Friday, March 14, 2014

5pm rush hour at our house

5pm rush hour. I'm not talking about the awful traffic here in NJ. I'm talking about the time between 5pm and 8pm where it gets incredibly hectic here.

After work, I got get the kids from Daycare (babysitter).
Everyone comes in the house & we take off coats, put away the 18 stuffed animals that the girl brought to daycare with her. We all wash our hands - something we have been practicing since the beginning. Julianna then runs for the fridge for a snack; usually strawberries, yogurt or carrots.
Brian may or may not be home yet. I stick the boy in his pack & play (that he hates) or on the floor surrounded by many large, loud, singing & flashing toys to keep him occupied.
I need to start dinner. Ohhh dinner. If Brian isn't home yet, I gather up the ingredients and get organized. I try to get everything prepped and going for dinner... while sticking my head around the corner to watch the boy to make sure he is not attacking the books in the bookshelf or sticking something in his mouth he shouldn't be. OK as long as he is upright and breathing, I go back to the kitchen. Whenever Brian gets home, he jumps in with helping the kiddos activities or some nights he will make dinner. My saving grace is I plan our dinners out a week in advance so I don't have to magically come up with something at the last minute. (I have another post for some of my favorite recipes lately!)

What was once a nice leisurely dinnertime together, where we got to enjoy & savor every bite of food, critique the recipe we used, discuss family values, and talk about our day with Julianna, has now turned into something a whoooole lot different.
Me (or Brian) rushing to get dinner made, playing hot potato with the boy during his desperate & fussy 'I need to eat now" noises, making Tyler's dinner, plating my food up and shoveling it down while standing or half sitting on my chair, while Brian straps Tyler into his chair & quickly spoons baby food du jour into the boy's mouth. Julianna saying she has to poop now, and the dog jumping up and down she has to go out (Ooooh the poor dog! How she has been put on the back burner lately!). I then finish shoveling my food in, take over feeding the boy, and Brian eats his room temperature (if he's lucky) dinner, Julianna still saying she has to poop. Or feeding Pepper some of her dinner. The boy starts screaming because he hates the highchair. Julianna never did that- she enjoyed sitting with us at dinner time - they are SO different! He then makes a blood curdling groan that makes you think he is about to pop some vessel trying to get out of the chair he is buckled into. We try to get him to eat a cracker or take some water from a sippy cup and that buys us a few more minutes of time.

Then clean-up ensues. Bath time needs to happen still. Run to turn on the bath water, squeeze bubble bath into the tub & throw 43 bath toys in. Quick run through house to pick up random toys that we can trip on while holding/walking with naked children after bath. Brian's in the kitchen cleaning up dinner and loading the dishwasher. Rushing rushing. Oh shit the dog's on the table licking the girl's plate clean. Put dog on floor. Finish cleaning up. Get kids naked & into the bath. Scrub down time. The boy loves his bath with big sister (Thank you dear lord they can bathe together now!). Then it's PJ time. The girl screams she wants her nightgown but they are all in the laundry. She wants her purple hello kitty socks. Guess those are in the laundry too. Small meltdown happens. So we have to stress loudly "No PJs. No story" ... she whines a little more and procrastinates trying to find the nightgown I already told her 3x was in the wash. I have to threaten no story again. I get a whiny "Ok" from her and then she puts PJ's on while I'm dressing the boy... final bottle of the day & bedtime for Tyler promptly at 8pm.

Brushing teeth is sometimes happily done. Sometimes we get "I can brush them in the morning". Um no. Now. Brush teeth and then story time for the girl in the living room. SHe picks a couple books out & we read them together. Julianna goes to bed but not before asking to be wrapped up in her special hello kitty blanket. Then she needs her Light-up pillow pet on, and her Hello Kitty DreamLite on (the pillow pet that shines the glowing stars on the ceiling). Julianna & Tyler share a room, it's easier to space out bedtime by a few minutes right now. She goes to bed around 8:15/8:20 - which gives Tyler more than enough time to fall asleep. 8:30 is time for Brian and I to collapse on the sofa and relax... and have some adult conversation. Oh crap, the dog still has to go out. OK so 8:40 is relax time. Exhale. Glass of red wine sounds really good.

How is your nightly routine?

Julianna uses her big giraffe as a pillow... he is quite squished. 


  1. Omigod! I do nothing in comparison to this routine. I watch TV, read, do laundry, prepare and eat dinner. Read. Research and/or write if I have to do
    that. But I don't know how you, Brian and every other working parent does all this -- and without robots to help, or a team of assistants.

    Well, soon Tyler will be running all around. Maybe at some point his big sister could read to him before dinner. Or they could watch a dvd while
    dinner is being prepared. (My neighbors do that with a just-turned-4-year-old and a 7-year-old. Now she has homework, and the little one
    plays with trains and blocks -- and now he's getting into books. That is sweet to see since I give them both books -- to encourage this habit.

    This is why we got frozen TV dinners when we were little, and my mother worked or both parents worked. It's great when kids get older,
    as they have more to do on their own or together without parents, and they can even help out. Setting the table was my younger sister's task
    for years, mine, clearing, etc.

    Also, next door they put in a dog-type fence to keep the little one out of the kitchen while they were cooking, as a safety measure. Also,
    he's turn on the gas jets or open the fridge door. They took it off a few months ago, and all is well.

    Parents are all heroes who do all of this. Encouraging kids to look at/read books helps. Maybe they could do that in the evening
    before dinner to make quiet time, even just looking at them.

    Whatever, you and Brian are doing a great job. With all the chaos, it still sounds exciting and fun but I'd probably be laying down
    on the couch or floor after one night of this. I applaud you both.

  2. I remember those days - not all that long ago really! Trust me, it does get easier - if not less rushed!

    Must go I need to take kids to tennis, swimming, ballet, karate, choir …………………etc!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. I can totally relate to this!! Especially the part about collapsing on the couch at the end of it all. :)



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