8:00 a.m. Arrive for the day and let myself in through the unlocked front door.
8:02 a.m. Dad and Big Brother are in the kitchen eating breakfast. Mom is upstairs nursing Little Sister. Dad and I exchange pleasantries and Dad goes upstairs for the day (he works out of his home office). I put my lunch in the fridge and chat with Big Brother about the storm last night while unloading the dishwasher. “I was thinking about you because I know you don’t like to hear those big rumbles!”. He replies that he was scared and that the thunder woke him up and he couldn’t get back to sleep; the dark circles under his eyes give mute testimony to this claim.
8:10 a.m. I remember from the note in his backpack yesterday that today is Big Brother’s turn to provide the food for snack time at his preschool. I see him about to wander away from his half-eaten oatmeal and peaches to go play. I say, “Big Brother, if you do a good job finishing all the things you need to do before we have to leave for school, I’ll let you choose the snack for your class and help me pack it up!”. He is psyched and returns to the table to finish eating.
8:20 a.m. Mom arrives downstairs with Little Sister and we exchange pleasantries. She puts Little Sister in her high chair and makes a cup of tea before going back upstairs. Little Sister cries for Mom. I distract her into giggles by placing a dishtowel over my head and blowing it repeatedly to make it puff out, then acting exaggeratedly startled when it falls to the floor. I sprinkle some Cheerios on her tray and begin pulling things out of the fridge and pantry to offer Big Brother some appropriate choices for his snack time selection.
8:25 a.m. I gather up the children’s shoes and jackets, restock the contents of the diaper bag, and click Little Sister’s empty car seat into its base in my car. Return to the kitchen to wipe off Little Sister’s hands and face, then change her diaper while singing “Hey Diddle Diddle” to her. Her favorite part is when I stop before the words “moon” and “spoon” so she can fill them in for me. Her proud grin as she does so just melts my heart.
8:35 a.m. Get Little Sister settled in the living room with some toys and check on Big Brother. He has left his empty dishes on the breakfast table and is absorbed in taping together a series of empty paper towel tubes with masking tape to make a telescope. I say, “Come on, Poky Puppy! Better brush teeth and get dressed so you have time to pick out snacks!”. He abandons his project and dashes clumsily upstairs. I remind him, “Oh, I love it when you walk!”
8:40 a.m. Mom comes back downstairs, and kisses the children goodbye. I am prepared to distract, but they handle the transition well today.
8:50 a.m. Big Brother has returned downstairs and picked out the snack, and we pack it up. I suggest that he use the bathroom while I put Little Sister in her car seat, cover her with her jacket, and give her a paci. Then I help Big Brother on with his jacket, buckle him in, toss in the diaper bag and tote bag of snacks, and we’re off.
9:00 a.m. I tell Big Brother I have a special surprise for him. (On my iPod I downloaded an app that plays thunderstorms like a white noise to help you fall asleep). I ask him if he would like to listen to a thunderstorm IN THE CAR EVEN WHEN IT’S SUNNY OUTSIDE! He is intrigued and agrees. I say that every time we hear a big clap of thunder, we’re just going to laugh at it. We enjoy this game the whole ride there, and he follows my lead: (Sarcastically) “OOOOH thunder! That is SO [not] scary!” (Playfully) “Yeah... umm... thunder? Maybe make it louder, I didn’t quite hear that!” (Mockingly) “Oh thunder! I would be scared if you could hurt me but you CAN’T! You are just NOISE!” We laugh and laugh!
9:15 a.m. I drop off Big Brother in a good mood at pre-school and turn on some Beatles for Little Sister to listen to on the ride home.
9:20 a.m. I stop off at Target to pick up some Q-Tips that Big Brother and I will need for this afternoon’s art project. I stop by the toy aisles and let Little Sister get out of the cart for a while, showing her the toys I think will interest her the most and letting her explore them.
9:50 a.m. We arrive home and I let Little Sister “help” me clean up the kitchen from breakfast and fill the cat’s food and water bowls. Then in the basement she “helps” me put in a load of cloth diapers. Back in the kitchen, I place Little Sister in the high chair and offer her yogurt and a banana. Hungry, she digs in. Eventually she loses interest in eating the yogurt but wants to “fingerpaint” with it... I marvel at just how messy this can be but enjoy watching Little Sister so absorbed and content.
10:15 a.m. I clean up the mess and take Little Sister upstairs to read a couple of library books. I change her diaper, give her a paci, pull down the room-darkening shades, turn on the white noise machine, and rock her in the rocking chair while singing to her. I love the warm heaviness of her deeply-relaxed limbs draped over me... the softness of her trust and the scent of last night’s baby shampoo... this is one of my favorite parts of the day. Occasionally she pats my arm and I kiss the top of her head. Finally, reluctantly, I put her in her crib and cover her up. She is relaxed and drowsy, and doesn’t make a peep as I head downstairs.
10:45 a.m. Down time! I get a snack out of my lunch box and settle in on the sofa with the baby monitor nearby. Time to check my email and surf for a while.
11:15 a.m. I rummage through the fridge to see what choices I can give Big Brother for lunch, then prepare Beef Stroganoff and put it in the crockpot for tonight’s dinner.
