PB, J, and PB&J

On days like today, I question my own sanity. If the title didn’t alert you to it, I just finished making lunch. For seven children; my own four and my sister’s three. As we stumble through this quarantine, I have started watching my sister’s kids again as both her husband and herself are still working.

The last few days have been oppressively humid and I was loathe to turn the oven on or use the stove. I decided to go with a solid staple and make everyone peanut butter and jelly. It was not as easy as it sounds.

I should have been able to just slap together seven sandwiches, right? Well, I was woefully mistaken. For my own I needed one peanut butter half sandwich, one peanut butter, one jelly, and one peanut butter and jelly. For my sister’s I needed to switch bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Then I had to make one peanut butter, one jelly, and one peanut butter and jelly.

How did making peanut butter and jelly for lunch get so complicated? Oh, well. At least they are all eating happily. And it’s afforded me the first time in a while where I could sit down at my computer and write. Now if only they would eat a little slower.

Accidentally on Purpose

CJ has these amazing moments of accidental thoughtfulness. Here is the perfect example:

Recently, CJ purchased brand new water bottles for the three older kids. MJ got dinosaurs and Q got unicorns. Absolutely amazing picks for both of them. EM got a cartoon planet Earth with the saying “Earth Day Every Day.” I commended CJ for his choices. He thought I was being sarcastic as far as EM’s went. He said he was running out of options and was just hoping she would find it cute.

He totally burst my bubble. I explained to him the reason I had been so excited is because EM’s birthday is Earth Day. He could not have gotten her a more perfect water bottle. He then said, “Ok, yeah. I did it on purpose.”

I mean, all this information is in there somewhere, so we have to give him partial credit, right?

ABCs and OCD

Today, everyone but baby and me had a video call at the same time. The three older children were spread out between two rooms and my husband was at the dining room table.

I know it may be hard to accommodate, but are we really taking into consideration the people with multiple children when scheduling these things?

I normally have Q attend the afternoon session her teacher offers as to lessen the overlap, but the teacher is making the kids do presentations and asking all children to attend both sessions.

First, let’s address this problem. You are asking a large group of kindergarteners to attend two meetings per day – at least an hour long – where they have to listen to their friends stumble and mumble on a subject they may not care about. This event is difficult enough to accomplish when they are in the classroom. But to be doing it online? Q cries and begs not to log on, and I don’t blame her.

Second, don’t get us used to a schedule, just to upset it whenever. Between Q and EM this morning, I thought I was going to lose my mind. Both my girls were on silent, but their classmates WERE NOT. There were blaring TVs and barking dogs. It was sensory overload. And through the din, they were supposed to be listening to the presenter and teacher, respectively. Yeah, right.

Third, does anyone think about the mom in my situation? CJ was having a video call because he is still working. He may be physically present in the home, but it’s not like I can constantly bother him for help with this school stuff because he is WORKING. This means, not only do I have to keep the baby occupied and quiet, I have to bounce around three children, on three different devices, making sure everyone is logged on, doing their work, and just paying attention. It is mentally exhausting, and if the baby is having a rough day, physically exhausting as well.

At the best of times, I’m a pretty anxious person. I have had to schedule therapy sessions for myself once every two weeks throughout this and sometimes that doesn’t even feel like enough. (Thank goodness for the telemedicine though, right?) Although my therapist is AMAZING, she is not a miracle worker. There have been days when my OCD symptoms have reared their ugly head and I just don’t have the will to fight against them. I know I’m not taking good enough care of myself and I’ve put on weight.

Well, thanks for sticking with me and any tips for survival at the moment would be appreciated.

Heck No, We Won’t Go!

So, it’s official. There will be no more school this year. Well, in the school building that is. We are still going to have to suffer through remote learning. I had a difficult enough time trying to do remote learning in college and now I have to do it for even longer with my kids.

Q, my kindergartner, spends her whole lessons with her teacher claiming she’s too tired to participate, yet running around the dining room table where I have her set up. You already know the issues I was having with MJ. As much as I want to say, “forget it,” I don’t want anyone to be behind next school year.

Honestly, I’m not too worried about MJ and Q. They both have solid foundations and I think anything we don’t cover while they are learning with me will easily be caught up on once school resumes. I am worried about EM though. She’s supposed to be entering kindergarten come the fall. I feel like maybe she got enough preschool under her belt that she should be okay, but then again, you never really know.

I haven’t been sleeping very well lately as my anxiety and depression seem to be at war with each other over control of me. I have been trying to accomplish little tasks around the house that I have been putting off, but shelter-in-place affords me even less time for myself than the regular school year. However, I did just finish a project for the kids. I re-vamped two old end tables to make an oven and a grocery store counter. I put them in the playroom last night so they would wake up to find them this morning. They were a big hit!

CJ also just finished building a whole new play set in the backyard. He worked on it over one weekend and a few lunch breaks. The kids have been on it almost non-stop whenever we are outside. Even SC, my little 17 month old, is in love with it. It didn’t take long at all until she was brave enough to climb the steps by herself to go down the slide. And who doesn’t love a baby plopping off the slide onto their diapered bottom?

