Everyone always says to me “I don’t know how you do it!” They’re referring to the fact that I have 4 kids, I suppose. Our maybe it’s when I tell them the 3rd and 4th are 14 months and 2 months old. Possibly when I say I also homeschool, cloth diaper, and don’t buy packaged food. At any rate, I decided to write about one full day in my life. So here goes…
The sun is high in the sky, which means that I got to sleep in this morning! I heard my daughter, Natalie, stirring in her crib, so I finished nursing my son, Robert, who was cradled in my arms in my bed. I got up to get my phone and put my hair in a ponytail. 7:22am. What a nice change from the 6:30 wake-up call I’ve been getting lately! I gather clean clothes for both babies. Natalie is soaking wet…sigh…normally, I carry my phone, the babies’ clothes, Natalie’s bottle and blankie, and both babies down the stairs at once to save me trips up and down. But I don’t want to carry her soaking wet next to my body! So I tell Natalie I will be right back, carry everything down real quick, put Robert in his bouncer, and head back upstairs to get her. I carry her far away from my body so my semi-clean clothes aren’t soaked in pee in the process. Then the morning fun starts. I take Natalie in the bathroom and place her on a towel. Get a wet washcloth and start peeling off her wet clothing. I really should give her a bath, but she’ll be freezing and Robert needs to be changed, too, and I just don’t feel like it! A spot bath will have to do. I get to her diaper and realize it’s poopy, too. Ugh! For those that don’t know, with cloth diapers, poop gets flushed down the toilet. Trust me, that’s often much harder than it sounds! OK, clean diaper on, clean clothes on, now on to Robert. But first, I have to shut and lock the office door, make sure the doors to the stairs and laundry room are shut, and put up the “gate” to the back hall. It’s just the end piece of an old crib that never got converted to a gate, and Natalie can just knock it over now, but it at least serves as a deterrent and early warning system. In our house, doors cannot be left open or Natalie will be through it and getting into something before you even realize she’s gone! What was I doing? Oh yes, it was Robert’s turn. I had to go get the clean diapers from the laundry room before I could change him because there were no more in the basket in the living room. Might as well put the clothes from the washer in the dryer while I’m at it. Now finally…clean diaper, check…clean clothes, check. Whew! I leave him on the floor to play. Crap, Natalie fell in the kitchen and hit her head. Run in there, pick her up, comfort her. She’s hungry, so I cut her a piece of cheese and fill her sippy cup with half water, half cold apple cider. OK, while she’s happy with that, I quickly start a load of laundry. I realize her sheet and blankie are soaked, so I run upstairs and grab them, run down and throw them in the wash and start it. Now Natalie wants more food, so I get her half a slice of salami and half a slice of turkey. She happily toddles off. I start warming the coffee from yesterday, there’s half a pot because hubby didn’t drink any. Saves me time! I open the windows, then I’m hungry, so I pour some granola and coconut milk and go sit on the floor next to Robert. Natalie comes and sits in my lap, she loves to share food. I hurriedly eat while feeding her bites and catching up on reading my best friend’s blog. It’s 8:00am. I start writing this entry.
8:41…In the time I’ve spent writing thus far (on my phone, of course), I’ve gotten Natalie out of cabinets she’s not supposed to be in 4 times. I put on a warmer shirt, cleaned up spit up, moved Robert to the boppy because he was unhappy, I used the bathroom while Natalie tried to put her hands through my legs into the toilet. Natalie indicated that her diaper was wet, so I changed her. I stopped Natalie from climbing on the chair to get my wallet off the table while holding Robert, she found a fork instead and started banging on the table with it. I decided forks and Natalie don’t mix, so I picked her up off the chair and set her down, pushed in the chair again and put the fork in the sink. Natalie went to the TV and indicated that she wanted to watch a Baby Einstein video. Sure, why not? I start trying to find the remote, but gave up quickly, deciding it was easier just to push the play button on the DVD player. I had to squeeze my arm in there because we keep Natalie’s heavy book basket in front of the doors of the entertainment center so she won’t wreak havoc in there (and I’m too lazy to move it). At this point, the 2 big girls, Elizabeth and Meghan, wake up and wander in from their rooms. They complain that it’s cold because of the windows being open. Too bad? LOL I tell them to get themselves food…they sit down and watch Baby Einstein instead. I ask Meghan to let Sugar, the dog, out, Zorro, the other dog, is still upstairs asleep with hubby, who has to work closing shift tonight so he’s sleeping in. I sit down to nurse Robert and hopefully rock him to sleep. Elizabeth stops Natalie from pushing buttons on the TV and sits with her on the couch.
