One day I will miss the morning hustle to comb hair and brush teeth, little lunch boxes with jelly sandwiches and goldfish. I will miss light saber battles, ABC books, LEGO pieces in every room in the house, and a refrigerator covered in magnets. I will miss the multiple requests for hugs and kisses long after the lights go out, midnight snuggles, and the soft snores of sleeping babies. My hands are so full these days. But so is my heart.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Emily: 34 | Nick: 34 | Sam: 5 yrs | Nora: 2 1/2 yrs | Evelyn: 4 months | Lucy: 4 yrs
12:51 am | Evelyn is stirring. Then she is whimpering. And, as expected, she is screaming in less than a minute. Ugh. Four-month sleep regression is hitting us hard. For the past two weeks, she has been waking every 1-3 hours during the night, and is not able to fall back asleep unless I nurse her. I was prepared to start “sleep training” this week. Then she caught her first cold, and so I delayed the inevitable. I scoop her up from the crib that is set up in the corner of our bedroom (because … small rental house with only three bedrooms), and I nurse her back to sleep. I climb back into bed about 15 minutes later.
1:44 am | Nora is crying and calling for me. Is there such thing as a 2 1/2-year-old sleep regression? Because big sister has also been waking up almost every night for the past two weeks. Sleep deprived does not even begin to describe my current state. Since Nick has been sleeping in the basement (yes, I gave him permission), I roll out of bed and stumble down the stairs to Nora’s bedroom. She wants a hug and a kiss and needs to be re-tucked under her Minnie blanket.
1:46 am | Nora is calling for me again. This time she has to go potty. Because, of course, we couldn’t take care of that the first time I got up. She insists on turning on the light, setting up her seat on the potty, wiping herself, and flushing. Then we have to go through the entire “goodnight, happy dreams, I love you” routine again.
1:50 am | “Mommy, I have to go poopy!” OMG. So it’s going to be one of those nights. I sit her on the potty again. She does her business and asks if she can have two gummies in the morning (her reward for going poop on the potty that we really need to phase out since she’s been potty trained for about four months now). Then hugs and kisses and goodnights.
1:55 am – 2:37 am | I’ll skip over the details of the next 40 minutes. And just say that there was a lot more “Mommy, I need you” and “Mommy, please come down here right now” until I lost my patience, picked her up, and took her downstairs to sleep on the air mattress with Daddy. She was grinning, and he looked very confused, as I practically ran back upstairs and dove into bed.
4:07 am | Evie is crying again. I should be thrilled that she just slept for four hours, but of course, I had basically just closed my eyes. Quick diaper change, nurse, rock, back to bed.
4:58 am | I’m not sure that she ever fell back asleep. I just heard a lot of sniffling and snorting. So we try the bouncy seat, hoping it will help with the congestion. No luck. She’s in bed with me 15 minutes later.
7:02 am | We both sleep soundly until Sam comes into the room. He’s ready to start his day, I definitely am not. So I guiltily suggest that he get his Kindle and watch a show for 30 minutes.
7:36 am | Evie is awake, kicking her feet, trying to grab my face. I nurse her in bed, my eyes barely open. Then we head downstairs to find Sam sprawled on the couch, wearing only his underwear because that’s how he insists on sleeping now.
8:00 am | I chat with Nick while he drinks his coffee, and I wait for my own to brew. He says he had to rub Nora’s back for about 15 minutes until she fell asleep. I apologize for dropping her on him in the middle of the night. But, really, I’m not sorry. Sam joins us at the table with a bowl of Rice Krispies and bananas with honey drizzled on top.
8:20 am | Nick is in the shower. Lunches are packed. Sam is still watching the Kindle (I know, mother of the year), Evie is content in her high chair, and Nora starts to cry in the basement. She says, “Daddy left me here all by myself.” It takes a solid five minutes to calm her down, followed by another five minutes of crying because … she can’t find Mickey Mouse, her place mat is not right, she doesn’t want the bagel and cream cheese that I made for her, she wants to watch a show with Sam. She finally pulls herself together and eats a blueberry waffle while I get Sam ready for school.
