Sometimes people ask me how I do it. You know, keep five children alive. I usually answer completely truthfully with, "I don't really know." Basically we just live, and I'm nothing but a lover of routine which helps immensely in taking care of five littles. My days look pretty similar and usually resemble a fairly loose routine carried out almost everyday, bouncing from meal to meal, nap to nap. I'm sure this is the case for most moms to young children, I'm just the mom to five aged 6 and under! Its a lot of keeping all the balls in the air, the balls being children not putting themselves in mortal danger. Or an even more accurate metaphor; keeping all the razor sharp, deadly swords in the air.
I know I'm about a year behind the trend in sharing the minutiae of a day in the life, but I almost wanted to do this for my own memory to look back upon and marvel at my own survival skills. What did it really look like all those years ago with all those babies?? Plus, I really do enjoy reading other mom"s retelling of their days, it makes me feel normal!
So heres a refresher for everyone: Gemma's 6, Dom's 4, Luke's 3, Max is 18 months, and Nora is 3 months. We live in the country, far, far from any neighbours and have a very large safe yard. My house is extremely open concept and our computer is in the kitchen in the middle of everything. There. That pretty much covers my neglectful sounding parenting.
This is a pretty standard day, with maybe my kids behaving a bit better than average. Isn't it amazing how little I get done??
This is my scared morning face.
4:00 am - Nora wakes up. Get up and bring her to bed, nurse her in bed, she falls back asleep after I do.
5:30 - Husband leaves for work. I think I woke up to say goodbye...
7:33 - I hear Max crying, I roll over and start nursing Nora, its essential to survival that she's tanked up before facing the crowds of starving toddlers. (For some blessed, but unknown, reason the kids are sleeping later in the summer, maybe because they're constantly playing outside and are staying up a little later-but whatever the reason, I'm not knocking it!)
7:47 - Get up, change Nora's diaper, get Nora lying on the couch. Get Max up, ew, he's already got a really poopy diaper. Get the kids up. Dom and Luke have moved their beds across the room. Super! Change disgusting Max.
7:55 - Send Dom and Luke to the corner because they're already climbing on Nora for the second time today totally ignoring my first two warnings.
7:57 - Start cooking some oatmeal.
8:03 - Empty the potty that was in the kids bedroom (I know this offends many people's sensibilities, but when you have 3 kids sleeping in one room and don't want them getting out of their room every five seconds and/or destroying the rest of your house while you sleep you let them have a chamber pot for the night and teach them they can't come out of their room until mommy wakes them up in the morning), help Dom and Luke find some clothes. Insist that they don't need socks. Its going to be 27 C degrees out today!
8:16 - Breakfast is finally served, after sending Dom to the corner for fighting with Gemma over a toy camera, Max finishes tantruming which began upon seeing he has to eat oatmeal for breakfast.
8:20 - Everyone's halfway satisfied with their meals and I've answered about 50 million different requests for fruit, juice, wonderings about the weather, daddy, more juice etc, and I check facebook.
8:30 - Nora has grown weary of this "just lying here stuff", I pick her up.
8:35 - Max declares himself finished, or at least thats what I interrpret his upset screams and smashing of the kitchen table to be. Down goes Nora, I gotta hose Max down.
8:46 - I've just talked Max off the emotional breakdown cliff with some fine distraction work. He's now outside on the deck in only a diaper with his blankie. I turned on my coffee. And then I got the boy's small basketball net on the deck for them...which will probably come back to bite me in no time. Gemma is also pouting because I told her to play with her "computer" out on the deck which apparently is not cool because its "harder" outside. She really should be working on logic on that "computer". Oh, and Nora's now in the swing in hopes she has a short nap.
8:57 - I've got my coffee in the French press, Max is trying to break through a window screen but, whatevs, Nora is resistant to sleep. I'm going to read a blog post, dammit, - just one!