 

 

If there’s one downside to this new computer, it would be this – it is a desktop and therefore stuck upon its desk. Now don’t get me wrong; it’s exactly the one I’ve wanted for a long time. I love it. It’s just, we’ve had to change around some sleeping arrangements lately and my computer in is the room MJ is now sleeping in. This means I cannot use it at night, for fear of disturbing him. Also, with the “quarantine school,” I am unable to use it during the day because I am otherwise occupied with the four kids.

I am currently drowning in worksheets and busy work, but I would gladly take that over the copious amounts of work that has been assigned to my children via devices. Am I the only one bothered by how much work is expected to be done electronically? I mean, it would be one thing to submit work electronically. I was a pro at that by the time I was done with college. However, my children are expected to do hours of lessons through gaming.

I am all for making learning fun, but telling my children they must learn through this medium just doesn’t work for me. If MJ gets too much screen time, regardless of the content, he’s, well…a jerk. He yells at his sisters, at me…It’s just no good. Whenever there are breaks from school, especially summer, I make screen time something he can only do on weekends and for limited bursts of time. (I would like to make it clear that what I am referring to as screen time involves handheld electronics, ie something you do on your lap.)

So now I struggle to modify the already modified lesson plans of their teachers, trying to make sure they are not behind by the time school resumes.

On a lighter note, last night at dinner, Q started telling some awful jokes. And by awful I don’t mean “dad” jokes or “punny” ones, I mean jokes that make no sense whatsoever. Then she was getting really confused as to why CJ and I weren’t laughing. Eventually we ended up laughing at just how outrageously bad they were compounded with her AMAZING delivery.

At this time, she decided that whoever was the first to laugh had to tell the next joke. It was quite funny and we all had a good laugh once we started really going. CJ and I discovered pretty quickly though that we were grossly unprepared for such a game. For some reason, every single child-friendly joke we knew decided to leave us and kept our number of turns limited. I think we were only able to come up with about a half dozen between us. I took this as a person failure as my grandfather is the king of these type of jokes and even writes the funnies for our local gazette. He would be so ashamed.

My personal favorite from Q’s arsenal tonight: What do you get when you put ketchup in your drink? Something gross.

You know you laughed a little too. 🙂

 

Shortly before Christmas, someone decided to leave me. It was quite unexpected – by me at least. Apparently, CJ had know for some time, as he was already planning a replacement. IMG_1709

This fiend right here, just decided it no longer wanted to pull its weight. As I am writing again, you can see CJ pulled through on his replacement, wonderful man that he is.

In this time we’ve been apart, I’ve not had the best time. I hope you all have had better. I have dealt with some serious anxiety over the breakdown in a familial relationship. I have had a minor injury and a large appliance breakdown (besides the computer). I have also been taken advantage of a little recently which I have resolved to not allow to happen to me anymore, so I’m really sticking to my guns this time.

The familial relationship still suffers. I believe I am owed an apology. I respond when messaged, as I am not a baby, but I make no attempt at first contact. I know this person will see this as a window to all being forgiven without having to say sorry. But I deserve it.

The injury was the result of my first few weeks of Taekwondo. Um, can I tell you how much I love it?! It is the highlight of my week when I get to go to class, and not just because I get to kick things. (Ok, maybe it is.) 🙂 While I was still learning the basics, I somehow managed to kick the floor. My toe was not pretty. But I was not deterred! So much love for my class and my first belt test is coming up soon!

As I am now VP of the PTA and a board member of a charitable organization, I have gotten busier. I feel more fulfilled than when I was working and it’s wonderful. However, these recent down swings have really put a damper on my home productivity. I feel like I can’t let things slide out of the house because I don’t want people to know, but because CJ loves and understands me, I can do it at home. I’m hoping this will serve as the cathartic release I need in order to get back to baseline. This, along with the person understanding I am not one to be walked over, will make such a difference.

Now, with this beautiful new computer in front of me, I look forward to returning to my posting schedule as it just makes me happy. Even if no one read it (even though I still hope you do). Thanks for sticking with me.

Update

Excuses. I’ve got plenty of them. But that’s all they would be.

I attempted to plan the summer as much as I could to keep us on the go. It was my first summer with four kids and I wanted to do things instead of just being at home all the time. Each week had a theme and events go along with it. I took a road trip with all the kids, by myself, to see the in-laws. Then summer exploded when my sister got a job and I ended up with seven kids all day, every weekday.

Now that school has started, I have my nieces and nephew in the mornings before school and all day whenever there’s a day off. I joined a new committee and was settling in to that. I was working on an event for my kids’ school. It’s just been constant. But that’s my life now with four kids and I have to stop using that as an excuse to do the things I need to do for me; this blog being one of them.

So, in an attempt to return to normalcy, here we go.

Last night was an adventure. My brother-in-law spent some time in the ER and my sister was with him. Therefore, I had seven children in my house. Seven. I had to get everyone ready for bed, find a place for them all to sleep, get everyone dressed and fed in the morning, then get them all to two different schools. Thanks goodness CJ was such a good helper. Seriously, rockstar quality.

Multiple incidents like these have kept me absent lately; only involving my own health. Not all of my health issues were resolved upon SC’s delivery. It has taken me up to this point to even feel like a semblance of myself. I feel the more I continue to follow doctor’s orders and return to my household and writing routine, the better I will feel.

So tonight, while my children snub their noses at my delicious (if I do say so myself) chicken pot pie in favor of peanut butter and jelly, I bring you this update that is long overdue. Thanks for sticking with me.