Following on from “Anatomy of a Day“, this post will be another snapshot of our day through the Week in the Life viewpoint, a concept by Ali Edwards, where you basically dissect and document *all* that makes up your day, for seven days/a week. I am really enjoying the process and really looking at how I get about my day in great detail – through not only to-do lists, but photos, and observations. Many of the photos I am taking are things I normally would not photograph. Things that are, for me, normal, every day occurrences. From the morning cereal choices – (colour coded of course)
To the sign in process for kindy for the trio (no, I don’t find it unusual to sign in/out three times every day, but many people, in term four, still comment!)
To the emptying of school/kindy bags each day, cleaned and ready for the next, all in a row
And then there is the caffeine. That first, *amazing* cup of tea that gets you going in my now mismatched tea pot as Caitlyn dropped the lid and smashed it, and my only remaining bucket (mug) from the two I bought (another casualty)
To the *best* cup of tea in the day. The one right before bed, that has no interruptions by children and is never cold. It is bliss.
And then there is the havoc that remains in the bathroom after shower/bath. The bubbles still slowly melting due to overzealous squirting of the bubble bath. The ‘stuff’ that just accumulates in the bath, and the little watermarked foot prints across the floor.
The countless arguments, negotiations and battles, particularly with Caitlyn, about eating vegetables, or even in fact any of her dinner. And this face as a result –
The washing, the ironing, and how it always seems to be a never ending cycle.
And then work. Fitted in around all other bits and pieces. Slabs of time throughout the day that still see me working a full time load – and yes, I am thankful for working from home.
Driving. I spend so much time in my car some days – running tiny human passengers to kindy and school, and then to dancing or swimming, or tennis. Things just keep getting added to my diary for things to ‘do’ with/for the kids. I am not complaining. Not at all. I am actually really enjoying how this process of analysing a day is making me incredibly grateful for what I do have, and also for my sanity. I never in a million years thought I would be a mother to four kids. Two was our ‘number’. Four we got. Four kids chock full of spunk and personality. And four people to battle with almost daily. I cannot tell you how many times I say the following –
In a minute _____
I said wait/stop
Please stop hitting/pinching/punching ______
Please will you keep your hands to yourself
Say sorry to ______ please for ________
Can you please listen to me _______
Bikes outside, NOW.
And the list goes on. I think these are my most said ones though. I do tend to swear a lot in my head, I think it is a reasonable coping mechanism some times and a damn site better that swearing at the kids. Now, there is no sugar coating here, and I certainly lose my temper with them, but not without good reason. I think the triplets feed off of each other sometimes, as Hayden was never like this at this age – and it can be an ongoing battle/war to negotiate something as simple as dinner. Then I look at them, really look at them, and taps that weeks ago they could not reach, they now can, courtesy of a growth spurt of a few good centimetres. Then there is Hayden. His ability to research and prepare for his presentation on crocodiles amazed me. He had it all sorted, and I only needed to help him with the pictures. It is astonishing how quickly kids become ‘used’ to computers and the ability to navigate and work through them.
This year in school has seen Hayden really flourish. A little boy who struggled with handwriting and order to his work now is writing so well it makes me swell with pride at just how hard he has worked to get there. He has never complained, and I am sure he has wanted to give up, but he never has. His ability to decipher information and read is amazing, and really puts ‘who’ he is growing up to be in perspective.
And then I really look at how big they are getting. Tiny hands that used to be completely encircled in mine are now just holding onto them –
And I know that in another year, all these tiny things that make up my day, will be different. And I won’t know it, because we get so bogged down in our routine that we don’t always notice when something changes. We forget how grapes used to be called apple trees. Or when Emma said she needed new undies because her ‘booty was too big for them’. Or how Caitlyn is so fiercely independent she would rather die than ask for help. When bumnoises become farts, and when Mummy becomes Mum. All these little changes creep up on me, and sometimes, I worry I won’t remember all the amazing things we say and do. The little ‘isms that make up our family, and separate the kids from each other. The way that one is ticklish and another isn’t; that even though they all have blue eyes they are all vastly different shades of deep blue and full of different expression. Their laughter, their songs. Their bed time toys and routines. The amount of mummy cuddles they need before they go nigh nighs. All of these things and more will always make up who we all are, and spark a strong memory or feeling. I am hopeful that some of these words + photos will spark something for not only my kids, but for me in years to come. Years in which I am no doubt I will still be busy with them, but busy in a different way. And, as tough as many days can be, I never want to forget these days. Even though I lose my temper, and only usually get ONE hot cup of tea a day, I know I will miss these days. I will miss these moments. So I hope my stories do them justice. And I hope that through my eyes, in years to come, my kids can see what kind of ‘life’ we had. And I will miss Caitlyn’s sense of fashion (in 31 degree heat!!)
