I was going to do one Day in the Life post, but after starting to write, I have found that I need to break it up. I’m so chatty and explain-y! There is after all somewhat of a science to getting out the door in a orderly and not-pulling-your-hair-out fashion with three small children before 6:45am. I’ll do three posts over the next few weeks. This one is a typical morning for us, next week I’ll do a School Day in the Life if you’re curious about my school librarian gig, and then I’ll finish it up with An Evening in the Life. Maybe I’ll even do A Weekend in the Life? But you might be so bored to tears by then that I may have to skip it.
5am – My alarm begins to bong. I recently switched the setting to Timba and I find it a little less jarring than what I used to use. Sencha I believe? Feels more like I’m an extra in Tarzan and I don’t hate it. The first thing I do is make my way to the kitchen to put the water on to boil for coffee (we make ours in a french press and if you haven’t tried french press…well you’re missing out), then comes emptying the dishwasher, packing lunchboxes, getting breakfast ready, switching the laundry if I forgot to the night before, and getting my own stuff ready for school if I didn’t the night before. Typical breakfasts are cereal, frozen pancakes, french toast sticks, oatmeal, a baked good if we have it, (all of the above with sprinkles added if they need urging to eat), or, of course, the occasional refusal of all of the above in favor of…not eating breakfast at all.
Things can easily devolve here during this critical morning prep time if everyone wakes up really early, but on an ideal day, after everything in the kitchen is ready to go and I have a mug of hot coffee in my hand, I get myself ready before the boys get up. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I would say that on 3 to 4 days a week (aka…most days), one or another wakes before I’m ready. On those days, I wake my husband up and I hand that one off to him. Ben (2) is typically the first one up and he requests warm milk and a show so they’ll snuggle on the couch until another kid wakes up too. Favorites morning shows are: searching the term “construction trucks” on youtube and watching trucks move dirt, searching “recycling trucks” – there’s some great compilations of trucks picking up trash, sometimes Blippi, sometimes Pokoyo, and sometimes just yelling that he doesn’t want “that one”. lol…gotta love the whims of two year olds. Luke (15 months) is next up, and I take care of him if Ben is already up snugging with the best husband on earth. Luke gets a bottle, a new diaper, dressed in his school clothes right away, then a snuggle and sent to destroy things in the playroom.
6am – Now it’s time to wake anyone who isn’t already up – namely, Charlie (4). I usually start the wake up process at about 5:55. This includes, turning on the light in the family room, opening the door (Ben and Charlie share a room, and we’re toying with the idea of tossing Luke in there too soon – but we may have lost our marbles), and then turning off their sound machine. I give them about five minutes and this generally does the trick. If they’re still slumbering like angels, then I go in for phase two of wake up and rub their little backs, sing a wake up song, and give them another few minutes to roll around. The last step, or code red you really must get up as I like to think of it, is to turn on the light on their room. I try to avoid this as it can really be not a very nice mama move to those sensitive morning eyes. But! We’re not here to be nice, are we? And then, of course, first stop is to the potty when they wake up.
6:10 – Get the heathens, I mean boys, dressed, if they aren’t already. I try to have clothes laid out the night before and set it in the playroom so it’s easy to find everything. There is nothing I loathe more than searching through laundry for socks first thing in the morning. It is enough to put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day. Now…getting them dressed can be a touchy thing. Sometimes they don’t want to get dressed. Sometimes they don’t want it to be a school day. Me either, dudes. So to soothe their big emotions stuck inside their tiny frames, I try to be flexible. This looks different for each kid. For Luke, as mentioned above, he is happiest if he drinks his bottle while getting a new diaper and getting dressed. He doesn’t really get a choice. For Ben, the most difficult morning child, he is easiest if we get him dressed while he’s slightly distracted and still watching his little morning show. For Charlie, it depends. He often likes to get dress while in our room on our bed, sometimes he likes to do it himself, sometimes he likes help. In most cases, it’s all about the time. It could take fifteen minutes to get them dressed, or it could take two. If they’re having a hard time, and don’t want to get dressed yet, I leave them and I move on to something different (making their beds, making our beds, finishing my hair or makeup if it needs it), and then come back after a few minutes. Sometimes they just need to feel like they’re in control for a few minutes. Sometimes they just want dada to do it instead! Sometimes they want to listen to a Laurie Berkner or Caspar Babypants song on my phone. I try to be flexible. And I have definitely learned this the hard way. I remember feeling so very frustrated with Charlie because he would often refuse to get dressed in the morning and then we would both wind up upset, and late. Now, I give him a few minutes, then come back to him, and try to give him choices if he needs them.