11:45 a.m. Little Sister is still asleep and it’s time to pick up Big Brother. I check with Dad to make sure it’s OK to leave Little Sister behind with him; he says no problem. I switch the diapers to the dryer and head to the pre-school.
12:00 noon I pick up Big Brother and we chat about his morning on the way home. I ask him if the children liked the snacks he picked out (they loved them!), who was the line leader (Jeremy), did they get to play outside (yes), what book did they read during story time (he forgot), what was his favorite part of the morning (he doesn’t know), etc. He is tired and has lost interest in the conversation and begs to listen to the indoor thunderstorm again, so we ride the rest of the way home mocking the rumbles. I enjoy his snarkitude and hope that it will help prepare him to endure the next “real” thunderstorm.
12:20 p.m. We get home and Little Sister is still asleep. Unusual. I gently smooth back her curls to feel her forehead but she has no fever.
12:30 p.m. I suggest that Big Brother wash his hands as I go through his backpack and post the parent-teacher conference request form on the kitchen bulletin board. I ask Big Brother if he wants some leftover chicken and mashed potatoes from their dinner the night before, or if he would prefer I make him a turkey and cheese quesadilla. He picks the quesadilla and after I’ve pulled out all the ingredients we’ll need, I hear Little Sister on the monitor.
12:40 p.m. Upstairs, I pull up the shades, turn off the white noise machine, and change Little Sister’s diaper while distracting her from squirming by coaching her to point to her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. I bring her downstairs, and put her in the high chair with some toys. She is fussy and I know she’s hungry, but Mom will be home soon and will want to nurse her, so I distract her from a feeding.
12:50 p.m. I let Big Brother sprinkle turkey and cheese on a tortilla and top it with another tortilla. I heat the whole thing up in the skillet, quarter it, and serve it along with a fresh strawberry-and-grape kabob.. I ask him if strawberries are a fruit or a vegetable and am proud when he answers correctly. We talk about the seeds of a strawberry and how different it is that they are on the outside of the fruit instead of the usual inside of the fruit.
1:00 p.m. Dad comes downstairs, prepares himself a sandwich and drink, and disappears back upstairs to eat lunch in his office.
1:05 p.m. Mom arrives home and nurses Little Sister while talking to Big Brother about his morning at school. I mention about the parent-teacher conference request form on the bulletin board to make sure Mom notices it later. We chat about what our plans for the upcoming weekend.
1:15 p.m. I take the children outside for a nature walk while Mom eats lunch. Last night’s rain has resulted in damp and muddy grounds, and -- to Big Brother’s delight -- big fat worms on the sidewalk. Little Sister squeals when one wriggles under her touch. They both stomp their rain boots in every puddle we can find. Baths are definitely in the forecast!
1:45 p.m. Mom wants to update me on various details for next week, including a pediatrition appointment for Little Sister and a swim lesson for Big Brother. The children play in the background and I sense a conflict brewing. I excuse myself momentarily to ask Big Brother to gather the library books from his room so we can return them later in the afternoon, then resume my conversation with Mom.
1:55 p.m. Mom makes herself some tea, then says goodbye to the children and heads out the door on her way back to work.
2:00 p.m. I settle Big Brother in with a quiet-time video, take Little Sister upstairs, change her diaper, repeat the naptime ritual, then return downstairs to clean up the kitchen and eat my own lunch.
2:30 p.m. After Big Brother helps me fold the clean diapers and put them away, we work on today’s art project using Q-Tips to make a miniature meadow of pussy willows. He asks me why they are called “Q-Tips”, and thanks to Google, we learn that the “Q” stands for “quality” and the word “tips” describes the cotton swab at the end of the stick. I challenge him that if he can memorize how to spell “quality” and can spell it for me when I return Monday morning, I will have a little treat for him. He is all for it!
3:10 p.m. I hear Little Sister awake on the monitor. Dad texts me that he will change her diaper and bring her with him when he comes downstairs to make his daily afternoon cup of espresso.
3:15 p.m. I prepare guacamole and chips for the children and we play one of their favorite goofy games, “Freeze! Unfreeze!”, while they giggle and eat.
3:30 p.m. I ask Big Brother to put the library books he had gathered earlier into my car while I get Little Sister and the diaper bag loaded in.
3:40 p.m. We arrive at the library and Big Brother confidently steps into the elevator and proudly presses the correct button for the Children’s Section. We greet Mrs. W. (the leader of the weekly storytime that we attend) and she asks Big Brother if there is anything in particular he is looking for today. While they discuss his interests, I help Little Sister into the enormous padded play area with some books and begin searching for this week’s selection of books.
4:00 p.m. I bring Big Brother and Little Sister to the computer area and we are captivated by some “Arthur” computer games.
4:30 p.m. We return home from the library and I change Little Sister’s diaper while she “reads” one of her new library books. I read their new library books to them while sitting on the couch. This is another one of my favorite parts of the day! I am impressed when Little Sister can point to almost everything I ask her to, and I compliment Big Brother on his patience with her when she kept trying to grab the book for herself.
5:10 p.m. I update the daily on-line log for Mom and Dad to reflect what we did all day, then prepare for the end-of-day transition. The Beef Stroganoff smells heavenly, the children are content, and I am ready to go home!
5:30 p.m. Dad comes downstairs and we all say our goodbyes. I wish them all a good weekend, and head home.
at 9:46 PM