In the name of motherhood, we do so many things! Things that I am sure when I envisioned motherhood, I never thought I would be doing *so much* of. The real, every day stuff. Like constantly being called by four tiny humans. Varying levels of “Mum/Mummy/Muuuuummmmmmy/MumMumMumMumMummy” at least 400 times a day. Yep, in one day. Idle thoughts like “Muuum, can I have an apple?’ “Mum, I can’t find _____”. Most questions revolve around food, or equality (she has more, she hit me twice, he has my car, he tricked me).
Or when you got to a theme park or zoo and you see many like-minded and weary parental faces nodding, smiling and waiting. There is always waiting. Waiting in line. Waiting for a show to start. Waiting. “Mummmee, how much longer?” is repeated as many times as the incessant “are we there yet” phrase that we all like to pull out a few hundred times on any trip.
You stand, holding a bunch of hats, contorting yourself so you don’t drop any, holding them all in one hand so you can smile and wave as your child/ren go past on the ride each time. I think I look like a grinning idiot waving madly to make sure they see me and know they are ok. But the fun they have makes up for it; even if it means they have five rides in a row. And then they get a bit bigger. And they don’t look for you like they used to and you find yourself waving harder so they do catch your eye. Funny how you miss the little things like that.
So much time – traveling to/from places. Organising the extra things like swimming and dancing. Usually 1/4 or sometimes 2/4 don’t want to go and have changed their mind because ____ is more fun. Negotiating to get them all there. Bargaining. These kids are borderline terrorists with their demands! Waiting for them to finish. Waiting for them to start. Using that waiting time to do some crochet.
Brushing hair. There is a good hour every day between them all.
Making/baking preparing food. Add another couple of hours. On a good day. Home made cheese and bacon rolls are now a family favourite (recipe here). And popcorn (just plain, popped in a saucepan with a dusting of icing sugar) is a big fave. Apples, by the kilo every day, and at least 4, sometimes 8 bananas. Then the yoghurt. And milk, and bread!
So add groceries to the list – and yes I know that it is only going to get worse. I always seem to be filling the fruit bowl, topping up the cereals and flours. Ongoing. Never ending.
Then when they are sick. The unspeakable things you have poked down a plug hole. The offensive smell of bodily fluid that is all over you that you cannot care about because child 2 or 3 or 4 or even 1 needs you again to hold back their hair or just hug them. The washing that everything needs after all of this; and washing it again because you either forgot to get it out in time and it got too hard, or you forgot that you forgot to rinse the bulk of the spew off of it. The child freaking out because they are not her undies, but her sisters. The way you know that Emma likes to be cuddled a lot, and Caitlyn carried like a baby no matter how big she is, Brendan likes to be sat on your lap any old way, and Hayden likes to still be held when he is sick.
The stern voice you have to ‘get’ right. The voice of authority. The voice that has to tell your kids off for doing any amount of things even when you really want to just laugh with them and not care that they drew on the walls for once. When you have to be adult enough to not laugh at toilet humour when your kids are playing cupcake to unwilling participants. But also the voice that protects them. Keeps them in a row behind you and safe.
So many things that you don’t realise will take up the bulk of your day. The impromptu singing and dancing to a new song on the radio – and their interpretation of the lyrics is always hilarious. The cuddles. The story telling. The reasons why they cannot possibly eat any more dinner as they have ‘full tummies’ only to ask five minutes later for a yoghurt, or cheese, or an iceblock. The way they refuse to smile in a photo that you want of all them, and instead poke out their tongue, look away from the camera, or just walk out of shot.
The pretending to love Frozen just as much as they do. Or dinosaurs. Or both. For the first time in forever I think Let it Go is out of my head to be replaced with another tune from the movie (pun intended). Going to the movies means you are going to see something G rated and will likely say ‘sit down’ a hundred times; and surrender your popcorn because they will eat all of theirs before the ads are over. Gone are the M+ movies that have a plot, replaced by something animated, with merchandise and a soundtrack that will have you rocking and drooling like a post op lobotomy patient, and broke from getting it all four times.
Or having to speak fluent Minecraft. Knowing what a Mob is. Or a zombie pigman. Crazy places like creative, nether and survival. Pretending to be amazed by it all. A crafting table. Oh the terms – they really should write a parents manual.
And I know that in 10 years time I will miss this. I will miss their level of need for me now. As bone tiring and repetitive as it can be; I will miss it all. From the hair brushing, teeth brushing, washing and search and find rescue missions for lost toys, I will miss it. The interruptions, the detours, the calamities, the constant chatter and movement. It will all be so different even in a years time. And I know my role will evolve so quickly that I won’t always notice it immediately; it will only be when I have the time to think about it I will notice it. But wow, what a ride. Waiting in lines and all.
