5:30 a.m. Awaken for no reason. Paddle to the kitchen for some water as throat is dry from saw-snoring half the night. Stuffy nose. Wake up cat. Regret it instantly as she commences meowing for over half an hour.
7:00 a.m. First stirs from the older children. Walk into bedroom. Stub toe on bed frame. Silently suffer.
7:05 a.m. Cuddle Olivia in right arm while nursing Aiden from left side. Squeeze a precious ten minutes of relative darkness from the morning. No quiet. Just dark.
7:30 a.m. Children beg for breakfast. Cat is let out by the four year old. Cat jumps on my face. Gross. She sifts in her poo box. I am tempted to wash my face. Too lazy.
8:05 a.m. Make coffee in the Chemex with beans I grind the night before and keep in the fridge. My only salvation.
8:10 a.m. Breakfast is being smeared across the table and floors. Forks are overrated. Today they are eating their meal instead of complaining about it. A holiday miracle.
8:30 a.m. Jude awakens, smiling and cheerful. I lied. This is my second salvation this morning.
8:45 a.m. Kid and kitchen clean up.
9:00 a.m. Kids retire to their bedroom for “imaginative play” while Jude nurses and begins the first of his morning naps.
10 a.m. All kids nap. If I’m lucky, Jude will stay asleep for an hour or so and I’m able to rest with the kids.
Between 12 and 1 p.m. Kids wake begging for lunch. Usually a cold plate of fresh vegetables and fruit with some kind of protein. Cold beans, boiled eggs, yogurt, tuna.
12:30 p.m. Ah. There’s the refusal to eat. How did I go so long without you, old friend? How are you kids not passed out by now?
12:32 p.m. Oh. You just wanted to eat off of my plate. It’s the same damn thing.
12:33 p.m. Jude nurses, then plays in his Mama’s and Papa’s chair with his wooden teething rings.
12:40 p.m. Horrifying gaze at the refuse littering the table and chairs. Leave the dishes in the sink and the hummus on the floor. Fuck it.
12:41 p.m. Bring children into their room, quick toy cleanup singing the ever-popular niece-demonstrated “Clean Up” song (to the tune of that annoying As Seen On TV! Light Pets commercial).
12:45 p.m. Home school hour, otherwise known as “Olivia learns one or two items off the list while simultaneously trying to fight Aiden off of her paper/pencil/paint/scissors/book.”
1:45 p.m. Freshly learn-ed, kids pick an activity of their choice for the next hour and a half to occupy themselves. No, you can’t watch TV. I said no. Well, I’m not Daddy, now am I?
1:48 p.m. Jude begins to get red-eyed, signaling the need for another nap. Nurse him to sleep.
2 p.m. Second cup of coffee.
2:04 p.m. Bitter black coffee consumed in three swift gulps. Write “maple syrup” on the grocery list.
2:35 p.m. Break up first of several fights among Olivia and Aiden. This one is over possession of the choo choo train.
2:36 p.m. “You woke up Jude!”
2:45 p.m. Jude calmed from his rude awakening, grab laptop. Surf Pinterest for meal planning ideas. Lament diet and relative poverty. Click on “Health and Fitness” and scoff and quinoa on the front page.
3:00 p.m. Kids clamor for “a” book. I read seven. Twice the same book.
3:40 p.m. Time for dinner prep. Jude wakes up cranky. Tickle him without success.
3:42 p.m. Clean chunky spit up out of hair. Wait…I still haven’t showered?
3:45 p.m. Jude sitting happily while playing with his feet, I decide I can get away with one more day of not washing my hair and scrub quickly.
3:46 p.m. Rush into kids’ room, soapy, to break up second fight of the afternoon. This conflict is over the Poo Bear Truck. Designate sides of room to each toddler while I’m in the shower.
3:48 p.m. Peek at the video monitor. Miraculously they are staying on their own sides of the room, stealing occasional jealous glances at the other toys.
4:02 p.m. Dressed. Try to do something with hair. Regret not washing it. Too late now.
4:10 p.m. Dinner prep, including looking into the cabinets and fridge four or five times and finding nothing tangible to make. Write “Food” on grocery list.
4:22 p.m. “Okay, okay, fine. You can watch one episode of Curious George on the Nook.”
5:00 p.m. Two episodes later, dinner is nearly done. Children come downstairs.
5:30 p.m. “Please eat your food. Please. Just…here…here’s a choo choo! Open your mouth for the choo choo train!”
5:32 p.m. “But you like sweet potatoes!”
5:35 p.m. Headache develops.
5:40 p.m. Give up on dinner. They’ve eaten enough.
5:42 p.m. Bath.
5:43 p.m. “Mommy, I’m still hungry!”
5:50 p.m. Yogurt in the bath.
6:00 p.m. Kids dry off, run to bedroom to pick out nightclothes.
6:01 p.m. I never folded the laundry I washed. Kids return to bedroom while I tear apart the clothes basket to find them underwear.
6:10-7 p.m. “Please stop running. It’s time for bed. No, don’t hold the cat like that, it hurts her.”
7:00 p.m. Jude is overtired. Nurse him and Aiden.
7:20 p.m. Jude’s tired enough to lay quietly while the kids are falling asleep.
8:00 p.m. Kids are asleep. Quietly retreat with Jude onto couch.
8:04 p.m. Clean kitchen. Why must there be so many dishes? What is that on the wall? Ewww, is that a booger?!
8:30 p.m. Jude fusses. Poops.
9:00 p.m. So tired. Please go to sleep, Jude.
10:00 p.m. Jude finally sleeping deeply. Crash hard.
10:43 p.m. “Meow! Meow! Meow!”