Back in 2005, a a few online friends and I, who'd met on a Yahoo group for pregnancy and new mothers, decided to chronicle a day in our lives. We thought it would be an interesting thing to do, given our geographical and cultural spread (3 Australians, 2 Scandanavians, 6 Americans, 2 Canadians, 5 Brits, 3 French, 2 German, 2 Japanese and 4 Singaporean) and our vastly variable numbers of children, family circumstances, work situations and so forth. The results were indeed interesting, and I fell into the habit of refreshing the experiment 6-monthly on my old blog for a time.
However, I haven't documented a day for quite a while now, and with an extra little person in the mix, I thought it might be revealing to do so again. So here goes ... Tuesday 5 October in the life of us.*
19-month-old toddler wakes. She is confused, cranky and wants her daddy (the go-to man for pre-2am wakings, normally). Daddy, however, is away for a few nights for work, so she has to make do with Mummy, cuddles and a breastfeed. Initial exasperation aside, after a long, langorous feed in bed, she redeems herself by pulling off at 1:30am with a smile and "Ahhhhh! I yuff you, mine Mummy".
Toddler has fallen asleep next to me. I carry her back to her cot and return to bed, asleep again sometime shortly after 2am.
Toddler wakes. Toddler wakes me. I bring her into bed & breastfeed her.
7-y-old gets up, goes to the loo, and settles herself on the couch with a rug, a bottle of water and her current book (something about Sky Horses, I think).
Toddler and I get up. I go to kitchen to prepare breakfasts and school / kinder lunches and snacks. Toddler pulls apart the Tupperware cupboard while I work.
Lunches & snacks are made, and so is breakfast. Toddler, Miss 7 and I repair to the dining room to eat. Miss 7 has 3 Weetbix and a glass of mango juice. Toddler has a weetbix mixed with apple puree and a cup of milk, and also steals bites of mine and Miss 7's meals. I have a bowl of rice porridge with a banana mixed in, and a cup of strong unsweetened black Orange Pekoe tea. I read books to toddler as we eat, and chat to Miss 7. After we eat, Miss 7 goes back to her book, toddler to generalised mischief, and me to the breakfast dishes.
I finish the breakfast dishes and call Miss 5 to get up. Predictably, she is barely awake and doesn't want to.
I climb the steps to Miss 5's loft bed and lie down next to her, talking about the day to come as I tickle her toes. She laughs, begrudgingly, and gets up.
Miss 5 is eating breakfast - oat porridge with banana, and a cup of juice. Miss 7 is still engrossed in her book. I log on my computer to quickly check work messages. I do so, there are 3 that need a response. I knock off the quickest two.
Everyone is still in their pyjamas ... Wait, EVERYONE IS STILL IN THEIR PYJAMAS!! Manic dressing, hair-brushing and arranging, tooth-brushing, and nappy-changing ensues. Miss 7 co-operates. The toddler runs around the house chortling in glee and thwarting attempts to clothe her. Miss 5 stages her not-atypical I Don't Do Mornings rebellion. We avoid tears (narrowly) and yelling (even more narrowly) but there is tension in the air.
We pile into the car, high-fiving ourselves as we should beat the first bell at school unless we are unlucky.
We pull up at school. Car spot! First bell ringing now!! 5-y-old bursts into a rendition of We Are The Champions as we all kiss Miss 7 and wave her off to class.
We arrive at kinder and walk Miss 5 in. This is accomplished without incident, other than the happy serendipity of Miss 5's bosom buddy arriving at the same time, which leads to mutual expressions of undying devotion and intentions to sit together at Brain Button time.
Toddler and I leave kinder. We make a pitstop at the servo to fuel up and to use the flexiteller.
We arrive at gymnastics. The gym is not holding classes this week but the office is open for payments. We pay for the big girls' term fees, inspect the renovated building (v nice) and shoot the breeze with the coaches for a bit.
We arrive at a local cafe, where I very cleverly managed to leave our pusher behind when having brunch with friends a few days ago. Pusher is reclaimed, and I sit down at an outdoor table with a decaf cap. Toddler eats strawberries and a vegemite-flavoured breadstick, and plays with a few random other kids she finds. I take my first deep breath of the day, or so it seems.
We leave the cafe and drive to my mother-in-law's house via a bakery, where we purchase some bread rolls, a sponge cake and a family pie. MIL has only been home from hospital one day and although my sister-in-law is there with her, we wanted to visit too and see how she's going. We find her improved in body but very teary and emotional as her reduced mobility is starting to really sink in for her. I make a cup of tea and cut spongecake for her and my SIL. SIL takes Toddler to the chook pen to pat chickens and collect eggs. I reassure my MIL as much as I can. Toddler snuggles her, and munches down a banana, half a bread roll and a hunk of cheese.
We head towards kinder to collect Miss 5 and her friend who is coming to us for a play today.
Oh noes. Toddler is asleep. Kinder pick-up isn't until 12:30pm.
Nil desperandum! Another friend will drop both girls to me. Community FTW.
