It’s before 7 a.m. I anticipate the alarm on my phone. Very often, the alarm doesn’t go off, because, as you may have guessed, I forgot to turn my alarm on the night before. I’m now half awake. I look at the nursing child beside me and do an imaginary, happy dance when she finally unlatches. Finally I am fully awake, tiptoe out the bedroom, and get my glorious “hot cup”. On sleepy days, it’s oolong tea. On hyper-I-totally-have-this-in-the-bag days, it’s ACV with honey and a cinnamon stick. I go to the laundry and do a final rinse on the batch of clothes I started washing the night before.
I check the time, 7:15 a.m. There’s just enough time to check my email, write up some invoices, and pack a box of KalamanC++ orders, which will be picked up by a new client later in the morning. I run our organic farm business. We grow fresh salad greens, and process other farm produce into bottled food products. I also work as a freelance writer and have a report to write, but, at the moment, the writing work will have to wait.
(Of course, this is the best-case scenario. The worst case is when the little girl unli-latches and I am stuck helplessly to the bed until she decides to get off the boob.)
8:30 a.m. The two older boys are up. Yey! They’re my super support system. I manage to pop slices of ham into the toaster, ask Uri to snip off some lettuce from the garden, and Ari to grill cheese on bread. We each assemble our own sandwich and be chatty over breakfast. We talk video games, fold-a-bots, the latest Geronimo Stilton book, Poppa smurf, or whatever is the thing of the moment.
9 a.m. My new client is calling to check if they got the directions going to our apartment right. I pick up the baby and run outside to meet them. Well what do you know, they have a pick-up truck full of kids, plants, and organic food products. It all looks uncannily familiar. Our SUV is almost always packed the same way too, except we also bring along three bicycles, and sacks of fertilizer. So, me and this new client, we hit it off instantly. She is opening an all-organic store in the city and they will be selling KalamanC++ there. They came to pick up their first batch of orders, which Turo managed to fit under the passenger seat. We are both hopeful that product sales will do well in her store.
We aim to start with our lessons at 10:30, which we do today, Yay! We are working our way through our last two Language Arts LifePacs this week. I ask both Ari and Uri to start work on spelling and handwriting, which they can do rather independently, while I take care of the littles.
I turn on my babysitter, we call her Netflix (!), and bathe the baby. The toddler and I then dance around to Mother Goose Club songs, and after about two episodes the baby has fallen asleep. I lure the toddler downstairs with a chocolate cookie and a glass of chocolate milk. We sit in the table with the big boys. Armed with peg puzzles and board books, paper and pencils and scissors, I manage to keep the toddler on the table for a good 30 minutes, so I could look over the boys’ work and answer their most pressing questions.
12:45 p.m. We break for lunch. Thankfully we have our househelp to cook for us, so we only have to clear the dining table of books, and replace them with eating utensils, so we can eat. We are almost always starving when we break for lunch, so we eat rather quickly. The boys clean up the dining area after the meal, and enjoy some time to play with their toys.
It’s almost summer and midday’s getting much warmer lately. I ask the older boys to go take a bath, and the toddler joins them in the shower. The boys are kind enough to bathe their younger brother. I only need to check in midway through to scrub his little body, and his brothers will take it from there until he is toweled dry. Yeah, those are my precious boys, I totally love them.
We resume Language lessons around 3 p.m. By this time, the baby has been put down for another nap by our househelp, so I could work more closely with the boys, as needed. Uri and I read together a story about farm life, and have a short discussion, before he resumes independent work. I check Ari’s previous test and, together, we go over the items he missed. He then continues to work independently, summarizing two fables by Aesop, and writing his own ending to the story of “The Farmer, his Son and the Donkey.” His version was hilarious and we ended up spending a good ten minutes laughing about it. I enjoy this time with my boys. I am kept motivated by how much they learn, although at times I also easily lose my patience over silly, forgettable mistakes, like fractions or verb tenses (sheesh). This is also the time when I get to have my lone cup of coffee, which I thoroughly enjoy, as I make another attempt to write the report due this week.
Rats! It’s 5 p.m. I scramble to cook dinner. The phone rings with my husband announcing that he and I are going out for a date. My report will most definitely have to wait. Ari gets excited by the prospect of a “date” that I needed to shove his face back to his worksheet. Meanwhile, Uri has finished his to-do’s and decided to arrange his collection of paper robots on top of the stairs so he can take a photo of his entire collection. The toddler fell asleep by himself in the bedroom.
I take a shower, dress up, check on my braised pork, and nurse the baby for the nth time. A few minutes later, my husband gets home from work. I take one quick look at the stove, turn down the heat and leave the dish to simmer. I check on Ari, he is nearly done, so I give him my final instructions. I give instructions to Uri to make a bottle of milk for when his little brother wakes up, and that they are allowed some gadget time after Ari completes his lesson. I leave the baby with our househelp who puts her back to sleep.
5:45 p.m. Turo and I head out to the farm. We are having some work done here, some bamboo beds being set up. We assess the remaining farm activities to make sure we are still within budget and schedule. Things are looking good and we are both very pleased. We then proceed to the supermarket to gather reinforcements—fresh milk, black rice, and detergent, which we mysteriously ran out of in the middle of the month, when our stocks are supposed to last us all month. Hmmm.
7:20 p.m. We arrive home to the boys playing video games and the little girl still sound asleep. I check on my braised pork, which is nearly done. I stir-fry some Malabar spinach, freshly harvested by a farmer friend, as a side dish. The boys keep their computers and set the table for dinner. It’s a blessing there are no picky eaters around here. Even the toddler is easy to feed and please with food. Dinner is peaceful (no tantrums) but filled with chatter from everyone around our six-seater table. The boys eat fast, and are finished before everybody else. For the hundredth time I remind them to stay put until the rest of us are done with dinner.
I help the boys clean up after eating, while Turo plays with the younger ones. Uri refills water bottles and fixes the bedrooms. Ari clears the table and sweeps the floor. I run a load of laundry then check if the assigned chores were done properly. When everything seems orderly downstairs, we watch a couple episodes of our current TV series, or a movie voted by the majority. I have a cup of oolong tea for me, and Turo has turmeric tea.
10:30 p.m. It’s supposed to be lights out. Turo is fast asleep. The babies are wide awake. And the boys keep bargaining to chat some more or watch more TV or sleep in our room. I shoo them away, and they oblige, leaving their bedroom light on until they fall asleep reading.
Finally, everyone is asleep. Aaaah. I turn off the light in the boys’ bedroom. I see the growing stash of books by their bedside, and keep a mental note to clear those away the following day. I fold clothes from the previous laundry. I arrange the stash of cloth diapers so our househelp will have no trouble finding which cloth diaper insert goes with what, when she changes any of the babies’ diapers.
12:00 m.n. Down to the last stretch. I bring out my laptop. I read my notes. I finish writing a full page for the report. And then I hear muffled sounds from the bedroom. I get there right on time to keep the baby from crying. I lie down beside her to nurse, and say a silent prayer of thanks for a day that has gone awfully well.