I love reading others’ day-in-the-life entries. I’ve never done one, but maybe this will give you a taste of the chaos (and order)…
5:31 I wake up before my alarm… apparently, I’m trainable. It took a month in January of setting the alarm at 5:32, but now I wake up spontaneously and don’t even set it. I spend an hour reading and praying. The day’s readings from the Book of Common Prayer year 1 lectionary are from Deuteronomy 8, Psalm 41, John and Hebrews.
6:30 Everyone else stumbles down bit by bit… first my husband, then M with her stuffed dog. We eat oatmeal and yogurt, then the boys come down and want bagels and toast. My husband kisses everyone good-bye and heads off to the lab. M says, “Daddy work with bat poop today?” “Not today.” But often. During breakfast, we review the day’s Bible verses: Hebrews 11:1, Romans 15:13, and 1 Peter 1:3. O says the verse correctly, then cites, “Deuteronomy 6:4.” This was the first verse we learned, and it’s his running gag. Every verse to him comes from Deut 6:4.
7:30 J practices a song for his upcoming piano recital. He’s been doing piano for a month… I’m not sure how he’s going to do Saturday. He almost fell off the bench when his teacher told him he should memorize his piece. (It’s two lines long, twenty notes in all.) I bring a basket of laundry downstairs and start it. M and O dump fight over who gets to start which load of wash.
8:00 J asks if we can do history first. The kids dump their dishes in the sink and we head to the “schoolroom.” The boys are still in pajamas, though M and I are dressed. I decide that they’ve got momentum today, so I won’t break the mood by sending them upstairs to change. I start M and O on coloring “animal hats,” and then I read a chapter from the Story of the World 2, on the development of the English language. J pulls out his notebook to do his math and copywork. He flies through the math, and chuckles at the copywork. (Usually, he does Bible verses, but today I wrote out the words to Hot Crossed Buns for him, since this is his piano recital piece.) I read to them from an Usborne book Castles. The boys ask me to read the pages on weapons and war. Sigh. Will my children love peace someday? After I read the weapons page, O wants me to draw him a mace, spear, pike, and crossbow to color in. Not to be outdone, M has to have the same.
9:15 After our reading and table work, we migrate to the living room. The kids take a break and play with legos while I do the dishes. O brings me a bandana napkin and asks me to make him a pirate hat. M says, “Me too.” They pack junior suitcases and run off to pillage and sing Viking songs. (Our last history unit was on Vikings.)
9:40 I change the laundry, and we sit down to read on the couch. We’re reading Rosemary Sutcliffe’s The Sword and the Circle. We’re on chapter two. J and I both have an “aha!” moment when we realize that Utha Pendragon was trying to rid England of the Vikings and Saxons, about whom we’ve just read.
10:30 We need a break and a snack. The kids eat, and I read them some Frances (Russell Hoban) stories. Man, Frances’s parents are smart. We change the laundry.
11:00 The kids want to play on the computer. I give them the opportunity to earn time on the computer—and gain valuable life skills, too!—by sweeping and mopping all our hardwood floors. J is “in charge” of making sure everyone gets a turn. I sweep all the debris into piles, which J sweeps up. They take turns spraying the mopping the floor. There is a lot of screaming—“No, spray the FLOOR!” and “I didn’t have a turn yet!”—and much walking-over-wet-floor. Mostly, they’re doing a good job. They do better when I leave them alone.
12:00 We have noodles with parmesan, apples, and humus. “These are the right noodles, Mommy,” J tells me. The noodles are penne. Apparently, I was in the noodle dog-house for making rotini and egg noodles too often.
12:30 Everyone heads upstairs for rest time. In theory, this is an hour of blessed silence. I’m trying not to spend it “getting things done” around the house or on the phone. Instead, I want to spend it resting and reading. I read a chapter of The Source of Life by Jurgan Moltmann. What an amazing book. In between pop-ins by the children, “Mommy, is it over yet?” “Mommy, will you read me this book?” “Mommy, M is climbing on my bed!” we do pretty well. I think I fell asleep, but no fear—plenty of little people came in to wake me up.
2:00 M has her computer time first: Jay-Jay the Jet Plane. She hasn’t got the whole mouse thing down, but she does recognize all the letters on the keyboard. O “supervises” her while J and I do his grammar lesson. When O starts his computer time (they each get 20-30 minutes) she comes over to the table with us. J is learning about the food pyramid. M makes a collage with us. J wants to know if he’s getting enough of each group. I ask what he thinks. He says he doesn’t drink enough milk and eats too much bread. I agree.
2:40 J starts his computer time, with O watching. They want to watch Transformers videos. I hate these videos, but the kids love them. Yuck. M helps me move the laundry, and we read some books. We sing ABCs. She “reads” to her dog and sings him the ABC song. She corrects him, “No, Clifford, it’s L-M-N-O-P.” Apparently, he was singing it wrong.
3:30 Computer time has gone on too long. I bust it up, and J tells me he didn’t get to do what he wanted to do. “Did you not just get to play Transformers and watch videos?” I ask. Almost in tears, he nods. We have a little chat about making smart choices with our time. I distract the children with snacks… left over cupcakes I made for church on the weekend. They all eat the sprinkles off the top and want something else.
4:00 The kids go upstairs to watch Cyberchase, a PBS math show we all like. I use the 30 minutes to vacuum the carpets and clean the bathroom. M helps.
4:30 The boys come downstairs laughing about the show. J tells me it was about logic, how we can use facts to deduce other facts. The kids wrestle and tell bad jokes while I try to think what to make for dinner. M helps me make whole wheat biscuits, the dough of which she insists is “yummy” as she licks it off the counter.
5:10 J reads me Andrew Lang’s adaptation of “The Fairy Queen’s Daughter”. M keeps interrupting him to ask me to read her a story. I am trying to knit a scarf for my goddaughter. The needles are too sticky (probably from M’s jammy fingers). O asks me to knit him a snake. No one likes the answer that the needles are too sticky to knit. O reminds me I could have used his crochet hook, if he hadn’t bit it in half.
5:30 J builds a tinker toy cross bow that turns into a demonstration of flip symmetry (another lesson from Cyberchase.) O wants one, too. I try to help him copy J’s but there aren’t enough of the red rods. O melts down. I adapt it and build a slightly larger one with blue rods instead, but it’s heavier and falls apart when he picks it up. O falls apart, too. I can’t take it, so I unload the dishwasher and M helps me set the table. J undoes his crossbow and builds instead four identical small crossbows (one for each of them and one for me.)
6:00 My husband comes home, and we all sit down for dinner. We eat white chicken chili, biscuits, steamed broccoli and fresh carrots with Ranch (amazing! two of the kids actually like the broccoli!) We recite verses again (including Deut. 6:4 from O) and talk about the food pyramid. J asks for two glasses of milk.
6:30 My husband brought movies home from the library, so the kids get ready for bed and we watch Mulan together, while we fold laundry. The DVD has a scratch right at the best part of my favorite song. Oh well.
8:00 After the movie, we brush the kids teeth. They’re singing, “I’ll make a man out of you,” the whole time. Everyone crawls in bed with a book, but they’re all asleep in fifteen minutes, even M. I’m asleep by eight-thirty.