9:04 - No blogs got read. My coffee is poured-but no!-someone needs a "wipe".
9:12 - I've tried to make it back to my coffee but everything is conspiring to keep us apart! I emptied the bathroom "garbage" aka diaper pail, took the dirty kitchen laundry...don't even ask...and dealt with Max who woke up on whatever is the worst level of "wrong side of the bed". He goes from one thing to the next being equally unhappy, until he decides to hit up the source of all fun; under the sink. Not cool. But Nora's fallen asleep!
9:17 - Someone else needs a "wipe".
9:21 - The big kids have decided to go out and bike. Max cannot be left behind! I put on his sandals (the older ones can put on their own sandals, Praise the Lord!) and hope for the best...but mark my words...
9:33 - I've been looking out the window every couple minutes to check on them, I looked out a couple minutes ago and Dom and Luke have climbed onto the top of the truck cab. What would they do with a larger block of unsupervised time? I shudder to think. But hot wiring that truck certainly seems within the realm of possibility.
9:38 - I take down a basket full of dirty laundry and run a load.
9:42 - Book reading and I get Max dressed. I usually try to get each kid to pick one book that I'll read to everyone, usually from a stack of ordered library books, and our collection that I try, but usually fail at, switching up every so often.
10:04 - Nora's up and ready to eat, I nurse her and try not to get crushed by Max who loves jumping on me while I nurse. The other kids are reading their books.
10:10 - Ok, the boys have all have gotten my kitchen utensils and are going crazy with tongs and spatulas and doing something to make Max scream. My Max patience is spent, thankfully its nap time, Max goes to bed. I go back to nursing the poor bambino.
10:26 - I start a little do-do-do-da-Dora, Dom and Luke can't watch because they didn't listen to dad last night so their punishment is no cartoons this morning. Which is really punishment for me who has to listen to 20 minutes of perpetual whine.
10:29 - Change Nora's diaper, get her dressed, start the sink to maybe do some dishes.
10:36 - I attempt to make my breakfast smoothie since I just realize I haven't eaten yet today, on the way to the blender I discover someone has spilt the remains of a bag of Shreddies all over the floor. Excellent. Clean that mess up.
10:46 - I made my smoothie, Nora's grumpy and wants to be held so I'm going to sit for a minute and hold her and read some internets-lets see how long this lasts!
11:09 - Nora's fussy and not digging being held or bounced right now. Let's try the good old swing. Not so much either. Dominic needs a banana, Luke wants a second banana. I wash a couple dishes and wash down the really sticky kitchen table.
11:16 - Big kids are given the choice of colouring or outside. They take colouring. Which is ok because its going to be hot out today and we'll be outside a lot once the babies are up. They all fight over what to colour and what to colour with. I pour myself another coffee. And I click clack a little blog post.
11:36 - Dom's done and needs me to give him tape so he can hang up his picture on his closet door. Luke's drawn on the wall with marker and I need to give him a wet cloth so he can clean it up. I sweep the floor because its distugsting.
11:50 - Gemma's still colouring with a gusto, the boys are outside playing with mud.
12:04 - Ok this kitchen is a disaster, I feel it turning on me. I better attack it while the kids are out and the babies are still sleeping!
12:14 - Max is up and dying for food. Nora isn't sleeping and fussing. If I get Max happy I can bolt outside and put Nora in the stroller for a walk. Oh wait, I'm not dressed.
12:22 - Max is happy! Geez, why does it take a nap to get to this point child?! He's eating a granola bar and trying to get the lids off the markers the kids left on the table. Dom's at the door with flowers for me. I'm still not dressed.
12:25 - I get dressed, throw my hair in a ponytail, grab grumpy baby. She goes in the stroller, and falls asleep as soon as we start moving, the kids run around, Max gets distracted with mud. Without stopping stroller movement I grab Max with one hand and start dragging him in the direction the kids are walking in, we do a quick loop around to my parents house and back home.