8:55am…I suppose I should have my first cup of coffee and make these big girls eat something. Put Robert in Moby wrap, cut apple for Meghan, pour cup of coffee, talk about what if we lived in Alaska with the big girls while Elizabeth makes toast and gives Natalie her crust. Talking about living in the snow leads to conversation about ambient heat and geographic location of Alaska, including Elizabeth pulling out the big atlas. This is unschooling 😉 Crap, Elizabeth left the office door unlocked. Natalie sensed it and headed for the back bathroom. Back to unschooling…quick refresher on how to use the atlas index, find page with Alaska, talk about borders. Meghan starts imagining inventions that could make travel easy and instantaneous. E shows Meghan the atlas and talks about borders more. I let Sugar in. I realize Elizabeth never actually finished making her toast, so I tell her to come in the kitchen. Natalie comes in the kitchen and tries to open the fridge. I cut pieces from half a banana and eat the other half while continuing to talk about Alaska. We talk about forest gardening and preserving food.
9:25am…Robert is sleeping soundly, and I think I’ll make some bacon and potatoes to help wake hubby up! Meghan has started Baby Einstein again and is watching with
. Meghan wants to learn the sign language they’re doing on the video. (This is also unschooling!) I cut up some red and purple potatoes, a red bell pepper, a little bit of a red onion, and 3 cloves of garlic, put it in a casserole dish with olive oil in the bottom. Top with salt, pepper, and basil. Cover with foil and pop in the oven. While I do this, Meghan helps me get Natalie in the door jumper and gets her a bottle and some utensils to play with. Elizabeth unloads dishes. They show me sign language they’ve learned from the video (more unschooling). I wash a pan to start cooking bacon in. Elizabeth and Meghan take turns loading dishes while Natalie is happily jumping and watching. Meghan is counting dishes in Spanish (unschooling). Natalie is playing drop stuff and say uh-oh (gravity lesson…unschooling begins at birth!) We talk about why babies do this.
10:19am…the bacon is done, potatoes almost done, dishwasher just about loaded fully. The big girls and I have had a lively conversation about nicknames and personal autonomy (unschooling again) I go upstairs to inform hubby that the food is almost done.
10:29…I take Robert out of the carrier, get Natalie some potatoes to eat while Meghan gets her in her high chair. Elizabeth pulled a drawer out all the way, spilling it’s contents in the process. I put the drawer back and Meghan helps her clean it up. I sit down to nurse Robert while Meghan and Elizabeth get their food. I notice Robert is wet and make a mental note to change him when he’s done eating. The girls inform me that some of the potatoes are not fully cooked, so I’ll have to put them back in the oven for a bit…
10:55am…I managed to check my email and Facebook while nursing Robert, changed his diaper and clothes, put him in the bouncy seat, put the potatoes back in the oven, Natalie follows me so I tickle her and carry her back with me. I sat down to eat my food then Natalie got on my lap and I realized she was wet, too. I changed her real quick, then finished eating while she climbed all over my chair and me. Gave her a tiny piece of bacon which she fed to the dog…no more bacon for Natalie. Turned the coffee pot back on, poured another cup. Meghan filled Natalie’s bottle, then Meghan and Elizabeth went to play minecraft. Oh yes, one cat I let inside started eating bacon off table, I put said cat back outside! Talk to Robert and make him smile. He spits up. Clean spit up. Had a conversation with Natalie for several minutes about her shirt and binky and told her 5 times that she can’t have my coffee cup. Put binky on Natalie’s shirt, took shirt off, took binky off shirt, explained she has to leave diaper on 3 times. Distracted her with playing blocks. Moved Robert to boppy on floor with us.
