I wake up, begrudgingly. I might be in my bed, or a kid's bed, or on the couch. There's at least one of our two-year-old twins tucked in beside me, a lovely hot-water bottle that comes complete with cuddles. Occasionally I find our seven-year-old snuggled into the foot of the bed (or the couch). He'll have stolen the blankets.
I'm never ready to face the world, but there's not much choice. My first move is to the kettle, to supply the essential morning coffee. I make breakfast for the kids. Vieve's having a growth spurt; she eats a bowl of cornflakes, then a bowl of rice bubbles, then Finn's remaining weetbix. Then she asks for (and eats) scrambled eggs. Where does she put it all?
I drink my lukewarm coffee. I've got in the habit of drinking it that way from long months with babies on my lap. Lukewarm spills don't scald. Vieve attempts to copy me by drinking the milk out of her cereal bowl. The bowl is wider than her face, so it doesn't end well.
She's still scrounging (definitely a growth spurt), and tries to filch my Vegemite toast. It's MY toast, damnit, but I offer to make her a Vegemite sandwich.
All is well until I start to put margarine on the bread. She shrieks, and jumps up and down. I explain that I'm using margarine so that the bread won't break. Nope, margarine is definitely not acceptable. NO NO NO.
So I put Vegemite on without margarine. Not surprisingly, the bread breaks. UH-OH. I repair the damage, spreading it as thinly and evenly as I can. She demands BIG LOT. I explain that Vegemite is not like peanut butter or jam. You don't need "big lot".
I add a little more Vegemite and fold the bread. She happily noms it down.
Until she bites a BIG LOT of Vegemite. SHRIEK. Sigh.
I employ judicious TV while I shower and dress. Sometimes I get to shower without the twins slapping me on the butt with a cold shower curtain. Then it's teeth-brushing time. I sing a song while I brush their teeth, so they keep their mouths open long enough. It works well, except when it doesn't. MINE DO IT. BIG LOT TOOTHPASTE.
It's only safe to get them changed after breakfast and brushing, as they accessorise with egg yolk and toothpaste foam. Finn wears whatever I offer. Vieve will forcefully reject any suggestions I make, unless it includes her pink and white polka-dotted dress. She adds layers, at her own discretion, whenever I'm not looking. Apparently it gives you "more dancing power".
Shoes are the next battle. Vieve wants her pink gumboots, but they're still sodden from puddle-jumping yesterday. She took them off and used them as water scoops, after all.
I assemble the appropriate gear and we head out the door. We're always busy. Monday is library day. Playcentre is Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday we take Xander to One Day School. Friday is groceries day; Xander does the rounding, adding, and remembering our running total brilliantly. The twins do their best to disrupt our practical maths lesson by chanting random numbers; according to Finn, we buy "1, 2, 3, 18" loaves of bread.
When we get home, I juggle homeschooling, lunch, twin demands, laundry, housework and dinner. Finn and Vieve help, if covering the newly vacuumed lounge with crumbled bread is helping.
Finn demonstrates his independence by pouring his own cup of milk. He then shows initiative by attempting to mop up his spill with a packet of pasta.
The 4pm whingeing hits as I juggle the trickiest part of the day. (I love crockpot dinners because when I get sick of the "I'm hungry", "Eat some fruit", "I don't want fruit", "Then you're not hungry", "But I'm hungry!" whining, I just give them some a bit early. Then if they don't eat their dinner, it's because they already ate their dinner.)
I count down the minutes until hubby gets home. We try to discuss our day over dinner, yet without paying too much attention to each other. The last time I listened empathetically to one of hubby's work stories (over nachos), Finn quietly ate an entire pottle of sour cream, and then asked for "more yoghurt?"
Bathtime. Booktime. Bedtime.
They might be asleep, but I'm not. There's dishes, laundry, homeschool planning, blogging, packing for the next day...
A parent's work is never done.
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