This is how I feel about my kids around 7:15 pm every Wednesday and Thursday night. Those are Shawn's long days at the restaurant, when he leaves the house around 6am and doesn't return for at least 12-14 hours. That means 12-14 hours with the kids alone. 3 hours with my kids is daunting, but 14? Am I on ritalin?
Having done this for a while now, I usually am preparted for these XXL days: I try to get some sleep the night before, am up before they are, get breakfast going, kitchen cleaned, some playtime, then it's off to the gym for an hour. This is usually the best time of the day for us. Just look at this pic I took of them minutes before we headed off to the Y:
See? They're practically screaming "Happy sibling actors ready to star in their first 'My Buddy' commercial."
We get home an hour or so later, have snacks, watch a cartoon, then it's naptime for Jax, and story time for me and Ry. Today she even went down for a 45 minute siesta with me! Incredible!
Then we're up around 2 and it's pb&j sandwhiches all around, followed by a little light cleaning in the playroom, then outside for chalk drawings, bike riding, and overall outdoor mayhem -- I even let Ryan "paint" the house with a piant brush and water.
Then Emma came over, Jax had some alone playtime, and I watched Oprah while folding laundry.
Suburban Housewife Bliss, I tell ya! But then Emma has to leave, it's 5:45, Jax is clingy, Ryan is attention-hungry (????) and I'm trying to end a business conversation on the phone, begging for 10 minutes alone time, eventually locking myself in my bedroom, which turns out, does nothing but encourage them to scream, yell and bang louder.
I call Shawn, desperate to find out when he will be home so I can fix dinner, only to learn that he doesn't plan to leave until at least 6:30, which means the earliest he will be home is...7:15. (It's now 7:30, and still no Shawn).
Now Ry is begging for food, I've kept Jax in his highchair waiting for something (anything) for 10 minutes, so I give in and start dinner. Ryan hides out in the pantry, making me open the door every 5 minutes so she can ask when dinner will be ready, Jax throws the bits of cheese and orange I've given to him, and I try not to burn myself, the kitchen, or dinner.
At last(at last!) we get to sit and eat, and I'm bombarded with comments like, "What is this nasty wiggly yellow stuff?" and "Why do I have to eat salad? It is so disgusting!" I get her to stop talking, only to be pelted in the forehead by Jaxson's portion of the "nasty wiggly yellow stuff".
It's 6:58, I've had enough, so we all head upstairs for bath time, where I figure I can get at least 15 minutes of downtime to sip some shiraz and flip through Vogue.
My naivete is cute, no?
2minutes into the bath and bubbles are flying, kids are screaming and Vogue is soaked.
"That's it!" I yell. "No stories tonight!!" To which Ryan sing-songingly replies, "No stories, no stories, no story story stories!!!"
Grrrr. I whisk them both to bed, with nary a good-night kiss, and tell Ry I will send Daddy up when he gets home, which turns out to be closer to 8 pm. He immediately knows things have gone awry upon entering: a quiet home, messy kitchen, wife in the recliner laughing hysterically at TV's Most Outrageous Moments.
We have our time together while he reheats the dinner that has now gone cold, and take turns telling Ryan to get back in bed. Finally we give up, allowing her to join us for the last 30 minutes of Caddyshack -- for once, the Golf Channel is good for something -- and then I make her do the dishes.
Shawn balks at this, but Ry thinks it is amazing that she gets to do a grown-up chore and stay up late, and follows with, "Maybe tomorrow I can drive!"