We have GREAT days where we zoom through school at lightning speed. There are days where I feel peaceful and full of joy. Other days, I feel like we are struggling just to all make it to the end of the day, alive…much less with peace or joy. For the days when you feel like you’re doing it all wrong and that you are the only one bordering on insanity, feel free to come back to this post. Please know that the following is not my EVERY DAY… but these days come and go. It’s just part of the season of life that we are in right now… with a newly adopted 7 year old boy, 5 and 7 year old daughters, and 2.5 year old little boy. Some days… we even call it quits and start over the next day.
**The following contains sarcasm and humor. I do not hate my life (although occasionally I question whether I can both homeschool and keep my sanity and be a good mom all at once).
8AM – I slowly reach beside the bed for my phone to check the time. I’m just now getting out of bed, a full hour later than what I normally aim for. But, the toddler was up throughout the night, fussy (he has a cold-like virus) and I’d gotten in late from a meeting. I debate pretending having never seen the time and just pulling the sheets over my head and falling back to sleep.
8:03 AM – I lost the inner-debate. I’m up. I open my door and tell the kids to get up and do their morning routine (brush hair and teeth, get clothes on, take any meds, and eat their breakfast –apples and peanut butter this morning). Then, I get in the shower.
8:30 AM – Technically, I’ve showered all of me… but, the tub floor seems really appealing… what if I just lay down for JUST a few minutes?
8:31 AM – The shower flickered cold and I change my mind. I get out and check the rings under my eyes in the mirror. Then, I realize said rings are really just a smudge of leftover mascara.
8:45 AM – I’m dressed (in clean pajamas. Because I can.). I open my bedroom door and am hit by a very strong smell of peanut butter. This is never good. Then, the toddler runs down the hallway to show me something. He painted his shirt while I was in the shower. With peanut butter. And his arm. And his leg. I tell my 7 year olds that they are now banned from peanut butter since they let the toddler bathe in as I make my way back to the bathroom with said toddler to give him the fastest shower known to man.
8:48 AM – I pull the toddler from the shower while he complains that he wasn’t “finished” (i.e., didn’t get to dump water all over my floor with the neti pot.) I wrap him in a sweet pink hooded towel and lay him on my bed as I go get a diaper.
8:49 AM – I have diaper in hand, but toddler is running down the hall buck-naked, screaming that he wants his Elmo towel. I refuse to get another towel dirty. Perhaps I should pick my battles, but it’s still early.
8:50 AM – Toddler is diapered. I walk through the house and tell the 5 and two 7 year olds that it looks like a disaster. Every toy they own is on display, covering every inch of floor space. They get a warning to to clean it up. I think my eye just twitched a little. Also, there’s peanut butter all over the kitchen table and chair that they just supposedly “cleaned.”
8:51 AM- After just staring at me blankly for a moment, they get to work, cleaning up their mess. I find a shirt and shorts for the toddler. (Had I known said toddler would end up using his shirt all day as a kleenex, I would have just let him wear his Elmo towel all day. Next time.)
9 AM – My 7 year old son is taking out the trash and the girls are making sure the house looks less trashed. I’m browning hamburger meat…doesn’t everyone do that at 9 AM?
9:10 AM – I add ingredients to the crockpot for our supper tonight – Crockpot ravioli. –Which isn’t actually ravioli at all. I really think they screwed up on naming that one. I also notice that I really need to scrub the kitchen floors.
9:15 AM – I tell all of the kids to make their way to the living room for school.
9:16 AM – I peek into the living room and wonder if my children are all deaf. I can tell this is going to be a special day.
9:17 AM – I find the kids and give them my best mommy stern look, telling them to get to the living room NOW. They oblige.
9:18 AM – The kids are in the living room… but aren’t ready for school. I look around and wonder if we are all losing our minds. (The verdict is still out.) I tell them to go get their pencils and workbooks.
9:20 AM – The toddler is whiny again. He doesn’t feel good. Nothing makes him happy. In fact, he’s somewhere between ticked off at the world and forlorn. I wonder if it’s too late to go back to bed, yet. I give him a clove of prepared garlic and a teaspoon of honey for their antibacterial properties.
9:30 AM – We are exactly one hour behind on starting school. It feels much later, but I take a deep breath. This isn’t that bad. The toddler has a sippy cup of milk and has calmed down. Everyone has pencils and workbooks. Okay, now we are ready. I hand one 7 year old her flash cards to practice math, and sit beside the other two children to work through their workbooks. One child flips right to the correct page while the other aimlessly sifts through pages. I show him the correct page and begin explaining the directions for the page. I can see his pencil wagging. I look up to see him randomly writing numbers. I know he can’t read all of the directions yet, so we erase and try our listening skills again. I mentally note that I’m setting my alarm clock for 6:30 AM tomorrow so I can spend some time with my Bible and ground myself in peace before I lose. my. stuff.
