In my current world I wake Colin and Heidi (if she's sleeping) from their naps around 2:30-2:40pm so that I can stuff them in their car seats and and pick up Raph from school. At 3 pm the doors open and the kids poor out of the school, running and happy. They get in the car with a flurry of activity. As soon as Raph gets buckled he starts (if he hasn't already) begging for food. Mind you...we live no less than FIVE minutes from school. He once told me that it was so horrible to wait that I should either bring snacks for him in the car or buy the house across the street from his school so he could be home faster. Really? That bad is it?
At home Raph drops his things by the door and makes a bee line to the pantry. Watch out for anything that gets near is mouth because it has the potential for getting caught up in his Hoover like suction. Colin is fully awake now and hungry as well. They beg for fruit snacks and other *treats*. They don't understand that just because the word 'snack' is in the title, a fruit snack is not a viable snack option. In my mind that's candy sprinkled with vitamin C to give it a brush with credibility. Usually Heidi is wide awake and hungry as well. I must feed her and keep the other two from eating each other and steer them towards good options.
Once the first wave of demolition is over they settle in to watch a cartoon or two. I get a chance to catch my breath, change a diaper and sit down...briefly. Then the fights over what to watch, how much they can eat and who had which pillow/blanket/seat/breath of air first. Raph has homework from time to time. Generally it takes less than 10 minutes for him to complete but some days I swear you'd think he had a 10 page term paper to finish. He's also learning to read and there are sight words to contend with...that's a post in an of itself and it isn't pretty.
At some point I have to make dinner amidst the fighting, crying, eating and gnashing of teeth. I try to let the boys have a reasonable amount of food as a snack, after all they are hungry and in need of snacks. But there comes a point when they are just eating so much that they surely won't eat dinner. I have had Raph tell me, "But Moooooom, I'm starrrrrving. I can't waaaait that long! All I've had to eat is a granola bar, cereal, bagel, carrots, fruit snack and strawberries!" I know right...wasting away into nothingness.
Heidi usually steps up her evening crank and is squealing in her jumperoo or being mauled by one of the boys. I can tune out a certain level of whining but damn she's a good whiner. That leaves me to beat off the boys with my feet, hold Heidi in one arm and cook with the other. Sometimes when things are cooking and don't require my full attention I turn around and nearly have a coronary. How in the HELL can so much destruction happen so quickly!? My reasonably *clean* living room is littered with granola bar wrappers, cereal, toys, articles of clothing (Colin is potty training so usually peed on clothing), pillows and every single stuffed animal from the menagerie they call their beds. And if scissors somehow enter the mix there are countless pieces of paper on the floor.
At this point I open a bottle of wine and start counting to 10. One of these days I might not make it to 10 and I'll just lock them all outside. Maybe not Heidi...she's still little.
I never really know when Mike will be home from work but we shoot for a 6 pm dinner time. I will literally be putting food on the table and have kids pulling more food out of the pantry because they are so close to starvation that they can see the white light. I smack the food right out of their hands and point towards the table.
Do you remember the movie "A Christmas Story"? You know how the mom hadn't had a hot meal for herself in at least 12 years? I kind of feel like that. Someone always needs something and when I do eat its being shoveled in at lightening speed so that I can deal with some mess or Heidi's crying or something. Once dinner is mostly over I start to feel my blood pressure lowering. Mike does clean up the bulk of my work is over. I can tend to Heidi, get the boys ready for bed and then they are up MIKE'S butt for the duration of the evening.
Some days its all I can do not to load them all up, drop them off at the closest QuikTrip and drive off a bridge in a blaze of glory...that or really look into finding some arsenic.