I get home from my job at midnight. After being on my feet for 7 hours, it felt really good to sit in the car for the short ride home and I stumble a little on the way to the kitchen door. Mr. Punk is asleep on the living room floor with his little butt in the air, face smashed into his favorite soft blanket. I plunk into a chair and peel off my boots. Haley gives me a mug of orange juice with pulp (my favorite) and we sit down to eat a snack together. We talk softly about how my shift went; I made cereal bars and cookie dough and lasagna and had some fun conversations with my co-worker. We laugh when I realize that this is basically the first social interaction I’ve ever had other than church activities and parental supervised interactions from before I got married. Haley tells me how the evening went with the kids; Ms. Action went right to sleep, before the others were even settled in. She takes getting enough rest on a school night seriously. Ms. Pooky peed through her diaper a couple hours after falling asleep; we consider the possibility of getting heavier nighttime diapers until this whole potty training thing catches on. Ms. Drama wasn’t happy with any of her pajamas, again. Sometimes I think pajamas should be done away with entirely.
We change into pajama’s and brush our teeth, falling into bed before realizing that one of our children must have been eating crackers in our bed and we scramble out again to sweep out the crumbs. I leave the bathroom light on, so that when Mr. Punk wakes up in the night I can get down the hallway easily. I snuggle up against Haley’s back, and then squeal when her cold feet touch my legs. We know we are tired and need to sleep, but we still end up whispering and giggling together for a few more minutes before dropping off into snores mid-sentence.
At 2 AM I wake briefly as Mr. Punk arrives at our bedside whimpering, he crawls in next to me to nurse and settles down to sleep again. Its 5 AM when I wake again, Ms. Pooky is trotting down the hall. I drag myself out of bed and follow her to the living room. “I want to watch Bob the Builder!” She announces loudly. I point out that it is still dark outside and that everyone else is sleeping, and she consents to being tucked back into bed with a bottle. Hopefully I’ll get a little more sleep before it’s time to get Ms. Action ready for school.
7:10 my phone alarm goes off, and I roll out of bed with a yawn. Mr. Punk is sleeping upside down with his feet on my pillow and he grumbles sleepily at the loss of the warm body beside him. I rearrange the blankets and he snuggles up closer to Haley and falls back asleep. I grab a few strawberries from the fridge and get the backpack and school shoes off of the shelf where I hide them each afternoon and put them on the living room floor, and then make my way to Ms. Action’s room. She wakes up pretty easily and eats the strawberries while talking about a friend who had been absent from school the day before. We pick out her clothes for the day and head out to the living room, making a pit stop in the bathroom on the way. She gets her clothes on and we stop and read a library book together. I suggest that she brushes her teeth and hair and she insists that she needs to stretch first, after numerous noisy stretched and the promise of another library book, she trots off to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Haley is up and moving around, showering and getting dressed for the day. Ms. Action and I snuggle for a minute after I comb her hair and then we check the chart to see what she will be eating for breakfast at school. She is excited to hear that today is supposed to include pumpkin muffins. After a final hug Ms Action and Haley head out the door to the bus stop talking a mile a minute.
Ms. Drama wanders out into the living room and I pour her a bowl of cereal and eat one myself. We sit on the floor and read a few books together during which Ms. Pooky comes bouncing out of her room. After her breakfast I turn on the requested Dora the Explorer and try to find something Mr. Punk would be willing to eat since he is up and whining, we end up sharing a yogurt.
I don’t realize I’ve fallen asleep on the living room floor until my phone rings. It’s Haley calling on her break. We chat about how the day is going for a few minutes and then she has to go back to class and Dora the Explorer ends. I sit down and turn on the computer, I can hear the kids hopping around in the other room, it sounds like they are playing zoo. I check my email, and my Facebook. I go to my blog and think about the jumble of posts that aren’t quite finished. I open several word documents and wonder what I feel like working on. I type a few sentences.
After the living room is clean, I get out my computer again and end up on Facebook chatting with my sister. Before I know it, its 2:45, time to get ready to pick up Ms. Action. I get dressed, and then double check the kid’s outfits for the weather and track down everyone’s shoes and jackets. Ms. Drama predictably doesn’t like any of the available socks, and we spend some time debating which ones are acceptable. We finally make it out the door and today it only takes us 10 minutes to walk the 2 blocks to the bus stop, since I only have to carry my grumbling 4 year old part of the way this time. The other 2 kids ride in the wagon with their sippy cups.
The bus is the usual several minutes late, and Ms. Action jumps down the steps chattering non-stop. We head home and stop at the park for an hour where the kids beg me to chase them. Its fun for a while until Mr. Punk climbs up in the play structures as well and freaks me out by leaning out over the edge of the platform. I end up spending the rest of the time following my 1 year old and holding him by the back of his jacket as he attempts to leap off of various things. I decide I’ve had enough stress and we head home.
The older kids play outside, and the younger kids play inside while I cut up carrots and onions and celery and potatoes to add to the soup. I chop up the cooled chicken and add it to the pot too along with some herbs. The house starts to smell good.
Haley arrives home from school and does a quick load of dishes while I turn on the TV and check to see if my favorite cooking show is on. Chopped isn’t on today, but after we eat dinner together I watch an episode of cupcake wars. The kids watch bits and pieces of it and talk about how much they love cupcakes. Haley reads a few books with the kids and I put some crackers and cheese and fruit on some plates to serve as a bedtime snack.
We wrestle the kids into their pajamas and then settle into the chaos of brushing teeth, turning off lights and hearing the usual list of bedtime requests. They bounce off the walls for a little bit, but eventually things settle down and they have all fallen asleep. Haley checks her email and Facebook. I ramble about the day. Without his sisters to distract him, Mr. Punk goes into destructive mode and climbs on everything in sight. I feed him one more snack and brush his teeth and try to get him to fall asleep. An hour after the girls fell asleep, Mr. Punk passes as well. Haley and I make a salad together for our own snack, and then I have some ice cream I’ve been craving all day but didn’t feel like eating around the kids.
We talk. Haley rubs my feet. I play with her hair. We talk some more. Snuggles turn into kisses, but then Mr. Punk wakes up and demands to be nursed. Haley turns on the news and I protest that it is too stressful. We realize that it is past 11 and we really should be going to bed. One more bedtime routine and we are side by side in bed again mumbling to each other in the darkness, as the warmth of the blankets on a cold fall night makes our eyelids heavy, another day well-lived.