For those of you who are excited about the Birth Story for Baby #7, you’ll just have to wait a bit! It’ll come soon enough.
In the meantime, if you’ve missed any parts of this series and would like to read them, look to the sidebar under “Tags,” and click on “A Day in the Life Series.”
So today we pick up with what happens after dinner.
6pm Dinner Cleanup
When everyone is finished eating, my husband leads us in a brief After Dinner Prayer, which goes as follows:
We give thee thanks for all thy benefits, Almighty God, who lives and reigns forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
Then chaos generally ensues, as everyone clears his place at the table. Ideally, my obedient little children would immediately place their plate, cup, and silverware in the dishwasher and begin their next cleanup task: The Eldest washes, Child #2 dries, Child #3 sweeps the dining room and kitchen, Child #4 straightens up the back entryway, Child #5 throws the dirty napkins in the hamper, and Child #6 plays quietly on the couch with a doll. And this whole process would take ten minutes.
Ha! This whole process takes anywhere from half an hour to an hour because the children are so busy gabbing and laughing and wrestling and giggling. You’d think they were all under the age of 12. (Well, I guess they are.)
And during this loud, chaotic time, I generally hide in the laundry room and fold the last load of laundry for the day. My husband, blessed saint that he is, corrects the Eldest’s math, which she must fix after washing the dishes, if she has any mistakes.
If time allows, my husband and I will sometimes enjoy an after dinner drink. In the warmer months we amble on outside and sit on the deck.
When the children are finished with their after dinner chores, they usually have time to mess around for a bit until the next part of our evening, which is the Rosary. Next time we’ll pick up with this and hopefully finish up the series.
And we’re back to “A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool.” If you missed the previous 4 parts and would like to catch up, look on my sidebar under “tags,” and click on “A Day in the Life Series.”
Quiet Time, which I mentioned in Part 4, usually ends at around 1pm, as the children begin sneaking upstairs to see what I’m doing. And so then, we begin the next part of our day.
1pm Outdoor Recess
As the four middle children have usually completed any necessary “book” work earlier, they now have a choice. They may remain downstairs building their lego castles or reading their books, or they may venture back outside. Most of the time, they scramble outside because my husband built them an ice skating rink.
This is the first year we’ve ever attempted building an ice skating rink, and honestly, I don’t know how we survived without one. It has supplied hours and hours of fun. And only one minor accident–Child #3 whacked his head on the ice, resulting in a large bump, which turned into one giant, yellow-brownish bruise. Nothing serious, just a wound to brag about.
1pm is also Afternoon School
So, while the middle children skip and slide around outside and Child #6 naps, the Eldest gets a little one-on-one time with Mom. We work on grammar and writing. And of course, we use Classical Academic Press’s Well-Ordered Language series and their Writing and Rhetoric series, as you can see in the photo below.
I usually need to sit with her for about twenty minutes, and then I move on to a few domestic tasks while she completes her work. For example, I generally switch out and fold laundry and begin any prep work for supper.
I like to keep our afternoons light and flexible, however, because this is when I schedule activities and appointments. For example, on Tuesdays, the older children attend choir practice. On Thursdays, they have piano lessons. Sometimes we attend PE sessions with a larger group of homeschoolers. Sometimes we invite other families over to visit.
4pm Getting Ready for Supper
The end of the afternoon requires more work dedicated to supper, of course. (Eating. It’s just a never-ending task!) All the children help with setting the table, and sometimes the older ones do some chopping or other minor prep work.
Some of you may be wondering how it might be possible to survive sickness in your household and teach school all day? Yes? Then read on.
Since I am in the midst of caring for Barfing Children right now, I thought I’d offer a few tips of advice. This is mostly to encourage myself and cheer on the rest of you, who may be suffering from this most taxing and exhausting dilemma.
8 Tips to Survive Barfing Children, Ear Infections & Other Nasty Stuff While Teaching School, Cooking for a Family, and Cleaning a House:
1.Don’t clean your house. Or if you must, just make your bed and call it good. Heck, your bed is probably still made from yesterday because you didn’t sleep in it anyway. You were sitting in the rocking chair, holding a screaming baby all night. I know it’s a big deal in this household to get a load of laundry done every day too, but I guess it won’t go anywhere, so that can be left alone.* (See note below.) The children can turn their clothes inside-out and wear them again, for the 3rd day in a row, unless of course there’s vomit on them…
2. Put lipstick on. This should go without saying. Not only is lipstick fun, but it brightens everyone’s day. Especially if you’re not in the habit of wearing it. Your husband and children will wonder what came over you. And when you look in the mirror, you will not notice the dark circles around your eyes, but will instead, be stunned by the awesomeness of Hot Pink Lips. You might even laugh at yourself, which is good.
