K asked what a typical day was like for me. (I doubt she realized how much detail she would get.)
As I wake up the kids, I can hardly resist singing an old preschool song Gilly, gilly, gilly good morning, good morning to you. (That's what you get when you're a mom of four with an early childhood education degree.) Fortunately for my kids, I don't sing during breakfast. That's a busy time of pouring cereal and milk while packing the day's lunches.
Baby Girl is usually getting up around this time and is hollering for some milk (or sweet tea, or goldfish crackers, or Dora gummies....she's a regular junk food junkie). I sing All aboard the choo choo train to distract her from the junk food I am not giving her. If she's in a particularly grouchy mood, I sing You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
On the way to school, the only singing is with the radio. If by chance we hear Single Ladies, both girls and I have our hands up in the air flashing our bling. On Fridays, however, I occasionally remember to sing The Friday Song. It's a song my uncle invented when we were little. He sang it at the top of his lungs every Friday on the way to school. We pretended to be so embarrassed but secretly would have been very disappointed had he forgotten to sing. The words changed every time; you really never knew what he was going to sing. So when he took my boys to school for a couple years, he revived The Friday Song. I try to keep up the tradition, when I remember. After dropping off the kids, a song like The Hallelujah Chorus may enter my mind.
At that point, I have breakfast and try once again to get Baby Girl to eat. She typically picks cereal right out of my bowl with her dirty hands. I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas.
After breakfast, I check my email, blog, and catch up. Pandora may be playing at that time, if I'm not hearing Wizard of Oz or Finding Nemo songs from the television. When my music plays, it is usually Michael Buble', Harry Connick Jr., or Frank Sinatra. Some days, I turn on the gospel channel. Other days, I crave Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift. I love so many different genres.
Next is house cleaning time. I must clean the kitchen first every day. I can't stand for it to be messy. Unfortunately, the Barney Clean Up song is what I'm singing. I throw in a load of laundry and pick up whatever toys Baby Girl has spewed about.
By this time, I'm starving for lunch. I refuse to eat with Baby Girl sitting on my lap. So I hold off my lunch until I can get her in bed. Usually she has peanut butter crackers or something equally unhealthy first. I release a great sigh or give a hearty fist pump accompanied by a "Yes!" in anticipation of my hour and a half of peace. I am a TV watcher during lunch.
After lunch, I clean up and check email again with soft music playing. Baby Girl will wake up during this time and begin knocking on her door. I don't know why she does this but I think it's adorable. She will stand there and knock until I come release her from her nap prison. I may sing the song written for her when she was born. It's her name song to the tune of The Addams Family.
Son #1 gets home around this time. I do not sing to him, as he hates it. He is at that cool cat age and would be mortified to hear his mother sing. He takes off his shoes, jacket, and backpack and throws them anywhere and everywhere. Then he goes upstairs to not clean his room. After we finish talking about his day, Son #2 and Big Sis get home from school. Now there are backpacks, lunch boxes, and clothes all over my living room. I get irritated at this time and yell for everyone to clean up their stuff and begin their chores. The boys fold laundry or empty the dishwasher. Big Sis straightens up the many shoes on the rug. She is like a cop determining who has too many pairs of shoes on the rug and places them on the stairs to be taken up.
I don't know where the time goes at this point. It takes off at super sonic speed and before I know it, it's time to start dinner. Lately, the kids and I have been eating alone. Hubby gets home between 6:30 and 7:30. He reheats a plate of food. If I'm home, I will sit and talk with him. But usually, the kids and I are at an activity, at church, or out doing something. It seems like we get very few nights off. Sometimes Hubby joins us wherever we are. If not, we see him for a few minutes at night and then the bedtime ritual starts.
That is a long process. It starts with a calm mother requesting that children get ready for bed. When that doesn't work, the calm mother turns into a firm mother. Next, an irritated mother shows up. If the children still aren't in bed, the mother begins yelling and screaming and becomes irate. Baby Girl is placed back in her bed multiple times with bedtime prayers. She has excuses like "I tell you good night." or "I see Daddy." or "I need my baby."
When that is over, I sing Freedom or simply crash on the couch. Sometimes, Hubby and I have a few minutes to ourselves. Often, he goes right to bed in anticipation of his 5:00 AM alarm. I remain downstairs until all the stress of the day has melted away. Then I crash too. About ten minutes later (it seems), my alarm goes off and the madness begins again.