The alarm goes off. Although I’ve been awake for much longer, just waiting for the baby to unlatch before I can finally, very silently get out of bed.
I go downstairs, turn on the lights, and see the kitchen sink half-full. Oh my God, I didn’t finish washing the dishes last night. It’s all coming back to me now, how the baby was wailing because she was already very sleepy, so I had to stop dishwashing to tuck her in. And because I’m dead beat from a very full day, I instantly fell asleep myself with my head on the wrong side of the bed.
Back to the now. It’s still dark and cold and early, so I decide I’ll put off washing the rest of the dishes until a bit later. I boil some water for tea. Other times when my husband gets up first, he makes coffee for the both of us. But if I’m up first, I make tea for myself. And wait for him to wake up so I can have a cup of coffee. Life’s fair.
I check the rest of the house and it looks clean and orderly. Oh yeah, I swept the floor and tidied up the sitting area before washing the dishes last night. Consider that done. I pour hot water into my cup and turn on my computer.
I write invoices for orders and payments made yesterday, schedule deliveries for the morning, answer emails and Facebook messages about customer inquiries, tally yesterday’s sales and inventory, and file receipts. I run an organic agri-food business, and also now venturing into sustainable non-food products. The business is eating a lot of my time and energy lately, but it’s a growing enterprise and we’re deeply invested in it, so that’s the way it’s gotta be, at least for now that I still can’t afford to hire people to help me out.
I run a load of laundry and finish washing the undone dishes. I cut up some lettuces and cucumbers from yesterday’s harvest and stash them in the refrigerator to get cool and crispy. People, except babies, make their own breakfast around here, so today they’ll have crisp veggies to put on their sandwiches.
Turo is up so we have coffee and talk for a while. Then I wake Uri because he has Physical Education class to attend. We are homeschooling with The Learning Place International as our homeschool provider. The school is only a few blocks from where we live so the boys are able to attend non-academic classes and join extra-curricular activities with regular students their age. Uri has been most pro-active in joining school activities. He goes to school at least three times in a week. He likes ‘school’. He’s made a lot of friends and he really enjoys his time there.
I write a letter to the school allowing Uri to walk home from school by himself after class. The boys have been mostly independent walking to school and coming back home, learning how to cross the road in the process. Life skill!
Uri leaves for PE and will come back an hour later.
I check the boys’ math and science assignments and mark off the lessons they’ve finished from my homeschool summary worksheet. We are barely halfway through our lessons for the year, and we are only 3 months away from the end of the school year. We try to keep up with the regular school year so the boys can attend the school’s graduation. It’s a huge motivation for them. But now we are really running behind, I have a lot of re-planning to do if we are to finish schoolwork on time.
Turo leaves for work. The babies wake up. Ari is still in bed. And if it wasn’t for PE, Uri would still be in bed too. I bring the babies downstairs to feed them, leaving the bed undone. I give them cookies and milk to nibble on while I run out to set a second rinse cycle for the laundry and get stuff from the freezer to thaw out for lunch.
After delaying tactics of reading books and playing with toys, I finally give in to the toddler and turn on the TV. He found a box-full of Little Einsteins VCDs from the closet recently and he’s been hooked since. I leave the young ones with the TV-sitter and head outside to hang the clothes that just finished washing. I peek at the boys’ room and they are still in bed but are up reading. I let them be and tend to house chores.
I ask the boys to get out of bed, each fixing their own side of the bed, and whatever toys and books lie around their bedroom. After they make and eat their own breakfast, they watch TV with the young ones while I prepare lunch. They were supposed to be doing Math in the morning, but they prefer to watch with the babies so I let them. I would’ve watched with them myself if I didn’t need to do any cooking.
I ask the boys to set the table. The toddler will not leave the TV so I have to drag him out to the dining table and we eat amidst another toddler tantrum. The baby is near-tears around this time, empathic with his wailing brother. All the screaming breaks off after a few minutes and we can eat normally again. Ari finishes his food first and is attempting to leave the table to get back to his reading. I stop him in his tracks saying, “eat like the French”, which is our code for having more conversations over meal times. I enjoy long meal times and conversations with my children. I always consider this a luxury as a work-at-home mom.
The baby is getting impatient at the very long lunch. We call out to Alexa, the Amazon Echo Dot, and ask her to play One Direction songs on Spotify. The baby is suddenly in disco mode. We dance around while clearing the dishes and doing our lunch chores.
After the kitchen sink gets cleaned, I give the baby a bath. The boys should also be taking a shower if they haven’t already by this time. The boys play with their toys and with the toddler while I put the baby down for a nap.
I easily convinced the toddler to take a shower without a fight. That’s kind of exceptional so I give myself a pat on the back. Baby showers are my lifeline. If I make it through the day with everybody showered before nighttime, that’s a feat. To celebrate, I scrub the bathroom floors while the toddler plays with his toy carwash on top of the toilet. Hooray for bathed children and a clean bathroom!
The older boys work on their Math and World History and Geography. We only do two subjects in a day, a half-lesson for the more difficult subject, and a full lesson for the easier subject. They work independently, only coming to me if they have questions. I give a little discussion here and there. I also require them to take down notes about the important things they read on their notebooks. They each have one notebook for each subject, which is also helpful when they forget something and need to go back to previous lessons.
The baby is awake and I ask everyone to get up and take a walk. Walking outdoors is another blessing. I wish I had the time and energy to drag all kids outdoors every single day. Our baby is 1 year 9 months with global developmental delay (GDD). Her motor skills are severely delayed and as she grows and gains weight and not sit up or stand or walk on her own, it only translates to back breaking physical stress for me. I’ve never been very physically active my whole life. Too much physical activity really wears me down. So having to carry her most of the time because still can’t be upright on her own has been really demanding of my physical energy and strength. Hence the undone dishes from the previous night, because at the end of the day I am really very very tired.
I decide that for dinner we will have ‘leftover special’. Turo’s already home so he gets babysitting duties meanwhile. I heat leftovers in the oven toaster while rice cooks. I finally get to take a shower. Yay! Then ask the boys to clear the table and get the dishes ready.
We eat dinner, like the French 😉 . With Alexa playing Frank Sinatra songs in the background. We strive to eat dinner on time but sometimes we don’t get to eat until much, much later.
We do the same thing as with lunch. Play songs this time by The Vamps and dance our way through evening chores. Uri fills water bottles. Ari sweeps the floor. This keeps the babies entertained as we finish our work.
After cleanup the boys get their free time. Usually they watch YouTube videos or play computer games. Tonight though, Ari is writing a short story about Pat the Potato, while Uri is composing a song about Mathematics, of all things. I leave them be, as I get to wash the dishes this time.
After I wipe down the kitchen, I boil some water and brush my teeth. I make a hot drink for my husband and me for our nightcap. Tonight it’s jasmine tea. Before I’m halfway through my cup, the baby cries for me. I nurse her and will likely fall asleep anytime soon. The rest of my household knows the drill. Gadgets off at 10:30. Brush teeth and go to bed. The boys will keep reading until who knows when but I am off to dreamland because this is as far as my day can go.