| Written by Ronnie |
Every three months or so, I try to record an entire day in as much detail as I can manage. I have to admit, after documenting December on a daily basis, I really had to psyche myself up to do this on the second day of the new year. However, I'm glad I did and I know I'll never regret making the effort to record a snapshot of our everyday family life in such detail. At the end of the year, my plan is to compile all of this into a small coffee table book.
Saturday, the 2nd of January
Even before I'm fully awake, I already know just how tired I am. It has been another terrible night's sleep, and I am exhausted. My pelvis was sore all night, and I couldn't get the pillows to work for me. I make a mental note to put away our donna tonight to make it easier to move the pillows around throughout the night. In the distance, I can hear the boys in their bedrooms and in the corridor. Rick, who's also woken up, shouts out to the boys: "Go back to your beds, boys!" He does this a couple of times before realising that it's half past nine. As always, he swings his legs out of bed without complaint or fuss, as if on auto-pilot. I am still groggy from sleep (or lack thereof). I lie there, motionless on our bed, as I listen to Rick's interactions with the boys: "Boys, time to get dressed and make your beds! Jamie, yes, I'll come and help you. Bear, stop throwing baby wipes around the room! Argh, we've got to keep these baby wipes out of Bear's reach...!" Some time later, Rick comes back into our bedroom for a hug. I tell him about my bad night's sleep, and he encourages me to keep sleeping. "Will you make pancakes this morning?" I ask, hopefully. "Yup, I'll give the boys cereal first, then make pancakes for when you come down later." We hug, and then I lie back down, pulling my blindfolds back on. I try dozing, but without any success. Around quarter to ten, I manage to manoeuvre myself out of bed. My hips are still sore, so I take it slowly. I pick up my phone and take it to my office. I check my emails briefly and note the sign-ups for my photo organisation online class that have come through overnight. I finalise the blog post that I'm planning publish on The Shoemaker's Daughter later today. I potter back down the corridor to tidy the bedrooms. Gus has already made his bed (bless him) so I simply tuck the edge of his donna further down the side of his bed. I put Bear's pillow away into the wardrobe and place his throw cushion at the head of his cot, covering up the tiny Thomas toy that he has hidden there. In Pete and Jamie's room, I straighten out their sheets and their blankets until I'm satisfied with the alignment. (Perfectionist much?) I wander into our bedroom and, for a brief moment, I consider not making our bed. The moment of craziness passes, and the next thing I know, I'm tucking our flat sheet in and smoothing down our doona as I listen to the cicadas humming away.
Ten minutes past ten, I walk down the stairs in my grey pyjamas and see the four boys at the meals table. They are all eating pancakes. I give them each a kiss on the top of their head, then walk over to put my glass down in the kitchen. My eyes are bleary and I'm certain that I look crap. Nonetheless, Rick beams a big smile at me. We hug briefly. I take a glucose score, and it is over 11! I am utterly discouraged and disappointed in myself for not exercising more restraint last night while we watched Mission Impossible. Clearly, I should not be consuming a Lindor chocolate, a fortune cookie, and a fruit cake (with custard) in one sitting. To compensate, I allow myself just one and a half slices of pancake, with no topping whatsoever, and a cup of tea. One by one, the boys finish their pancakes and bring their cups and plates over to the kitchen. Rick sits down next to me with his two large pancakes. He already senses my discouragement. I haven't even made it through two sentences when Angus comes up and tells us that Bear has been playing with his Lego helicopter for the last day now, and he would like to play with it. We encourage him to talk to Bear about it, and he says that he has but Bear keeps saying, 'No.' Rick then suggests that he offers Bear an alternative. Angus thinks this is a good idea and leaves to offer his Technics pull-back racer to Bear. The next thing we hear is Bear's loud "Nooo!" I call Bear over for a little chat. He comes over somewhat reluctantly, as if he knows I'm about to tell him what to do. "Bear, whose helicopter is that?" He avoids my eyes. "Bear? Who does that helicopter belong to?" "Me!" The pout on his face is both adorable and exasperating. Rick reaches down and pulls Bear into his lap whilst I continue. "No Bear, that helicopter is Angus' and you know that. You've been playing with it for a long time now, and Angus would like to have a go. Can you please give it back to him in a little while?" He pouts for a little bit more, then agrees to go off with dad to find something else to play with. Rick offers him Pete's Lego helicopter, which Bear happily accepts, but then Pete comes along and refuses to let Bear play with it. I encourage Pete to share it since he's not playing with it but he refuses. Before I can push it any further, Rick offers to make Bear a helicopter and he seems very happy with this idea. I drink my tea and watch from the meals table while Rick lies down next to the Lego trays with Bear and Angus. I notice his pancakes going cold and suggests he comes back to eat them first. He barely acknowledges me, and I realise I'm feeling slightly abandoned because what I really wanted was to spend a few minutes with my husband. He finishes a small, minimalist helicopter for Bear then comes back. "I just wanted to spend a minute with you," I say in a small voice. He sits down and turns his chair towards me. As he finishes his breakfast, we talk about my glucose score and how crap I feel. We also chat about the day. He's still planning to take the boys to BCF to exchange the camping chair Mark gave him and he asks if I want to go along. The thought of staying behind and having the house to myself is tempting, but I know that what I really want to do is to spend the day with the family. Before I'm able to reply, we're interrupted again and we end up pushing on with the rest of the morning.
