Today is Friday, January 18.
6 a.m. My alarm goes off. I remember that Delaney has no school today and I'm so relieved to be able to turn off my alarm and go back to sleep instead of coaxing an increasingly sluggish little girl out of bed. Gradually over the course of several months, Delaney has gone from waking up before Mr. Clock... to rolling out of bed as soon as I walk in and turn on the light.. to where she is now, moaning and groaning and curling in a ball when I try to wake her up. Ugh. If there's one good thing about the holiday weekend, it's not having to deal with that for four mornings.
7:23 a.m. I hear, "Mama, Timmy's awake, can we go talk to him?" I say, "OK, go ahead." Then I hear, "Mama, Mama, there's a huge waterbug here!" I say groggily, "It won't hurt you, sweetie, I'll take care of it when I get up." Just a few more minutes..
7:30 a.m. Delaney tells me that she took care of the bug herself and it's outside now. Good. That's two of those things in our house in the last two days. I don't like that.
7:33 a.m. I finally head over to Timmy's room, get him out of bed, nurse him, and change his diaper. He's not happy about the diaper change, and he cries and tries to wiggle away. Then I realize he's really wet and his PJs are wet too. He gets really mad when I go to take his PJs off and he tries to hit me. It is so exhausting having to wrestle a baby first thing in the morning!
7:40 a.m. Getting into Delaney's BOB books makes him feel better. But those books are not very sturdy and Delaney and I happen to like them a lot. So I put them up and he cries again. Sorry, Timmy.
7:45 a.m. Time for breakfast. Delaney's going to get her own. Uh-oh. We have no more instant oatmeal packets. I will have to try making oatmeal another way that I've been meaning to try anyway. I get out the big container of oats, some brown sugar, cinnamon, and get some water boiling. I put Timmy in his chair and boy, oh boy, he's not happy about that either. Delaney gives him some Cheerios to have while he waits for his oatmeal. He tosses them off his tray while he cries. When Delaney sees that I'm putting brown sugar in the oatmeal, it looks more appealing to her than her Honey Nut Cheerios, and she asks me to make her some too.
8:10 a.m. At long last the oatmeal is ready. Delaney and Timmy like it. Annie and I don't. I don't like the texture or the flavor. Yuck. Then I remember I still have pancakes from 'breakfast for dinner' last night. I give some to the kids too. It's still not much of a breakfast, but it's enough for now. I'll probably have something else in an hour or two.
I know I said before that it was too late for baby sign language with Timmy, but lately I've found myself using signs anyway. He loves them. We do "more", "drink," "juice," and "all done", among others. Some of the signs are ones I use out of old habit from when the girls were babies, like "bath" and "milk." I still don't know if it serves much purpose since he should be talking soon anyway, but he responds enthusiastically to them and remembers them. So I've been breaking out my whole repertoire. It's fun. I've also heard that they aid language development in kids who are already talking. This morning he's trying to make the "juice" sign, sweeping his index finger in the air instead of his pinkie.
8:10 to 9 a.m. Annie heads upstairs after she's done eating, but Delaney, Timmy and I stay at the table for a long time. Timmy stays because he can't go anywhere unless we let him out. I stay and drink my coffee. Delaney stays because she is enjoying herself. She flips through an old notebook that she has appropriated from the office. She finds our Christmas list and asks what it is. "Uh.." I see that her name and those of her siblings are listed. "Those are people that Daddy and I were thinking about at Christmas time." She goes through the list name by name. Then she asks me if owls are nocturnal. I know she knows they are, so I say, "No, they're not. I see them out and about all day long." Then she decides to write a book. The title is I Can See the World. It is a favorite theme of hers. There is also a drawing hanging in the playroom with "I can see the world" written on it. She asks me to staple it for her, and I do.
9 to 10 a.m. It is a slow morning. There is a lot of TV-watching going on up in the playroom. There is a lot of me having trouble getting motivated. I get so much more done on a typical weekday morning than I'm getting done now. Having nowhere to go until 11 is making me lazy and unmotivated. I manage to get the dishwasher emptied, my bed made, and some laundry put away, but I am unfocused. I warn the kids that my friend Kelly may decide to cancel the CrossFit Kids workout at the park today because the ground will probably be wet from all the rain we got last night. I start thinking of a plan B, maybe a trip to the Dollar Store? I text Kelly asking if we're still on, and to my surprise we are!
10 to 10:45 a.m Time to get ready to go. I wish I could fast forward through this part. I feel too lazy to brush all their teeth, fix their hair, get everybody dressed, and throw together a picnic lunch. I've had the whole morning to get all of this done, but waited till the last possible minute. Finally we leave for the park.
10:55 a.m. We're the first to arrive. It is cold today, the coldest day we've had in awhile.
11:00 a.m. Everyone else arrives and it's time to start wearing some kids out for afternoon nap.
12 p.m. It is very windy, very cold, but everybody has had fun. Now the kids -- mostly my kids -- are falling apart fast and it's time to get home. I tell the girls we're going to have our picnic lunch in the kitchen. I can't imagine eating in this wind. I promise them hot chocolate with lunch, thank Kelly, and we're on our way.
12:15 to 3:30 p.m. I get the kids home and start tossing food on the table as fast as I can. Once they finish their lunch and hot chocolate, I read them a story and get Annie and Timmy down for naps around 1. Delaney goes up to the playroom and I can hear her chitchatting as she plays probably with the frog and lizard "family" she's been favoring lately. I fix my own lunch, eat it quickly, and then settle down to enjoy naptime. I read, take a 20-minute power nap, read some more and make some tea. I realize that I have a really good life.