8:45 am | Both big kids are dressed, teeth brushed, hair styled, shoes on. It’s picture day, so they’re looking extra fancy. I, on the other hand, change out of pajama pants and into sweatpants and pull my hair into a messy ponytail. And Evie just stays in jammies. We rush through a quick photo shoot on the front porch. Kiss Daddy goodbye. Load all three kiddos into the car. And drive about 1/2 mile down the road for school drop-off. Because some mornings I just don’t have the time or patience for all of the hopping, skipping, running, and brick wall climbing that occurs during our walk to school.
9:10 am | Back home. I make a second cup of coffee since I only had a few sips of my first. Evie plays in her jumperoo for about 10 minutes while I clean breakfast plates and wash the crock pot from last night’s dinner. Lucy barely moves from her spot at the front door.
9:30 am | Evie is getting fussy, so I take her upstairs to change her, which is an incredibly difficult task these days. Then I put her in the crib with some toys while I make the bed. But that doesn’t last very long. So I nurse her, and she is sleeping shortly after.
9:50 am | Back downstairs to finally get some breakfast for myself: eggs and toast. Nick and I have fallen off the paleo wagon since our trip to Disney. I really just don’t have the motivation right now for all of the meal planning and prepping that is involved.
10:00 am | My sister FaceTimes, and I can’t remember the last time I talked to her without interruption from children. We talk for a solid 20 minutes and promise to make it a weekly date when the big kids are at school. I finish cleaning the kitchen and straighten the dining room table.
10:45 am | Evie is still sleeping. Woo-hoo! We are passed the 45-minute mark, which means she should sleep for at least two hours. I take advantage of the quiet and get a quick shower. Use the two products I cannot live without: R+F eye cream and dry shampoo to conceal my tired eyes and postpartum hair loss. Then get dressed for the day.
11:10 am | Littlest is still sleeping! I debate another cup of coffee, but chug a big glass of water instead. I consider cleaning up Nora’s and Sam’s rooms, but I decide to wait for their help. Sam has recently expressed interest in earning an allowance, and he was thrilled when I gave him a dollar for picking up his toys earlier this week.
11:30 am | I sit down on the couch with my laptop and start to type notes from my day thus far. Sitting on the couch is a luxury I rarely get to enjoy these days. Oh, wow, is it nice! It’s so quiet that I can hear the clock ticking across the room.
12:20 pm | I get lost in writing, and when I look up at the clock, I cannot believe that Evelyn has been asleep for 2 1/2 hours. I give her 10 more minutes then wake her up to go get the big kids. This is Nora’s second week in “lunch bunch,” which means that she stays until 1pm, rather than the previous 11:30am pick-up. Obviously, I am loving the extra time. It means that Evie usually takes a longer nap, and I only have to do one pick-up rather than two.
12:45 pm | We walk the few blocks to school, and I’m glad that we got out since the clouds are rolling in, and the forecast in calling for rain. We’ve been so spoiled with 80 degree days in October.
1:00 pm | Nora comes out of her classroom first. Her bow is on top of her head, like a unicorn, and her teacher informs me that she’s been fussing with it all day. I just hope that it was in the right position for photos! Sam is next — looking almost as tired as Nora. In fact, neither of them run through the building like they typically do. And, when we get outside, Nora says, “I’m tired.” To which I reply, “That’s because you didn’t sleep in your bed last night.” And she says, “No, I’m tired because we took so many pictures today.” Sam chimes in and says, “I’m tired, too.” Followed by, “I’m tired of waiting for my Jedi costume to arrive.” Which we just ordered last night, by the way.
1:10 pm | This is seriously the most quiet walk home from school that we’ve ever had. Nora is sitting at the foot of the stroller, and Sam hasn’t let go of the handlebar since we left the building. Seriously, what has happened to my children?
1:12 pm | One of Sam’s classmates catches up with us, and Sam immediately morphs back into the spunky kid that I know and love. Nora follows suit. And the three race the rest of the way home while my mom friend and I push strollers and chat.
1:30 pm | Back home. Shoes in the closet, backpacks on the hook, and I’m impressed with how much both kids ate for lunch. And so I allow them to have ice cream cookie sandwiches for a treat. Evie snacks on her toes. Then Nora plays cars and Sam battles Spider-Man and Hulk Smash while Evie rolls around on her play mat. I realize that I haven’t had lunch, so I take the opportunity to eat leftover quinoa and carrots plus a chunk of Harvarti dill cheese.
