"Your blog always makes you sound like you have everything in control, and are taking everything in stride. But how are you really handling it?"
Let me clarify how my life really is lately, lest anyone be deceived by my last post. I will reconstruct a normal day for us here in the Knight household using events that have actually occurred (some all in the same day).
6:30am. Madi wakes up and- of course- has to wake Max up, too. Madi climbs into his crib and they pretend or sometimes Madi tells Max stories. Most recent pretend scenario: fish and fish food. Guess who had what role? Kurt and I woke up to Max screaming because, as Madi put it, "I was pretending to be a big hungry fish and Max was pretending to be cake." Interesting that Max communicated to her that he wanted to be cake and have his hand bitten really hard, considering his vocabulary consists of no more than 10-15 words.
7:00am. I feed Becca. Scenario 1: Kurt is downstairs with the older two, keeping them out of trouble and helping them with breakfast. Excerpt from this morning's breakfast: Kurt said Max was looking out the window at a bunch of birds and laughing and pointing to them. He thought they were the best thing in the world... until Madi burst his bubble. "Max," she says, "I have bad news for you, buddy. Whenever you try to get next to the birds to touch them, they just fly away... unless you're Cinderella."
Scenario 2: Kurt has to leave early for work and I feed Becca with two hyenas climbing all over me, usually mauling Becca's face and/or my breast. We are all lucky to survive the feeding alive.
7:30am. I go upstairs to get us all ready for the day. Both kids usually follow. Kurt says we travel in a pack, like wolves (or hyenas :).
7:45 am. Both kids are bored with watching me dress Becca and/or crying because I have sternly told them to quit touching her. They wander elsewhere to find amusement. My stress level rises as the noise level lowers. One Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I was changing Becca's diaper and dressing her upstairs when it suddenly fell completely silent and stayed that way for several minutes. A little voice in the back of my head was telling me that havoc was being wrought, but I ignored that voice. Kurt arrived on the scene before I did and growled. I knew it was bad. Sunscreen- everywhere... hair, dress, carpet, walls, couch, pillows, toys, games... oh my, I'll stop. I had Madi show me everywhere she sprayed it. She led me around by my hand, pointing and saying, "here, and here, and here, and here, and here..." I lost count after about 15 different locales. Max is always her sidekick for these little adventures...doesn't say much, but definitely participates in the mischief.
8:00am. Hopelessly try to clean up whatever mess has just occurred while I was foolishly trying to groom myself and my non-walking child.
8:30am. Give up and take Madi to preschool.
9:00am. Arrive at preschool, try to avoid the meter maids while I run Madi to the door of her preschool. I regularly shoot glances toward my two other kids sitting in our parked, running car.
For the record, I used to feed the meter and take all the kids in. One day I forgot to stick the quarter in and was gone for literally 5 minutes. When I returned to a cop issuing me a ticket, I pointed to my very pregnant belly and told him I just had to take three small children into the preschool and couldn't he just cut me a little slack? He told me that he had already started writing the ticket and that it was impossible to reverse the process. When I responded that if he let me see his little ticket machine, I could probably figure out how to do it, he got really mad. When I drove away without the ticket, he tacked on an additional $5 fine for my attitude. Now, I refuse to feed the meter out of principle. A mother dropping her daughter off at preschool should not get a ticket. period. Also for the record, I think he really fined me $5 for calling his machine "little." :)
9:30-10:00am. Drive home while shouting or turning the music up really loud to keep Max awake.
10:00am. Feed Becca while again trying to avoid catastrophe with Max. I typically have to walk while I'm nursing at least once to get Max out of trouble... Max has discovered how to push chairs around and now has access to places he'd only dreamed of before. Now, he can basically reach and open anything up to 5 feet. Have you ever tried to store everything that is not child-friendly in cabinets over 5 feet? NOT EASY! In fact, I think it may be impossible. Kurt and I are contemplating bungee cording the chairs to the table. No, really... we are.