Rick starts to clean up in the kitchen, while I take my pills and then potter about downstairs, seeing what the boys are up to. They are all milling about, engaged in various role-playing games and scenarios with their Lego toys. With all the walking around, I start to get Braxton Hicks contractions and I end up sitting down at the foot of the stairs. Despite my enthusiasm for the day ahead, I suddenly feel overwhelmed by the physicality of being pregnant the sixth time around. Together with the diabetes, it all seems a bit too much. Rick comes over and I bury my face into the crook of his neck. "Love you, Ronnie," he says. Bear walks up and immediately notices that something is wrong. "Why mama sad?" he asks. He is seriously the sweetest little kid. Rick lifts him up onto his lap, and Bear reaches over to give me a hug and kiss. My heart swells. As he hops off Rick's lap and joins the other boys, Rick and I look at each other with a grin on our faces. "I guess it's totally worth it," I say. Half-question, half-statement. We hug again and then I head upstairs. I spend a few moments in my office choosing a few photos for my personal Instagram account before heading up the corridor to our bedroom to get ready. Whilst I'm still in the bathroom, Rick comes in to brush his teeth. He tells me he's leaving soon, and I tell him I'll be ready soon. He's genuinely surprised and pleased to hear that I'll be joining them. He goes back downstairs, while I pull on my blue linen dress and powder my face. I close all the windows upstairs, and then walk up and down the stairs half a dozen times as I know that that will help with my glucose levels. I do my one hour reading downstairs: 8.8. Still pretty high, but at least it's coming down. I feel all hot and sweaty from the little bit of exercise and end up changing into my yellow summer dress instead. Rick is already packed and ready to go. He ushers the boys into the car and we pull up our driveway about ten minutes before twelve.
We drive to Forest Way shops. The boys chat about something so amusing and worth writing down that we try to remember it but can't. At Forest Way, I return last night's DVD and buys (as requested) cucumber sushi bento box for Pete, a chicken sushi roll for Gus, and buns for Jamie and Bear. We then head off to BCF Belrose to return Rick's broken camp chair. The conversation in the car turns to a discussion about ambulance and police sirens. At BCF, we have to wait a while before returning the chair as the customer service area is busy. I plop myself down on a camping chair while the boys mill about, intrigued by everything that they see in the shops. "I want a Spiderman fishing rod," says Jamie. "Actually, no, I want an Iron Man one." Meanwhile, the customer service rep agrees to take Rick's chair back for store credit of seventy dollars, so we cast around to see if there's anything worth buying on the spot. Nothing jumps out (despite the boys' requests for new torches and sunglasses), so we leave. The boys want to start on the food in the car, but I suggest driving out to West Head to have lunch there. And so, the boys have to wait a little longer for food...