2:00 pm | Lucy alerts us that a package has been delivered to the door. It’s a big box from Gap/Old Navy with clothes for the whole family! All three children needed new wardrobes for the fall/winter. And why didn’t we consider that our second and third would be complete opposite seasons?? Sam is excited to try some cozy clothes on little sister.
2:15 pm | Evie is getting tired again, and the other two are requesting the iPad/Kindle. They start with games (Ninjago and Daniel Tiger) and switch to shows (Power Rangers and Paw Patrol) by the time I get back downstairs.
2:44 pm | Clean up the kitchen, fold a stack of dish towels, pick up a few toys, fluff the pillows on the couch, then decide that I need a break of my own. I set the alarm on my phone for 3:30 and snuggle up beside Sam and Nora. I know it’s dangerous to take a nap in the middle of the day, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary.
3:29 pm | Evie wakes up one minute before my alarm goes off. She is screaming by the time I get upstairs and definitely not done sleeping. So I rock her for about 10 minutes and attempt to lay her down. But she wakes up immediately. So much for that nap. At least she got a good one in this morning.
3:40 pm | Back downstairs, and I tell the kids that screen time is over. They both ask for Goldfish, and Evie has some playtime.
3:50 pm | We head upstairs to Sam’s room. I pick up a bunch of LEGOs from Sam’s floor (how am I ever going to baby-proof this house??) before I lay Evie down on a blanket. Nora puts on a fireman hat and starts to read books to a pile of stuffed animals. And Sam changes into his karate uniform. But he has to stop halfway through his wardrobe change because he gets a bloody nose. This is the second one in the past week. Nick says he used to get them as a kid, too. I make a mental note to order a new humidifier for his bedroom.
4:15 pm | Sam has quickly recovered and hands me a light saber for our first battle of the evening. He says something about “fulfilling our destiny.” Nora is still very much wrapped up in story time. Evie watches us from the Bumbo. And Lucy lays right smack in the middle of everything. We battle, we play, we read, we sing, we blow bubbles. I sneak upstairs to change the sheets on Evie’s crib because they’re spotted with snot and drool. Then I text Nick to find out what time he will be home from work and eventually decide that I need to start dinner.
5:15 pm | I warm up leftover sausage and peppers, bake two small loaves of bread for sandwiches, and boil water to make tortellini for the kids. I slice some strawberries and steal a bag of M&Ms from the stash we still have leftover from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I do all of this while bouncing Evie around in the Bjorn.
5:30 pm | Sam is now dragging Nora around the living room on Evie’s play mat. Lucy is barking at cars. And Evie is over the Bjorn. I convince the kids to join me at the dining room table for some art activities while I count down the minutes until Nick gets home.
5:45 pm | Daddy is home! He’s greeted at the door with hugs from the big kids and lots of sloppy kisses from Lucy. He says this is his favorite time of day. He immediately shows the kids the box of Kinder Eggs that his boss brought back from Canada. And Sam exclaims, “Daddy went to Canada today!” Because he used to bring back the chocolate treats when he traveled there every week during the fall.
5:50 pm | I’m trying to wrap up dinner and fix plates. Sam and Nora are fighting over the Eggs, and Nick is trying to get a “thank-you” photo to send to his boss. I tell him that the kids are fast approaching “hangry” status and are likely not going to cooperate until after dinner.
5:55 pm | We sit down to eat dinner and talk about the best parts of our days. Sam: “Playing cars at school. And Colton is my new best friend.” Nora: “Playing outside at school.” Nick: “Getting a good score on my performance review.” Emily: “Defeating Sam in our light saber battle.” (Which Sam informs me that I did not.) We all agree that Evie is most excited to eat applesauce for dinner, and Lucy is happy that Daddy is home.
6:10 pm | Finish dinner and open our Kinder Eggs. (Right after Nick gets his cute kid picture.) Each Egg has a little character toy from Finding Dory. Nick makes the mistake of telling Sam that his is a water squirting toy, which prompts Sam to fill a little bowl with water and squirt it all over the dining room.
6:30 pm | Time to take Evie upstairs for her bath. Sam and Nora had theirs last night, so I only have one kid to clean tonight. While my hands are on the baby in the tub, the big kids fill the sink with water and continue to play with their new Finding Dory toys. I call for Nick’s help because I have a feeling that the sink is going to overflow any second. Yes, I’m right, and Nick drains the sink and redirects the kids’ attention to toys in Sam’s room.
