I generally spend about nine to ten hours at work and am generally heading to daycare by about 5pm. As you can imagine pick up from daycare can be interesting when both mum and two and three year olds are tired. Miss A is in the first room and generally comes running, pretty much packing herself up from daycare by taking her bag off me, wanting to put her own jacket on and saying goodbye to the staff before I have even signed her out! We then head into collect Miss M. Miss M is generally found by hearing a 'mummy' bellowed as loud as possible as she runs as fast as she can directly towards my legs threatening to bowl me over. I brace for contact, watch with a smile as Miss M and Miss A hug (like hey haven't seen each other all day despite seeing each other at daycare). Then comes the hard work. As much as the girls are excited to see me they take FOREVER to leave the daycare center. I watch enviously as other parents stroll with ease to their cars with their young child in tow. No running, no screaming, no-one looking like they have even broken a sweat. Then there is me, wandering ahead as my children get distracted by every possible thing on the way out of the daycare center. They play with posters on the wall, the play stations that they have set up with colouring pencils and crayons, and then just when you think you have made it to the door they both giggle and yell 'RUN!' and head back in the opposite direction. I spend the next five minuted doing 'ready set go', and 'ok, bye, mums going now' and pretending to leave without them. By the time I get to the car I'm exhausted. And this is where the work starts. It is only when I get to the car that Miss A decides that she wants to get in the car all by herself. Now I drive a Holden Captiva (SUV) that sits relatively high off the ground. So Miss A stands her chubby short little frame right beside the car trying to jackknife her leg up to get into the car. If by some miracle she actually got up there she would only be on the floor of the vehicle and would still have to get up onto the car seat and then into her child restraint. So I take charge. I lift her up quickly, bracing myself for whats about to come. As I picked her up her little body began to tense. 'Noooooooo' she said quickly progressing from speaking to wailing. 'HELP!!!' she starts to scream (meaning that she doesn't want anyones help), And arches her back back making it almost impossible to put her in her seat. She lets out a scream until her little head is shaking as she runs out of air, gasps a bit breath in, and then cries loudly again, directly in my ear as I try to position her central to the seat. As she lets out the next cry she weakens her rigidity a bit and I manage to position my hand so that I can gently push her bottom down into the seat and then frantically get the clasp fastened before she gathers her strength for the next buck. It has always amazed me how strong toddlers can be! With the seatbelt secured I take a big breath in and wipe my brow having worked up a sweat, pause for a second, and then turn to Miss M who is balancing precariously on a ledge. I feel my pulse jump to that familiar rate yet again and then I am ushering Miss M back to the car with her protesting that she wants to do it herself. She attempts to go out on the road independently as I grab her little hand tightly and remind her of the dangers of running out on the to the road and then put her safely into the car. The drive home generally consists of miss M yelling form the back of the car that she wants the music turned up, Miss A yelling 'NOOOOO' at miss M in response to her yelling because she is still in a mood from her defeat at daycare, and me telling the girls to speak nicely.
On arriving home, miss M already has whipped her seatbelt off and is getting out of the car as I open the back door of the car to let her out. Miss A is much happier to be helped out of the car than being helped in and happily reaches for my arms as she is released from her seatbelt. Both girls run to the door to be greeted by their big sister. On a good day I walk into the smell of dinner cooking and Hubby to be in the kitchen, on bad day I find hubby to be on the couch looking like he has only just woken from a sleep. By this time it is almost six o'clock so you can imagine that the children are cranky and hungry, I am cranky and hungry, and if tea is not cooking, Miss H's first question to me as I walk in the door is ALWAYs 'mu-um, whats for tea?' which infuriates me even more. This is when crazy hour starts. Crazy hour, or hours, is that time of the night when the kids need bathing, dinner needs cooking, homework needs to be done, and no-one wants to do it. The younger children don't want to get in the bath, the preteen does NOT want to do her homework, and on a bad day, mum and dad barely want to look each other in the eye! It normally takes just one of the kids to do something funny which quickly thaws me out and everyone is back to being social again. We generally choose to divide and conquer, with one of us tackling the little ones bath and pyjamas and the other cooking dinner and arguing with Miss H about her homework or her contribution (or lack there of) the the work that is being done. After bath time, the house is normally chiming with Miss A's disgust at being made to get dressed and at least one of her parents are sweating yet again.
At the dinner table, Miss A is generally quiet and inhaling her dinner, Miss M is making conversation by asking around the table about everyones days. Miss H is normally chewing very loudly, and hubby to be and I sit back and giggle at the surroundings while food flies on to the floor. After dinner the fighting starts again as we wind up for bed time. Miss H is normally complaining about having to do the whatever job she is allocated while one parent is telling her to do her job faster as we painstakingly watch her work at a snails pace, while she is hoping that someone else will do it for her. She then choses this time to 'need to go to the toilet' to which her parents generally roll their eyes. She tells me today that not every time does she do a number two which tells me that most time she actually must just sit there staring at the wall because NO-ONE takes that long to go to the toilet when its just for number ones! Miss M and Miss A are normally running around the house burning off a bit of energy at this stage, giggling and squealing at the top of their lungs. Once the house is clean its time for teeth and bed for the girls, Miss H obviously a little later than the others, after which time their parents lunches and bags packed for the next day and then collapse on the couch exhausted and the day is done. I usually stay up to ridiculous times savouring the me time and then wonder why on earth I did it when the alarm goes off the next day.