The drive to West Head is longer than anticipated, due to a car in front of us driving at 60km/hr instead of the normal 80km/hr. The boys grow hungry and impatient, as do I. In fact, I start to snack (secretly) on the tuna sushi that I bought for myself because I can feel my blood sugar levels dropping significantly. When we finally arrive at the lookout just after 1pm, we are shocked at the long line of cars parked o the side of the road. Every other time we've been there, the place has been almost empty. I worry that we won't be able to find parking, but Rick is not fazed. He pulls into a spot further up the road with no problems whatsoever, despite the tight space. We all jump out and Rick sprays our legs with Aeroguard. As the road is narrow and there is no footpath, we give the boys strict instructions: they are to walk in a single file between Rick and myself and if we tell them to move left, they need to do so immediately. We end up walking in two groups: Angus, Jamie, and me leading the way and Rick with other two boys some distance behind. Cars driving past come very close, but the boys are excellent and do exactly as they're told. We reach the lookout safely and immediately find a couple of rocks to sit on. Much to the boys' relief, I finally hand out the food they've been waiting for for over an hour. The view is absolutely amazing. Barrenjoey is directly across the water from us. To the left is Lion Island and to the right is Palm beach. There are a multitude of boats and sailing boats out on the water - all tiny from where we are. We all eat happily for a while - Angus tells me he likes his chicken sushi roll (the first time he's tried it) and Bear eats his entire bun without fuss. I even manage a few selfies with the boys. Bear (sitting behind me) occasionally leans forward to wrap his hands around my neck. Either that or he's trying to stand up and he's using me to help balance himself. Either way, it is sweet and heartwarming. However, there is trouble in paradise when we ask Pete to share a bit of his cheese and bacon bun with Gus, since Gus didn't get any. He gets rather upset about this, and when I point out that he requested cucumber sushi in the car, he points out that he didn't realise there would be cheese and bacon buns! Fair enough, little guy. We insist that he shares his bun anyway, much to his chagrin. When all the food is finished, we start to get up. Pete slips on some dirt and falls onto his bottom. He grins back at us, so we all chuckle. Moments later, however, he tells Rick that it wasn't funny and that we shouldn't have laughed. Whoops. We do a quick walk around the lookout before walking back up the steps towards the road. The boys enjoy weaving their way through the windy path, particularly as they get to clamber over rocks, leaves, and dirt. Just before we leave, we find a huge boulder for them all to climb onto so that I can get a photo with them. It is somewhat successful. We trek back up to our LandRover using the same single file arrangement. (Rick tells me later that Pete kept saying it was the worst day ever because of what happened at lunch. Sigh.)
We get back into the car just on two o'clock. Jamie is bothered about his knee and keeps talking about putting a baby wipe on it when he gets home. I offer him one from the centre console, and he happily takes it. When it dries out, he wants another one, but Rick encourages him to wait till we get home so that we can put an ice pack on it. Eventually, Jamie agrees (or gets distracted with something else). The big boys suggest that next time, we should go somewhere else instead. Rick and I glance at each other with slight exasperation. I tell the boys that I had a nice time, and ask them to thank their dad for driving all the way out there. I switch on the CD and BeeGees come on, singing Staying Alive. Bear pipes up: "I love this song! Saying alive..!" I chuckle out loud, and look back at him with the biggest smile on my face. I look over at Rick, who has his usual focused-on-driving expression on his face. "Love you, darling," I say. He smiles, without taking his eyes off the road. "Love you too." As we make our way out of the National Park, I drift off to sleep and wake up just as we're pulling up the gravel driveway at our place. Immediately, I hear, "Stop it, Pete! Stop it!" Clearly, the big boys at the back of the car have stayed awake. Rick, using his stern voice, orders Pete to stop whatever he's doing to Angus. We pull into our garage just after half past. Bear is fast asleep in his car seat. Rick turns around and tells the boys they need to clean their feet in the laundry, and then they must all go down for quiet time. I make my way into the house first, as it's time to do my first glucose score after the tuna sushi that I had for lunch. I have a feeling it's not going to be a great score. Sure enough, it's 8.8. I try not to feel too discouraged and push on with the rest of the afternoon. Gus goes to lie down in Rick's study and Pete goes to the lounge (they're currently alternating every day). Jamie has taken the ice pack out from the freezer and wrapped a tea towel around it. I suggest he takes it upstairs to his bedroom with him and lie down with the ice pack on his foot. "My knee," he corrects me. I look around and notice that Rick and Bear are both missing. I stick my head into the garage. Bear's still snoozing away in the car. Rick is putting the washing on the line. "Rick, I think Bear needs to come in now." "Will be there in a minute, darling." I hear Jamie shouting out, so I head upstairs to see if he's okay. He's lying down on his bed, he's changed his pants, and the ice pack is on his knee (not foot). "Hey, well done, Jamie!" He looks at me with the biggest grin. I go over and give him a kiss. "Try and get some rest, okay?" "Yes, mum." I sit down briefly in my office, just as I hear Rick bringing Bear upstairs. I unplug my laptop and take it downstairs while Rick tucks Bear in. I duck back upstairs to give Bear a goodnight kiss. Even though he's almost three, he tugs at my heartstrings in a way that only the youngest can do. "Goodnight Bear Bear. Love you so much. Kiss mama?" We give each other kisses on the cheek and he puts his arm around my neck for one precious moment. "Have a nice sleep, darling..."