10:30-11:30am. Give Max a snack, play with him, and try to clean up the mess from earlier that morning and whatever mess he's managed to make while I was nursing Becca. On Friday, it was smoothie from breakfast... dumped out all over the table and chair and the Max. Oh, and he has also learned how to open the garbage can and throw stuff away. This is great when I give him a banana for a snack. He'll go throw the peel away afterwards. Awesome. One mess I don't have to clean up. This is not so great when he throws away half the banana in the peel only to retrieve it shortly thereafter and eat the other half. Also not good when he uses his garbage can skills on dish towels, cars, Madi's Polly Pockets dolls, and -of course- Mr. Stinky (perhaps you may be starting to understand the moniker, "Mr. Stinky.") I have found all of the above in the trashcan at different times, and have a hunch there are more things now in the Cambridge City Dump that I did not find. Oh well... we've been trying to declutter anyway. Thanks, Max.
11:30-12:30pm. The pick up. I do have to take all the kids into preschool to pick Madi up. I sometimes feel like I'm herding cats :) Anyone seen this commercial?
Repeat the loud yelling/music on the way home to keep Max from falling asleep. Madi helps me. If I can keep him awake until 10 minutes before we get home, he'll stay asleep as I transfer him to his bed. If he sleeps for longer than 10 minutes, welcome to Hades, everyone. He ain't going back to sleep until bedtime.
12:30pm. Lunch. The only quiet time I have all day. It lasts 15 minutes.
1:00pm. Turn on the TV in desperation while I feed Becca. Becca and I try to avoid letting the kids maul us more than once a day.
1:30pm. Madi is now acting out whatever she just watched on TV and begging for more shows. She then switches to begging me to play with her. We read stories and I. fall...asleep.......in the middle...
The rest of the afternoon is kind of a blur... I'm usually half awake and really grumpy at this point. If I'm feeling good, Madi and I do a craft, play in the snow, but... let's be honest. She usually gets to watch another show.
Ok, I'm getting bored, so I can only imagine how you all feel... fast forward.
4:00pm. Max wakes up, ravishing hungry and really onery. Feed him, but not too much b/c dinner is in an hour. Try to feed Becca while I throw balls or Mr. Stinky across the room to get Max to stop poking Becca in the eye.
4:30 pm. Make dinner while avoiding knocking Max over. He's usually clinging to my legs, begging for food. He likes to pull all the pans out and bang them together. No problem. It's better than crying.
5:00pm. Dinner. Madi runs back and forth between the dinner table and Becca's swing. "I just want to make sure Becca's ok, Mommy." I try to explain that she's fine and Madi doesn't need to check on her until after dinner, especially since Madi's checking on Becca usually involves a full-body press until Becca cries.
5:30pm. Lame attempt at cleaning up while the kids pull every toy, book, and DVD off the shelves at eye level. Becca's crying.
6:00pm. Herd the kids upstairs to get ready for bed. (Can you blame me for putting my kids to bed at 6pm?) Jammies, potty, teeth brushing, prayer. Stories... while Becca cries. She has a colickly period from 5 or 6 until 9 or 10 every night, although it's getting MUCH better, thank heavens.
7:00pm. Kids in bed, baby in arms (usually crying).
If I'm lucky, Becca falls asleep early (like tonight) and I have a little down time to clean, work on my thesis, exercise, study my scriptures, respond to emails, make phonecalls to my friends, work on my callings, do laundry, and veg in front of the TV. Of course I get ALL of these things done in the hour I have before I conk out and fall asleep (please note the sarcasm).
Do I question my sanity? Yes.
Do I feel like I'm going to lose it? Twelve times a day, at least.
Was 3 kids a hard transition? Uh-huh.
Do I love it? Oddly, yes. I'm already thinking about #4... There has got to be some disconnect in my brain or something.
Anyway, thanks for asking Bubby... I'm hanging in there. :) And for anyone out there who mistakenly thought I "had it all together," now you know that's about the furthest thing from the truth!
Just to illustrate what I've been talking about:
Me: Oh! Madi, be soft!
Madi: Mommy, I just want her to look this way!
Max: Beh-beh (while "tapping" aka hitting her on the chest).
Kurt trying to keep Max from attacking the baby (who is crying b/c she just had a blow-out, which I'm not changing because I'm changing Madi's diaper and taking a picture of Max trying to maim his sister. Madi's potty-trained now... again... kind of... :))