A Day in Our Life, 2007

I am feeling overwhelmed these days, recently by the holidays but even before that by the structure and stricture imposed by having to get the girls to their various schools. For some reason I thought having the girls at school would mean more free time for me, but as it turns out, not so much. All this to say that unfortunately blogging has dropped down to the bottom of my priority list, somewhere below cleaning the toilet and flossing, although above sweeping the basement floor and writing letters to politicians. This is mainly unfortunate not because I am depriving you, my public, of my wisdom, but because the girls are so damn charming these days and it's a pity I'm not writing it down because I'm sure they will go through less charming periods and it would be nice to have this stuff to reminisce about.

One of my problems is that there is so much to write about: what Cordelia's like, what Delphine is like, what my life is like, Delphine's identity issues (why must a four-and-a-half year old have identity issues!), the weather, the neighbours' tacky plastic light-up nativity lawn ornaments. I have to choose something.

So here's what our days are like. Sometime in the morning Cordelia wakes up, usually between six and six-thirty. By this time Delphine is mysteriously already in bed with us. She used to get in bed on Blake's side — he would snuggle with her and then take her back to bed. Then he started complaining about that because he finds it really hard to get back to sleep after an interruption, whereas I can usually drop right back off again. Fine, I said, Delphine should come and see me when she wakes up in the night. Which is apparently every night. So we got her to do that. The only problem is, I sleep so soundly that I don't even wake up and she ends up sleeping with us all night, which wouldn't bother me but apparently we crowd Blake. Not sure what the resolution to this problem is, but I hope when Delphine gets her new bed and comforter she will stay in her own bed. Maybe we'll make a rule or something.

So anyway, Cordelia wakes up, sometimes crying and sometimes singing. She's still sleeping in a crib, so I get up and get her and she comes back to the big bed for a "snuggle", meaning she nurses for a bit, yes she's still nursing, we're going to stop any time now! Really! Usually Delphine and Cordelia get into a bit of a spat because Cordelia's hitting Delphine (she likes to thump something while she's nursing, or kick something) or because Delphine said "Hi Cordelia" and Cordelia didn't say hi back, or something. Delphine's often a bit testy in the morning. Sometimes she's really gorgeous and cheery and patient with Cordelia; I never know which Delphine I'm going to get.

Anyway, after all the foolishness with the snuggling and fighting is over, Delphine and Cordelia take their leave and Blake and I grab a few more minutes of blissful rest. The girls used to go off and play but I found it hard to get them to focus on getting dressed and coming for breakfast after they had gotten into a game, so a few weeks ago I imposed a rule that states that you have to be dressed before you can play, and if you play before you are dressed I will confiscate whatever you are playing with for the rest of the day. I am so mean. It works, though, they get dressed now. Delphine dresses herself and then she helps Cordelia get dressed. Sometimes Cordelia looks pretty wild; the other day she was dressed in a blue, pink and green horizontal-striped shirt, a shades-of-pink diagonal striped summer dress over top, and her black and yellow striped bee tights from Hallowe'en. I guess to a 4.5 year old, three kinds of stripes qualifies as matching. Cordelia doesn't care what she wears yet, except some days when she mysteriously insists on one particular garment.

Once the girls are dressed they and I stumble downstairs and I throw together some breakfast, usually toast or cereal. I always feel that there should be some other food groups, maybe fruit, but I can't face fruit first thing in the morning — too tangy — so I always forget to offer it to the girls. I should perhaps try a little harder.

If it's a Tuesday or Thursday then Cordelia has nursery school, so there is usually a moderate rush to get out the door. Nursery school is a fifteen minute walk away; fifteen minutes there plus fifteen minutes back, twice, makes an extra hour of walking, twice a week, which is great for my waistline but kind of messes up my schedule, especially around lunchtime, but I will get to that.

If Cordelia has school, we drop her off by nine and then Delphine have the morning to ourselves. It would be nice if we spent that time with quality bonding activities like reading or playing at the park or, I don't know, tennis or something, but in reality usually I have a million errands to run on the way home, then we get home and I have a bunch of chores to do before we turn around and go pick up Cordelia at 11:30.

