Thursday, June 1, 2017

Childcare. It's Like a Full-Time Job.

Our "relaxing" stay at home summer officially started yesterday. My unofficial plan for the day (and most days) is to get out of the house for some activity in the morning, come home for lunch and Coco's nap, read with Zuzu and encourage her to do some quiet activity, then when Coco gets up, we go to the pool or play outside here.


In theory, this is great.


In practice, it's freaking exhausting and I got screamed at so many times yesterday that I was ready to go back to work.


I know it's just an adjustment period and we get used to the new routine, but holy moly. (It doesn't help that Coco asks me hopefully each night, "I go school tomorrlow?"


So anyway. I decided to start the day with a trip to the botanical gardens because the weather was gorgeous and it had been too long since we were there.


In the time it took us to get dressed and out of the house, Zuzu banged her forehead on the hardwood floors of her bedroom trying to hang upside down and flip over her bedframe. Coco fell down the stairs and got rug burn on her face from the stair runner. The sound of heads hitting hardwood is not my favorite.


The gardens were lovely, and the girls were able to run off in front of me and explore a little bit on the secret paths of stepping stones. They helped each other and stuck together and it was very sweet. There was some whining about when we'd go to the playground, but I wanted to walk through other parts of the garden first.


We got the playground and I gave Zuzu explicit instructions to stay where she can see me and I can see her. She promptly disobeyed, so we had the same conversation again, this time with the threat of leaving immediately. After that she was pretty good, except as we were getting ready to go, which was awesome because I could happily follow through with my threat of leaving immediately since that was already my plan.


We got home for lunch. The thing about kids is you have to feed them three meals a day PLUS SNACKS. It's actually really annoying because they are totally ungrateful. I'm emphasizing "courtesy and grace" and having them help with clean up, but of course that sometimes backfires as well when it's just easier to do it myself, particularly when cleaning up the kitchen is the only alone time I have all day.


Anyway, they ate lunch. Coco had a meltdown because they each asked for a blueberry muffin and she was absolutely FURIOUS when I gave her the muffin she'd already nibbled the top off but hadn't finished at breakfast. I mean, HOW DARE I serve her her own leftovers when there were perfectly whole muffins in the tupperware?


I knew she was tired, and she also knew, because after lunch she came back in the kitchen and straight up told me she was ready for a nap (bless her). So she went to bed and then Zuzu had a total meltdown because I wouldn't let her eat another blueberry muffin (she'd already had THREE at breakfast--her two, and Coco's--and one more at lunch, so FIVE muffins seemed excessive).


(Sidenote: Blueberry muffins are now a source of strife. They seem to be the only food that Zuzu gets obsessive about. She begs to make them and when we have them, she asks for one constantly and whines. As far as unhealthy snacks go, they could definitely be worse. But she'd eat the entire dozen at once if we'd let her. They finished off the last three at breakfast when Zuzu ate two and then convinced Coco to give her half of the one she was eating. I'm relieved they are gone. I don't want food to be a "thing" at our house so I pretty much let them eat whatever whenever, but the muffin thing was out of control.)


Anyway, after Coco got up from her nap the girls played happily for a while and then asked to go to the park. It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to go, but then Coco insisted on wearing Zuzu's skirt which was too big for her and after we got to the park I realized she also had on a pair of Zuzu's shorts underneath which meant that all of her clothes were literally falling off of her and she couldn't run around or climb and so I said we had to go home.


Cue another huge meltdown from Coco.


Zuzu must have been tired, because she didn't really complain about leaving the park. Also, I bribed them with a popsicle party so when we got home, we had popsicles in their playhouse in the backyard, which was fun.


It was time to make dinner and I was completely exhausted. I felt like a mom cliche, tired and cranky and having to make dinner and busting out a bottle of chilled white wine at 5:00pm.


But we survived the first day of stay-at-home summer!


We have big plans for summer adventures--parks and concerts and libraries and swimming, but some of my favorites is when the girls play together. Zuzu's imagination is so adorable right now, and Coco is right there with her, imitating everything. My favorite is when they pretend to be me. Zuzu will say, "Okay, I'll be Coco and you be Bwooke" and then they act out me helping Coco after she's hurt or leaving for a meeting.


True Confession: I'd still really like to have two uninterrupted hours to myself per day, without having to get up at 5:00am for them. Any thoughts on how to make this happen besides zombie screen time?


While we're strategizing, I'd love to know how to get them to stop whining, "Mommy..." at the start of every flipping sentence.


And if anybody knows how to keep them at almost-five and going-on-three for several more years, I'd greatly appreciate it. As crazy and tired as I was after that first day, they are pretty magical right now, and I'm already trying to savor this summer (and also this glass of chilled white).

3 comments:

  1. Snacks! They're maddening, aren't they? My kids ask 17 times a day. I've tried setting a timer, I've tried doing a huge meal-type snack in the middle of the afternoon, and I've tried eliminating them. Nothing works.

    My kids are reaching the point where they are starting to play together for extended periods of time, which gives me a break but also makes me see how much they are growing up. I bet in another year or two your girls will do the same.

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  2. When we make blueberry muffins here my boys want to eat them all in one day!! Snacks just drive me crazy, we finish a meal and 5 minutes later they need a snack. I told my husband last night that maybe I should look into teaching summer school next year, I was kidding. My first full week off and we are still adjusting to the new routine.

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  3. OMG summer. We are also heading out in the morning (swimming and dive lessons) and chilling for a couple of hours around lunch time (no naps, but definitely silent reading time) before doing SOMETHING. Today is buying party favors for Harry and ordering his bday cake and going to a splash park. Most days will just be the pool. And OMFG the snacks. I just spent SO MUCH MONEY on snacks because the snacking! ALL DAY LONG.

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