I had high hopes for yesterday – knowing our need for structure I try to have a list of things to work through. Here’s how that list looked in reality yesterday:
- Have a relaxed get up & breakfast
Now this does take some planning, for a while we were in the habit of having breakfast-on-the-go choices & cartons of juice on a tray in the hall for people to come and fetch when they woke up and take back to their own bedrooms. Since T’s arrival that has petered out, and it’s too complicated expecting all three to be content & safe in their own rooms at the same time for even a few minutes. Needless to say one of us now gets up and takes T down for breakfast! Andrew is great at being first up with her on Saturdays, so I got a lie-in and got up at 8am.
Into the mix yesterday A had made croissants from scratch the night before, and they were out of the freezer and rising, ready to be in the oven at 9:30am. By the time they were heading into the oven I was up to my elbows cleaning out guinea-pigs and supervising T holding Bourbon. So the following 20 mins were a little complicated juggling between finishing that job and helping A get hot croissants on the table with steaming cups of hot choc for everyone!! We managed, with a fair amount of hand-washing and constant checking up the stairs when down, and down when up! Sitting down with hot choc and homemade croissants was lovely (that moment ticked the first thing on my list for the day) – as soon as I had put B’s back in the oven to ‘make sure they’re cooked’ (always essential if you are B), got them back out & cooled!
- Get dressed
Now this is always an achievement! Actually we got dressed more smoothly than I expected, and without meltdown which doesn’t always happen at the weekends when there’s no uniform. There are times when supporting this activity will be all we get done in a morning. Those days it can be such an exhausting activity for all of us that we also need a quiet afternoon with few demands just to recover.
- Hair brushed, teeth brushed
The least said about this part of my list the better I think…
- Take T to the library, if time pop in to the Minster to see the Roman mosaics we were talking about this week
This shouldn’t really be just one entry on a to-do list, it’s like facing a mountain climb! First step shoes & coat for T & for me; T refuses to let me help her get her coat down off the peg. Fishing it down through jumping at it with an umbrella took a while, so I hovered nearby to keep an eye on her at the same time as trying to negotiate with A & B whether they were joining us or staying at home. B decided to join us if we could go into a couple of shops too, but wasn’t dressed yet. Next, negotiate with T about waiting for B to come down – gave us time to agree on shoes, and have another attempt at hair & teeth. A decided to stay & finish homework/read in peace…
B still not downstairs so I persuade T to check that the library books are in their bag – a job done the day before but an instant time filler. She gets busy with the books quickly, counts them a number of times in and out of the bag, then we agree they’re there safe & sound.
B is down, putting shoes on. Then I do hair, and we are ready to go… a quick check in on A & we set off. It’s only a short-ish walk but is long for T. Even at the end of our little road she is in need of distraction. We have a number of go-to distractions at the moment for when we are walking; ‘I spy’ (colours or letters or sounds like); ‘First to spot…’ (if you’re first to spot you get to choose the next thing); counting colours; going on a bear hunt; pretending we’re mountain climbers; finding one…then 2 of something different, then a group of three somethings etc up to ten. T wanted ‘first to spot’, “first to spot the library!” she says … it felt like a walk that lasted forever!
Library books were chosen and exchanged, two shops were looked in and whinged through, and then to the Minster to see the mosaic tiles. We didn’t stay long. We’re here on a mission, and once we’ve seen them we’re done.
Time to walk the long walk home.
Everyone wants something different so in the end B takes over, taking orders, putting orders together on trays and delivering trays to ‘hotel rooms’. In the meantime I make a start on the mountain range of washing and some gets hung out, more goes into the machine. Quick check with social media. Lunch over.
- Tidy the stair baskets/play/homework/plant the next lot of veg seeds
Now I’m not expecting these to be done in order, but they are my hopes for the afternoon, and I have already shared the news with them at breakfast.
As I take lunch trays to the kitchen I remind them each about needing to take their basket upstairs and put things away, T is already lost planning a wedding with her dolls, A is reading – will do it later, B says homework. Fair enough.
I take a moment to fetch seeds to be planted and get out in the garden to plant. Kale & lettuces in. T calls me in, toilet. Boots & gloves back on. Weeding the next bed ready for carrots & cabbages. T calls me in, wedding invites MUST be written NOW. In again, fetch pens she can’t find. Help with spellings, and tying knots around each scroll like invite. T helps me with the string to mend the trellis for the peas that I brought in & got started with while helping with spelling. Quickly out to do carrots & cabbages while T takes invites to B & A.
“you are welcome to come if you want, you are welcome to not come if you don’t want – yes or no”
T calls me to fetch my invite. B has said no, A will come but only for a bit. We put the pea trellis back in, plant 5 pea seeds. Time for the wedding… I’m in charge of music, A has the ring… painstakingly perfected scenario done and we can go while T gets her babies ready for bed.
Andrew rings, he’s on his way home from a church alpha day. “Can you have B ready when I get in, I spoke to her this morning, we’re taking the trousers back.” B needs walking trousers for Duke of Edinburgh silver award, these are attempt 2, but aren’t right so need to go back. Shop is quite a drive away. This is obviously on Andrew’s to-do-list. I go up to remind, I ask about homework… of course it’s been far too smooth an afternoon for homework to have been a part of it! I wasn’t surprised, but am now mentally calculating how much there still is for us to pack into the evening.
Meat goes in the oven. T needs help doing buttons on babies clothes, and finding the one thing she’s set her heart on one of them wearing but can’t find. Her room is more of a tumble than usual! It takes a huge amount of energy and wisdom to help her describe the dress she ‘needs’ for Annie, and then to help her think about where she had it last. Eventually after lots of distress it is found in the dolls house. Potatoes need peeling, veg out of the freezer.
Washing is ready to be sorted, some in, some out… T is by me, the babies need a babysitter: “Ring the bell, they NEED you NOW, upstairs, I’ve made tea, Annie needs you to put her into bed, Lucy needs to be rocked to sleep. I have chosen stories. Mummy NOW” – “please?” I join them for ‘tea’, and help settle them into bed.
Check in on the potatoes & veg. Cauliflower cheese to the microwave. The phone rings, Andrew & B will be 15 mins. Is tea ready? B is hungry. A comes to see when tea will be, “not too long now”.
Once everyone is back, downstairs & willing to negotiate what they will eat and off what plate, in what chair, with what channel on TV we eat ‘together’.
Dishwasher loaded, whilst distract-dancing with T – she is harassing siblings. Then T upstairs, the usual struggles with teeth, toilet, hair – and also tonight the clean pj’s are not right – so that takes us a while. We read stories from the library book bag, and then begin the settling down.
But there’s a spider on B’s sofa!!
Everything becomes ‘spider’ for the next couple of hours. Fear-filled meltdowns, Andrew on the phone unable to come and help; hand held hoover it up, remove from the room; A in with T for comfort; spider crawls out of hoover (aghhh!!!), B beside herself but has to look; spider back in hoover, tissue paper stuff the end – it is a big spider, how can it have survived being hoovered up twice?? – T too upset to settle, comes to join us, wants me but I’m guarding the hoover (needed for B) & she won’t come near; notes are written to Daddy to come quickly & take the hoover outside. Eventually he comes off the phone, and the hoover goes away. But T is nowhere near sleep, A is shattered, B still has homework to finish and needs support to get back into her room to fetch it…..
I could go on! The best laid plans! On paper the day was a simple one, but as usual I head to bed after midnight rather dazed to get as much sleep as I can before I’m called again!