It is 4:06pm at my house and here is what is unfolding. I wonder if everyone has a house like this at this time? I wonder how I am so ready for that time to come but how it can also wipe me out in no time if I am not mentally ready for it. It is like strolling along on a walk and then immediately taking off into a full sprint.
I can hear the rumbling and chatter out in the garage as the older 3 are rushing in to hang up their bags and take off their shoes. A couple of 9 year old boys who make everything a race and a 7 year old girl who is trying her best to keep and be included. She is often blown over and some sort of collision happens before they even enter the house. They are so good at coming in and telling me about their day and then they are off to the kitchen table to tear open their backpacks pulling out a days worth of papers, dull and broken pencils and notes that need to be signed. A lunch bag or 2 are usually on the floor under the table if they didn't remember to drop it on the counter. Depending on the day I will ask them to go up and get the triplets up or I will go up and get them. The beginning of dinner is usually on the stove and if I am running behind the counters have the leftovers of ingredients needed to create the meal of the evening. "What is for dinner?" is one of the first questions and "when will it be ready?" is the next.
The older 3 are busy at the table completing spelling and an open laptop sits among the clutter. The triplets come down and if they have been woken up (usually Colin) they need a few minutes on my lap. I try to get a cartoon on immediately in order to re-adjust everyone to evening mode. I am anxious to get up and leave the clingy one on the couch as something is usually boiling over or a timer is going off. I am able to go back to the kitchen only to get my hands back into dinner when I have Declan who needs me to wipe him after a bathroom trip. Mairin wants to show me a picture she drew for me at school and Eamon wants to take a spelling test and needs me to read the words for him. Colin has decided that he has a boo boo and can I please put a band aid on it for him. Finn is trying to put on an apron so he can help in the kitchen (that is his new thing. He goes into the cupboards and moves things around and claims he is working. He likes a dish cloth tied around his waist or clipped on him so he can work. The towel is just big enough to go around him but small enough that I need to keep reattaching it) Liam is working on word masters and wants me to help him with a definition to a word that I have no idea what it means. I ask him to wait for Dad to get home and he stomps off frustrated because he is that kid who wants to get it done and get it done now. Eamon can sense my frustration and as much as he wants to ask me again when dinner will be ready he smiles and says, "mom I am going to go read so call me when dinner is ready". Finn has now lost interest in helping in the kitchen and has decided he doesn't like his outfit so I see him in the family room..naked with the clothes drawer open trying on another outfit. Colin and Declan are yelling at each other because one wants to shut a door and the other wants it open. Mairin has now tuned out so a push is needed. "Mairin do you have your spelling done? xtra math? work packet? 20 minutes of reading"? If there is a no to any of the above than she either wants to sit and debate why she has to do it or if she is in a good mood she will just dissappear and make it happen. "Mom can I check my math homework with your phone calculator", "Mom did you read the note from Mrs. Ladd that we need a treat for the whole class for tomorrow", "Mom when I was in the lunch line today the lady told me I don't have any more money in my lunch account...will you remember to send in some" As I write this I am realizing how many little things are stored in my head and how many things a mom needs to remember. The triplets are now asking for a snack because I don't have dinner complete and they are ready to eat. It is a fine line at this point. Have dinner ready now or allow a snack. Dinner right now will solve any meltdowns but a snack will hold them off. A snack can also hold them off too long so that they are not interested in dinner. There are nights when there is snack...dinner...snack. These are the nights that I feel like I am stuck in the kitchen until everyone goes to bed.
It is now 4:45 and we have to be out the door by 5:20 to make it to hockey practice. Dinner is served and everyone makes their way to the table and usually Eamon and Liam are asking me to turn on the TV in the kitchen so they can eat and watch. I say no every time and I wonder why they continue to ask. The triplets always demand a lot at meal time. I want my milk, I want, I want, I want. I spend the dinner time handing out drinks, cutting up someones food and maybe emptying the dishwasher to make room for the dirty dishes being created. We are usually missing David on hockey nights because we meet him at the rink.
I attempt to slightly clean up after dinner and then it is off to corralling the little nuggets to get socks and shoes on. (I hate hate hate that they always take off their socks. We have socks everywhere in this house. They take them off at naps and usually whenever we get home from being out. I can't seem to locate them when I need them so I am always grabbing for more) The older 3 are in charge of getting the coats on the trips, loading them into the car and loading their hockey equipment. This is really the luxury of the trip. It is the one time that I do not have get them into the car and buckle them. This method buys me an additional 10 to 15min to pack up some dinner to take to David, pack a bag of necessities for the trips and finish my kitchen clean up. (there is nothing worse to me than coming home to a disaster). By the time I walk out and get in the car.........all 6 are buckled and ready to go. I put the key in and hit reverse and we are off to hockey.