Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why I could never work outside the home...

I don't know how I could ever work outside the home at this point in my life. And it's not just because I would miss my kids and think it's important to be with them when possible (though that's true.) No, the main reason I cannot conceive of working is... getting them to daycare.

If I was working in the field my degree prepared me for, I would be a high school librarian, starting school at 7:30 in the morning. Which would mean having three kids packed up and out the door before 7:00, at the latest. I can hardly manage getting three kids out the door at 8:35 every morning, even when I let all pride go and show up to drop off Cheyenne with my hair not done, my glasses on, and my teeth unbrushed. I have no idea how people do it. Currently, my schedule is full until we leave every morning:
7-ish-- pry myself out of bed because Marilla is doing cartwheels over my head. Go downstairs, start getting breakfast for kids and, if I'm being superwife, help Evan get his lunch together. (I'm not superwife very often these days). Getting breakfast involves four bowls of cereal (all different kinds, of course) plus Cheyenne's vitamin, and her OJ, and my vitamins... Strapping Rilla in the high chair and dumping some Cheerios on the tray while I get Elliott's bib on, get him up in his booster seat, settle the argument between Cheyenne and Elliott about what grace we're singing this morning. Then, a nice relaxing meal while checking the clock 300 times, feeding Rilla a jar of baby food, reminding Evan he's late for work, responding to Elliott's 39 requests for napkins... If we're doing good, breakfast is eaten and the milk put back in the fridge by 7:45. (Bowls full of mushy cereal stay on the table until we've run Cheyenne to school). So, upstairs to... change two very wet overnight diapers, clothe two wiggly kids and (definitely the hardest part) carry on delicate negotiations about what Cheyenne is going to wear. "No, you cannot wear your Carrhart overalls-- those are only for helping Daddy. No, you can't wear a short sleeve shirt-- it's 5 degrees out. I'm sorry, all the skirts are in the wash, you HAVE to wear a jumper. No, you really can't wear your cool Alaska sock with the dainty dress we've selected." and so on. Definitely ad naseum. The latest wrinkle is that her doll, Danielle Bethaney, has to decide on her wardrobe and get dressed befor Cheyenne can focus on her own clothes. She was howling with tears this morning, "But she's in her pajamas! I HAVE to get her dressed or she'll be cold!" About this time is when Rilla decides she would really like a morning nap, preceded by a nice quiet nurse with Mommy. This is patently impossible, so she clutches my skirts and cries for the next twenty minutes. Sometime in this pandemonium, my cell phone alarm goes off to remind me to go start the van to warm up. THEN... I have to get dressed at some point, and then... THE HAIR. What a horror show THAT is. My own hair routine is pretty straightforward-- brush quickly and braid-- but there's no getting it down to any shorter time than I already have it-- I've been braiding my own hair for 20 years now! Cheyenne's hair, though, is fraught with minefields. One of the biggest is The Ponytail Braid. This is when I take her hair, pull it back into an elastic to form a ponytail, then braid the ponytail. Her hair is too prone to static and tangles to let it remain in a ponytail. While this is the quickest way to a neat, semi-permanent hairstyle, Cheyenne HATES the Ponytail Braid. I still have yet to figure out why. All I know is, the quickest way to a hysterical Cheyenne is to attempt to do this to her hair. Usually, we go with a French braid. Cute, but takes a bit of time. When we're all semi-respectable looking, we head downstairs. This is the homestretch in the warmer days, but there's still lots to go in the winter. Stick Rilla in her carseat, wrap blankets around her and zip up her bundling wrap. If it's a good morning, she doesn't immediately scream bloody murder. Put boots on Cheyenne (if she's removed the two play eggs that were in the toes this morning... ???) and put boots on Elliott, get my own boots on, coats on us all, then gloves and hats. Run upstairs again to get a pair of shoes for Cheyenne to stick in the bookbag. Uh-huh, the bookbag... hurriedly open the bookbag when we remember we didn't have time to look in there when we got home yesterday. Read sheet from teacher saying all kids should wear Red clothes today. Weigh in the balance the social ostracization between a. showing up in non-red clothes or b. showing up really late. Tell Cheyenne she cannot put the thirteen weird assorted items she is attempting to stuff in the bookbag in the bookbag. (Rilla is definitely screaming by now). Announce, "okay, time to go!" Grab the hood of Elliott's jacket and attempt to get him to stop obssessing over the fit of his gloves, or his necessity of carrying the newly found eggs to school, or something else (it's always something). Start herding the kids towards the garage door with verbal prompts and (sometimes) gentle pushes while grabbing Rilla's carseat and the diaper bag. Say "go, go, go!!" a LOT. Put Rilla in one side of the van, run around to the other side (smearing dirt from my dirty van all over my coat in the process.) Lift Cheyenne and Elliott up in the van. (We usually pause to reassure Cheyenne that something we forgot isn't essential). Strap Elliott in. Start to get out of the van, only to be interrupted by a blood-curdling shriek from Cheyenne. Yup, she takes her seat belt usage seriously. Climb back in the van, strap Cheyenne in. Climb in my seat. Realize I still haven't opened the garage door yet. Back up and drive fast, but not too fast, to school, where we are almost always the last people there. We've never been so late that we've missed the class lining up, though! Climb up in van, lift Rilla's seat out, help Elliott (clutching slippery, prone to drop play eggs in both hands) navigate out of the seat belt straps without relinquishing the eggs, remind Cheyenne to grab her bookbag. Then, somehow keep all three kids safe while we walk across the extremely icy parking lot. Stop midway to kiss Elliott's boo-boo from falling on the icy lot. Get into the school at the last possible second. Let Cheyenne kiss Mommy, Elliott and Marilla, even though the teacher is now waiting for us, because atomic fallout can't compare to what would happen if she didn't kiss every member of the family good-bye. Wave as Cheyenne walks off with her class, looking very happy to be in school. This last part is very important, since it's what keeps me doing this day after day!

