A Day in the Life--April
I'm linking up with Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool :)
The kids have loved reading over our past few “Day in the Life” journal entries. They think I choose boring days, though.
The kids have loved reading over our past few “Day in the Life” journal entries. They think I choose boring days, though.
“Mom! You need to choose a day when something happens to write about!” they nearly chorus. “Write about a day when we go to dance!”
Today--Thursday, April 10--is a dance performance day.
Frustratingly enough, my day begins at 2:46 am when I2 wakes up thirsty. He takes it upon himself to bring his empty cup to me, which doesn’t seem like a problem at all as I fill it, give it to him, and tuck him happily back in his bed. He seems perfectly content.
Before I can even go back to bed, H4 cries out. She’s fighting a cold . . . and losing. She has to dance today, so I gave her garlic and honey before going to bed last night. She’s sleeping better than the night before, but now she’s awake and afraid, “I heard a dog, Mom. I think it is the men who broke into our van.”
(I suppress a flash of anger; our van has been broken into 4 times in 3 months. It won’t fit in the garage, so it has to be left out in the open. No one has been hurt, and only a few dollars have been stolen, but clearly my 4 year old’s sense of safety has been violated.)
“It’s just the neighbor’s dog. Our van is safe. You can sleep.”
She trusts me, “Okay, Mommy.”
I hope I have told the truth.
I go back to bed only to have I2 come join me. He’s wide awake. “You can sleep with Mommy, but you may not talk,” I whisper, “It’s sleeping time.”
“Okay, Mommy,” he whispers back around the binky in his mouth.
He’s restless. We lie in silence, but I cannot sleep because I feel him moving, moving, moving near me.
After 45 minutes H4 cries out. I wait to see if it is a sleep cry or if she needs me.
It is just a sleep cry.
I2 climbs out of bed.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
“My hrhoom” he says.
“Okay. That’s a good idea, “ I reply and follow him down the hall to his bedroom. I tuck him happily into his bed once again.
It lasts less than 30 seconds. Before I can even lay my head on my pillow he’s back, climbing into bed with me.
“It is night time,“ I say firmly. “It is time to sleep.”
“Okay, Mommy,” he sweetly answers.
But he cannot sleep.
And H4 needs me again because her cold symptoms are irritating her and she cannot sleep.
Sometime after 5:00 am I doze off.
I wake at 6:19 am.
Time to get up.
I head to the kitchen. I give in to temptation and take a few leftover picnic cookies and a cup of milk over to the computer where I begin drafting this post. I would normally start my day with prayer and scripture study, but I am tired and unfocused. I realize I will focus better on my scripture study if I get these words out of my head and on paper, but I have written long enough. S11 is awake, and because my scriptures are not out, she is talking to me.
It is 6:52 am.
I spend the next half hour reading and journaling Mosiah 8 from The Book of Mormon along with Doctrine and Covenants 103. They aren't necessarily related, but I'm reading from The Book of Mormon because I'm doing Personal Progress with 2 of my daughters, and I'm working my way through the Doctrine and Covenants because I've wanted to for a long time.
After that more kids are awake and doing chores around me. As I2 sits at the counter eating some graham crackers and milk, I start printing copies of the show order and directions to the show location. I get very frustrated trying to find the emails I need as they are embedded in long email conversations between members of the performance group.
E14 is only 6 days away from being allowed to wear makeup. She’s been experimenting with it this morning. She comes to show off her artistry. She wears it well—accenting her best features with a subtlety that surprises me. I compliment her.
I also get another request from E14 and S11’s birth mom to visit them. For a while we stopped visits because she got so unstable, but she’s claiming she’s in good shape again, and has been pleading for visits for over a year now. Happily we have a family wedding to attend in August, so I’m able to tell her we’ll be in her neck of the woods at the end of the summer. I copy the social worker in on our email so that she can reserve the conference room at her office on one of the dates I suggest.
E14 is furious.
S11 is curious.
I’m caught in the middle. Visiting her is both a blessing and a curse. I know the blessings outweigh the hurts, but I wish it were easier . . . for all of us.
Map, instructions, and show order finally printed and stowed in my bag, I turn to prepare breakfast. But for a moment I pause because M12 comes up behind me and starts braiding my hair—heaven!
While I get oatmeal and blueberries set out along with the necessary dishes and toppings, E14 practices the piano, S11 works on her math drills on the computer, and J10 teaches I2 how to empty the dishwasher. He is perched on a stool, and she is the picture of patience as she hands him one utensil at a time and waits for him to find the right place in the drawer.
We have our morning devotional and review the day ahead while we eat.
After breakfast I gather the girls to practice their “Sisters” number for the show.
Then Daddy gets home from work. I welcome him, give him some breakfast, and clean up the kitchen while he eats. He talks about his night (a patient coded and died!) while A7 plays with her gem and mineral collection, the older girls work on their independent school work, H4 gets dressed, and I2 plays with his Nemo puppet.