Toddler transfers from car to bed without a blip. I take a load of washing out of the machine & go outside to hang it, refresh the dogs' water, and do a dog poo collection. (Not fun, but hey, someone's gotta do it...)
The girls arrive. They immediately commence a game of dominoes in the lounge room while I make their lunch.
We eat. Ham, cheese, fairy bread, strawberries, apple, banana, crackers and tomatoes on a plate for the kids. Leftover roast veggies, a cup of Earl Grey tea and some blueberries for me. Yoghurt for all for dessert.
Toddler awakes. She's a bit discombobulated. I give her a breastfeed, as she ate lunch before her sleep. The girls head into the bedroom to explore the swanky new loft beds. They take a megatonne of Barbies up the steps and spread them out on Miss 5's bed. Happy chaos ensues.
Toddler "helps" me sort laundry. We then read 6 books, including her current favourites, Charles Fuge's I Know a Rhino and Mem Fox's Time for Bed.
Toddler, Miss 5 and their visitor upend the block box and the plastic animal basket and begin building a zoo. While they play together, I quickly nip back into work online and answer another email.
The visitor's Mum arrives to get her. We all walk out together, chatting.
We leave to go up to school.
We wander over to the big sandpit at school. Miss 5 and the Toddler see some friends there. I let them take off their shoes and have at it.
Bell. Miss 7 emerges, sees us, and smiles. That just never gets old with me, her hometime smile.
Sand play finished, we finally head back to the car. It's warm, and we stop on the way home for lemonade icypoles.
Home. Straight into the yard via the side gate (hooray for having the forethought to bring the key!) Three girls and a Mum stretch out on the trampoline, licking lemonade icypoles, making patterns in the white puffy clouds, cuddling, talking. I start to feel dangerously sleepy.
I haul my backside off the tramp before falling asleep, and swing Toddler in her swing for 15 minutes before heading inside to check work, start dinner, and put more washing on. Miss 7 takes over the swingage for Toddler.
Neighbour kids arrive and request admittance. Word of the loft beds has spread, and they are curious. Three altogether, they join with my three and play in the sun for a bit. I chop bacon & onion and pumpkin, think through a tricky work issue, and listen to thesixtyone on my computer.
Everyone piles inside. I am almost ready to put the risotto in the oven so I ask Miss 5 to amuse Toddler for 10 more minutes, which she does. Dinner in the oven, I pick Toddler (who is getting very scratchy) up and carry her off for some quiet stories, freeing the other 5 kids to go to town on the loft beds. Which they do. Oh me. Oh my.
Dinner is ready. I send the neighbour kids home, serve up, and we eat. I read a chapter of Trixie Belden for the big kids, interspersed with Who is Hiding books for the Toddler.
Dinner is eaten. All bowls are clean - risotto is such a favourite with them all. We go our separate ways, me to wash dishes and make a work phone call in the kitchen, the big girls to play with their guinea pig things (those weird Zhou Zhou pets the kids are all into at the moment) and the toddler to hang out with her sisters.
We reconvene in the bathroom and have a community shower. I think this is the key plank in our water-saving strategy - group washing!
Everyone is washed, dried, dressed, and hair dried. We spend 20 minutes doing a house pick-up - putting toys back in boxes, rubbish in bins, clothes in drawers etc. At the end it isn't perfect but it's a darn sight better.
I put Toddler in her sleeping bag and take her to the lounge room for her bedtime breastfeed. The big girls play Uno together, then the 5-y-old reads while the 7-y-old does her maths homework. They are in their room, at their desks. I put the TV on muted and read the news ticker on Sky News as I feed the baby.
Toddler has fallen asleep at the breast, so I take her to bed and go into the big girls. We chat for a few minutes, then I send them to brush their teeth & go to the loo. After that, they head up to their loft beds. I lie with first one, then the other, for 10 minutes apiece, singing songs and talking.
I make a cup of white tea with vanilla and sit down at my computer to do some consolidated work.
I can't work anymore; everything is blurring together. Still, at least I got some stuff done, and stole a few minutes to read the latest entry at Shakesville and reply to private email.
After brushing teeth and using the loo, I climb into bed. I start reading James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, my current re-reading book. I read about 5 pages before drifting off.
A dog is barking somewhere down the street. It is loud, furious and constant. I lie in bed willing it to shuthehellup. It doesn't. Toddler calls out in fright, "Mummm-eee! Dog barting! 'Top, dog! You no bart! Mummm-eeeeeeeeee!" I go to her and pick her up, murmuring a lullaby as I do so. It's pointless at this stage, though - until the dog shuts up, she won't settle down. So we sit on the chair in her room and rock quietly, snuggled up together.
The dog FINALLY shuts up. 'Bout bleeding time.
Toddler is back asleep, so I lift her into her cot and return to my bed, where I flake out within 5 minutes.
And THAT was our day!
*I chose Tuesday knowing it would take me three or so sessions to write this, and it has!
The great high tea of 2013.
3 hours ago