Everybody is down for their quiet time. At the top of the stairs, Rick asks me where I'm going to be. I tell him I've moved my laptop downstairs to be with him. We hug and smile and kiss. He settles down on the family room couch to keep reading the book on his phone. I swap one of the Hobnob chair from the dining room and move it into my cubby office under the stairs - it is much more ergonomic than the replica Eames chair, which means that I can avoid sharp twinges of pain in my pelvis every time I stand up. I shuffle other chairs around as well, to satisfy my need for visual symmetry around the house. I put the kettle on at least twice. The boys stay quiet, except when Pete gets up to use the bathroom. I settle down into my cubby and update The Shoemaker's Daughter. It feels so refreshing to get back into blogging for my own personal creativity. For the first time in months, I feel inspired to keep writing and journaling for my own sake, rather than for anybody else. I notice that my About page has gone offline, so I restore it with a couple of clicks, and I'm counting down the days to when Dave helps me to restore my comments area to the design that it was previously. When I hear the kettle the second time round, I head into the kitchen and steep a cup of tea for myself and one for Rick. I notice the Twinings box of English Breakfast teabags is now half-empty, while our jar of Dilmah teabags is almost completely full. Funny how my tastes have changed since my first trimester nausea. I quickly take another glucose reading - 7.0. Not fantastic. I make a note to avoid sushi as much as possible for the rest of the pregnancy. I sit back down with my cuppa to start writing up the day's events. The creek of my Hobnob chair wakes up Rick, who thinks that it's one of the boys. Angus gets up to use the bathroom. I check in on him ten minutes later and he's sitting on the arm of Rick's couch, reading Winnie the Pooh. He looks up at me, guiltily. "You're meant to be resting!" I say, but I tell him he can keep reading if he sits down properly on the couch. I peek in at Pete as well through the sliding doors in the dining room. He is lying face-down with one arm drooped to the floor. At first, I think he has fallen asleep, but then I notice his eyes blinking and his fingers twitching. I smile, wondering if he's pretending to be asleep because he knew I would be checking on him next. I keep writing in my cubby. There is noise from upstairs. Jamie comes down the stairs. It is his turn to use the bathroom.
Unbelievably, there is peace and quiet for almost an hour with no one getting up to use the bathroom. I manage to spend the time writing up portions of our day. I also get hungry so I eat a banana, conscious of not over-indulging my appetite for carbs.
Close to 5pm, I wake Rick up. He peers at me through squinted eyes. "It's five o'clock. I think we better go to dinner!" With much effort, he rolls himself off the couch. I head towards the lounge room and Rick's office. "Angus and Pete, you can get up now!" Both rush out with smiles on their faces. "Can we watch some TV?" asks Pete, almost immediately. "No, sorry boys, we're going out to dinner instead." Jamie hears the commotion and comes down by himself. I tell him he needs to change his shorts. Rick offers to get them for him. Which is good timing, because seconds later, Bear is crying out for daddy. Rick disappears upstairs and returns a few minutes later with a rosy-cheeked Bear and Jamie's shorts. I walk straight over to my little guy for a few kisses. Breathing him in, being close to him, even if only for a moment, still makes my heart expand. He gives me a contemplative sort of look, then buries his head back into his daddy's shoulders. The boys begin playing together while Rick and I get ready to go. I notice that the sky has gone grey, and it looks colder than it was before. I potter upstairs and change back into my blue linen dress. I also make sure that Bear has a singlet. We all pile into the garage around twenty to six. The big boys pull their blue stripy thongs on. Bear wears his black sneakers with socks. I strap on my green sandals, and Rick laces up his boots. In the car, we listen to Bee Gees once more. We drive past the Peace Park, and Rick points out a furry, grey rabbit on the side of the road. Bear pipes up. "Rabbit! I LOVE rabbit!" I chuckle out loud. On the way to Chatswood, Rick and the boys L-A-N-D-R-O-V-E-R in the car (Rick's personal version of H-O-R-S-E). Every time they spot a LandRover, they spell one of the letters. When they finish the entire word, everybody wins.
