I started tracking my time continuously in April of 2015. That means I am coming up on 18 months of knowing where the time really goes. Since I use half-hour blocked spreadsheets, the process is relatively painless. Broad blocks, however, lose some of their detail. So, in part to help me remember, here are a few of the ongoing story lines about life with little ones, and how they played out in the last 24 hours.
My husband came home for dinner last night — a 60 minute window, roughly, before he had to get to the airport to be on a flight to Europe. He’ll be home this evening. This is how we travel around here! We had make-your-own pizzas, which the kids really love. They also like their fruit wheel. G (nanny) puts about 6 kinds of cut-up fruit on a plate in the center of the table. The kids are supposed to take at least 3 kinds, but it’s colorful and appealing, and they often do full rainbows. Variety!
My 9-year-old is playing the viola. I am not quite sure how this happened. Fourth graders at his school can do band/orchestra during school hours, with a weekly group music lesson. I thought everyone did it, but it turned out it was optional. Since getting him to do extra credit homework assignments is somewhat like pulling teeth (more on teeth below!), I am kind of happy that he thought it would be fun. He had told me he wanted to play the flute, but they did some sort of assessment and decided he would be better suited for the viola. At least it wasn’t the cello! I rented from one of the companies that delivers the instrument to the school, and now he’s learning to play the thing. Last night we talked through which strings were which, and I helped him read the music staff, which is apparently different from the piano staff. Having never played a string instrument myself, I did not know this (is this true?), but at least 10 years of studying piano helped me figure out a fourth grade music book. We just worked on plucking. I confess that the bow technique is outside my expertise.
He started working through his next book club book last night. This has been great to have a slightly higher-brow reason to get together with friends regularly. They often talk about the book for an entire half hour before hitting the pizza and juice or someone’s backyard swings, which is probably longer than most adult book clubs go before devolving into gossip and wine.
The 7-year-old is deep into Pokemon. I suspect school is largely the backdrop for his Pokemon card trading, but he came home with flash cards of sight words last night, which I dutifully cut out, and he read through them. I turned them upside down as a challenge and he read through them like that too, so I guess I will just view the fact that he has time to develop his negotiation skills as an OK thing.
He is a bit rough and tumble. At the Cub Scout camping trip over the weekend, he kept wrestling with this much-larger 3rd grader. The other boy took him down every time. Did not seem to both my kid.
What does bother me: he and my daughter (age 5) head butted last night. They were fighting with each other about something, and got up in each other’s faces, and next thing I know they are both holding their mouths. The 7-year-old came out unscathed, but I later saw that she had chipped her front tooth. It was a small chip, and a baby tooth that will likely come out within the year, but it was rough against her lip and starting to tear it. So, at 8:00 this morning, I called our dentist’s office to see if they could fit her in.
Let me just sing the praises of our dentist here. I was so not happy about having to deal with the ramifications of my children’s stupid violence. (I’m already taking time off this afternoon to take the toddler to a doctor appointment). But the receptionist asked if I could come in right then, so I got the 5-year-old dressed and we zipped over. It turns out that the office was officially closed for today and tomorrow with the holiday, but our dentist had agreed to do a procedure for someone else, who was then not there (!) so he saw us. He filed off the rough edge. We were in and out in 15 minutes, and he didn’t even charge us. I got my daughter to school on time.
The 5-year-old and I had an epic thank you note writing session last night. She got a lot of presents for her birthday, so there was a lot of thanking to do. We started out with me writing most of the notes, and her just signing her name, but then she started wanting to write her friends’ names, and sometimes notes and pictures, and by the end our process had slowed considerably. Here we see the contrast between efficiency and effectiveness. I sat there at the kitchen table repeating the mantra to myself that people are a good use of time — both time with my daughter, and her learning the social niceties of sending handwritten notes. I will admit, however, that this was painful at times.
Since I was on solo duty pre-8 a.m. this morning, in anticipation of another 4:45 a.m. wake-up with the toddler, I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. last night. Seriously. I shut my big boys in their room and made it clear that there would be serious consequences for noise or leaving their room (they often fall asleep later than that). Well, 4:45 came and went, but the toddler didn’t get up. Having gone to bed at 9:30, though, I woke up on my own around 5. I guess the upside is that I got a shower in before he woke up at 5:45.
Photo: Getting to be quite a big boy now!