Thursday, May 31, 2012

Staying home, trying to get stuff done

The UPS man delivered our crystal ball prism last night, and this morning we woke up to little rainbows all over our kitchen. They dance all over the walls and floors, but you can't grab them in your hand or tuck them away to keep.

Suzi is dancing around with a paper coffee mug and decanter she cut out of a magazine, singing a happy nonsensical tune and asking "would you like some coffee?" Ivey is working on an art project involving scissors and glue at the kitchen counter. I can't see her. I am a little nervous.

While I tried to set them up for crafts and put diapers on to wash, Robert grabbed his sippy cup off the table and shook it out all over the floor and himself.

There was glue to unclog. A Bobber to change, because he was soaked from sippy cup water. I poured myself a third cup of coffee.

Suzi asks again, "hey, would you like some coffee?" I tell her to please pour it in my mug. That way I can drink pretend coffee and the real one at the same time. It is cold now, but it still works.

Yesterday was Suzi's fifth birthday, and she got a Green Lantern doll. Today she told us it was Green Lantern's tenth birthday. She decorated a little gift box for him with marker, we sang happy birthday, and he opened his gift. He really liked the card Suzi made him.

A little while ago I had to put the sofa cushions back on because Ivey had taken them and several blankets and thrown them in the floor. She was having a picnic, you see. Almost our entire collection of board books is strewn all over the dining room floor, probably for a similar reason. I'm not sure. My grown-up eyes don't see what they see.

I love watching Suzi and Ivey play together, as long as they're not fighting. Ivey and Robert love to play together too. Ivey is sort of bilingual. She can talk to older kids and adults, but also communicates well with Robert, who is 20 months younger than she is. I keep catching them working together as they play, sometimes making sounds but not speaking words. With Suzi and Robert, it's not the same.

I've just nursed Robert to sleep, but I'm afraid to try to put him down. It would probably wake him up, and if that didn't wake him up, his sisters would wake him up with their yelling. He's kind of sweet when he's asleep, anyway. It's just about the only time I get to hold him anymore.

Through the sliding glass door I see a yard spotted with a million bright yellow dandelions. Those will need to be mowed tonight. I get a little panicky thinking about being inside alone with the three kids for a couple of extra hours while Jordan takes care of the yard. We are having a birthday party this weekend, and I still need to de-junk the dining room, clean the kitchen and the bathroom, pick up the living room, keep up with the dishes and laundry, bake cupcakes and frost them, decorate the house, and wrap a gift. It's insane. I have a lovely countdown checklist that would work like a dream if only I could stick to it.

But the children are on my heels, undoing what I've done, undoing me, and distracting me from doing anything else on my list. It's like swimming upstream, running against the wind. I don't hate it. It's a challenge. They are more than worth it. After a few more years of this, I don't know how I'll ever be able to handle just working on a task again. It'll be lonely and too quiet. It'll feel weird. My limits are being stretched and I am growing during these distracting, loud, messy, exhausting days.

Now Robert's power nap is over. The boy can't walk yet, but he can rearrange lightweight furniture. He can also pull a chair up to the bookshelf, climb onto it, and pull down books. The floor is covered in a vast array of interesting toys, but he can single-mindedly pinpoint every possible way there is to get into trouble and drive me nuts. The things I cannot babyproof.

Some days I just give in completely to the chaos. I just let the mess overcome the house because cleaning it up is like peeing in the ocean. I know that someday we will be able to have nice furniture, and keep drinks and books on our end tables. When that happens I will probably miss having a teeny boy cruising along the furniture saying "dat! dat! dat!" and grabbing for anything he can spill, break, or tear into pieces.

And that is why some days I just give in to it. But today I have a party to prepare for. I can do this. I will scoop up the giggling gap-toothed boy, put him on my back in the Ergo, and attack my to-do list with excessive force. I will not get sidetracked. I will not blow my top.

It will be a good day.

UPDATE: It somehow all got done! Dining room, living room, kitchen, dishes, laundry, and I even wrapped the gift and started decorating. The kids were so sweet and let me work, and now we are running on schedule. Jordan finished working in the yard and it's not even 7:00. Also, I put all the wooden train tracks on vacation and brought out some larger toys instead, so now the kids can't trash the house quite so severely.


Lauren Wayne said...

I love this glimpse into your day, and the beautiful way you've written about it. It really is astonishing when we get anything done at all — and I'm way impressed you accomplished so much! We've got a birthday party coming up next weekend, so you can come help me get ready…

Your noticing of the kids' creativity was really meaningful to me. I'm glad Suzi enjoyed the Green Lantern's birthday party. And how sweet that Ivey and Robert get along so well — he'll be happy to have a close big sister like that.

Cassie said...

Hobo Mama posted this on Facebook and oh how I live this. It seems like my day with only two kids. My kids are 3 and 1 and it seems they are a tornado behind my picking up. But, like you, I ask myself what am I going to do when all my babies are grown. It just won't be the same.

Laurie said...

It was so lovely to read this and feel company in the chaos of Only 2 kids! So great that you are going to homeschool. I'm just going to reread your blog and them post it to Facebook if that's alright!