It’s 8:52 and most school-aged children are asleep or at least in bed. Alexander is watching Blue’s Clue’s and the other two are upstairs. Any patience that I never had to begin with is shot. These days of single parenting are long and exhausting. Daddy came home on Saturday and was gone again on Sunday morning. Weekends are tough without him. The kids get at each other and start bickering. And then it never stops. I was fortunate to have been able to send Rebecca off to a friend’s house yesterday for most of the day. Unfortunately due to the rain Christopher’s soccer game was rescheduled for 4pm. It proved to be a long and tiring day. We went to the soccer game and all Rebecca did was whine and complain about how hot it was, how tired she was and how bored she was. She was a pleasure to sit with. Alexander entertained himself in the playground with all the younger siblings in yonder distance. We got home just after 6:00 and it was the usual crazy evening mad dash for showers, baths, getting clothes set for school, dinner, blah blah blah. Finally it was 8:30 and they were banished to their bedrooms. But no one was staying put. And then Christopher ripped the cover to his favorite magazine, my Pottery Barn Kids catalog. He is obsessed. It has Star Wars Bedding on the cover. He is obsessed with everything Star Wars. This is what he wants for Christmas. My kid wants sheets for Christmas! At 10:00 he came back down asking for a stapler! Request was immediately denied and he was shooed off to his bedroom. I followed suit right after… after locking, re-locking, and re-locking yet once more all the doors. I fell asleep listening to the local news, wearing my glasses.
This morning Alexander came in even before the sun thought about waking. It was tough. Brutal to be honest. But this is how our day starts. And has for 3 years now. I just suck it up… and complain! I got my coffee and his milk and I was rather grateful that he let me watch my morning television. Morning Joe is my program of choice when it is still dark out. Eventually he got restless and I put on Blue’s Clues on On Demand… Again! I wanted to shower. I needed to shower but I was just too comfortable in my bed. I could shower at the end of the day. So I did what I have been doing too much of these past few years, I shaved my legs in the sink and poured an entire bottle of baby powder on my hair to sop up all the oil. A white Lacoste shirt, some cute JCrew (outlet!) pants in a pretty blue and white pattern and I looked halfway decent!
The dishwasher needed emptying, the other kids needed rising and breakfast. I looked around my fridge, some almost too old strawberries could be cut up… What would I serve with them? And then I got the brilliantest idea! I made the kids breakfast kabobs alternating strawberries, banana chunks and banana bread. They looked delicious and the kids looked happy to see them. They actually looked happy to see fruit!
Eventually we got everyone out of the house in the nick of time. Then Alexander and I headed off toward the playground at the beach. Not before stopping at Starbucks for a Cup of Heaven. Seriously the best thing I have ever had. If you have never had a Pumpkin Spice Iced Latte then run out to your local Starbucks and get one! (I usually get a regular Pumpkin Spice Latte but it was just too hot out today. Girls, I am going to make some of you blush when I describe this drink as an Orgasm in a Cup! Seriously… It is that good!
So, temporarily happy am I, we set off to the beach and the sandcastle playground — called so because it’s large wooden structures resemble a sandcastle with all sorts of hidden paths to climb and follow that lead to different turrets and steps and slides. It really is quite awesome. Of course as soon as we get there I start to choke and tear up. I haven’t been in such a long time — so long in fact that Alexander did not recognize the place. As he ran around trying to decide what to play on first my mind’s internal video camera turned on. Playing in front of my eyes were pictures of Rebecca and Christopher at the same age. I saw every laughter and squeal of delight. How is it that time passes us so quickly. I was momentarily saddened by this. When everything was still so exciting and new to them. When everything was so magical. And then I see my little blond boy emitting those same squeals and sounds of laughter and I am brought back to the moment and I want to freeze it. I want it to be like this forever. And while the age difference between Alexander and the other two (4 and 6 years) has proven to be very challenging these past years, I am so grateful — eternally so — to have a chance to experience the thrills and sheer delight of childhood at its best all over again. I had my coffee and I had my New York Times. I could have relaxed and enjoyed them both, stopping for moments here and there to watch and applaud my 3 year old but I didn’t. I got off my ever expanding butt (no thanks to Pumpkin Spiced Lattes) and ran and jumped and climbed and went down all the slides with him. We were frozen in time, in that wonderful moment, for two and a half hours. And then I just had to get out of there. I had had enough. I was exhausted!
Alexander fell asleep on the ride home and I managed to sit and enjoy a sandwich and a Diet Coke that I later chased down with a peanut butter cookie with pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. (Gee, could that be why my scale is “broken?”) I had a nice hour and a half to myself before I was summonsed to read to Alexander and then play the Birthday Party Game. We were about to play a third time when I decided to look at the clock. Holy Smokes! We were late for pickup!
So off we went (rushed) to get Christopher to bring him home, change him into his soccer stuff and give him a snack and bring him to Other Christopher’s house and then go watch Becca play her soccer at school and then take her to skating and rush rush rush. As we sit on the Merritt Parkway stuck in traffic we decide we won’t get there and back in time. (It would take half the time to lace her up!) Rebecca is disappointed but she understands.
We have a half hour at home to relax. I check my email and make sandwiches for their dinner. Then off to get the Two Christophers and bring the other home and then get back to our house. By this time it is a little after 7 and Christopher needs to be fed and agrees to, Thank God, leftover pasta and they all three need to shower and the older two have homework. I have two pounds of cubed steak that I have to cook This Instant because the meat expires This Instant. Ugh. I decide to brown it and toss the cooked meat in to the crock pot with salsa, tomato sauce, garlic, onion, and black beans. We’ll have it for dinner tomorrow. It’ll be one less thing I will have to do then. I am tired. Exhausted. Grimy. Dirty.
Rebecca is struggling with her math. She is in the advanced section. (This she clearly did not get from Moi.) In 4th grade she has to round to the nearest tenth thousand, hundredth thousand or million. In Fourth Grade! I can barely handle this… Heck we all know I ain’t smarter than a Fifth Grader. Daddy calls, and he is able to help a little over the phone. But she is overwhelmed and tired and she misses him dearly. He decides he will come home to kiss the kids goodnight. I love this idea and I hate it at once. It’s late and the kids need to sleep. And now Rebecca has to get up early. I am not putting Alexander to bed because I would like him to see Daddy too. But there is nothing more than I want than my bed and a shower. I want him to stop by. But I don’t. I don’t want to have them up for one minute longer.
It is now 9:54 and Daddy has come and gone. Two out of three are sleeping. I want to finish this before I forget what I was going to say, which I have already done at least 47 times already. I have brought my wine and my laptop up to bed. I have on one of Daddy’s Tshirts. I still need to shower. It’s getting late and I wonder if I should do it now or in the morning. I have to get Rebecca up again at 6:00 and a new day will dawn.