3:30 p.m. Annie is awake and hungry. I notice how pink her cheeks are, and remember that she has had a cough since yesterday. I feel her and she's warm. Oh no, Annie. At least she has an appetite. She finishes the toast I make her for a snack, and aside from the cough and being tired, she doesn't seem uncomfortable.
3:45 p.m. I take a few minutes before Timmy gets up to get the pizza ready. It is a cinch since all I had to do was pull the dough and sauce out of the freezer the day before. But what's this? No shredded mozzarella at all? Oh, man. I've got a little bit of fresh mozzarella left from the stuffed shells Tim made a few days ago (was that really just a few days ago?). I hope that will just be enough. It will have to just be enough because there's no way I'm taking these kids to a store right now! I'm running out of a lot of our staples but with the exception of short trips for fresh produce, I'm trying to make do with what we have until I go to the commissary on Tuesday. It's getting to be pretty bare but nothing is going to waste. I'm using up the last of our fresh veggies in a black bean soup I'm making tomorrow. (I won't know until tomorrow that I'm out of black beans too, and again I'll have to improvise.) It's a bumpy transition to me being in charge of the groceries again. Tim is good at keeping the cupboards and fridge full of our favorite things.
4 p.m. Timmy's finally up too, and after I change him and turn him loose he beckons me to come up to the playroom with him. I take a few minutes to play with my boy.
|He can take it apart..|
|.. and put it back together! Isn't he brilliant?|
4:30 p.m. I have the pizza ready early because I want to start movie night at 5 or a little after. Without all the cheese our pizza normally has, it is a very light pizza. Before the night is over I will have eaten nearly all of it myself.
4:45 p.m. We sit down to eat. Annie doesn't eat much and soon goes upstairs to lie down on the Elmo couch. Poor Annie. While the rest of us are still eating, we get a surprise. Ring, ring, who could it be?
Tim is still at his last stop somewhere that ends in "stan" en route to Afghanistan. We talk for a few minutes about this and that, and at some point in the conversation I start cracking up. Tim says, "What?" I say, "I have to chuckle because we look like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head on FaceTime." Our faces are giant ovals that take up the whole screen. Tim thinks it's kind of funny too, or maybe he's just amused at me being amused.
|He took this screen shot not even knowing I was doing "Day in the Life" today. How handy.|
We have gotten to hear from Tim three out of the four days he's been gone, and that has been great. He tells me that I might not be hearing from him this often in the future, and I understand that. I take what I can get. That phone is an appendage and I am always ready for a call. Tim is looking forward to getting to his final destination where he'll be busy and have a routine. Being transient is getting old. Except for a nagging cough and sniffle, he is feeling well.
5:30 p.m. The kids have been bathed and are in their pajamas. Time for the movie. Tonight's showing is The Lion King 1 1/2, something I recorded on Disney Junior. I pop some popcorn and Timmy is so excited to hear it popping. He says, "Ca-cawn! Ca-cawn!" and he points eagerly at the microwave when it beeps. I know he's going to make a mess out of it but I am happy to give him a cup of his own. And of course, they each get a jellybean. Day 4 of this deployment done!
The kitchen is still messy but I resist the urge to clean it up while the movie's on. I sit down and try to enjoy it with them -- as much as I can since one after another of them is constantly asking for something.
6:45 p.m. The movie is over. I brush their teeth and tuck the girls into bed first. I know I won't be getting any trouble from them tonight because Annie crawls into bed as soon as her teeth are brushed. Then I change Timmy one last time and nurse him before putting him to bed too.
7:05 to 7:45 p.m. I've got some things to do before I can call it a night. I put a load of laundry in the washer to soak. I start loading the dishwasher and clearing the table and after that I'll -- what's this I hear? Ring, ring. It's Tim again. Twice in one day! I talk to him while I walk outside to check the mail. He says, "What's that behind you?" Very funny. We talk for a few minutes, and then he wants to try Skype because he thinks the microphone on my phone is messed up. After a few minutes on Skype he wants to try FaceTime again. It's too bad my microphone isn't working well because with FaceTime the picture is so much better than Skype and it's so much more convenient and handy too. He tells me to use the compressed air to clean out the charger port of my phone. Maybe it helps a little. It is an old phone, but I would hate to have to get a new iPhone while he's gone and have to set it up myself. After we hang up it's back to cleaning up the kitchen, sweeping the floor, and picking up the living room.
7:45 p.m. I'm done! Time to relax and call it a night. The first thing I do is open the fridge. Most of Tim's favorite beers are still there. They're from the Samuel Adams winter collection. He did not get to drink any of them right before he left because he was sick. I'm going to do my part and finish them off myself. Did you know beer has an expiration? I can not allow that to happen. Old Fezziwig Ale is calling my name. Old Fezziwig it is, then. I take a sip, wrinkle my nose and regret not picking one of my favorites instead. But now I have to finish it. I take small sips.
8 to 11 p.m. I turn on the TV mostly for background noise. Betty White's Off Their Rockers comes on. I watch here and there for a minute and then say to myself, 'Of course, old people talking about sex is always hilarious. Why didn't anybody ever think of that before?' I check email and Facebook for the umpteenth time. I work on this post. I check on Annie a couple times. She's coughing a lot and she's still feverish so I give her a dose of Little Colds. I bring her the water she asks for. I stroke her forehead and cheeks and give her a kiss before I leave. I stay up later than I really want to because I want to make sure she's OK before I turn in. I hope she wakes up better.
11 p.m. I check on Annie one last time. She is sleeping peacefully. The house is quiet and still. I turn off all the lights, start the dishwasher and head to bed.