My mom took the little kids for a couple of hours this morning, and after I dropped them off at her house I drove from there to have my bloodwork and peework done, which I realize is not the MOST exciting way to spend some child-free time, but on the other hand it is super nice not to have children knocking into trays of sterile tubes/needles.
Anyway, so this is just to explain why I was driving past my own house, and when I DID drive past my own house I saw a Suspicious White Van parked across the street, with some guy Taking Notes while looking at my house, so I got all anxious---until I saw it was a van for a home security company, and the guy was in uniform, and he wasn't looking at my house, he had just responsibly pulled over to take a cell phone call. But this gave me such a good marketing idea for home security companies: sit around in unmarked vans looking Suspicious. Better yet, since you're sitting there pretending to track people's schedules for robbery purposes, you could use that time to actually track their schedules; then, break in when no one's home: don't take anything, just dump out a bunch of drawers and sweep the mail pile off the counter and make a scary mess. They'd call for an alarm system right away! Well, and I guess they might not call YOUR company, but perhaps some sort of arrangement could be made with other home security companies and the calls would even out.
Or possibly that's a terrible idea. It was FASTING bloodwork and then I got a large coffee afterward.
For some reason, perhaps because of the words "terrible idea," this reminds me of the children and how they're in difficult stages right now. You know how there's that time when you have a newborn, and the newborn goes to sleep at your bedtime or even AFTER your bedtime so you feel like you just never, ever, EVER have any time that you're not feeding or holding or comforting a baby, and after you finally put the baby down it's only to climb into bed and you know you'll be awakened to immediately pick up the baby again, and the cycle of your days seems endless and exhausting? And then the newborn starts gradually going to bed earlier and earlier so that FIRST you actually have some time to brush and floss without having to hand the baby to someone else, and THEN it starts being you have a good half hour to refill your water cup for the next day or to open a baby gift, and THEN it's like a full hour and you start to feel like WHEEE SOME FREE TIME, and then the baby starts going to bed at 7:00 and you think "OMG I HAVE MY LIFE BACK"?
Well, it is going in the opposite direction now, is my point. Our two oldest are staying up later and later, and unfortunately they are not yet to the stage of life where we're so lame they can hardly stand to be in the same house with us unless they have headphones to block us out, so instead they are yammering yammering yammering at us all evening. And we DO appreciate this time with them, but we would ALSO appreciate some time to look at a computer or television or book or magazine WITHOUT having our attention jerked away EVERY TEN SECONDS JUST LIKE THE ENTIRE REST OF THE DAY.
I get up at about 5:40 a.m., and there is ALWAYS at least one child up before 6:00, and more often three. So at 8:00 that night, fourTEEN hours later, I am really really really really DONE with dealing with children. And yet it's still half an hour until the two big kids go to bed. And by the time we're done with "Did you brush your teeth?" "Oh yeah, I forgot" and tucking in and so forth, it's more like 8:45. And we go to bed at 10:00, so that means it's one hour until it's time to floss. Oh, sure, one hour is nice! I mean, that's the WHEEEE SOME FREE TIME marker when there's a newborn. But because we're going the other direction, it feels like the walls are closing in rather than finally giving way a bit, and I'm starting to GET BACK some of that "My life is an endless cycle of drudgery and exhaustion" feeling that can happen at bedtime when a person is tired and cranky and didn't get to read her book.
Some of this can/could be solved by the very solutions that are springing to your mind as you read this. We could make them start getting ready for bed a little earlier so that we are DONE tucking them in at 8:30. We could consider earlier bedtimes, and maybe they could read in bed instead of being up with us---but they are 10 and 12 now, and they already read in bed after 8:30, and 8:30 seems like a reasonable bedtime. I suppose we could tell them they could only stay upstairs if they were perfectly silent and talked neither to us nor to each other nor to the cats. The main issue here is not that things need to be changed, it's that we have children in an awkward stage as far as our free time is concerned---a stage that, as with those early newborn weeks, I hope will naturally adjust until we have a more pleasing quantity of free time again.
With the long train of children we have, this may take some time: just as the older two start wanting to spend their time wearing earphones and/or mooning around in their rooms instead of talking with their parents and getting all giddy and unpleasant, the younger three will be needing later bedtimes than their current 7:00. Already Elizabeth would be ready for a later bedtime: she's always awake until after 8:30, reading in her room because we can't think of any fair way to give her a later bedtime without giving the same to Edward---Edward who has dark undereye circles at about 5:00 in the afternoon and who falls asleep by 7:01. (We've thought of doing it all sneaky-like by waiting until he falls asleep and then letting her stay up, but that doesn't work for us: the other kids can't be trusted not to spill it.)
So really this is like when you complain to a guy, and he starts trying to solve it and you say "No, no, don't try to fix it, I just wanted to tell you about it and complain a little." Which is not to say a "Here's how we solved it!" would be unwelcome, if you DID solve it and if it doesn't involve moving to a different house where everyone gets his or her own room.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...