Please note: This was meant to be posted before Christmas. I got pretty far behind with the kids bringing home stomach bugs, the passing of my dear Cutie Cupcake, and then of course preparing for Christmas. It seems a bit less relevant now, but it would be a shame to waste it! 🙂
Wednesday, 6 a.m. The dread sets in as soon as the alarm on my cell phone goes off. It’s one of those ringtones that sounds pretty pleasant when you listen to it while you’re wide awake, but is horribly annoying when it actually wakes you up. I usually wake myself up by thinking of all the things I need to do for the day. It’s really not a good idea. I know that I will need to walk two dogs (who can’t be walked simultaneously) and wake up three kids all pretty much at the same time.
As I pass by my son’s room, I see that there’s no light under his bedroom door. No surprise. His alarm is set to go off before mine does since he’s such a slow poke in the mornings, but as usual he has turned it off and gone back to sleep until I blaze into his room and roust him. One of these days I’m going to get really mean and douse him with a bucket of water, but for the moment I’m still too nice. One dog goes out, while the other whines that he wants his turn. My eldest daughter is up and dressed, all on her own, but she’s whining (again) about how tired she is. We are all tired, I tell her, but it never sinks in. I start trying to wake up the youngest, who’s 5. I can’t seem to get her trained to an alarm clock. The hulking hunk of Hello Kitty colored plastic on the corner of her dresser can be blasting beeps that can be heard all over the house, but she will still be snoring peacefully. I can come up to the side of her bed, however, and ask her quietly what she dreamed about, and she will be wide awake and chattering in a moment.
Her kindergarten class is making gingerbread houses this morning, and they asked for volunteers. When she presented the flyer to me last week and said, “Will you be there, Mommy?” well… How could I say no? It doesn’t matter that an elementary school is the worst nightmare of an antisocial germophobe; if big blue five-year-old eyes ask you to go, you go. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, even though one little boy insisted on eating ask if his decorations before they could make it onto his house, and one little girl insisted on licking each decoration.
I realize when I get home that I had promised her a pretty dress to wear to her holiday recital tomorrow night, but I never went and bought one. I tear through the girls’ closet, feeling like the worst mother ever. I come up with a glitzy black number that her older sister wore three years ago, and hang it with shaking hands at the foot of her bed, simultaneously hoping it’s good enough and reminding myself that it must be good enough.
Oh, crap. We’re supposed to make treats for the Girl Scout holiday party.
I pause here for The Middle. This is the one pleasure I allow myself that I actually DON’T feel guilty for. Two reruns are aired back-to-back at lunchtime, and I bask in the glory of their dysfunction daily.
When the kids get home from school, the evening chaos begins. Trying to orchestrate three children in their homework and their chores while also finding time to make dinner is simply not a calm process. We try to squeeze in some down time on the couch somewhere among baths, packing backpacks for the next day, deciding who’s eating school lunch and who finds school spaghetti deplorable. Oh, yes, and baking cakes for Girl Scouts.
At some point I collapse into bed and fall asleep while visions of undone chores dance in my head.
Thursday, 6 a.m.
For the first part of the day, suffice it to say we can just repeat the first couple of paragraphs for Wednesday.
After a few cups of coffee, I’ve cranked out the rest of my paper. I click save just in time for my husband to remind me we need to go to town and run some errands. This pretty much means the rest of my day is shot, because by the time we get back home it will be almost time for the kids to get home. Did you know that around 3:30 every vehicle that comes down our road sounds like a school bus? True story.
Fortunately, there’s no homework today so we can get straight to icing the cakes we baked for Girl Scouts. The girls each want to do it themselves, independent little things that they are, and I eventually let go of my OCD and just let them have at it. Sure, you can put sprinkles on it. Dump the whole darn container on there for all I care, as long as they’re done and I can shove them back in the fridge.
It’s time to get ready for Claire’s holiday concert. I always make a much bigger deal out of these things than need be. Always. I get on my best sweater, actually bother with putting on makeup between shouting at the kids to stop fighting already, and try to explain to Violet why camouflage snow boots might not be the nicest attire for her little sister’s concert. I get Claire into her sparkly black dress (which she was thrilled with…phew!) and the black tights I’d grabbed at Walmart when we ran errands. Then I have to remind her incessantly that no, you simply cannot carry around our giant furball of a cat while you’re wearing black. Several lint roller sessions later, we’re finally ready to go.
You know how on Black Friday you see lines of people waiting to get into stores? That’s what our elementary school looks like at 6 p.m. the night of a concert. The smart ones get their early to grab their seats so they don’t have to be standing at the back of the gym like they did last year. We get a decent spot on the bleachers near the stage, but once the kindergarteners file onto the stage, I can just barely see my daughter over the top of a poorly placed microphone stand. Next year we’re leaving 45 minutes early instead of 30.
Back at home, the kids undressed and coerced into bed, I fall asleep on the couch watching my favorite show and wake up with an undeniable craving for chocolate chip cookie dough. After arguing with myself about it for awhile, I haul my pajama-clad self into the kitchen and start baking. Fast forward half an hour and I’ve eaten enough cookie dough to satisfy my craving and make me feel incredibly guilty. I leave the mixing bowl in the sink to soak overnight. I’m ready to curl up in bed and read until I fall asleep with a book on my face. It’s been a long day, just like all the other ones. As I settle back into my pillow, I realize my son doesn’t have any clean pants for school tomorrow. Sigh.