Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sun Up, Sun Down

I am jealous of those of you with schedules: kids up at such and such time, go here and then there, have naps at such and such time, eat at scheduled time, go to bed at such and such. Such and such is hard for me to figure out. Perhaps my days have a rythym and rhyme to them, but it doesn't feel like it to me. I mostly feel frazzled. I try to work at least two hours on work from home a day, but I sometimes can't even get that much in. And this winter has been driving me bonkers. I want to go outside and play, but I'm too cold and miserable, so we stay inside and vegetate; the new jogging stroller Kulani bought me just mocks me in the living room. We should go to the library or do something constructive, but I don't even want to drive or leave the house. I hope I'm not turning into Jack Nickelson in The Shining. But here's a schedule of a typical day at our house:

5:00 AM: I'm up and trying to work. I work until I get tired, which may be an hour or maybe even two hours, and then I lay back down and take a "quick" nap. Usually Nohea wakes up around 6:45 AM either just as I'm getting in my work groove or in my sleep groove. I pick her up, bring her to bed to let her nurse and give mom a few more minutes sleep.

8:00 AM: Start arousing Melissa for preschool (Tuesdays and Thursdays). I try to let Lilia stay sleeping, but she usually gets up too. Lilia is a morning person; Lissy is not. Lissy cries over various things during the morning, either me having to brush her hair, brush her teeth, the wrong kind of breakfast, etc. Their attitudes reverse at night (as described below).

9:00AM: Usually I'm helping ladies in the neighborhood watch their kids for a few hours. So by this time I have a mini-van full of kids taking them to preschool. I come home and make breakfast for Lilia and Nohea and any other lingering children. After breakfast, I sit down at my laptop and try working again, and let Lilia watch a cartoon or color or draw or she rearranges the living room furniture or feigns to clean up her room, while really making a larger mess. Nohea crawls around or tries walking and stops by my lap for nursing every half hour or so. If I'm watching two babies, which is sometimes the case, I just sit in the rocking chair and hold both babies while we watch a little television. Not much gets done when watching two babies.

11:00 AM: Pick up any kindergartners from the bus stop. Come home and start making lunch and cleaning up breakfast dishes. Lunch is usually a healthy bowl of Mac'nCheese (from the blue box) or Ramen noodles. Yesterday we had fish sticks, though. Always hated fish sticks in school, but now I love them.

11:30 AM: Pick up Lissy from pre-school, along with any other kids who need a ride and a home to stay at for a few hours. Come home and make sure everyone is fed. Clean up dishes. Let kids play while I try to squeeze in more work or hold the baby until she falls asleep.

12:10 PM: Take Lilia to the bus stop for her preschool to begin.

1:30 PM: All kids that are not my own are now gone, and I find time to fit in a nap, while Melissa plays quietly by herself. Melissa is pretty good at playing by herself.

3:00 PM: I'll either do laundry whilst watching Dr. Phil, or we'll go grocery shoppng or to the library or just out to avoid getting stir crazy.

3:45 PM: Pick up Lilia from the bus stop.

5:00 PM: Tidy the house. Do some more laundry. Start preparing for dinner.

7:00 PM: Meet Kulani at the gym or run downstairs on the treadmill. Occasionally we'll take the whole family to the rec center, and we'll run on the track and then go swimming. About this time of night is when Lilia starts getting surly. She'll start to think about all the things she wanted to do today and what we didn't get to do, and she'll pout. She has break downs over simple things. Lissy, on the other hand, will be cooperative and kind. They mirror Kulani and my attitudes to a tea. I'm the morning person and a terrible grump at night. Kulani is a grump in the morning and very kind at night. I'm glad we're not all breaking down at the same time. This house would fall apart.

8:30 PM: Have dinner.

9:00 PM: Family prayer and bedtime.

10:00 PM: Wind down to sleepy town.