I try to get dressed, and get as far as brushing my teeth and hair, but H4 begins crying when S11 tells her to stop playing the piano. I have to uphold the “No piano during school hours” rule (a frustrating rule, but the sound can be heard all over the house and distracts the older girls). She is really mad, so I hold her on my lap. She seemed to be feeling better when she woke up this morning, but I wonder if she’s still fighting that cold. I’m about to offer to read her some stories when she says, “Can I just do my school?”
I answer that she indeed can, and the tears dry up as she hops happily off my lap.
At 9:56 am we sit at the table together to practice handwriting, phonics, and story narrations.
While we do that A7 and I2 play independently with games—Princessopoly for A7, Fancy Nancy Perfect Parfait for I2. They just have fun manipulating game pieces in patterns.
At 10:33 I call A7 to do school with me. E14 finishes her schoolwork in record time and then happily(!) changes and dresses I2 for me.
Just before A7 and I read Betsy-Tacy and Tib together J10 comes downstairs with math questions. I pause to help her.
E14 does her math drills on the computer.
S11 turns in her school work.
M12 has a math question, too.
E14 spends 10 minutes on Facebook, then starts making bagel sandwiches for us to eat on our way to the show.
M12 finishes her school work and starts collecting hair-doing supplies.
S11 reads the grocery ads.
H4 is finally allowed to have a turn on the piano.
A7 and I take turns reading until I2 slips and bashes his face on the corner of the kitchen table. It’s pretty bad—a bruise immediately starts swelling and turning colors, and he’s bleeding in his mouth. I hold him and croon to him as he cries. M12 grabs a cold, wet washcloth and the binky he’s usually allowed to only use at bedtime. A7 finds a favorite car and tempts him into playing.
11:26 am. It is time to get ready for the show. But first I need to get dressed and run to the dollar store for new water bottles; ours are all broken or missing their lids. (How does that happen?)
12:37 pm. Costumes are organized and bagged. Kids all have their tights, camis and shorts on. Time to do hair!
4:30 pm. We’re home. Show’s over and Daddy has just left to take E14 to soccer practice. I forgot the camera, and I couldn’t have taken pictures anyway, because I never stopped moving even once.
We did hair until 1:00.
We packed all of the costumes in the car—6 bags, each with 5-7 costumes
We all went potty one more time, kissed I2 and Daddy goodbye, and then packed ourselves in the car.
As we drove we ate our bagels and apple slices.
We arrived right on time at 1:30.
Once we found the right room at the nursing home we hung up our costumes on the garment racks the group directors set up and chose a spot for changing. Everyone changes in the same room—boys, girls, teens, tweens, littles-- so everyone wears underclothes that can worn in “public.” For the next hour moms posted performance schedules, got kids dressed, set up the prop table, arranged the performance hall, ran last minute rehearsals, passed out costume accessories, and herded kids.
2:30 pm. Show time! 25 song and dance numbers showcasing American music through the 19th and 20th centuries. I had 6 kids performing in 22 of the numbers. The whole show passes in a blur of costume changes, entrances, and exits. I’ve never seen the show because our group is run by volunteers, and if you’re in it, you’re a volunteer. It’s high energy . . . even higher for the kids who are dancing and singing in it.
3:36 pm. The final number ends. The next 45 minutes are full with cleaning up, finding the right hangers, packing up costumes, and sorting out the props and accessories. Older kids help put the nursing home furniture back the way we found it. Another mom, done packing up her two daughters, helps me pack up my last two. I’m grateful for the help. As we work, discussion flies back and forth about next week’s show. What time do we rehearse? When should invited guests arrive? Are we expanding the show or not? Decisions are made and changed. Just as we start to get frustrated, final decisions are made and we know to show up next week at 11 am for 2 hours of rehearsing. My older girls shuttle bags of costumes out to the van, and then make sure all of our kids are in the van. I help the group directors get the last boxes of props and accessories out to their cars.
It takes several trips to bring everything into the house. At the same time E14 has to change immediately into soccer gear and leave almost before arriving home. I need to make sure everyone has taken off their tights, camis, and shorts so I can hang them up and air them out for next week.
I also have to make dinner. I am usually a champion cook and household organizer, but I’ve been in a slump for the past few months—ever since we moved, actually—I haven’t found my rhythm or joy. I send the kids on a treasure hunt to search through fridge, freezers, kitchen cupboards, and pantry closets for something motivating. I think S11 has some ideas.
J10 is entertaining the little guys with her tablet. M12 gave everyone half a bagel as a snack because they’re hungry after dancing. I2 is fussy. I don’t think he feels well.
I look over S11’s list: granola bars, pumpkin bars, sweet peanut butter and graham crackers, quesadillas, pork chops . . . hmm, breakfast foods get me thinking, and I remember that I have 2 pints of homemade syrup in the fridge . . . pancakes it is.
