Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All in a day's work

Life as a stay-at-homer is pretty busy. I'm pretty convinced right now that going back to work will be a welcome break. (Remind me of this when I'm panicking in 3 months!)

An overwhelming thing me about staying home with my babies is that so often I have NO IDEA what I accomplished that day. At school there were projects finished, art was created, designs were perfected, at work there were clients presented with finished products, then events planned, advertising sent out, workshops arranged, lessons planned. Specific, tangible things achieved.

So today, I decided to log how I spent my time.

Mommy stumbles into the kitchen, where Daddy greets me with a coffee. This is my little bit of luxury, by the way. Mommy gets up through the night, so Daddy gets to hang out with Max in his early morning hours, anywhere from 5 to 7am (hours I prefer to pretend don't exist), returning him to Mommy in bed to nurse some more around 7 or 7:30. The coffee was a bonus this morning, in response to my complaint yesterday that I always get left with the bottom sludge.

While still wiping the sleep from my eyes, I help Seth fit his snowpants in his bookbag, kiss his head and send him off to meet the bus. Then I join in the hunt for Thane's things, scattered everywhere, hurrying him so he doesn't miss the bus.

Miss Claire wakes up and joins me and my coffee on the couch for a snuggle, watching Steven and Chris. We say bye to Daddy.

Max is scratching like mad, he's itchy today and needs a bath and his creams asap. Claire is bored of Steven and Chris, they're shorted for a switch to Dora. In the tub Max goes. I call Mom to hear her thoughts on the debate. Is Stephen Harper the robot I thought or simply an introvert who doesn't sensationalize the issues?

All clean and creamed, Max nurses himself to sleep.

Oh yeah, it's garbage day, oi. Nope, the garbage truck hasn't come yet, I can still make it! I load up my trusty wagon with the bags and head down the driveway in pyjama pants, rubber boots, and a painting sweatshirt laying near the door. Motherhood is so glamourous. At least the air is fresh and the birds are singing. 

I scrounge up a late breakfast for Claire and I. I try to avoid checking facebook. Nope, self-control loses, I wonder if anyone's commented anything else about the debate last night?

Laundry. One load in and I decide the laundry room needs swamped out and cleaned, the mess leftover from tiling the entry has to go, since I can barely move and everything has tile dust on it. Claire bops in and out, chatting with me, rearranging, putting clean clothes in the dirty clothes piles. At one point I hear her upstairs beside Max's bedroom, putting on her second outfit of the day. There will be many more wardrobe changes to come I'm sure. I race up to scoop her up and bring her downstairs before she decides Max should really be up now and goes into his room. ("Up! It's mornin!") Really. It's two steps ahead and one back around here.

Coffee break! (Oh wait, a bag of blueberries has been dumped out. Who needs a bowl for a snack? Must intervene.)

Coffee break! (Oh wait, I'm presented with a cute little pointer finger with a scratch. Claire insists it needs cream. The baby brother with eczema remember? We add a bandaid to ensure it won't fall off. Dora bandaids were a bad idea, must remember to buy boring bandaids with no enticing qualities whatsoever.)

Now it's actually coffee break time! Claire colors beside me, I have coffee while simultaneously discussing the intricities of purple vs. yellow, via Claire's crayons. Claire's eyebrows raise in disagreement when I state the sun is yellow. And she argues that purple is not the color of a flower like Mommy says, it's something else, but something in Clairese that I can't decipher. And then there's much conversation that Seth's new birthday present toy, a Bumblebee transformer, must be a Daddy because he has big feet.

I meet the bottom of another coffee cup, I can hear Max stirring (him talking to himself up there is a new and funny thing), and the laundry needs switched. Time on my butt is officially over. Onwards and upwards Mama!

The laundry gets switched, I take Claire's folded laundry, a crib sheet, and round up Claire, and head up to rescue little mister. Claire climbs into his crib and bounces around Max and gives him hugs. He thinks she's hilarious. I change the crib sheet somehow with them in it. We all head towards Claire's closet to put clothes away, but I get distracted by the boys messy room. I think the boys think it's mandatory for lego to cover their floor at all times, in practice for walking on hot coals perhaps? I clear a spot for Max to sit, thankful again that he's not crawling yet as I hand him some bigger toys to play with. Claire and I work on putting together this truck building toy for awhile, then I get back to cleaning while she plays. Always back to the cleaning. I question out loud, mostly to myself but talking to the kids in the way you do when you're alone with pre-talkers all day, why the boys clothes drop directly from their bodies to the floor, wherever they happen to stand. As I begin to tackle Seth's closet, rehanging shirts that are piled on the floor (again, the reason is?), I notice Claire picking up the dirty clothes and putting them in the hamper. I guess she had heard my admonitions! Her willingness to clean never ceases to amaze me. Really? Does it really just come more naturally to females? Did I miss out on that gene?   

