Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Dear John Letter (of Important Instructions)

For some reason, I am going to post the schedule I gave my husband for the eight kids he had to care for during the days I was sick. (In case you're new to this blog, yes, they are all ours, plus one more who is apparently old enough to live on her own (jk, Bethany!)) He took two days off from his normal work schedule, and I so, so much appreciated it. He did a great job, even making two pans of enchiladas from scratch the second day, one red, one green! Because I don't necessarily want strangers knowning the exact time or my daily goings and comings, I have replaced those exact times with the word "Later". Also, I will add my own informative commentary to you, the reader, in brackets throughout. Here we go...

Dear John, I don't know if I am going to be able to help tomorrow. I will do my best, but if not, here is the schedule I follow that keeps things running "relatively" smoothly :).

6:30 - 7:30 Babies wake up. I change their diapers, (Hyrum has a rash), put them in their high chairs and feed them some Honey Nut Cheerios first, with a drink, then I slice bananas really small, because this takes them longer to eat, affording me more time to unload the dishwashers and other things.

Later: Big kids drive to school, picking up T and K [These are two of the kids' cousins they drive to school every day].

Later: Little kids are picked up by D [This is John's cousin]. At this time I finish any leftover kitchen cleaning.

9:30 Ester shows up. This would be a good time to start lunch, if you haven't already. [Ester is the on-again, off-again maid we have. I prefer not to have a maid, as I'd prefer to do my own work, but John has highly encouraged it, so I try it, on-again, off-again. For today, I knew he'd need the help with the housework, so I was happy to have her over. Plus, the babies LOVE her! ...and so do I. She's a generous lady with a heart of gold.]

10:00 Babies and Johnny get a snack, usually consisting of sesame sticks, the kind you buy at Sun Harvest, and raisins or cheerios or orange dried fruit from a jar and sippy cups with diluted juice or water. This is where it gets challenging. The babies will start getting fussy and tired, so this is when the outside time happens. They love the courtyard, the sideyard, the front yard, your parent's house, anything outside. If you can do this until about 11:15, 11:30, then it will be time for their lunch.

11:30 Using the new mini food processor, you can blend up fresh fruits and vegetables for them for lunch. It's out on the island.

11:45 - 12:00 Bath time. Johnny can watch a movie at this time to keep him under wraps.

Later: Little kids return for lunch. Hopefully you will have found time to make the 15-bean soup on the back burner, please, as the babies can now reach higher and higher, and you can serve this with chips and other condiments.

Later: Big kids return for lunch. Before returning to school, all kids must help put the kitchen back the way it was.

12:10 - 12: 45 Babies bed time. Just bring me the fussiest one and I will nurse him to sleep. You can rock the other one or keep him happy until I'm done with the first, it doesn't really matter. Johnny again can be entertained by a movie at this time.

12:50 Johnny goes to bed in our bed.

1:00 through 3:00 FREE TIME! WOOHOO! [During this time I usually fold laundry while watching a movie on the laptop. It is both enjoyable and productive! I don't know what John did the first day, but the second day, he took a two-hour nap.]

3:00 or so: Babies wake up and it is snack time again. I put them in their high chairs and feed them leftover blended food or whatever else you want. They also like soy milk.

Later: All kids but Conor return home with rides. He will return later after tennis.

4:00 Snack time for kids.

4:30 Homework time for kids

Later: When homework is finished, you can pick one or so chores for each kid to do, like taking care of a baby for 30 minutes, or whatever. During this time, Kyla can start on dinner. I don't know what you want to have, maybe more fifteen bean soup, or hamburgers or whatever.

The babies will start to get fussy again at this time. Outside time is the thing they love, or a visit to your mom and dad's.

6: 30 Dinner time. Kyla sets the table and after dinner, Conor cleans the table and sweeps the floor and Reid does the counters, island and dishes. Lanny and Claire each clean a high chair.

7:00 Bath time. I still don't like to trust the kids with this job, because I'm a worry wart, but do what you want to do.

7:30 Babies dressing and play time, then bring me the baby that is the fussiest and I will nurse him to bed, followed by the other.

8:30 or 9:00 Scripture time, then the other kids need to start heading to bed, including Johnny, doors locked and you fall into bed. WHEW!

A word of caution. Ester is very helpful with the babies and I'm sure you will want to use her help. However, if she puts them down to nap before their scheduled time, they will probably wake up when the kids get home for lunch, and experience says that they will not be able to stay up until their 7:30 to 8:00 bed time. They will probably fall asleep at about 5:00 or 6:00, and even if they only sleep ten or fifteen minutes, this will most likely give them energy to stay up until 11:00 or 12:00. It's completely up to you if you want this to happen, but it will be difficult. Just trying to make your life easier.

Also, when the kids help in the afternoon, please remind them to, under no circumstances, let the babies fall asleep. Have them come to you if they think they cannot do this.

I hope I can help, but if not, good luck! Thank you so much!

Your Wife

[And that is my life. Every. Single. Day. You know what I mean, I know you do....]

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Rhonda said...

I know your life minus the twins!

But sometimes it's just too hard to explain all the stuff to someone else. You're better than me. If I have had a surgery or something I just tell Jed make sure he throws them a snack or two and a couple meals along with a fresh diaper or two and make sure they're alive at the end of the day. He does pretty good but don't send the man to the store. It takes him 2 hours to do what I could in 20 minutes! But ya know, he doesn't mind so why should I?

So glad you're feeling better. And I bet the family is TOO!

Lydia said...

I would be scared to see my house and kids if daddy was in charge for a few days letter or no letter, and I only have 6 kids

* said...

This is a lovely, brilliant post! So telling, so funny.

I'm headed out of town in a few weeks, so I might just borrow some of the passages from this post and copy them into a new letter for my own sweet husband!

PS: found you on Mormon Mommy blogs ;)

Melinda said...

Ok, now that made me tired just reading it. Whew!! What a schedule. I think it is great that you are so organized. You are a great mom, wife and house manager!!!

Unknown said...

I am tired just reading that. I wish that I was that organized. We work on a controlled chaos routine here and I only have 3.

Aubrey said...

Glad you are feeling better! And I know you left out a lot on that list... :) You're amazing!

Jill @ Sneaky Momma said...

Reading your schedule had me worn out before noon. :)
My kids both take a nap at the same time every day. It is not-negotiable. Mommy needs her alone time, too!

Amanda B. said...

Yep- I totally understand this schedule!! :) Wish us luck- we tackle potty training twins next week!! Yikes!

Elder Romney's mission said...

And did he follow it exactly or did he do his own thing like my husband would!!:))

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Well, Jeni, he did pretty well following the instructions. As long as he kept them on their sleep schedule, I was happy! And he did!

The Farmer's Wife said...

Jen...I had no idea you were sooo sick! wow! I am glad that you are on the mend. John is a GOOD man! others would have not even tried. Hugs;)

Emily said...

I can relate on a smaller scale. Every. Single. Day! You have a good man.