Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The big race to bedtime

So many of you have read my recounting of the horrible first two weeks of kindergarten.  I hope you didn't think that my lack of postings last week was related to Cate in school.  It was solely a matter of me trying to get into a routine and not being very successful.  Somehow the littlest bit of homework added to a need for early bed time is hard for me to manage.  I feel like I'm in a race - I leave for work at 6:30 am, rush to get my work done while trying to ignore the pull of the Internet that wants to distract me, run out the door at 3:05 to pick up Cate then Lucy.  Once we are home I should feel relief but that is actually where the real stress begins.  Somehow the hours between 4:00 and 8:00 move at double time so what should be a 15 minute snack break for the girls to watch one episode of Doc McStuffins while I wash lunch boxes and empty the dishwasher ends up taking until 4:30.  Then the homework that should take 10 minutes takes a half hour so before I know it its 5:00 and I haven't even started dinner yet.  Given the perfect weather and my new goal of less TV before dinner, I've been getting the girls outside after homework and before dinner.  It is great for them but does add to my time crunch because they drive me crazy until I submit  ask so sweetly to be pushed on the swings that I can't resist and end up staying out there for a little while.  After I extricate myself from swing pushing duty, I rush back inside to make dinner, set the table, and pack lunches.  All the while watching the clock rush towards 6:30, when I was hoping to eat at 6:00.   Then I make another mistake - and yes I make it every night thinking it will turn out differently (definition of insane right?) - and let them watch "one" TV show while Ric & I clean up the table and kitchen.  So now my plans of a 7:00 bath and sleeping by 8:00 are toast because I have to pull them away from the TV to make them clean up the mess in the room and hustle them upstairs.  Of course they are the masters of stretching out bedtime so it is much more likely we are just starting their nightly episode of "monkey" (Curious George on PBS) at 8:00 instead of turning off lights.  I know you are thinking that at this point letting them watch TV is crazy but that is actually the one thing that works in this schedule.  It is a pretty calm show that Cate has been watching right before bed since she was about a year old.  It normally has them calmed down enough to read a story to and then put to sleep.  It is also frequently the first time that I actually get to sit down for a few minutes before I have to finish the work downstairs I didn't get to before bath time.  Lucy usually sits in my lap and cuddles with me while Cate cuddles with daddy on the bed.  I love monkey time - it is a great part of my day even though I can quote every line of every episode of the PBS show and on the rare occasion we see a new one Ric & I actually celebrate!

I know you are thinking - why not get Ric to help in this crazy routine or move some of the tasks to other times.  To answer the first question - poor Ric has had just as crazy a day because he got both girls to wake up and get ready for school, fed them breakfast then delivered them to their schools before driving the 45 minutes downtown to work.  Then he fought rush hour to get home by 6:15 if he was lucky - later if he wasn't.  Of course at that point I suck him into my frenzy until bath time when I try to let him unwind for a few minutes in prep for the bedtime ritual.  As far as moving tasks to other times - I'm trying and failing so far but I should have it figured out more or less by the time the first holiday breaks roll around to disrupt everything.  And of course this rant doesn't even account for the one day a week when Cate has therapy so I didn't get anything done except homework.

But you know what - I'm incredibly thankful for everything I just said I have to do.  Know why??  Because it is regular life stuff and there is so much value in the normality of it all - I don't have a kid with medical concerns so I can be at work without worrying about the next call from the nurse, I don't have a kid who needs special care so she can go outside and play by herself, I have an independent kid who can direct her own play and keep safe without needing my help or direction, and I even have kids who can do chores and help me out in little ways.  My life is as normal as a multiple kid, two working parent house can be and that is awesome.  Of course I have to remind myself of these facts every once in a while.  And while all this craziness swirls around me, Cate & Lucy remind me how great our life is by telling me they love me unprompted or asking to kiss my cut finger.  They remind me when I feel happy as they cooperate to sneak off with the iPad to watch DisneyJr Live.  They remind me when I am proud as they remember their table manners or help each other out.  Keeping things in perspective is so important - so I'll keep running this race to bedtime every day and remembering how lucky I am to be doing it.

1 comment:

  1. I have a similar rush, rush, rush routine in our household. And that's with just one child. Yours is way more complex! And it is soooo rewarding, isn't it? Everything just falls into place, the children are happy and healthy, and we are tired, but grateful. :-)

    Btw, DVR is an amazing, amazing thing when it comes to Sammi watching her favorite shows. I can fast forward through the commercials, too, so 1/2 hour of Arthur only takes 20 minutes (speeding up bedtime), and I have plenty of variety stored up to let Samantha choose from!

    I hope school has gotten better this week!