If Cordelia doesn't have school we typically just putter around the house; the girls do colouring or sticking, or they build things with blocks, or they make train tracks, or they do imaginary things with dollies. They also like to disassemble the sofa and use its cushions to make forts or big piles, especially in combination with the plexiglass nesting side tables I bought at Caban years ago. I didn't imagine at the time that they would one day become houses and tunnels and beds.

While the girls are playing I'm usually doing jobs; neverending laundry, sweeping, cleaning the kitchen, more laundry. Sometimes I clean the bathroom. I'm sure there are lots of other housework activities I should be doing, but somehow I never get to them between walking people places, doing laundry and cooking.

If it is Tuesday or Thursday at 11:30 and we have just picked Cordelia from school, we have to hurry home to have lunch in time to turn around and go back out the door to take Delphine to school by 12:45. Now that it's winter and we have to do the snow pants/jacket/boots/hat/mitts/scarf thing our turnaround time is fairly long and there's not a lot of time for making and eating lunch. Lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays is not pretty at my house, and it often involves peanut butter sandwiches. It's a complete protein!

After Delphine is safely deposited at school, it's time for Cordelia's nap. She's usually tucked in by 1:20 and then I have almost an hour and a half of unaccompanied time yawning ahead of me. This would be more exciting if there weren't the fairly predictable round of laundry and sweeping and tidying to do, but sometimes I catch a short nap, or read a bit, or even play on the internet for a while. (It has taken me four sessions to write this entry, and I am only finishing it today because the girls are at Baba and Zaida's for supper.)

I almost always have to wake Cordelia up at 2:45 to give her time to get her wits about her and have something to eat before we leave to pick up Delphine at 3:15. Delphine plays in the schoolyard with her friends for a while and we're back home by 4:00, whereupon I make dinner which we eat at 5:00 (no, it doesn't take me an hour to make dinner but I have to give myself an hour to deal with interruptions and crises on the way). Bathtime happens around 5:45, followed by bedtime (pajamas, teeth, books and tucks) and if we're lucky everyone is snug by 7:00. 7:30 at the latest. Blake usually gets home sometime in the middle of bedtime, which the girls think is great because he always has time to snuggle with them in the big bed, or read an extra book.

That's when the real fun begins, or so the girls suspect. In reality the evening involves clearing up after supper, cleaning the kitchen, more laundry, any other chores that absolutely can't be completed with children present (like wrapping Christmas gifts!), and then finally we can collapse in front of the TV for a few minutes (maybe hours) until I have to get to bed, which is before ten or else I am too crabby the next day. Here's what we watch on TV these days: Dirty Jobs, Chuck, America's Funniest Home Videos, Battlestar Galactica, The Tudors, Kid Nation (until it ended), and sometimes Design Inc.. The Daily Show when it's not on strike. We love TV but I think we're going to cancel cable; it's just too expensive for the few shows we watch, and for all the millions of channels there is almost nothing to watch on an spontaneous basis; if we don't have anything saved on the PVR we're pretty much screwed. So we're going to switch to downloading or (more likely) reading books.

Life is pretty full and busy and there's not much time to breathe, and that's with me home all the time. I don't know how people with jobs do it (apart from if I had a job I would damn well pay someone to do all the housework). My days are pretty much preordained starting at around 11:30 am until 7:00 pm, and this is the first time that being a Mum has really felt like a job in the usual sense. Previously I've had all kinds of things to do and lots of demands on my attention, but I've been able to more-or-less define when I did stuff and what I did (apart from the obviously non-negotiable diaper changes and naps and stuff), but now I need to be up and out and getting things done whether I feel like it or not.

Not that I am complaining; the structure certainly doesn't hurt and it certainly passes the time and keeps me honest. My chief complaint right now is with the weather; I hate wresting little Cordelia into snowpants and boots because it takes forever and it's hard on my back. I can't wait until she's old enough to do that stuff herself, which should be next winter. (Never mind that, there are still mothers who try and help their kindergartners with snow pants!) In general we are all pretty happy with our lots in life; Delphine loves school, Cordelia loves school, they mostly love each other, Blake likes his job and I like mine, we love each other and we're mad about the girls. Can't ask for much more that!

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