9:35 AM – I remind my 7 year old son to pay attention to his work and not whatever he’s looking at.
9:37 AM – He finally asks for help, so we walk through the first page together. I have to remind him to pay attention a few more times.
9:45 AM – We had a really short math lesson for today and are finished. It’s review and it’s 1st grade graphing, so it’s straightforward and simple. Praise the Lord. I collect their workbooks to put grades in the grade book, but my 7 year old son didn’t have his completed due to lack of focus/paying attention. I tell him he can explain it to daddy and do it with him (which is like our version of detention).
9:46 AM – I verbally test my 7 year old 3rd grade daughter on spelling words. I put her grade in grade book. The toddler is playing in some boxes from an online order. He is quietly arranging them different ways, crawling in and out and tumbling over in them.
9:47 AM – I write her next spelling list down for her to study while I go through an English lesson with the other two. The three children take turns reciting the two poems they are memorizing.
9:55 AM – We sit down and read about France. The 5 year old is fidgeting on the couch like something is taking over her body. Again. I tell her to settle down and listen so others can listen, as well.
9:56 AM – We are still reading about France, but the toddler has found some empty diaper boxes and has devised his own little jumping post…complete, with my throw pillows as his landing pad. He jumps, and I mentally decide how much damage this activity will incur to both him and his chosen materials. He’s not whining and seems safe enough, so I decide to let him jump. I’ve just gone back on my own “no-jumping” rule. It’s too early for a glass of wine.
10:00 AM – We are now reading about Animal Adaptations. The toddler is NOT happy with this choice of reading, apparently. I dodge a crayon thrown at my head. Several more are thrown, despite my mommy-stern face. One hits the newly painted wall. I’m pretty sure my stern-face has turned more to a grimace. Two more fly behind the couch. Five get kicked under the couch. He’s whining, now. Loudly. He makes a list of demands. I wonder if the FBI could give me any tips on hostage negotiating. He’s threatening my sanity. “Please pick up the crayons,” I say. “AJ, DO NOT throw that. DO NOT…” He throws it at my head. I take the crayons away and make him sit down. He’s ticked, now. He’s wailing…it’s a new thing. We are somewhere between TERRIBLE TWOs and KILL ME NOW THREEs. Such a special time.
10:05 AM – Stern-ness isn’t working. I have a general no-disrespect policy, but decide to try a new tactic. I smile and ask him in a sweet and sugary voice how I can help him. He’s not really sure. “MY NOSE IS RUNNING!!!” He screams. “Okay, can mommy wipe it?” “NOOOOOO!!!” He screams. “How can mommy help you calm down?” I ask. “I’m huuuuunnnngggrrryyyy!” He says. I ask him what he would like to snack on and my ignorance insults him. He is scream-wailing. I feel like something came in the night and possessed my sweet-tempered boy known as “Chillax” to others who know us. Nobody believes me when I tell them I totally UNDERSTAND toddler craziness. I realize that he’s in a “mood” right now… like he’s been in the past few weeks (on and off). It’s been made worse by not feeling well. He doesn’t feel bad enough to snuggle mommy, he just wants to scream. There are only 2 ways to make him stop – candy or television. I’m unwilling to do either because I know I’d just be setting us up for a longer-term battle.
10:08 AM – I ask him to just let us finish this one page and mommy will get him some food (if he really wants it) and read to him. He wails a little more and then is distracted by a jug of geometric blocks. He pours them on the floor and sorts through them. I take the opportunity to refocus the kids’ attention and we begin again.
10:12 AM – The toddler is still sifting shapes, so we venture into our last reading assignment for the morning. It’s all of 3 pages. The toddler begins to whine. I ask him what’s wrong. He whines in response. I read a little louder. “MOMMY, GET ME SOME-FING!” He demands. I calmly tell him there is a snack on the kitchen table. “I’M HUNGRY! ” he says. I repeat that there is a snack on the kitchen table for him. He whines and tells me, “NO! I’m hungry!” I tell him to go get his snack. He replies, “I CAN’T!” He can. This is going nowhere. I make another mental-note to create a box of special activities for him during times like this.
10:13 AM – I begin reading again, a little louder. His volume increases. Mine does too. I can read really loud, apparently.
10:14 AM – All of the cushions are off my couch. The toddler is attempting to slide down them. I’m not sure how much I care since the whining has temporarily ceased.
10:15 AM – He’s bored with the cushions. He starts whining random syllables. “JAAAJAAAAJAAAJAAAJAAANOONOOONOOO!” He says, getting more creative as he goes along. I read a little bit louder.
10:18 AM – We are finished reading. I ask the little one to clean up the geometric blocks. “I CAN’T” He moans loudly. “Let me show you,” I say, putting his hand over blocks that he’s put away a million and one times and then over the bucket to drop them in. “I CAAAAANNNN’TTTT! DON’T WANT TO!” He says. He begins his moaning again, testing volume and new sounds. I’m beginning to think he likes the sound of his own whining. Maybe I should make him a CD.