Whew! I sure did enjoy Cheyenne's break! Anyway, anyone who could do all that and then go be an intelligent, functioning adult at a professional job all day... wow.

So we weren't total social losers over the holidays. Evan's cousin, Betty and her kids were visiting the Smiths in our area, so they braved germs and came over Thursday night, pizza in hand. Evan and I were pretty muzzy-headed still, but it was nice to see everyone.

Ginger, Garrett and Kimberly
Evan and Betty. (Can you tell Evan missed Wednesday night meeting? The stubble is a dead giveaway.)

Amy and Michael.

Elliott chilling with Little People, those perennial sources of entertainment.

Andrew and Stefan playing computer games.

We continued to recover on Friday. The kids enjoyed having semi-aware parents. Witness their morning snack:
Eating dry cereal with a spoon on their play plates in the family room! They love these barstools. I'm trying to get rid of them, since we don't have anywhere for them to go. While I pondered their fate, Cheyenne and Elliott spent most of their time perched on the top of them.

Saturday, Evan was not very energetic, but I had a great day organizing things. Because of the nature of our mornings, I have to have things pretty neat in the kids rooms or it's hopeless. I've just rearranged the kids bedrooms, so I finally got a chance to move bureaus and all to catch up with the people rearrangement. It is SO NICE having a room just for Marilla! Evan thinks I'm insane because I do enjoy this sort of housework-- I would cheerfully organize for a week versus actually cleaning for half a day.

Sunday we met Lindsey, Olivia and Tori for lunch on their way down to Pennsylvania and NYC. Lindsey was taking them on a tour of culture! I'm anxious to hear how their trip went!
This is where Cheyenne was Sunday night...

doing her homework on the last night of a week and a half vacation! Must run in the family...

She was so adorable, though, curled up at her little desk!

Marilla is ten months old now! She has nary a tooth in her head yet, but she is growing. She loves opening cabinet doors...
especially when Cheyenne is in the cabinet!
She isn't saying any particular words yet, but she understands quite a bit. She has started trying to shake her head "no"-- it's hilarious! She can't quite coordinate her head to do a perfect horizontal shake, so there's some vertical up and down at the same time. She knows what a head shake means, definitely-- she'll reach for a forbidden object, look at me, and shake her head! She's quite an active baby-- rapidly furniture walking, and she has stairs completely figured out!

She does know about turning around at the top of the stairs and coming down backwards. She's actually coming down stairs in this picture. She's quite casual about it, pretty much just letting herself slide down them, with just a hand reaching out to touch every other step or so. She hasn't fallen yet, but it gives me the willies to watch her.

Yes, little monkey, you made it to the top again.

We are sure looking forward to the rest of 2009! We have two babies coming to join the Vaughan clan-- both Tyler and Lisa and Bethaney and Justin are expecting in August. Owen and Ashley are hoping (well, at least Owen is hoping! Ashley is graciously agreeing!) to move back to NY when Ashley is done student teaching, so we're hoping to see more of them. At some point, we'll see Cody again, too, with lots of stories to tell. We're also hoping Lindsey can continue her work schedule that allows her to work crazy hours in the summer so she can come back here and be with us for long stretches of time. On the White side of the family, we're looking forward to having Tyler and Julie on the east side of the Mississippi this summer! All in all, a great year ahead. Even if nothing goes according to plan, it will be a great year-- we have our little family, and our great big family to help us with whatever comes our way!


Rebekah said...

Love your morning rehash! I often wonder the same thing b/c on mornings when I do have to be out the door at the same time for my dad's dr app't, etc it's insane!

The McCoys said...

Whew - I'm tired just reading all that :) Sounds like you have your hands full...guess that's why I think 1 is plenty enough...and not too hard to get out the door by 7am 3X a week :) Hope you're all doing better with your colds and all - Happy New Year!! Take care...