I get the kids up and dressed and fed and out the door in the morning. It’s chaotic, yet brief. I pick up Marin’s friend and drop the girls off at preschool while David drives Joan and Kate to their elementary school. I come home to an empty house; I start coffee, clean up the breakfast mess while it brews, make myself something to eat.
I have about two hours to myself, three mornings a week. This time goes incredibly, shockingly fast, and yet I can see from the numbers on my side bar that I’m writing more. I like writing, so this is good.
At 10:45 am I pick up Marin and her friend, and drive her friend back to her daycare. Then Marin and I run errands, go to story time, get together with our playgroup for lunch, or simply come home. She plays or watches a tv show while I do boring things around the house: picking up, folding laundry, you know how it goes.
We eat lunch.
Marin is still a champion napper, and I’m prone to a little afternoon snooze myself. Sometime between 1 and 2pm we put ourselves down to sleep. I sleep– HARD– for about 20 minutes (often exactly to-the-minute 2o minutes), Marin sleeps for three hours, god’s honest truth.
Kate and Joan walk home from school, arriving around 3:10 pm. They have a snack, which they usually get for themselves, and settle in for some tv. We’ve discovered that an after-school-walk-home plus some quiet-tv-time leads to muuuuuch happier girls, so that’s what we do. Around 4pm, we turn off the tv. The girls work on writing their “books”, pouring over horse books from the library, writing in their horse journals, or whatever other activity is the game de jour.
Marin is still sleeping.
I start dinner, turn on some music in the kitchen, hum along. If it’s a family favorite, the girls might come in and do a little dancing. They also love to help in the kitchen, which I HATE, but I sometimes let them because I’m their mother and that’s what mother’s do: they let their children help in the kitchen even if they would much rather have their own space and their own rhythms in the kitchen.
Around 5 pm Marin wakes up, takes off her wet pull-up, throws it away, puts her underwear and pants on, and comes sneaking down the stairs. When she sees us, she gives us her best “TA-DA!” pose and is usually up for a snuggle. In fact, she calls giving mama some post-nap snuggles her “job”.
On a good day, David arrives home around this time too. Usually, though, it’s around 6 pm. He helps finish up dinner, set the table, quiet squabbles (the kids are CRABBY this time of day), etc. We eat, which you all know how THAT GOES.
After dinner, the girls take their plates to the counter, and David clears the rest of the dishes. I wash the dinner dishes, clean the counters and the table, wash out lunch boxes. David starts the girls on their homework and/or spelling words. Marin gets spelling words too (she insists), though she only knows about 3 words, so we also give her letters to write. It’s another chaotic time, everyone talking over each other, asking for words to be repeated, getting on each other’s nerves.
There might be a little time for playing (kids) and catching up (David and me), but usually we head pretty directly upstairs to get ready for bed. We have a rule: the stairs are a one-way street. Once we go up, we don’t come back down. We get the girls pj’d, teeth brushed, settled into their beds. This sounds like a simple process, but if you have children you know it’s much like herding cats.
David reads to Marin, and I read my own book next to Kate and Joan, while they each read their own books. I’ll let you reread that last sentence so the awesomeness of it can really sink in. I read my own book while they read their own books. SILENTLY. This might be the most blissful parenting milestone we’ve reached yet.
A half an hour or 45 minutes later, we turn out the lights, kiss the girls, hug the girls, kiss this one or that one again, and leave their rooms. They don’t like us to go back downstairs, so we usually stay up (at least until they are asleep). I go to my bed (laptop, hulu, blog reading, reading a book) and David to his (home) office. GOD WILLING, we are done parenting for the day.
Yes, we have moments of chaos, of using our best adult-honed super-powers to keep us from yelling “EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.” Some days are much, much harder than I’ve chronicled here; a few are much smoother. But mostly? Our kids are pretty easy.
Our life is pretty easy. And we’ve earned this easiness, for crap’s sake we raised TWINS. Without any outside help. And it was so very difficult at times, that when people say to me “I don’t know how you did that!” I nod in agreement. I have no idea how I did that, either.
Sometimes, as I’m dozing off next to Marin during our shared nap time, I wonder what in the blue hell in I THINKING wanting another baby so badly? Life is so stinking EASY right now.
And yet I DO, oh-so-badly. Still. And he doesn’t. Still. Sometimes I think he’s coming around. For awhile, I felt closer to him, more tender. But as another non-trying month ticks by, I can’t help but feel pissed again. And meanwhile, our missing family member– our next wee baby– comes into clearer focus all the time. I’m right here, waiting, Mama.