Everyone but E14 gathers around the computer to play games while I do a load of dishes and start the pancakes. A tiny light in my brain inspires me to grate some fresh apple and add cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter. The house soon smells very good. J10 joins me at the stove. I take advantage of her help and set the table.
The time passes quickly. Soon I hear the garage door open; Daddy and E14 are home. I call everyone to eat. E14 shows up in her pajamas. She’s tired after school, dancing, and soccer.
We pray and read from The Book of Mormon during dinner. I2 cries because it is not his turn to pray. Sometimes scripture reading is a struggle, but tonight it is fun. We’re reading from 2 Nephi, when he quotes Isaiah a lot. The kids all respond to the poetry of Isaiah’s writing and recite favorite parts along with Daddy’s reading. It is a spontaneous moment of shared joy in the scriptures. H4 raises her hand to ask, “What does ‘sorrow’ mean?” Daddy answers her question, but E14 whispers, “Good question,” to her little sister. I am thankful for her encouragement.
Poor I2 is exhausted after staying awake so much last night. Daddy whisks him off to a bath. I work in the kitchen. A7 finally gets her computer turn because everyone got a turn before dinner but her.
I remember that Thursday is “Kids Clean the Kitchen Night.” Knowing that they’re all exhausted I offer to help them out and just get the job done really fast. They’re too distracted by the Wonderopolis videos A7 is watching to even be aware of me. I get irritated and tell them they’re on their own in the kitchen. I clean the living room.
While Daddy bathes H4 and A7 I read Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book to I2. He refuses to pray, instead deferring to me to pray on his behalf. I acquiesce quickly tonight. He’s half asleep already. After kisses and a good night song I leave him in his bed, cozy and happy to be there. I hope he’ll sleep better tonight than last night.
I come out of his room at 7:30 pm to find E14 at the piano, picking out a song as she sings aloud. S11 is trying to harmonize. I hate to stop them, but with I2 in bed, music is over for the day.
I send girls off in four different directions to get pajamas on and brush teeth.
S11 told me earlier that she left her MP3 player in the van. It is locked up tight, and as she left it open earlier today I refuse to give her the keys. I go out to look for her treasured little device, making sure to relock the van—H4’s concerns about “bad men” who break into our van are my concerns, too.
We’re gathering for read aloud time now. We’re reading a chapter a night out of B is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood and two chapters a night out of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. We tried to read Alice twice in past years and had to put it away for lack of interest. Something is right this time. We have a paperback copy of Cooper Eden’s edition. The illustrations are to die for, and the kids gather around close to see what’s coming next. I thrive on hearing the spontaneous laughter from E14 as she “gets” the jokes. The other kids simply love the odd, odd twists and turns this story takes.
Tonight Betsy gets a puppy of her own, and Alice talks with the gryphon and mock turtle. The kids are nearly rolling on the floor as they laugh over lines like this:
'Well, there was Mystery,' the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, '—Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling—the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: HE taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.'
'What was THAT like?' said Alice.
'Well, I can't show it you myself,' the Mock Turtle said: 'I'm too stiff. And the Gryphon never learnt it.'
'Hadn't time,' said the Gryphon: 'I went to the Classics master, though. He was an old crab, HE was.'
'I never went to him,' the Mock Turtle said with a sigh: 'he taught Laughing and Grief, they used to say.'
'So he did, so he did,' said the Gryphon, sighing in his turn; and both creatures hid their faces in their paws.
'And how many hours a day did you do lessons?' said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
'Ten hours the first day,' said the Mock Turtle: 'nine the next, and so on.'
'What a curious plan!' exclaimed Alice.
'That's the reason they're called lessons,' the Gryphon remarked: 'because they lessen from day to day.'
8:35 pm. I close the book and send the kids off to bed to be tucked in by Daddy. It is a little early, but the smallest girls are tired, and the big girls can read in bed on their own for a time. They don’t rush off, reluctant to see the end of what has been a happy day.
H4 reminds me that Percy, the guinea pig, hasn’t had his bedtime treat of fresh veggies. I get some broccoli out of the fridge, and as I walk over to his cage he tweetles and squeaks happily. But he is disappointed by the broccoli—it is not his favorite. He keeps sniffing around for something he likes better but finally settles for what is in front of him. S11 and I laugh because his resignation is so very obvious.
I settle into bed with a copy of Words Their Way. E14 struggles with spelling. This summer we’re going to dive into intensive remedial spelling. I’m preparing now.
Kids tucked in, my husband joins me in the bedroom. We talk about whether or not to let E14 and M12 go stay with their aunt and uncle for a week this summer. We talk about whether or not to sign up for Google Fiber—budgets and goals forever struggling for balance. Our discussions are not conclusive, but at least we have more food for thought. My husband goes to call his brother and gather some more information.
10:26 pm. I try to wait for him. I can hear him laughing and talking in the other room. He and his brother are good friends. I cannot keep my eyes open.
I fall asleep.