Later, one kid whacked another with something, and while I comforted the hurt one, a third child came from nearby to pummel the offender, who pinched that one back. Now I had three children wailing and hitting each other. All piled on my lap. A tangle of angry bodies. I thought, "How many times each week does this happen? I'm not even surprised by it anymore!"
That day, I decided to capture the moment-by-moment happenings of a typical day. Mothers with grown children always reminded me to cherish these days because I'd miss them. The thought was laughable at the time, because I couldn't imagine missing the roller coaster ride of each day's squabbles, diaper changes and impossibly long chore list. But I did wonder if I'd remember just how our typical days transpired. Would I look back with rosy glasses on, remembering their sweet chubby hands and funny mispronunciations of words, forgetting how hard it was just to pull myself through each afternoon?
A few days later, I grabbed the camera after I woke up. I kept a careful chronicle of everything that happened from the moment I woke until I went to bed. Every squabble, every cuddle, everything we did. What we listened to in the car, what the kids played, what we ate, what book I read them at bedtime. I even noted the times! And I took pictures all day. It's a quickly thrown together scrapbook, nothing fancy. Half the pictures are a bit fuzzy because the camera was on the wrong setting all day. When I realized this, I figured that it highlights the chaos of life at this time -- I didn't even have the mental wherewithal to check the camera setting! When I pasted the notes and pictures onto pages, I knew I'd someday look back in disbelief at this "Journal of a Day." I'd remember just how our days really unfolded when we had three tiny children in the house, and I'd chuckle over the day's chaos.
6:25 Start laundry
7:20am Switch laundry to dryer, start second load.
8:45 Madelyn comes crying because Asher won't let her knock down his blocks.
9:05 put laundry away, notice stuffed sheep covered in chewed chocolate chips. Think it's poop and panic.
9:20 Anna's naked. Get new outfit. decide to skip M's nap to visit the Montshire.
9:35 Put on kids' music. Call Mom to see about meeting at Stone Arch later.
9:45 Kids clean toys while I coats & shoes. Want to leave by 9:50.
9:55 Still getting coats & shoes on. Chris stops in for food. Anna goes potty.
10:15 Finally bring Asher & Maddy to car.
10:20 Anna comes out, get her buckled.
I love being able to look back and see how far we've come. Life is still busy and chaotic with my kids, but it's MUCH easier than those days! They still bicker and fight, but their self-control and patience has increased a hundredfold!
In March 2013, I was 7 months pregnant with Declan. I decided to capture another average day, now that life was much easier than it was in 2010. Now everyone could dress alone, go potty, feed themselves. We played and read a whole lot more, and those unpredictable toddler tantrums were a thing of the past. I wanted a record of life now, with older kids but before Declan changed the family dynamic.