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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wake up at 6:30 with my alarm buzzing. Shut it off, rest for about ten more minutes, drag myself out of bed with the knowledge that the kids I watch will be here in 2 hours. Check email, Twitter, and FB on my phone while drinking my first glass of water. Kids are awake by then, so I remind them to get dressed and come to the table for breakfast quickly.

Get breakfast for the kids, work around Carl, make my own breakfast of an omelet with some of our leftover Easter ham. Delicious, and gives me the energy I need for the day ahead. Set the kids to making their beds, and grab a quick shower.

Get dressed, clear the table off, cut shapes out of construction paper for the art project I’m hoping will keep the kids entertained for a good portion of the hour they’re here. I meant to do this last night, but after watching the PBS special about Bobby and Shelly and their journey through fetal surgery, I was too drained to do anything. Finish that, and decide to start washing dishes in hopes of getting at least some of them out of the way early.

The kids are 15 minutes late, which means I only have two dishes left to wash by the time they get here. R is dressed like a ninja, complete with fake nunchuks, so I make sure we’ve got some ground rules established about using those around people. I quickly finish up the dishes and get the kids set up at the table for the art project. Only Gracie is really interested in following the directions to use the shapes to make houses/apartments/buildings, but since I’m more interested in just keeping the kids occupied than in actually accomplishing anything, I let them glue the shapes onto the background paper any way they want, and then give them paper to draw and color on. I’m in luck – this keeps them occupied for almost half an hour.

R and V finish long before my two are ready to be done, so I set up Don’t Break the Ice and supervise them playing it for a couple of games. It doesn’t take long before they start throwing the ice and then the frame itself, so I calmly pack it away with a few stern words that fly right over their heads.

R wants to play trains, so I encourage my girls to be all done with the art for now (with a quiet promise that they can finish later on their own), and all four kids set to work building the train tracks. R is more interested still in throwing things and taking trains away from V, who responds with shrill violence, but overall, they manage to have a good time. Their mum gets here and they turn absolutely wild, screaming in my kids’ faces and stomping all over the place, but soon enough they leave and we all take a deep breath. Another week survived, only three more to go.

Joy and Grace go back to drawing and coloring. They both have a few tears when I tell them they need to be all done when they use up all the paper on the table, but it doesn’t take too long to settle them down. Now’s when we should get to school, but my poor night’s sleep is really making itself known, so instead I let them go play for a little bit. Gracie gets out Ludo, and they sit down to play that with their stuffed animals in their bedroom. I drink my tea and read for a bit, and waste too much time on social media.

Lunchtime, and then a shower for Grace while Joy practices violin and piano. Then Gracie tidies up the bedroom while Joy takes her shower, and I braid Gracie’s hair and we get ready to leave for their art lesson. Joy gets done in the shower with not a moment to spare, and I comb her hair while she gets dressed, shove a headband in, help her with her sneakers, and out we go.

It’s snowing out, horrors! Thankfully it’s not sticking; we make it to art with a few minutes to spare. Luck is with me; I find a parking place along the side of the road instead of having to drive around and around or park on the next road. Drop the kids off, and … ah. I can breathe.

Despite the snow, I decide to walk to the library instead of drive. I tell myself it’s for the exercise, but really I don’t want to have to find a parking place at the library, which is always packed on Wednesday afternoons, and then come back and find another parking place on the side of the road. I’m getting so much better at driving, parking, and backing out of parking places, but I still will avoid it whenever possible.

It’s a good decision, because the lot is full. I go in, go right upstairs, find a table, sit down, and open my laptop. Spur-of-the-moment, I decide not to work on the two projects currently demanding my attention, but rather start in on the first chapter of my second Intelligent Magic novel. I type away happily for about half an hour, look up to see the snow is coming down even more thickly, and decide I’d better walk back before it gets worse.

The walk back is nasty, with the wind driving the wet snowflakes right into my face, but it’s still better than driving would have been! I go straight to the little grocery store by the art studio, because we need eggs. While I’m in there, I grab a box of strawberries; they are red and shining and I can’t resist. I reason that it’s better than chocolate, my other perennial temptation at the market.

Walk back to the car, drop off the groceries, and then up the road to the studio. Get inside and clench my teeth against letting my disgust show for the terrible parenting done by the lady sitting in the waiting room across from me. Every week, she vaguely tells her children not to do things, and then rolls her eyes when they utterly ignore her, and does nothing. “I’ve given up,” she says with half a laugh to one of the other moms in the room, and I bite my tongue and stare determinedly at my phone. I try so very hard to not be judgmental, and I know I’m a lousy mom often enough, but sorry lady, you don’t get to “give up” on raising your children to be decent human beings. That’s kind of your job description.

I gather up my kids and we drive home through the snow-turned-sleet, ugh. I park with a sigh of relief that I don’t have to go out again today. Inside, we have an impromptu hop-on-Pop session, and I sit and relax for a few minutes, and then Carl and I get to work in the kitchen, me preparing supper and he getting the rest of the ham off the bone for me. My mood starts to improve for the first time all day as I snitch a few pieces of ham, leading me to suspect I’ve not been eating enough. So hard, trying to balance not eating unnecessarily but also not depriving my body of needed fuel.

Joy takes care of putting everyone’s vitamins by their plate and Grace prays, and we have a nice family dinner, with nobody in a bad mood for a change. After eating, I stretch out on the couch with my library book while everyone else finishes eating. Then I help the girls get through their bedtime chores, listen with delight as Carl reads the first chapter of Freddy the Detective out loud, give good-night hugs and kisses, and …

knock on the door, it’s A from down the hall wanting to borrow our printer. We say sure, chat with her for a little while before she remembers that her husband needs her to get back so he can leave for an important meeting, and bolts back down the hall to her apartment. A FB message from another neighbor asks if she can return the bottle of vanilla she borrowed last week, and I say sure.

The kids are finally in bed, and I sit down and, amazingly enough, am able to get in a good solid hour of editing. I’m making great progress on the book; it won’t be long now before it’s ready to go back to my beta readers and then on to my editor. Around 9:15 I put it aside for the night, update my word count on Camp NaNoWriMo, which I’ve joined for the first time ever, and make myself some popcorn for a bedtime snack.

At 10:00 I decide my neighbor is not going to make it tonight, so I turn out the lights, think regretfully of the supper dishes I did not wash and the school that did not happen today, get into my pajamas, and go to bed.

Just an ordinary day.