Soon, Max is fed up and I take him downstairs, change his bum, put cream on his raw cheeks, and settle him into his highchair to pick at rice puffs while I warm up leftover veggies for him. I can't find any of his clean bibs, so an apron of Claire's will have to do!

Lunch preparations are interrupted by a crash. Claire has dropped the bowl of cheerios and blueberries she's been toting around with her, down the stairs. It was a clean break into two pieces though (funny when that's the bright side!), leaving just the food on every stair for Claire and I to pick up. I have to convince her that the stairs really are very dirty and she can't eat these ones, I will get her new ones.

Back to Max, lunch for Claire, filling the dishwasher, and sweeping. I notice I never did get around to wiping up the puddle from the dishwasher leaking last night, and choose to ignore it again because a) Max is fussing and b) the dishwasher being a piece of crap annoys me to no end.

We're on our way outside for a walk. Oh wait, it's colder now, Max needs a blanket. On our way. Oh wait, Claire wants mittens. On our way. Really. We stroll, Claire sometimes in, sometimes out of the stroller. Max laying back, enjoying the ride. Singing while she's in, pocketing rocks while she's out. We can hear the ducks and the water and stop to appreciate the big hole a piliated woodpecker made.

We're back inside after a nice walk. Max settles in to nurse and falls asleep, while Claire plays with her toys.

Naptime for Max, lunchtime for Mommy, Claire falls asleep on the couch.

Not naptime for Max, he woke up when I laid him down and will not settle back to sleep. When I get him he is very happy to see mommy realized he wasn't REALLY sleeping. I was only fooling mom.

Diaper, cream, laundry re-set. Get Max set up on the kitchen floor with toys, since I remembered we have haircuts at 5:30 in Woodstock, so I should have an early supper ready.

On my way to reset laundry, I lay Claire down horizontal on the couch, unfolding her from the head upside down beside her lap position she had fallen asleep in.

I have hamburger that needs used, thawed from a bbq last night, so start it cooking with onions and garlic for Shepard's pie, then remember the tomato soup has wheat in it (not working for Max's gluten-free diet) and I had meant to look up an alternative sauce last time I made this. I guess I'll wing it without the soup. How about, ummm, worcheschire sauce? Wheat flour in there too eh? I guess we'll do a no sauce meat base. Hmm, I wonder if Thane will still eat it if it looks different? Better make two versions. 

Alright, the day gets pretty hectic here, as per usual, with food cooking and Claire making her own sandwich, and attempting to keep an increasingly cranky (and increasingly mobile) Max happy with toys on the kitchen floor, switching him to his seat with food he was not interested in, attempting to breastfeed him but he didn't feel like that either. More teething drama? Constipation from the sudden onslaught of 'real' food? When was the last time he pooped? A mother's brain is always full of brillant thoughts.

The boys came home off the bus, trudging up the driveway. I heard about their days, attempting to decode between the lines. From Seth, "I had a good day, but Conor scraped BOTH his knees! And blood splatters everywhere when you spray it with the stuff." Not sure what the stuff is? From Thane, "We had to review the new stuff on multiplication from yesterday, because some people didn't get it." With scrunched up eyes and a pinched finger and thumb, "Madame was just a LITTLE bit mad and a LITTLE bit sad that we had to do that instead of the stuff she had planned. She's behind now." What the? I trade the older three half an hour of screen time for enough peace to finish supper.

I shut down the screens admist much protest, sit down at the table with Max for the sooking he's so desperately demanding, and request school agendas to be given to me and homework to be brought out. I check the books for notes, checking Thane's homework list written against his greatly abbreviated verbal version. Seth's agenda reveals an empty pizza form, causing the revelation that his money for pizza Friday wasn't sent in. Tears follow. I convince Thane to stop working on his brothers new birthday lego set, that that is not fair, and to do up his homework. Claire joins the table, picking up her coloring again.

Troy arrives home early so we can head off for the grand family haircut appointment. He sets the record straight that pizza money was sent in Monday. Seth rejoices. Thane discloses that he didn't actually pass his in, that he lost his toonie. More tears flow.

I give Troy the low-down, "Feed the kids, shepard's pie is in the oven, the one with sauce is not gluten-free, Max wouldn't eat much today, I don't know what's up with him, get clothes on Claire, I need a shower before we leave, we need to be in the van in half an hour. Oh, find Seth some pants."

To which I hear as I jump in, "Why didn't you shower before now?"

Well, actually, today, today I can tell you.

See above list.


  1. I think you're onto something with chronicling the day hour by hour (I think I might have to give it a try too)! Quite the full day, but I would say that there was quite a bit accomplished, too. :-)

  2. brilliant writing Victoria. I loved it. Amusing and's amazing how a mama's day can be so full of those tiny details. Thank you for sharing with us. xox

  3. you are correct that Harper is a robot


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