6:45 pm | I ask Nick to get Sam and Nora into jammies while I do the same with Evie. He attempts to wash their hands and faces and brushes their teeth, even though Nora says, “I want Mommy” about a dozen times. Both go potty and get a drink of water. Check, check, and check. Nora comes upstairs to jump on the bed while I rock Evie. I quietly sing, “no more monkeys jumping on the bed,” which she thinks is hilarious.
7:05 pm | Evie falls asleep while nursing. Of course. I carefully lay her into bed, and even though she’s sleeping, she immediately rolls onto her belly. I start the white noise and tip-toe out of the room. She’s crying about two minutes later. So I go back up to give her the binky, and she quiets down again. Come back down to find Daddy giving horsey rides back and forth between Sam’s and Nora’s rooms.
7:15 pm | We start family story time in Sam’s bed. But the kids are fighting over who gets to open the flaps in their new Mickey Mouse Halloween book. Nora decides that she wants to take the book and go to her room with Daddy, which has not happened in weeks. This means that I get to spend some rare quiet time with my big boy. We read Star Wars ABCs, which he has almost entirely memorized, and two more Halloween books. One prompts a discussion about bats because he’s been learning about bats in school this week. He informs me that they’re nocturnal, they sleep hanging upside down with their wings wrapped around their babies, and they are blind so they use echolocation to fly through the sky.
7:30 pm | I sneak over to Nora’s room to grab the Mickey Mouse book for Sam to read. Nick is singing “Rock-a-Bye, butterflies.” He tucks her in and says “goodnight until your green light comes on.” But she insists that he leave the door open for Mommy.
7:35 pm | Nora appears at Sam’s door at least five times while I’m reading his last book. I kiss him goodnight, turn off his light, and turn on his turtle stars, then put Nora back into bed. No sooner is she under the covers that she decides she needs “one more teeny tiny sip of water.” And, of course, she has to get it herself. She turns on the faucet as slow as it can possibly drip and takes an eternity to fill her water cup all the way to the top, only to take a teeny tiny sip of water and dump the rest back into the sink. Every. Single. Time.
7:45 pm | Hugs and kisses and multiple goodnights for Nora, some of which happen after I already close the door. Nick is doing work on his laptop, and I come downstairs to put the dinner plates in the dishwasher. I hear Nora screaming upstairs, and Sam appears in the kitchen, declaring that he’s “starving.” He believes that he is “starving” multiple times every day. I get him a banana with peanut butter and ask Nick to check on Nora. I hear her yelling, “I want Mommy!” But I decide to finish cleaning before I go up.
7:55 pm | Sam finishes his banana, brushes his teeth again, and climbs back into bed. Nora is still screaming and sweating by the time I get into her room. I pick her up and change her shirt. Then I take her to the bathroom for yet another teeny tiny sip of water. And I lift her up to the mirror to see how sad she looks. We talk about having a nice and happy bedtime, which we’ve been talking about every night for the past two weeks. We go through the motions yet again. “Goodnight. Happy dreams. I love you.” Fortunately, this time it sticks.
8:00 pm | Whew. We’ve been trying so hard to move up the kids’ bedtimes. But, it never fails, 7:15 so quickly becomes 8:00. I fall onto the couch beside Nick and zone out for a good ten minutes before he suggests that he make popcorn and we watch an episode of Suits, our latest Amazon obsession.
8:25 pm | We’re downstairs on the couch with Lucy, big bowls of popcorn, and cups of tea. Less than 10 minutes into the show, I hear Evie crying. I wait a few minutes before going up to check on her. Binky back in, and she’s good.
9:15 pm | Episode is over. We should probably call it a night, but we decide to watch another one. But first I rinse our popcorn bowls, run the dishwasher, and move some laundry to the dryer.
10:15 pm | Now it’s really time for bed. We chat about the upcoming day and our plans to have friends over for brunch on Sunday while Nick fixes the sheets on the air mattress and promises that he’ll move back into our bed this weekend. Lucy has definitely been enjoying this temporary sleeping arrangement because it means she gets the couch all to herself.
10:45 pm | Lights out and prayers that everyone sleeps well tonight.
12:30 am | Evelyn is stirring, whimpering, screaming. Lather, rinse, and repeat. (But at least big sister sleeps through the night!)