Thursday, 11 October 2012

One day

My days go a bit like this at the moment:

6.30am alarm clock. Try and snake my way out of the embrace of the toddler to get up and dressed without having same toddler velcro'ed to me. If this is successful, there's a good chance we get out of the house in time.
Get dressed. Prepare breakfast, pack school bag, nursery bag, make my own packed lunch.
6.45am. wake toddler, get her dressed and give her breakfast.
6.55am give toddler different breakfast
7.05am give up giving toddler breakfast as she refuses to eat, lift her out, carry her upstairs to wake up school girl.
7.15 school girl still in bed moaning.
7.20 pull school girl out of bed and dress her as there's no way she'll get dressed herself. Yes she is 5 1/2. She can dress herself.
7.30 brush school girl's hair. This takes longer than most things in the morning, only beaten by getting dressed, hence the mention.
7.40 shoes and jackets and bags ON and OUT.
7.50 toddler still not sitting in her car seat and still insisting "Snowflake selber, Mami go away!"
7.55 depart
8.00 drop of Cubling for breakfast club
8.08 leave school for nursery (after 5 minutes of "Snowflakes selber, Mami go away!" at the car)
8.25 drop off Snowflake at nursery.
8.35 depart nursery for work (I'm going to be 5 mins late. Always. I can't find those lost 5 minutes ever and if I seat Snowflake, there's a massive tantrum and fight which is no alternative and takes longer than waiting out her Car Seat Climb of Independence and Achievement)
8.50 arrive at work
relax. work, usually without a lunch break.
4.35pm depart for nursery
4.55 arrive at nursery, pick up Snowflake. Snowflake takes about 10 minutes to get into car seat while telling me "Snowflake selber, Mami go away!"
5.05 depart for childminder/after school club. Snowflake cries all the way unable to tell me what is actually wrong.
5.20 arrive at childminder/after school club to pick up Cubling. Cubling refuses to leave, hits me, frowns at me. Nice to see you too.
5.40 finally back in car after 10 mins of coaxing Cubling to leave school building and assault course and 10 mins of "Snowflake selber, Mami go away!" at the car.
5.45 arrive home, get all the bags into the house, accompanied by crying toddler who still doesn't know what's actually wrong, while trying to argue with school girl why she can't visit the neighbours yet again, trying not to coax her into the house with watching the box.
6pm finally all in the house, rush to start cooking but neither girls playing game, continued moaning, crying, tantrumming. Focus on not losing the plot. Breathe. Focus some more. Try playing with one or the other, or cuddling, because maybe this crying is all about reconnecting. Cubling doesn't want to play she wants to watch TV. Snowflake doesn't want to play she wants to cuddle.
6.15 Carry toddler while going upstairs to the freezer (yes, our freezer is indeed upstairs), carry her down, sit her on the work surface to prepare dinner. She wants down. She cries. She wants up. She cries. She wants carried. Can't cook safely with toddler velcroed to me. Offer her food scraps that I can find and let her nibble. Cubling begs for TV. I try to distract with drawing/homework or playing with her sister. If successful, they will play for 10 mins which gives cooking time. If not, it'll be beans on toast with egg.
6.45 dinner time. Snowflake won't eat. Cubling eats ever sooo sloooowwwlyyyy (unless it's beans on toast with egg). Offer Snowflake different dinner. No luck again. Give her toast (again). Let her sit on my lap because she threatens to do a skyjump out of her booster seat (again).
7pm hubby arrives. Breathe. Finish dinner as a family.
7.30 upstairs for bedtime (bathtime? you must be joking!)
Toddler goes willingly. School girl does everything in the world to delay getting changed. Sometimes I wonder if keeping her in her jammies all day may significantly reduce my stress levels.
8pm Stories - dad and Cubling / mummy and Snowflake who also gets milk.
8.30pm kids in bed. Tidy up kitchen, prepare things for next day, put on washing machine/dishwasher or empty the same.
9.30pm sit down, check emails and do online stuff like paying bills.
10pm have shower or knit or read a book or I simply can't manage to move my arse off the sofa kind of thing because I can't decide which anyway and i'm so unbelievably tired that I'm just gonna waste this precious hour. I used to blog, almost daily. How did I do that? I'd like to phone friends, go out, go for a run. Actually, no, I don't. I'd rather stay in and waste away on the sofa. Have I really just said that?
11 pm hang up washing
11.30 or later: go to bed.
half an hour after falling asleep: "Mami!!!!!" Snowflake stands in cot staring at me. Lift her into (my) bed. Nurse.
4am: "Mami!!!!" Nurse. Usually non stop until:
6.30am alarm clock.
And repeat.

I have no idea how people manage to bathe their kids every day.
I also have no idea how working parents manage a 7 pm bedtime. My kids would benefit from more sleep but if they're asleep by 8.30 pm we're doing well.
I have no clue how to finish the day with two happy kids. There's nothing that makes me feel more inept at parenting than failing to get smiles out of my girls in the evening, and to feel that they're happier at daycare/school than at home with me.
Any tips are welcome.


Annicles said...

This might seem crazy but when my kids were similar ages I put them in the bath as soon as we got home. We ate a lot of baked food that cooked while they were chilling out in the bath and they ate supper in their pyjamas. The bath calmed them down, they ate better and slept earlier and longer. It also cut out the horrible time between home and eating. If they will eat soup and stew a slow cooker is good too- the food is cooked without your direct input. Hope this helps!!!

Aussie Mum said...

Oh my - sounds exhausting just reading it. My days are different in lots of ways but exactly the same in others.

I only work part time (0.5 FTE) but on the days I do work they go a lot like yours although my boys are early risers (my 2 year old invariably starts the day at 5.30 at the moment) so I have to have them in bed by 7-7.30 pm or I would go insane. I also think there would be a mutiny if I suggested my middle boy didn't get a bath - it is so much a part of his evening routine. But they all go through their phases of refusing to eat.

On the days I work full days I notice that their is a lot more cranky behaviour from them all and it isn't that they would rather be in care than at home it is that they have spent the whole day being on best behaviour so when you finally turn up to pick them up they absolutely loose it! They can finally let their guard down. I spend a good part of my weekends and work free days preparing easy meals to take the stress out of work evenings but I too resort to beans and toast when all else fails. It doesn't last for ever and they aren't going to starve though they do need those extra cuddles on busy days - so do I! PS I don't know how any one finds the time to blog anymore!

Dot said...

I'm not getting much blogging time either, these days...

Hugh is awful about getting changed, too, and I often end up dressing him. How do you make a child do something complicated like that when they just don't want to, would rather do jigsaws than get to school on time and prefer to be semi-naked anyway? I've tried bribery, but Hugh's conclusion usually is that he would rather do something else to get his sticker.

I think I do have it a bit easier than you because instead of having to pick my children up from different childcare facilities I come home in the evening to find them already eating a dinner that has been cooked by the au pair. It is fantastic having an au pair - cheaper and also easier than the creche/after-school option. I do have to come in and cook, but only for the adults, and we are usually done in time to run a bath at 7pm.

cartside said...

I do consider bathtime first thing, just that it's stressful as toddler HATES bathtime.
I have no time to cook ahead. I keep telling myself that they're letting off steam when at home and that it's about reconnecting and true enough they are fine if I don't try to cook but just cuddle in front of the TV, or have a jump about on the bed together. If only I could conjure up cooked food while doing so!
Au pair? Swoon.



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