Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
# 10:30:00 PM:

My day

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My wife and I have consciously tried to avoid overscheduling our kids—you know, ballet and swimming and soccer and music lessons and tutoring and tot's yoga all at the same time. Still, things sometimes do get a bit out of hand. Here was my day today:

  • 8:00 a.m.: Wake up to calls of four-year-old daughter, not having adjusted to Daylight Savings Time yet. Realize that her six-year-old sister must be at school in one hour. Wife has been up for an hour, is getting ready to leave.

  • 8:01 a.m.: Give littlest daughter morning milk and turn on TV, go put coffee on, use washroom.

  • 8:15 a.m.: Take insulin. Prepare breakfast for kids and grownups. Cereal, toast, etc. While eating breakfast, make recess snack for kindergartner.

  • 8:20 a.m.: Kiss wife goodbye for the day.

  • 8:25 a.m.: Gather clothes for girls while they eat. Also provide hairbrushes and cotton swabs to clean ears that were pierced a few weeks ago. Hope both kids manage to dress themselves.

  • 8:35 a.m.: Return from brushing own teeth, combing own hair, and getting dressed to find girls (a) have accepted clothes provided (yay!) and (b) have mostly put them on without assistance (double yay!).

  • 8:36 a.m.: Go downstairs to retrieve kids' bicycles from storage room to prepare for ride to school. (No, I have to walk, since they still need the occasional push.) Also start a load of laundry.

  • 8:40 a.m.: Shoes for everyone.

  • 8:43 a.m.: Coffee in travel mug—quite essential. Make sure recess snack is packed.

  • 8:45 a.m.: TV off, girls coaxed downstairs, sweaters and helmets on, out the door.

  • 8:55 a.m.: Trip to school is all uphill. Run into school friends on the way, dawdle a little.

  • 8:59 a.m.: Arrive just before classroom door opens, after hauling bikes over gravel next to school annex construction area. Ensure six-year-old takes sweater and snack in.

  • 9:00 a.m.: Talk to other parents a bit, then push four-year-old on swing, assist on monkey bars, etc.

  • 9:30 a.m.: Start heading home, pushing older daughter's bike while younger one rides.

  • 9:31 a.m.: Four-year-old distracted by secondary playground. More play.

  • 9:50 a.m.: Arrive home, after pushing empty bike and following full one downhill the whole way.

  • 10:00 a.m.: Finish bringing bikes back in, hanging up sweaters, putting away shoes, cleaning up perishable breakfast mess left on counter. Set up four-year-old to play "Operation" in order to take own shower.

  • 10:25 a.m.: Complete showering, shave, morning ablutions. Clean kitchen and make beds.

  • 10:55 a.m.: Read e-mail and websites briefly, drinking coffee, while daughter plays. Post reasonably pointless journal entry.

  • 11:15 a.m.: Dress again for going out in half an hour. Transfer laundry from washer to dryer, start another load.

  • 11:30 a.m.: Have youngest daughter assist with putting necessary tax receipts and paperwork into large brown envelope for appointment with accountant at 3:30—we won't be home in the interim.

  • 11:40 a.m.: Reheat last night's noodles for a pre-lunch snack to prevent diabetic low blood sugar which would otherwise come on around 12:15. Make second travel mug of coffee.

  • 11:50 a.m.: Put on youngest daughter's shoes again and pack her into car to go pick up her sister. Run dishwasher. Forget travel mug on counter.

  • 12:00 p.m.: Retrieve six-year-old from kindergarten, hold her stuff while she plays with friends.

  • 12:10 p.m.: Make spur-of-the-moment plans with parents of one friend to take all three kids to McDonald's for lunch before preschool field trip at 1:30.

  • 12:15 p.m.: Tell kids, cajole them to cars.

  • 12:20 p.m.: Drive to McDonald's.

  • 12:30 p.m.: Arrive at McDonald's, park, go inside, line up, order food.

  • 12:35 p.m.: Eat, while two daughters and their friend make dog-barf jokes about little toys they received in Happy Meals.

  • 12:50 p.m.: Send kids to McDonald's play area for 25 minutes, discuss with other parents contents of list for their grocery shopping following lunch.

  • 1:10 p.m.: "Five minutes, kids!" "Awwwwww?! No fair!"

  • 1:15 p.m.: Shoes back on, out to car, bye to friend.

  • 1:20 p.m.: Kids wave and make faces to friend in other car as we drive in parallel to our different destinations.

  • 1:32 p.m.: Arrive at preschool field trip destination: the public library, slightly late. Preschool teacher hustles four-year-old in. Go with six-year-old outside to play.