3. Reduce school to a minimum. This is a very good time to renew your subscription to Audible, purchase The Story of Civilization, and commence History Class. When your children are finished with this, send the healthy ones outside for the remainder of the day for Nature Study. If the healthy children do not want to do Nature Study, offer House-Cleaning 101, wherein all children scrub floors, walls, and toilets.
4. Spend an extra amount of time styling your hair. Why? Because you’re sleep deprived and look like it. There are statistics out there saying that if you look put-together, you will feel put-together. Paul Harvey, the decades-long iconic radio broadcaster, used to wear a suit and tie every day for his program. And his studio was in his house, where virtually no one saw him. But he knew that his performance was always better if he dressed the part. So, this morning, I dug out my curling iron and spent five extra minutes curling my hair. Then, I sprayed it with lots of hair spray. And yes, it made me feel better about not sleeping last night.
Paul Harvey. Great guy. My dad was named after him, literally.
5. Decide not to yell at your children. You are going to have a demanding day. Just face it. If the baby was up all night crying, he’s going to be crabby and cry all day too. So, your nerves are shot. You will be seriously tempted to yell at your other children. Just don’t do it. This will take a tremendous amount of effort and a lot of prayer. And in some cases, like mine, it will take a minor miracle. See my post HERE on that one.
6. Eat takeout or something frozen for supper. Eating Little Caesar’s Pizza every once in awhile won’t kill you. In fact, it might save your sanity. And I’ve found that those $4.98 rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club are handy too. The best part is, they’re hot and ready to eat, and I’ve done nothing to prepare them. Someone I know gave me that great bit of advice. She also said to top it off with a bag of baby carrots and a bag of buns. Smart, smart woman.
7. Spend more time in prayer. Why? Because you’re sleep-deprived and well, crazy from holding a screaming baby all night. All sleep-deprived, crazy people need a lot of prayer. I know this from experience. The tricky part is making time to do it. I suggest leaving your house and spending an hour in silent Adoration. Hire a babysitter, call grandma, ask your husband to take sick leave…anything. This hour of Adoration may be the only time you will get to sleep, until the illnesses go away. And yes, sleeping in Adoration still counts as prayer.
8. Drink More Coffee. It’s a given that this helps, right?
I’ve also heard that having a teenager helps too, because then she can babysit. Well, I’m working on that one. But I’m afraid it’s still going to be two more years until that one becomes a reality.
I have a friend who got a day behind on laundry. So the next day, she washed and dried multiple loads and then carried them to her bed. She made a nice, heaping pile and then promptly forgot about them until bedtime. Well, what to do then? Spend six hours folding them? No! She smartly remembered her clean bathtub and quickly deposited them there and pulled the shower curtain shut until the following day. Then she didn’t have to stare at it. Just an idea.
Know of anyone else experiencing Sick Children? If so, share these tips with them?
In Part 2 I left off with Mid-Morning Prayer. This is actually the second time during the morning when we all gather together, and so some might call it “Morning Time,” which would make for two Morning Times for our family. Well, whatever you want to call it. Here it is.
10am Mid-Morning Prayer
At around 10am, when the children are done with their school, which I mentioned in Part 2, and I’ve checked and graded it, I call them all to the living room for prayer. We begin with a hymn, I ask for intentions, which are often very sweet, we pray a short prayer like the Memorare, and then we close with a hymn. That’s it.
For example, during the Christmas season we sang Good King Wenceslaus, because it’s their favorite and also O Tannenbaum, because we’re German, and it’s fun to sing in a foreign language. (Well, maybe we’re a bit pagan too? A whole song glorifying a tree? That’s not a hymn.)
Today we sang Good King Wenceslaus for both the opening and the closing because the boys love all those verses about kings and pages and fierce blizzards. They’re obsessed.
Before I let them all run off to their next task, however, we do a review of everyone’s Latin vocabulary. Sometimes we play Latin Around the World, but most days, I call out the English, and they shout back the Latin. And yes, it’s shouting because they all want to be heard. Sometimes this gets to be very loud and chaotic.
10:15am More School
At this point, the Eldest takes the two youngest children and disappears. Glory be to God in the Highest.
Then I commence Song School Latin from Classical Academic Press with Child #2, #3, and #4. They all ardently insist that this is their favorite school to do.
When Latin is done, Child #4 disappears, and I help Child #2 and #3 with the remainder of their school for the day, which is usually Math and Grammar.
Then it is my favorite part of the morning:
10:45 am Outdoor Recess Time!
While the children are frolicking around outside, I fold the first load of laundry and put the second load in the dryer. Then I start heating up leftovers for lunch.
And that’s enough for today. Stay tuned for Part 4.