Saturdays. A day where activities are usually dictated by kids organised ‘things’ – so things like dancing, swimming, birthday parties, hair cuts, and library book returning. I know even in 10 years time even I will look back and miss this. Right now is probably one of the best times of my life – days bursting with activity, boring bits like washing, cleaning and groceries, and fun things like baking, cuddles (un-prompted), giggles and story telling. Right now – it is happening. Some days I need to remember this more!
Today has already been a flurry of activity. I am onto the third load of washing already (boring bits!) and the kids have finished dancing for the day. Getting the girls hair ready is always something that takes me a bit of time –
Miss Caitlyn has curly wurly hair. A mane of thick strawberry blonde hair that when brushed straight is half way down her back, but otherwise bounces up defiantly to her shoulders. Today we had to had to have two buns. Like Anna (from Frozen).
Then there is the polar opposite –
Miss Emma with her mix of colours (mostly brown, light brown and blonde) and dead straight hair almost to her bum! She has ‘a bigger bun than me Mummy’ (Caitlyn) and is not the greatest with sitting still when getting her hair brushed.
Now this hair thing is getting serious. Real serious. In a month the kids have their dancing concert. Makeup (natural looking, not over the top clownesque), hairspray and wiglets. I am silently freaking the hell out. I have next to no ability to apply makeup. Stemming from laziness, and lack of exposure to the ‘products’ I am now hopeful that there are some good YouTube videos for application. Then there is the hair. Product. Again, I have gone with the path of less resistance and that is a band and a pony tail. The hair for the concert has to be –
* Fly-away free
* Secured with hairspray
* The bun must be styled when wet
* Bun net must be worn
* Must be secured with multiple bobby pins
* Sustainable and non-moveable when dancing
Ok, they lost me at the first one. I have crazy hair that means sticky-outy bits almost everywhere. So does Emma. Caitlyn has escaped this. Little curly bits (despite our straight hair) that just happen. I am wondering how to tame these bits! Then hairspray. Uhm, I envision my own hair being hairsprayed into place from the angles of spraying I am going to have to take to ensure they have hair spray in. Oh dear. It is going to be bad. The written instructions provide me with no comfort either. I am hopeful that for the full dress rehearsal next week some mother will take pity on me and have some tips of how to do it all. Seriously! I won’t even have Daddy back up as he will be away at work. So I will totally be winging it. I am the type of girl that always looks at other women with their amazing hair in awe, not nasty ‘she sucks’ awe, but pure amazement that it is possible (and power to them!!).
Today though, we may have an option. Hayden got his hair cut, and for the first time ever, said yes to the ‘product’ the lady always asks him about.
He looks so grown up! A real, gulp, boy. Gone is the ‘little’ boy. It suits him, and he is telling me that ‘hair product is not that hard’ (after correcting his grammar, I informed him that for me, it is). But it again shows me that even though I know how to do so many things, there are still so many more things that I am going to learn to do for my kids.
Inserting bobby pins, applying eyeshadow to twisty turny four year olds, building lego, making paper planes, understanding Minecraft, and making blankets for toys that are otherwise going to be cold are just a few things I have to learn to be fluent in. There is no guide. There is no book of answers, though I suspect that in many households YouTube and Google come in very close to being solutions! But right now, even though I am absolutely petrified of having two girls take the rehearsal next week in crooked eyeshadow and wiglets that fall out (apparently you don’t want to be that child’s mother) I know that ‘this’ is the rocking chair moments. The “remember when I had to…” memories that are so visceral because you can feel what it is like to be thinking of a million things to do and how to do them all in the name of Motherhood.
After dancing today, Brendan very happily tells me “I don’t need any makeup or hair Mummy, I just dance and wear my costume”. Is it bad that I am relieved that his routine will be simpler?! Despite this, even if he did, I would make sure he got it and that it was ‘right’; but I am so thankful it is one less to freak out about.
So now we are into the afternoon, and we have a birthday party to head too. Three presents for one kid – she is going to feel special! Hayden is reveling in the fact that his siblings will be gone for much of the afternoon, and I will be putting a roast on (lamb!) and hopefully replying to some pen pals!
Saturdays are busy but fun, and as we near the tenth month, I really do have to take stock, and see, that right now, is likely going to be one of the busiest, but most amazing, times of my life. So go, hug your kids, pat your dog, and look in honest reflection at what is happening now. It may be that you too are in the time of your life 🙂 Enjoy it. Live it!
And for no other reason than that he was not in any photos, here is B. His usual, crazy, goofy self.