Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Life in the Day of Nilsens

My day starts around 4am, when Lars wakes up convinced he will starve to death unless he has a bottle RIGHT NOW - no amount of 'crying it out' or soothing back rubs will convince him otherwise. Grandma's theory is that he's figured out how to get some extra Mommy time in a 24-hr period.

Back to bed for me, and then the alarm goes off at 5.30am and Nilsen gets up, goes to the basement to check emails, talk to the Swedes, and shower without waking the kids up. He's supposed to wake me up at 6.15 when he leaves the house to drive 30 long slow miles around the Beltway to Reston,VA and his new project mgmt job, before Washington traffic really kicks in. Instead, we have a conversation, he turns on the lights, and I fall back to sleep for an exhausted 30 mins until 6.45 when Cecilie comes creeping into our room and puts her cold feet on my belly to warm up, and we listen to Lars chatting to himself next door.

7am, we're all out of bed and Cecilie is shrieking 'GOOD MORNING LARS!' as we go in to change his diapers. 7.20 and usually we've made it downstairs where I start the kettle boiling for coffee (1st priority - and when I think about how Nilsen & I used to be so snobbish about instant coffee!). By this point Cecilie has requested her Cinderella DVD about 6 times, and we've negotiated a yes/no/maybe so. Then figure something out for the kids' breakfast, whilst saying good morning to the contractors who are ripping out Grandma's kitchen whilst I scramble the eggs. 7.45 and I'm realising I'll never get out of the house in time, especially if Cecilie continues to be so poky about finishing her toast. 7.50, we're back upstairs and I throw up the baby gate to keep Lars off the stairs, Cecilie leaps into the shower and insists no one may join her, and Lars starts banging on the washing machine with enthusiasm.

I pull kids clothes out of drawers, and hear shrieks of 'Mommy! LARS IS GETTING IN THE BATHTUB!' and find Lars' feet sticking out over the edge of the tub, head under the tap and both of them giggling. I pull him out, strip off his pajamas and take him into the shower with us and try to get clean as quickly & efficiently as possible. Then its into whatever clean black clothes are on my bedroom chair (only black because there is no time/inclination to accessorise or coordinate). Kids into clothes, and bundle down the stairs & into the car for Grandma to drive me to Metro. Grandma is then officially in charge for the day.

A quiet 45 min. ride where I slap on some makeup & read the front page of the paper, then hike the 14 blocks to the store where I spend the day selling ceramic pigs, silk flowers and sofas to the wealthy. On a good day Nilsen can stop by on his way home and pick me up (the benefit of starting work at 7am is finishing at 4!) and we get 45 mins together to think of all the things we need to be discussing. On a bad day I do the reverse hike back to Metro, ride 45 mins home and then get picked up by one of the adults in the house and one or more unhappy, hungry children.

7pm, 7.20 and we re-enter the fray, usually with Lars ready to crash well before dinner is finished. The big question is whether or not Cecilie has napped, because if she has you know you're in for some corkers, and a very busy evening of lots of playing and stories. If not, she's falling asleep in her soup and the rush is on to get them in bed before it all ends in tears. Her newest approach to bedtime is having some time alone to read books before its time for lights out - how can I argue with reading time? Her day finishes with a few songs, and the reassurance that Grandma will be right up to kiss her, if she can only lie still with her eyes closed.

Then its back downstairs to sort out the toys in the playroom, find all the missing pieces, watch the Olympics, and pack lunches for the next day. One for Grandpa (no place to buy lunch at his office), one for Torbjorn (ditto), and one for Kirsten (lunch in Georgetown ain't cheap!). If there was any way to cook dinner in the middle of construction, then those dishes need doing, but dinner out is probably on the menu for the next month or so.

The day ends with re-tucking blankets around sleeping cherubs, getting the bottle ready for the 4am wakeup call, and pretending to read/solve SuDoKu for 30 seconds before turning out the lights.

We keep promising that in our free time we'll get the trim painted in the Yellow House so the floors can be refinished so the kitchen can be installed so the laundry room (which currently holds all the kitchen units) can be installed so we can finally move in by the move-in date of April 30ish. This would, however, be based on the assumption that there are funds for all of this frenzied activity. Hence, Torbjorn's new job and my old(ish) job and hence the lack of free time. Hey, we're living the American Dream.


eileen said...

I'm so GLAD that I'm not the only sad one who does SuDoKu before going to bed in a sad, desperate attempt to escape reality....

Amanda said...

What an absolutely fantastic blog. In a fairly random sort of way, it makes me miss the Nilsens more than ever.

Linda said...

My friend Magali gave me a Killer Sudoku book -- I've yet to finish the first puzzle. Always too sleepy!!!

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