I can't get out of the college student rut of going to bed late and getting up early. But still, writing down my schedule has helped me see I'm not so frazzled after all. I think it's having a baby that makes me feel so useless. It seems I'm constantly holding or watching her. I used to think that if someone can make it past that first year of a baby's life, then you can make it until their 18. I remember before Nohea was born thinking how nice my life was going. Lilia and Melissa were old enough to get dressed by themselves. They didn't need my constant attention. I remember thinking: Am I ready to do this all over again? But time passes. Hopefully things will settle down and I'll be back to feeling groovy--or at least, in a groove. Kulani is good not to expect much out of me. He never complains when the house is a mess or the laundry isn't done (well, he does like having clean underwear, but other than that, he's learned the secret code of drop-off dry cleaning). And Nohea turns 1 on Sunday. I've survived this far, I might as well keep her around for the next 17.


Mr. Flynn said...

You day sounds like my idea of hell. Sorry to be so positive, but I couldn't do it. your schedule would kill me. Maybe Bridget could do it, but not me. Our kids are asleep when you guys are eating dinner. Plus, I usually hate having to be around other peoples kids if I am responsible for them. Your girls are some of the rare exceptions. But there are times we have other kids from the ward here and I usually want to beat them. If we ever get called to primary or nursery again I will decline. I am done doing that stuff in the church. I would rather clean bathrooms in the church than do those jobs.

petit elefant said...

On the bright side Cind, I honestly am craving that side. Mister C is only 3 1/2 and we're already in the preschool stage. I'm baby hungry already. It's over shortly, you know. I know everyone says that but it's true, it's over so fast.

Mr. Flynn said...

wow, re-reading that post sounds really negative--ok, I would only not decline a nursery or primary job, I would only try to dissuade them from calling us to such a calling. And I don't want to beat the kids, I only want to gently throttle them....very gently, I promise

Morkthefied said...

Ahh, the joys of other people's kids...It's true. Watching other people's kids is difficult. One thing I tell myself is even though I have feelings of irritation, I can't show it. And I really lean hard on the golden rule: how would I like others to treat my kids? But don't get me wrong; those negative feelings can sometimes be felt on my fingertips. But I've also felt admiration for kids, too. This one boy I watch is a bit of a know-it-all, but he tries so hard to please me. He even acts as my remote control when I can't find one. And my girls always miss them the days we don't watch them. When I told this lady I'd help her out with watching her kids here and there, I assumed it wouldn't be regularly, but it has become fairly regular. But nursery...I think Kulani is near his breaking point. I used to tell parents to leave their crying children and we'll settle them down, but we've had this kid who does NOT stop crying the whole time, and he's disrupting the other kids' emotions, so I told the mother; if he cries, you can either take him with you, or stay in here with us, but our nerves can't take his crying anymore. I said it nicer, of course.

MarySquare said...

C -- I hope the people you're sitting for pay you. You do an invaluable service and you should be getting paid, at least $5 an hour per child (and that's on the low side).

I'd like to think that if I was a stay at home mom, I would try to do the before school and after school care for the neighborhood kids. I think that would be fun -- maybe once they get in school, like 1st grade and up or something

Amo said...

Wow! $5/hour per kid? That's a bit much. If I paid that I would be paying $20/hour! Ouch! I pay $300/week for 4 days a week, plus $50 toward the cell phone bill. My girls are in school most of the time, except when they are off track, which they are now. I'm just hoping our new babysitter (who starts tomorrow) actually sticks with us through the off-track days until the girls get back in school!

Cindster -- you are an angel, however, for watching others' children. I would have a hard time doing it on a regular basis.

MarySquare said...

I think you should pay $5 an hour if you work irregularly, like a couple of hours a day or week. Obviously if you have a set schedule, you can work a deal, and if more than one kid per family, you can work a deal. I don't pay my sitter $5 an hour either because we have a set weekly schedule, but that's how much I pay my babysitter when we go out on dates or do something extra.