11:28am…played blocks with Natalie then stopped her from hitting Robert on the head with blocks and other things. Practiced gentle touching. She climbed the step stool we allow her to play on. Realized I never took potatoes back out of oven, hubby takes them out for me. Talked with hubby about jobs he’s applying for. Talked about Alaska. Comforted Natalie when she fell off step stool. Had baby talk conversation with Robert. Let both dogs out. Put Robert in bouncy seat and currently hiding in bathroom writing while Robert fusses because he’s tired and Natalie terrorizes hubby while he eats.
11:39am…I came out of the bathroom and scarfed down more food while Robert got more and more upset that I wasn’t holding him. Natalie was sitting in hubby’s lap, playing with the food on his plate, throwing her bottle on his plate. He complains, I tell him “at least up didn’t get peed on while you ate… there’s still time…” I get Robert and start the rock, bounce, pat routine to get him to sleep. Natalie gets in the chair next to us and finds the remote I couldn’t find earlier (of course!). She tries to feed me the remote for awhile, then indicates she wants her movie on again. Sure, why not? (Don’t judge!) I start the movie and hubby runs to turn the volume down because Natalie figured out the buttons on the TV…and of course I don’t know where the TV remote is, either 😉
11:51am…Robert is sleeping peacefully, as long as I hold him upright on my chest. Natalie is getting tired, she’s laying on the floor watching her movie. I choose to ignore the bickering and whining coming from the big girls so I can sit in relative peace for a few minutes and respond to some messages…
12:45pm…Elizabeth changed Natalie’s diaper for me, she’s a really good big sister =) Hubby needed work clothes…”shirts are in the dryer, pants are on top of the clean pile on the couch, socks are actually matched but in the chair waiting to be moved upstairs” LOL I find this amusing, he’s just glad they’re clean! Time for Natalie’s nap. I set Robert down, he wakes instantly. I go to the bathroom, Natalie follows and wants to sit on the potty when I’m done. I realize her diaper is wet yet again, then note that I should probably wash more diapers today. I should also put inserts in the clean diapers and put them neatly in the basket (they’re currently half-strewn across the floor. I’ll give you one guess who did that.) I turn on the TV and find the cable remote, put on Dirty Jobs as background noise, get Natalie’s bottle and a backup blankie since hers is still in the dryer. Find binky, get Robert, sit Natalie next to me and nurse Robert back to sleep. Hopefully, she won’t fight sleep too badly. Hubby is off to work, he’ll be home about 11pm. I’ll most likely still be awake by then.
1:16pm… Natalie has fallen asleep on my right arm with little fighting and no crying. Robert has been asleep for awhile, but is still latched on my left breast and intermittently suckling. He’s holding my shirt, and N is holding his hand =) It’s these peaceful moments that energize me and motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing! I’m going to try to take a pic real quick, but no guarantees because my phone is almost dead and I dare not move too much!
2:30pm…Robert started waking earlier, gave binky, went back to sleep. Then Natalie did the same thing, but for the rest of her bottle. Later, Natalie woke crying and disoriented. Elizabeth refilled her bottle for me and she settled again and fell back to sleep. Robert got hungry, too, so he nursed then burped and also fell back asleep. I used to think that babies need to have regular nap times and sleep in their own beds to learn how to sleep well. Turns out, babies don’t learn to sleep before they’re ready, just as they don’t learn to walk before they’re ready. Seems babies sleep best when they’re held by mama and given a bottle or breast or pacifier when they have trouble transitioning between the different stages of sleep. I’m getting hungry and thirsty, and please don’t mention peeing, but this is what my babies need, this is how they sleep best. Before I know it, they will be off playing minecraft, too. So why not hold them now?