6:20 – Now it’s time for breakfast which is already sitting out on the table, so they just go to eat whenever they’re ready or around 6:20 when we say it’s time to stop doing whatever they’re doing because we have to eat and get out the door soon. Breakfast is smooth if not a little silly. My husband always sits with them while they eat breakfast and at this point I go finish getting myself ready if I haven’t already. Hair, makeup, etc. If I’m ready, then I sit and eat breakfast with them.
6:35 – Brush teeth and vitamins. Easy – they love their vitamins and they know they only get their vitamin if they brush their teeth. Pairing works really well for us. Feels a little like bribery sometimes, but they need to take a vitamin, and they need to brush their teeth, so it’s really just a win-win here.
6:40 – We declare “ok! time for school! Lunchboxes and to the car!” Luke looooooves his lunchbox, so he trots out the door right away (and his little legs pumping out the door dragging his lunchbox next to him might be my favorite part of the morning), Ben often stalls if he’s playing with something, in which case – he gets to take that toy to the car with him. Again, feels like bribery, but it really works for him and we both get what we want. Compromise here. Charlie is pretty easy to get out the door, but can often play around when we get to the car. He puts himself in his own carseat in the back and loves to do it, so we do a lot of counting to three with him. “I’m going to count to three, and if you’re not in your seat by the time I get to three, then I’m going to put you in your seat for you.” I use this a lot in the afternoons too if he’s being squirrely. Counting to three does absolutely nothing for Ben, so to each his own. Ben gets to eat a squeezy yogurt when he gets into his carseat, and that does it for him.
Another thing that really works for us at any point in the morning are “Special Mama Hugs”. I use these more in the afternoon, but in the morning if anyone is losing it, I will say, “do you need a special mama hug?” And this generally stops them in their tracks and they nod yes. This means dropping everything we’re doing, me being wholly focused on the child who is struggling and I pick them up for an extra long, tight hug. Works wonders during times of overwhelm. It’s just a little moment of connection to reset. Like – ok, let’s take a minute, forget what we’re struggling with, and just hug. it. out. Charlie now will even ask for one if he knows he’s getting too upset or emotional.
6:50 – We must be on the road. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to the boys school, and I cannot stand for lateness so to get me to school on time (by 7:30), this is what it takes. For whatever reason, I didn’t care a bit about being late when I was pregnant with each of the boys (I think pregnancy can make us a little selfish, as it should. We’re one with the baby, and our bodies need all of our attention.), so I had several phases of being late to school every day, but I’m past that. We listen to Caspar Babypants radio on Pandora in the car, a story podcast (favorites are Circle Round and Little Stories for Tiny People), or sometimes if moods are sour, I will put PJ Mask on my phone on the Netflix app and prop it up in the middle of the seats so they can watch.
7:05ish – Arrive at daycare. We always call it “school” just to get them ready for school and the idea that school is fun, etc. And of course, we also call their minders teachers too! I think it’s good to get that mentality that you must listen to your teachers instilled really early. Charlie and Luke have always been happy to go to school and they love walking from the car to the door. Ben can sometimes take some urging. If he needs extra hugs or attention, I will sometimes take Charlie and Luke in and come back for Ben. Lately, hasn’t been much pushback on getting from the car to the door though. They don’t even look back at me when they’re going through the door. lol. I generally call my goodbye’s and “I love you’s and ok I’ll miss you’s to their backs. At one point, this would have made me sad. But now, I’m just glad that they love their school.
7:15 – I arrive at school and the second leg of my day begins. My School Day. Eeeeeee. Come back to see “A School Day in the Life” next week!