“Where’s your brother, Seth?” “Check the 3rd shelf up, Mommy, right above the lion ball.” =)
For those of you who might be interested, here is what an average day looks like around here… (this is probably mainly for the benefit of relatives, but there ya have it)
Ben wakes up at 6:00ish to nurse. I stumble into his room, take care of his needs, and then stumble back to bed. About 8:00, I get up, get him up and feed him, throw on some clothes, pull my hair into a quick ponytail, and then go into the boy’s room to get them up. By then, it’s about 8:30. Sometimes they’re awake, and sometimes they aren’t. If they wake up before I’m done with my routine, I let them get up and play quietly in their room while I finish up.
Seth puts on his own clothes, and Evan has some help from me. Sometimes I don’t rush them, and we’ll all hang out in their room, me sitting on the queen size guest bed and Ben sitting up on the floor with whatever random toys I can find to throw within his reach. They talk to me and play pretend.
Then we head downstairs for breakfast. Most of the time its their choice of 1 of a few kinds of dry cereal and cups of milk. Evan eats his off of a high chair tray still. Sue me. Seth sometimes chooses milk in his and sometimes like them dry. It’s his responsibility to put his bowl and spoon in the sink and his cup back in the fridge when he’s done.
Then its on to the playroom to get the day started. I usually clean up the dishes and sweep the floor while they play. Seth has been obsessed with drawing lately, so he pulls out crayons, paper, and something to copy to draw. Lately that is a Peterson Field Guide of Birds of North America. He asks me to tell him what bird he’s drawing before he gets started. He also has several “how to draw” whatever books that he can use.
I pull out several picture books to read for the morning. I play with Ben, snuggling and tickling, while Evan plays trains or something else at my feet or while he draws me something. When Ben goes down for his morning nap around 10:00, I read to both boys.
This morning, I got to introduce them to Rumpelstiltskin. I also read a book about two little boys taking care of pet turtles and some other fiction. I usually try and get in some non-fiction and some Bible story books, too. David and I rearranged the bookcase last night to make it easier to find things by category, and I have 3 boxes of books that my mom brought down from the attic to choose from as well.
I think that reading good books to my children is the most important thing I can do right now for their educational development, so I prioritize that ahead of any other kind of learning activity. We throw in games and puzzles and the occasional craft from time to time, but its almost always only after I’ve read them a minimum of 5 picture books for the day.
I read, take a little break to do something else like check email or Facebook (or this morning) put together a meal in the crockpot for a friend with a new baby, and then I come back and read again. I have allergies, so its hard to read lots of books in a row right now. I get hoarse.
I get the baby up from his nap after about an hour. He usually wakes and lets me know he wants to get up a little before an hour is up, but I usually make him wait 10 minutes if he wakes early. I nurse him, and then we play with the boys together until lunch.
Lunch is simple. Evan would eat a pb&j every day if I’d let him. I usually just give in and give him one. We have carrot sticks and fruit every day with whatever sandwich or crackers and cheese or whatever else we have. I try to forget that I have chicken nuggets in the freezer for when guests come over, and I usually succeed at that. Ben has a big bowl of cereal, formula, and baby food. He’s doing well with his weight gain at this point, and I don’t worry about that anymore.
I kick them outside to play on the porch or yard after lunch for a little while if the weather is good. Evan played with a ball out there today and did some gymnastics on the porch swing. Often we take a picnic to the park right after Ben gets up from his morning nap to maximize time out of the house before afternoon nap.
I had to get some large disposable containers to put meals for friends in, so we took a quick trip to Dollar Tree after lunch. They also have nice glass vases for when you want to deliver flowers to a friend, so I got a couple there as well. The boys got to pick one toy each. Evan picked a rubber frog, and Seth picked a stuffed dinosaur. Seth almost always picks a stuffed animal lately if he has a choice. He likes to use them for imaginary play. After we got home, he got out another dino, and they had a fight. =)
In the middle of all this, I remind Evan to go potty about 5 times a morning. He can go in the big potty now. He had one accident today, and it was after lunch. He usually has at least one accident a day. At this point, I barely notice. Fortunately, he doesn’t usually soak through, so cleanup is minimal.
Naptime comes at 1:30. I go upstairs, make sure that Pullups are out, blankets and naptime animals are in beds, and the baby tent is moved to my room. Ben gets nursed and goes down first, and then I put Evan down. Seth goes down with little help from me.
And then I get a break. I usually blog, read, or sleep. Seth comes down again at 3:00, and he plays quietly by himself until I’m ready to do his reading lesson with him. Ben wakes up around 3:30 or 4:00. Evan usually wakes up last, not long after Ben.
We play or go to the park or read until Daddy gets home at 5:30ish. If the day is not going well, I let them watch old Franklin the Turtle episodes on YouTube. Yes, I caved. The third kid did me in. We don’t watch every day, but we do more days than I’d like. Sigh.
Each ordinary day is a gift. I’m just so thankful lately that I have many more days where we’ll all be together for most of the day. The time will come when we’ll separate, but it will be gradual as my boys get into middle school and high school and get driver’s licenses and get ready for college. That’s the way I grew up as a homeschooled child, and I’m grateful that this will (God willing) be the same pattern in our family life as they grow. It’s not for everybody for a variety of reasons, but this has been my dream or our family, and it means a lot to me….