10: 20 AM – I hand the older 3 a science worksheet and help the toddler clean up blocks, insisting he pick them up with me.
10:23 AM – I dart for the kitchen. “AJ, what would you like for lunch? Meatballs or Pasta?” I ask. “NOT HUNGRY!” He wails. “I WANT MILK!!” I grab a sippy cup and fill it 3/4 of the way with water and top it with whole milk. “NOT THAT MILK!” He moans. “OTHER MILK” He’s referring to the brand new jug of milk. I try to explain it’s all the same, but he’s zoned in to the other jug and doesn’t really care what I have to say.
10:25 AM – He finally accepts his sippy cup of milk and guzzles it down. I enjoy the 60 seconds of quiet. I heat up leftovers for the kids, in order of youngest to oldest.
10:27 AM – AJ has his plate and is happily picking at it. I can tell he’s not very hungry, but am pleased that he’s at least happy to pick through the food he chose. And, the moaning/yelling has stopped. For the moment.
10:30 AM – I check on our supper in the crockpot and help the older kids with their science worksheet at the table. One child decides to go rogue and draw randomness in the illustration circles. I hand him an eraser and remind him AGAIN to listen carefully and pay attention.
10:35 AM – Our worksheets are finished and the children go put them on the couch by my grade book, then come back to the kitchen for an early lunch.
11:00 AM – All of the kids are eating. Their mouths are busy chewing, and it’s quiet. I finally sit down to eat whatever is left. I calculate how much time is left until nap-time.
11:30 AM – We all clean up the kitchen and living room area. Then, the kids get a break. Today’s not going to be a mega-cleaning day, but I challenge myself to at least pick up 30 items in my bedroom-turned-catch all room. I feel a little productive when I can see the floor again in a pathway.
1 PM – It’s nap-time. The littlest one is still having a rough time. I offer him some ibuprofen, hoping it will give him some rest for a little while.
1:15 PM – Everything is quiet. I check my messages and respond. I check off a few more items from my to-do list. I doze in and out of sleep for a bit. I wake up feeling MUCH better.
3:00PM – I get up and decide to make a cup of coffee for myself.
3:15 PM – Coffee cup in hand, I go back to my room to take advantage of the still-quiet house. I look up more inspiration for helping toddlers stay APPROPRIATELY busy during school time.
3:20 PM – I get a second cup of coffee.
3:25 PM – There is moaning in the hallway, coming toward me. “HUNGRY!” He says. Hungry clearly doesn’t mean the same to the both of us. Translation: I WANT SOMETHING BUT DON’T KNOW WHAT! I tell him his lunch plate of pasta is still on the table. “HUNGRY!” He repeats…again and again. He crawls into bed, where I’m sitting, and begins to repeat random syllables in some trance-like moan song. “MOOO-VOO-MOO-JUUUUUUU-JUUUUUUU-HUUUUUU-MOOOOOOO-MOOOOO” I’m both laughing inwardly and gritting my teeth at the noise. He doesn’t notice and keeps up his weird trance song. I wonder if the earth is about to open up.
3:30 PM – I finally convince him to go take a few bites of pasta.
3:31 PM – He’s back in my bed with a mouthful of pasta. He’s smiling, now… and the trance-song has begun again. He wipes his snotty nose on the comforter. At this point, I’m just glad it’s not on my clothes…and that it’s on my husband’s side of the bed. I make another mental note to wash the comforter, sheets, and basically everything toddler has touched.
4:00 PM – I get the kids up from their naps/quiet time to play for a bit. AJ (toddler) is trying to tie himself up in a towel.
4:15 PM – The toddler is pretending to wash me with his towel. It takes me a few moments to realize that the dampness I feel is not from where he used it earlier to dry off, but from his snotty nose… which has been smeared all up and down my arm. And on my computer, from where he was “cleaning” it. I don’t feel very clean. (And this is why I don’t dress up for days spent with AJ.)
5:00 PM – We work on Geography. I hear a funny ding ding noise in the other room. I note that the toddler has been pretty quiet. I quickly make my way to the other room. He’s sticking things down the vents. Perfect.
5:15 PM – We’re still practicing geography. AJ seems to be in a better mood. This makes me happy. And, saner. I can hear him dropping toys on the carpeted floor in the other room. I’m happy he’s not throwing them at the walls…or down the vents…or through windows or flushing them down the toilet. I quickly shut off that thought, because we all know toddlers can mind-read (how else do they know the EXACT moment you go to the bathroom?) I walk into the living room to find him poised on the back of the couch, ready to jump (his favorite thing). I pull him down just in time and give him a handful of toy cars to play with.
5:30 PM – I add a few last-minute ingredients to the crockpot for supper tonight. The older 3 kids clean up their messes.