myself out of bed at 3:00. It is difficult, and this is why I don't like napping. I kick the boys off the Wii and they get their swimsuits and flip flops on. I pack a bag with pajamas, cut up some apples for snacks, grab some granola bars, and then go wake Olive.
There is the typical rush to get out the door with Bella anxiously barking. We leave the house at 4:00, swim lessons are at 4:30 (Gus) and 4:45 (Louie), overlapping for 15 minutes.
Tangled is on in the waiting room and we watch for 5 minutes before going into the pool area. I love this movie, maybe the Easter Bunny should purchase it?
Gus is punchy at lessons. There's so much white nose, I can't actually hear what's going on, but I can tell he's being annoying and trying to be funny. His teacher is a pro though, and Gus is not the first squirrel she's had in class, she can handle him, which I appreciate.
Louie is quiet as we wait for his lesson to begin, per usual. I'm sure he's nervous, but he won't admit that. He has some fears about water, mostly about his head/face getting wet, so this first session of lessons has mostly been about him getting comfortable with that kind of thing. It's a little frustrating to have to pay so much money for that kind of thing, but if we did the same thing with him he'd be sobbing and panicking. At lessons he is the perfect student. Just like preschool, he is an angel at preschool and then comes home and gives his parents a run for their money.
I text with Dan about my utter failure at planning dinner. He is heading home soon and says he'll make pancakes.
Olive's existence is the only thing that makes the logistics of swimming lessons difficult at times. She is perfectly fine, but really just wants to hang out in this waiting room while I would rather be out by the pool able to watch the boys swim. A week ago Dan was home from work early so I brought just the boys and it was actually a wonderful break for me, sitting in that warm pool area for 30 minutes was about as relaxing as my life gets!
Gus is done with lessons first, I help him wash his hair in the showers next to the pool and then he goes into the changing room and gets into his pajamas. (Parenting hack!) I do the same with Louie 15 minutes later. Olive raccoons around the changing room and makes simple things more difficult while looking completely adorable.
On our way out Louie stubs his toe following an unfortunate mishap with the door. He seems perfectly fine, and doesn't actually start his hysterics until we are all buckled in the car and on our way and he realizes his toe nail is bleeding. He is completely panicked and I pass back a napkin I had stowed away in the glove box. I promise we will rinse off his toe when we get home, he screams about not wanting a band-aid (strange fear of band-aids).
5:45 - Dan has dinner almost pulled together when we walk in the door. Louie and I head to the bathroom and run some water in the tub to rinse his toe.
Dinner is frustrating. All meals these days are frustrating. We are so committed to this family dinner thing, but man. So many nights it doesn't feel worth it. Tonight there's constant potty talk, not listening, hyper laughing. Over it.
Dan and I get snippy with each other because he starts threatening to take things away for tomorrow (i.e. screen time) and I just don't want to start our weekend that way. I have been with them all day, and it was for the most part a really great day, I just want to make it through dinner and somewhat ignore the bad behavior that I KNOW is at least 60% related to their exhaustion level, and it feels frustrating that after 10 minutes home with them today he's ready to punish them with something that will only make tomorrow more difficult for us all. In hindsight we both have a point.
We really need to figure out how to get through mealtimes somewhat peacefully (taking suggestions, give em to me people!) because they are at an all time low right now, and I don't think we're expecting too much. Expectations include 1.) little to no discussions of butts or poop, 2.) food consumption, 3.) inside-ish voices, 4.) bottoms on chairs, and 5.) a break from the constant hysterical, gut-wrenching laughing that makes them so incapable of listening to anything an adult has to say.
My crabbiness has rubbed off on Dan and he is angry-cleaning the kitchen. There is a lot of talk about the logistics of the weekend and what we need to get done, errands that need to happen. My brother and his family are coming over with lunch tomorrow to dye eggs, so we need to get to the grocery store before then to buy (you guessed it!) eggs, and then have time to boil them. Also there's that little matter of the Easter bunny, and Gus is going to a birthday party Saturday evening in a suburb like 40 minutes away (WHY?!).
The kids have gone off to play by now and everyone has settled down a bit from the cluster that was dinner. We play for a bit in the living room, and Louie, Olive, and the dog all decide that they need to be ON me at this point, and it is very sweet. Love these goons.
About 7:00 we clean up toys and head upstairs for bedtime. It is a LOUD process, the boys are back to one-upping each other and not listening. We do the routine: pajamas, bathroom, brush teeth, wash faces and hands. The boys need to be separated because they can't function as an entity, so I read a book to Louie while Gus reads a book to Olive and Dan lays on the boys' bedroom floor with his eyes closed in a meditative state.
After books we do prayers, kisses, and say our good nights before I head to Olive's room to do her bedtime routine of milk and snuggles in the rocking chair. She requests I sing twinkle twinkle and we rock while I look at my phone. I am back downstairs at 8:00 and Dan is folding laundry waiting for me to work out. We're doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, which seems way old school and lame but whatever. We have had the DVDs forever and somehow Dan convinced me to do this at the beginning of the month and we're going strong. Day 13! I've definitely never been able to commit to working out every day for this long before, the accountability of doing it with Dan has definitely been a great motivator for me.
I can't stand the repetitive commentary of this video though, so we always blast Pandora. Jillian kicks my butt tonight, level 2 has so many plank-based exercises that make me want to cry.
Sweaty selfie, you're welcome:
We are done at 8:40 or so, and I recover on the couch with water and my phone. I pull myself together to shower, and am finally in bed watching an episode of Happy Endings with Dan on Hulu at 9:25. Popcorn. Healthy pour of wine. Get it.