We arrive at Chatswood and park at the carpark in Chase. It is almost completely empty, so pull into the spot closest to the entrance. One by one, we pile out of the car. Rick picks up Bear, and I hold Jamie's hand. We walk inside and catch the lift down to the ground floor. Bear hops down from Rick's arms and leads the way through the shopping centre. "This way?" he asks me in his sweet little voice. "That's right, Bear!" He and the other boys rush on ahead. We walk up Archer Street, cross the lights, and head straight for Golden Bo. Our usual round table by the glass walls is free. Bear sits on the right in a high chair, and Rick sits on my left - a very rare occurrence as we usually sandwich Bear between us. I order our usual: two beef phos with extra noodles, one tomato rice with peppered beef cubes, and two serves of spring rolls. Rick and the boys immediately begin a game of Eye Spy, while I start to organise the crockery and cutlery that's landed on the table. The spring rolls arrive first - I cut each of the eight spring rolls into three parts and place four parts into everybody's bowls. The mathematics of it always gives me an inexplicable sense of satisfaction. The spring rolls are still very hot. "Be careful, Bear. Make sure you blow on them first. Very hot!" He puts down his fork and does exactly what I say, making hilarious blowing noises as he does so. We look at each other and chuckle. I help him a little bit with getting the pieces of spring roll onto his fork but he does the rest all by himself. The tomato rice and beef cubes arrive next. The disk lands in front of me, and I tell Rick I'm going to start eating. It is absolutely delicious, and I take care to only serve myself a few spoonfuls of the tomato rice. Rick distributes some of the beef cubes to Gus and Pete, and then serves up a bowlful of rice and beef for himself as well. Once the pho arrives, we fill each of the boys' bowls with noodles, bean sprouts, and soup. As always, there are complaints about the "white crunch things" (aka bean sprouts) but we insist that they eat them anyway. Bear needs no help from me whatsoever when it comes to pho, noodle expert that he's become. In fact, he is again the first to finish his bowl, and just like last time, he screws up his face into the funniest expression and says, "I beat you!" to the others. Angus gets a little upset because he doesn't think that Rick gave Pete any bean sprouts, so Rick rectifies it by putting a few into Pete's bowl. Ah, the joy of having siblings. As always, Jamie takes the longest to finish his dinner. To spur him on, I remind him a number of times that he'll have to go without a Lindor chocolate when we get home if he doesn't finish his bowl of food. Eventually, Rick kneels next to him to help him focus (because talking is just too much of a fun distraction), and the little guy manages to finish his noodles within a few mouthfuls. Rick pays while Angus and I drink some more of the pho noodle soup (can't get enough of that stuff), then we head back to the car. In the elevator, I realise that the mirror offers the perfect family selfie opportunity so I pull out my camera. In that very second, a security guard walks past, and we end up being photo bombed.
We pull out of the carpark at 7.12pm and drive on home. As always, I fall asleep in the car, even though it is still very light outside. We get home, and Rick immediately puts the boys through the shower while I put things away downstairs and take another glucose reading. By the time I've climbed the stairs, everyone is bathed and dressed in pyjamas.
Everyone is in bed by half past eight. I give them all the quickest goodnight kisses, as I am thoroughly exhausted and need to put my feet up. I head straight to our own bed and lie down while Rick finishes fulfilling the last requests for water, stories, etc. Rick comes in to find me, and I tell him to join me for a bit as well. He does so for a little while, but then displays superhuman strength by managing to get up to go downstairs to push on with a few tasks. He encourages me to keep resting, which I do. In fact, I am asleep before he's even down the corridor...
I wake up close to half past nine and force myself to swing my legs out of bed. I stumble down the stairs to hear Rick's tabata music playing outside. This throws me for a moment. Am I so exhausted that I'm hallucinating? Then I realise Rick is doing his tabata routine out in the backyard. I am in complete awe of his energy. I collapse onto the family room couch. Rick comes in after a while, and we watch half an hour of Escape to the Country with a cup of Milo each.
We wander upstairs, shower, and hop into bed. Rick reads, while I write up our Day in the Life narrative on my MacBook Air...
At twenty to twelve, I decide it's time to call it a night. I slip the laptop under our bed, switch off my bedside light, and cuddle up to my husband. Before midnight, we are both asleep once more.
You can read the other posts in this series here.