3:15pm…Robert woke up first. We shared another baby talk conversation, then he was hungry again. Natalie woke a short time later, finished her bottle, then farted and laughed about it 😉 Now I need to get up, stretch, get some water and a snack, and go pee! But first, time for diaper changes again…
4:00pm…I came out of the bathroom earlier to Robert screaming because Natalie had hit him with a block. More practice being gentle. Had my snack, got Natalie a snack, and just finished putting 21 diapers together. I better start washing another load, because I might not get around to drying them until morning. Time to nurse Robert again!
5:12pm…just spent like 15 minutes on an extensive search for my phone. I had the big girls get clothes from the dryer and fold and put away a few. I put wet clothes in the dryer then started washing a load of diapers. Then I got Natalie a snack and unloaded the dishwasher. Natalie helped hand me dishes. Then I tossed some old fruit, had Elizabeth take out the trash and get the mail, I cleaned off the counters and loaded a few dishes. Then I put some rice away and sorted the mail. Then I realized my phone was missing. Finally found it stuffed in hubby’s chair along with the other remote I’ve been missing and a bunch of toys. Hiding place noted! Time to nurse Robert again.
6:21pm…one more diaper change per baby, big girls helped me fold a bunch more clothes and put things away, Natalie has gotten on the table twice, kids had snacks, I nursed Robert again and now have been standing and rocking/bouncing him after he cried for awhile. I decided I don’t have the energy to make the dinner I had planned. So now I think it will be gluten-free pancakes with berries on top. If this baby will go to sleep before Natalie has to go to sleep anyway…
8:03pm…Robert slept for maybe 30 minutes. I ate some chips and salsa while standing holding him. The girls cleaned the living room, pretty much. I had set Robert down to go make popcorn to tide us over, since I never made dinner, that’s when he woke up. I got Natalie ready for bed after she finally ate enough food. Then the hunt for the bottle began! Now I just got done nursing Robert and am sitting in the dark living room rocking both babies while Natalie drinks her bottle, and I half-watch How it’s Made for background noise.
8:24pm…both babies asleep, no crying. What?!? Thank God! Now to transfer Robert to the bouncer and Natalie upstairs to her crib. Crossing my fingers…
8:50pm…successfully moved Natalie to bed, Robert woke up shortly after I put him in there =( Made smoothies for the big girls and I. At some point, I have to vacuum before bed. I’d like to finish loading dishes, too…
9:21pm…hubby walked in the door and said “so I worked a couple extra hours”. I got a confused look on my face and told him I thought he was working until 10 or something! Nope, got my days mixed up, like always. Robert is nursing yet again. I’m guessing growth spurt. Hopefully, he’ll go back to sleep soon.
10:55pm…the big girls went to bed around 9:45pm. Robert is sleeping soundly, I have been watching The Big Bang Theory with hubby and eating chips and salsa. Natalie just woke up wanting her bottle, so I took it up to her. I finished loading the dishes earlier, but didn’t get to the vacuuming. I’m thinking it’s just about bedtime!
11:32…I decided on one last episode of Big Bang. Robert woke up a little bit ago and is nursing. Perfect time to go to bed!
11:36pm…Natalie just started crying again. I told hubby it’s his turn, I still have a baby attached to me. 😉
11:48pm…bed…please, let the babies sleep well…
7:36am…I’m just sitting down with my granola and coconut milk to share with Natalie. I’ve already done my morning routine…changing diapers and clothes, windows open, coffee being made, and yes, Baby Einstein is on again (definitely a different video today). Robert woke twice last night and had trouble getting back to sleep both times. I was glad to be in bed, laying next to him and at least resting. Natalie woke once, probably because of Robert’s crying. But hubby was nice enough to go refill her bottle since I was busy with Robert.
So there you have it, a day in my life. It’s crazy, but it’s the most rewarding job I could imagine =)
So there you have it, a day in my life. That wasn’t so bad, was it?