On facebook today I saw a post of a baby climbing on the top of a fence. The caption read something like, “this is what happens to the baby when I am watching them and also trying to make dinner”. (I may have mis-quoted that, but it is the gist of the message). Many week day evenings I find myself trying to balance the time with the kiddos with the ever pressing need to feed, bathe, change and all of the other little things that goes along with caring for two one-year-olds and a three year old.
Most days after work looks something like this… leave work right at 3:30 with a slew of stares from fellow co-workers wondering why I leave right at quttin’ time. I can’t stay any later, the three young minds deserve contact time with their parenting unit. Not an excuse, just my priority.
Onto the road down the 303 around to the 10 and into the front doors of daycare by about 3:55. I go to pick up B-Rad (the oldest). The “teacher” unloads a few facts about B-Rad’s day and will give me one, or two or three items to take home. Love the keep sakes, but also get dirty clothes and a sheet about his day. On a good day I can get B-Rad to carry his few items, on other days he is not in the mood. Onto the two girl’s room. We enter after the slow paced walk of B-Rad (no he does not normally walk slow, but for some reason down that hallway he moves like a snail). LR will almost always run to me and ask to be picked up. Our other girl walks holding B-Rad’s hand. As we start to go their teacher will hand me two or four or six things of the girl’s to carry and unload a few facts about their day. On the good days B-Rad will help carry and LR loves to hold her paper. On other days I may have up to four plastic bags of things and papers in my hand. Any way you dice it up we all walk to the van.
Getting three littles in a car is a balancing act. B-Rad is usually good about standing and waiting while I place one of the girls into their seat. The other girl is the trick in all of this. Most of the time we come out to “LR’s side” and I place our other girl on the floor of the van while I buckle in LR. If it happens to be the other side I place LR on the floor of the van and buckle in sister. LR is not one to patiently wait and by the time all of the buckles have been buckled LR has taken out DVDs or moved the garage door opener or the remote or tried to drive the van. Once both girls have been buckled into their seats I will turn my attention to B-Rad. Almost always he will have gotten himself into his seat. On really good days he will have also started buckling himself in, however more times than not, this process has not yet begun. B-Rad throws a large fir each time he needs to be buckled in. Life returns to a bit of normalcy once we have started the car (and more importantly the DVD).
We drive home back onto the 10, off on Sarivel and up Cotton to our home. The process of getting out of the car seems much less cumbersome to me… probably because it is happening inside our garage and not in a parking lot where there are lots of other dangers. Once inside, the baby gates to the kiddos room and into the kitchen go up so I can feed the dogs. At this point LR has a mini meltdown on most days. I have tried to let the kiddos into the dog feeding area, but it is shared with too many breakable/pull over on top of one’s self/hot/dog doors in the area. A little meltdown is better than the alternative.
We are usually in our front room by about 4:15-4:25. We spend the next hour or so playing, reading, dancing, or what ever comes our way. Around 5:40 I start dinner. I have tried this process lots of different ways, but my favorite and least dramatic is getting all of the kiddos into their high chairs. Giving the kiddos all drinks. While they start on that I start the oven or the stove top or both. Once I have that going I bring around fruit to the kiddos (usually bananas). I go with the back and forth or a little prep and a little interaction so that dinner can be ready for Cheryl when she get home around 6:10.
Once dinner has been eaten Cheryl and I tag team on bath time. All of the kiddos in the bath, we scrub from end to end. LR likes to stand in the bath tub which usually results LR slipping into the bath tub. When she is sitting she often times tries to drink from the bath water. B-Rad has an affinity for getting soap in his eyes. No matter how we wash him or poor the water to rinse it always seems to happen. Those fifteen or so minutes comes through the spare bathroom like a hurricane. Water all over the floor, but we get clean kiddos.
Changed for bed and it is out to the front room. Cheryl has commented to me that it is really hard because on many evenings she sees them for less than an hour. Those minutes after all of the daycare, the driving, the fussing, the eating, the bathing and the changing are the minutes we get to really show the kiddos how much we care for them.
It is in the little things. The balancing act seems like if you tried to stop and just listen it would fly right passed us. The other evening, before Cheryl had gotten home and before I had started dinner we had one very precious moment. Cheryl had called and LR was in my lap. I answered and after a minute I held the phone up to LR’s ear. Cheryl must have said something and in the clearest of voices LR said, “hi.” It is those moments that we treasure so much. The other things are just things that we get through during the day, but those little moments can last a life time.
Cheryl and I plan to make a few changes in the coming months so we can remove the “hour in the morning and hour in the evening” life and keep the little moments. We are looking at rearranging the other things in our life so I can stay home to raise the kiddos until it is time for them to start kinder. Lots of sacrifice. Our baby puzzle has seen lots of changes to it from when we start this blog. We are excited to continue down this journey.