You may not realize it, since I've been missing in action lately, but I have acquired a new and rather delightful talent.
The older kids have all had an easy start to yet another school year, which of course means that the three little ones and I are on our own during the week days. So here we are well into the second week of trying to figure out our new system and I can proudly say that we have a pretty sweet rhythm to our routine.
I am up with Brendan by 6:30am and while he makes oatmeal for the twins, I nurse Saoirse and collect 5 ounces for storage (not sure why I didn't want to say "pump" there?). Ruari and Micah are roused to begin their morning checklists, you know, standard stuff, all of which they are pretty much able to do on their own with a few strategically timed prompts and reminders. Brendan feeds the twins at which point I am usually done nursing and so I lay Saoirse down to make eyes at her mobile and then pack cold lunches for the day. By 7:15am it's time to get the middle schoolers going, they're already awake, but it's nice to do the morning in "shifts" and I'm sure you can imagine that things move a little quicker whenever you can avoid having 5 kids doing the same things all at the same time. It's nice to have some space once in a while.
Of course the twins are not old enough yet to fly solo, and so there are 2 sets of teeth to brush, two diapers to change, 2 outfits to select and 2 monkeys to get dressed. Phew, I get tired watching Brendan do it all! Then we're scrambling to get 5 kids into the car by 7:30am so that we can get to school on time. I drive Ruari and Micah to school and the three babies come along for the ride and by the time we get home, Finn, Sidhe and Maija have already left for school and Brendan is gone to work. We come home to a very quiet house by 8am.
Now HERE is where the rhythm comes into play, because let's face it what just happened up until this point was rather chaotic and flustered even with the "mini-shift" approach. There's always a last minute rush to find milk money or change shirts or sign a permission slip, stuff like that. BUT when we come home at 8am there is a stillness to the house that 12 weeks of summer vacation has left me unaccustomed to, and I have to tell you that at first I barely even knew what to do with it all, and yet somehow I managed.
By the time we stroll back in, Saoirse is hungry again and needs to be fed. The twins will play in the living room during this time and we'll read books together on the couch or sing songs or even just have some independent play time. Saoirse's meals don't take nearly as long as they used to which is really nice for all of us. I'll nurse her for a bit and then take a break to pack up the diaper bag and prepare us all for the gym, meaning snacks, sippys, pacifiers, blankets, extra diapers, my own water bottle, iPod, etc, and then I'll nurse her again before we head out the door. We hit the gym by 10am and for one solid block of at least 45 minutes I am on my own. Well ok, I am actually in a room SURROUNDED by a bunch of people, strangers really, but with my music cranked up and my heart rate going and my thoughts wandering in any direction I please, well it's about as much privacy as I can hope for these days and it is glorious! The babies have all been very accommodating about spending time in the Kid Care, which I was worried about, but so far so good.
Next up we head to Jacobus Park, I've posted pictures before of this lovely hidden treasure, it's a great hideaway nestled right in the city. We park a ways from the playground and haul out the beastly stroller, which by now I've already gotten out of the trunk twice, once at school and once at the gym, but who's counting right? Another haul is worth it since it allows us to walk the trails winding through the woods on the way to the playground. The twins love to look for chipmunks and squirrels along the way and Saoirse always gazes up at the trees as if she is truly impressed by their grandeur. Once we hit the playground everyone is hungry again and so we all enjoy a picnic lunch before tackling the tunnel slides. I am absolutely IN LOVE with our time at the park, the pace is slow and extremely laid back, getting lunch out of the way is an additional bonus, and the twins are at a great age for exploring nature and polishing up their climber skills.
By the time we get back home, usually around 12pm it is time for all 3 of them to take a nice long nap. Yes, I said ALL THREE. For the past week or so we have been having synchronized nap time in the house when all 3 are sleeping for at least an hour or so. I can hardly believe it, and I hope that this admission has not jinxed me for tomorrow, but I am so excited about this little morsel of incredible luck, I simply had to share it with you. One whole hour may not sound like a lot, but honestly you would be amazed by how much you can get done in that amount of time! Dishes, laundry, a shower, a blog entry, a quick Facebook looky-loo, a fresh manicure, heck maybe even a pedicure to match! One whole hour of actual alone time has left me more energetic, up beat and quite possibly optimistic. One whole hour can refresh your mind and your spirit if you allow it to. Yes, yes, the new rhythm to our routine is quite lovely. I will try to enjoy it to the fullest while it lingers, since I know how quickly it can AND will all change again. There is so much actual detail to fill you in on, but the twins are up from naps now and politely requesting some play time, which I really need to take advantage of since miss Saoirse is still fast asleep. They have been so smooth about transitioning into having a younger sister around that it is super important for us to have some "alone" time for just the three of us....