Oh, Fridays. We have a love-hate relationship. The end of the week signals is also my hardest single day of the week.
I have three kids, siblings, whom I watch every day of the work week. I have two other kids, siblings, whom I watch on Tuesdays and Fridays. Olivia is gone to school on Tuesdays, but on Fridays she is here. Which means I have six kids under age 5 in my house on Fridays. And, for some reason, their behavior has an added dose of crazy on Friday as well. Maybe it is because it is the end of the week and they are tired or fried or something. Whatever it is, it plays out like this:
6:30 a.m. - Two kids arrive. Olivia is still asleep. Two kids lay on the couch and watch TV quietly until the others arrive. This is my hour of peace.
7:30 a.m. - Three other kids arrive. Olivia hears the commotion and wakes up, usually in a good mood and ready to play.
8:00 a.m. - I force Olivia to sit down and eat breakfast. I make everyone else be still so she will actually DO this. I cajole and threaten for roughly ten minutes while she randomly bounces off her chair and races off to do...something.
8:30 a.m. - I yell, for the tenth time this morning, "For the love of Pete, STOP RUNNING AND SCREAMING. I get the stink eye from one kid. Another sneaks off to the bedroom to start pulling books off the shelf and making a pile. Olivia melts down for the first time.
9:00 a.m. - After cleaning up the book pile and banning the kids from the bedroom, I break up a fight over who gets to sit on the middle cushion of the sunroom couch. Olivia melts down because someone keeps walking into her line of vision for whatever show is on the TV.
9:30 a.m. - Decided to ignore the sunroom toys and turn the TV off. Kids wander aimlessly through the rooms for awhile, shouting at me every three minutes that the baby is in Olivia's room (where there are tiny toys...she's not supposed to play there). Yelled at Olivia for carrying the baby out of the room because she's not allowed to carry the baby.
10:00 a.m. - All of the kids are sitting in one room while Olivia sheepishly hides in the corner of another room. Upon questioning, I discover that no one wants to play with Olivia because she has been poking them incessantly with her feet because she's in the mood to irritate. Olivia melts down. We have a stern discussion about her behavior. I have a stern discussion with the others about trying to get along. They all hug and go play nicely for awhile.
10:15 a.m. - The kids take turns asking me when lunch will be, or is it lunch time, or how long until lunch time until I threaten anyone with time-out for even mentioning lunch.
10:45 a.m. - I begin preparing lunch. The lunchtime questioning begins again.
11:00 a.m. - I call everyone to the table for lunch. Olivia takes it upon herself to "help" with the plates I so carefully prepared. She makes a mess. I forcefully sit her on the floor and deal with the mess. And then I yell. I give everyone else lunch and then have a stern talk with her. Then she gets lunch. Everyone eats quietly for two blessed minutes. Then the lunch issues start. Olivia and one kid are playing with their food. Two other kids are peeking at each other under the table. One of the kids starts asking for dessert after taking two bites. Another starts in on that too. I refuse to give dessert to anyone who doesn't eat their entire lunch. One kid finishes his lunch and gets dessert. The two-bite kid claims to not be that hungry and still wants dessert. No way, kid. So kid gets excused from the table after having eaten two bites (even though this is one of the kids who asks for a full 30 minutes when lunch will be because "I'm SO hungry!!"). Eventually everyone finishes whatever they are going to finish. Some get dessert. Some don't. The baby gets fed.
11:30 a.m. - I make my lunch. Everyone starts asking when/if we get to go outside. Over and over. I tell them all to go away and let me eat my lunch.
11:35 a.m. - Everyone starts running around the house like lunatics. Someone gets pushed into a wall. Crying ensues. I make everyone sit down and stare at the TV while I eat something. They fidget around and poke each other and generally invade each other's space until I let them get off the couch and do something else. They play more or less peacefully for awhile.
12:00 noon - We go outside, if it's nice. If not, God help us.
12:45 p.m. - Someone kicks/hits/pushes someone and therefore pushes me over the edge, and we all trek back inside for nap.
1:00 p.m. - You kids lay still and be quiet RIGHT NOW!
1:10 p.m. - Everyone is asleep except Olivia, who needs to nap but won't. I let her go to the porch and quietly watch TV and draw while everyone sleeps, so long as she agrees to be quiet and still.
1:15 p.m. - Olivia starts asking for snack. I say no. She melts down.
1:30 p.m. - I give in and give her a snack.
2:00 p.m. - Olivia melts down over not getting ANOTHER snack. I make her lay down.
2:10 p.m. - Olivia falls asleep.
3:00 p.m. - Three kids leave. Two kids wake up and wander aimlessly while Olivia snoozes away.
3:30 p.m. - Olivia wakes up grumpy. I give everyone a snack. They perk up and start running around the house like lunatics.
4:30 p.m. - Two kids leave. Olivia melts down. I pray for bedtime.
Thank God Fridays are followed by a weekend. The end.