This morning I wake up with aching muscles and that exhausted "I haven't had enough sleep for a long time" feeling. So before I get up I ask Jesus to please (please, please, please!) help me to make it a good day for the three of us. And then I work on thinking about the day, rather than just letting it sort of happen and getting frustrated when it doesn't go well.
We start by helping Daddy get out the door, then getting the kids changed out of diapers and pjs. I always try to do this right away because I think it sets a better tone for the day. You know, we're dressed and ready for whatever comes! Then breakfast for the kids, and at least a few bites for me. :) I tend to eat my breakfast afterwards and usually somewhat on the run. This is something I'd like to change, but I'm not quite sure how to make that happen yet.
A few clean-up chores (the kitchen, mostly) and then a story for Jonathan. Nursing Thomas for his nap, then about 20-30 minutes of something new: preschool time for Jonathan. I've been thinking for some time that I needed to be more intentional about doing special "older kid" things with Jonathan - painting, stringing beads, molding with playdough or clay, etc. and after some brainstorming with Jessica last night, decided there was no time like the present. So today we painted. And I discovered that Jonathan is EXACTLY like me when it comes to creative artwork. He told me what he wanted to paint (a train, a tow truck, etc.) and when I said "great, I think that will be nice - go for it!" he looked worried and then said "but Mommy, I don't know how!" He wanted me to show him exactly how to paint a tow truck, and then he'd add a stroke or two. He wanted a certain finished result and didn't want to mess up on the way to that result! Oh my son, my poor son who is just like me. Maybe someday you'll forgive your mother for passing on these genes.
Thomas wakes up and Jonathan goes down for his quiet time. I take a shower and do a few more chores. Thomas is happy to play alongside me while I work.
We take a break for an early lunch, then the boys play (together!) while I clean up. At about 12:30pm I announce a new daily event: outside play time. Jonathan thinks this is a terrible idea and screams to be allowed back in the house. I set a timer so he'll know that this exile isn't forever, and we all head outside. I resign myself to Thomas needing to be changed and cleaned up, and let him roam. He's happy as a clam. Jonathan fusses for awhile longer, refusing to be enticed by any of my ideas, until he suddenly decides he'd like to be chased. So I get my exercise running after an inexhaustible toddler. After this he forgets to be upset about being outside and plays with his fire engine for quite awhile. I read a couple of magazine articles while keeping an eye on Thomas, who desperately wants to eat the leaves, the chalk, the dirt, and the bugs.
We come inside to clean up. Jonathan has a few slices of apple and plays by himself while I nurse Thomas down for his nap. Then we read a couple of books in his bedroom and he goes to sleep as well.
Amazing! They're both asleep at the same time!
This is time not to be wasted. :) I'm tired, but not tired enough to want to sleep this precious time away. Instead I grab a snack and read a book for a bit. The silence is restorative - I think what I miss most, now that I have two kids, is the dependable silence at regular intervals.
Thomas wakes up; too soon. I rock him back to sleep (thank you, Jesus, for this blessing!) and then head outside. The roses need to be pruned, badly, and it is the right time of year. Back inside for a warm drink (it is cold out there!) and a couple of quick chores before Thomas wakes up. When he cries for me this time I nurse him and then we play together on the bed until Jonathan wakes up. It is nice to have some Thomas-time, just for him.
Jonathan wakes up hungry, just past 4:30pm. I decide to feed him a full meal at about 5pm, rather than try to pacify him with snacks until Gabe gets home near 7pm. The evening just seems to go better this way. After supper I settle Jonathan down for a helicopter video. It is insanely cheesy, but he likes it, and I want to vacuum. Thomas is fussy, so I put him in the mei tai where he becomes quite cheerful.
I haven't finished all the chores, but I've done enough. Sometimes enough really is enough! Jonathan is happy playing, Thomas is still happy in the mei tai, and I want to sing. I'm working on learning a few pieces from Handel's Messiah, just to keep my voice in shape. It is such good music.
Almost time for Gabe to come home, and I didn't really plan for dinner. So tonight will be a pantry and freezer meal. Jonathan sits on the counter and eats frozen peas and helps me cook. Thomas still refuses to be put down, and I'm looking forward to Gabe coming home so my arms and back can get a break!
Gabe comes home and we eat dinner together. Jonathan isn't hungry (as I expected) and wants Daddy to play. We'll have to work on teaching him to either sit at the table with us, or else play quietly in his room. Hanging on Daddy's leg and whining isn't the best solution! After dinner we all work on stringing lights on the Christmas tree.
Bedtime for both boys. Blogging time for me, while Gabe works on his resume. In a moment we'll go clean the kitchen together. Maybe read for awhile, and then to bed. It has been a good day.
In the interest of repeating it: why did today work so well, even though there was so much non-child work that I needed to do?
1) Jonathan's day was very patterned. We never had a big block of time for him to get fussy in - everything was broken up by planned activities. I need to remember that even when it sounds too hard to plan activities for him, it is actually easier because he's not so contrary!
2) We all went outside to play. This is so good for us all and I must remember to do it.
3) Thomas spent his fussy time in the mei tai. Hence, he wasn't really fussy.
4) At nearly every activity change (and also whenever I thought I needed to head off some crankiness) I asked Jonathan to choose a book for us to read together. Five minutes of re-connect time over a book really seems to help throughout the day.
5) I spent very little time on the computer, and made sure it was either while they were sleeping or in tiny chunks of time.
6) Both boys napped at the same time, giving me a break and some silence. This isn't something I can control every day, but it is a goal we're working toward. Someday I hope to be able to count on daily silence again. :)
7) I remembered to ask for God's help. And really, that is the most important thing.