  • 1:35 p.m.: Read paper intermittently while six-year-old plays, runs, climbs, asks questions, picks flowers after being told not to, asks to go to another park before accountant's appointment at 3:30.

  • 2:20 p.m.: Bathroom and water fountain (for hiccups) break. Go to see if preschool session is over. It is. Older daughter presents illicitly picked flower to preschool teacher, who is charmed.

  • 2:25 p.m.: More playing, this time with both kids and preschool chums. Much rolling around in grass, kicking balls, hide-and-seek. More requests for another park before accountant's appointment. "If there's time," I answer.

  • 2:45 p.m.: Time to leave for accountant's appointment. "Awwwwww?! No fair!"

  • 2:55 p.m.: Realize that main route to accountant's is clogged because of road construction. Take alternate route, which turns out to be quite pleasant.

  • 3:08 p.m.: Arrive near accountant's office, stop car next to park with playground. There is (a little) time.

  • 3:20 p.m.: Time to go. "Awwwwww?! No fair!" Girls fight over who gets to press the crosswalk button.

  • 3:30 p.m.: Arrive at accountant's office. Interrupted by cell phone call from optician revealing that new glasses are ready. Make appointment for 6:30. Discuss taxes, present papers. Kids play with electric fan by speaking into it to make their voices go all weird. Accountant is charmed.

  • 3:45 p.m.: Accountant works next to a Dairy Queen. Caramel sundae, vanilla cone, two drinks.

  • 4:00 p.m.: Back to the park, holding kids' drinks and one ice cream cone. Kids make new friends, play games, climb, slide, roll in grass and gravel.

  • 4:35 p.m.: Time to go. "Awwwwww?! No fair!" Girls fight over who gets to press the crosswalk button.

  • 4:45 p.m.: Back in car. Heading home. Kids suck back more of their DQ drinks.

  • 5:00 p.m.: Home. Kiss wife, who is back and has taken over the laundry (bless her). Pack up for six-year-old's piano lesson. Four-year-old wants to come. Make sure hands and faces are washed before departure.

  • 5:15 p.m.: Arrive at piano lesson. Try to keep four-year-old reasonably quiet while sister's lesson proceeds. Six-year-old demonstrates more (simplified) Beethoven than she was supposed to have learned. Teacher likes that.

  • 5:45 p.m.: Back home. Dinner includes noodles, cheese bread, tomatoes, leftover DQ drinks, dessert, in no particular order.

  • 6:00 p.m.: SpongeBob Squarepants—sweet relief. Take more insulin. Eat own meal, empty dishwasher and add newly dirty dishes.

  • 6:30 p.m.: SpongeBob ends. Wife watches kids during rush to make eyeglass appointment. Run dishwasher again.

  • 6:37 p.m.: Arrive at mall, weaving around remnants of free Avril Lavigne concert that had ended in parking lot about an hour earlier.

  • 6:42 p.m.: Arrive at optician. Wait a bit, have glasses fitted. I like 'em, though they're not really that different from the old ones.

  • 7:00 p.m.: Back home. Wife is chasing kids around house, pretending to be giant praying mantis. Join in.

  • 7:20 p.m.: Bath time.

  • 7:30 p.m.: Four-year-old is tired of bath. Six-year-old is so not tired of bath. Wife dries four-year-old, helps with toothbrush, comb, pajamas, and ear cleaning, then takes her to bed for books.

  • 7:45 p.m.: Six-year-old still playing with snorkel.

  • 7:55 p.m.: Time to get out of bath. "Awwwwww?! No fair!" Towel, toothbrush, comb, ears, pajamas.

  • 8:00 p.m.: Everyone in bunk bed. Read second book.

  • 8:20 p.m.: Book finished. Girls still swinging on bed like monkeys. Lights out. Play word games in the dark.

  • 8:45 p.m.: Mom's tired and goes to own bedroom. Dad hangs around until girls go to sleep.

  • 8:55 p.m.: Girls want cold cloths for their hot eyes. (This is a routine.)

  • 9:10 p.m.: Girls are asleep. So is wife.

  • 9:15 p.m.: Tidy up, read e-mail and websites in downstairs office. Write second reasonably pointless journal entry.

  • 10:10 p.m.: Investigate mysterious banging upstairs. Older daughter is whacking wall with leg while trashing in sleep. Put blankets on her.

  • 10:20 p.m.: Upload glasses photo self-portrait taken with digicam in kitchen two minutes earlier.

  • 10:30 p.m.: Post journal entry. Time for bed. Or maybe to empty dishwasher again.

Perhaps you understand why, when I work at home, I do so mostly at night.


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