I wake up, disentangle myself from Lucien’s octopus hold on me, gently wrap him back up in his favorite blanket, and sneak out of the bedroom door. I wake up by myself – no alarm necessary – between four and five almost every morning. I enjoy some precious peaceful quiet time and an uninterrupted cup of coffee. I thrive on my morning alone time and struggle when I miss it, so I get up at whatever hour is necessary to ensure I get it. Everybody is happier that way 🙂 I clean up any egregious clutter left over from the night before (today it is only some sea animal puzzle pieces and part of our disassembled drying rack cluttering the living room floor); get to work on meal prep (dinner and lunches for husband and son); check my email inbox; and (if I am lucky) do some reading or watch some Doctor Who. Nick introduced me to the Doctor at the beginning of the year, and I am now hooked. My inner geek loves it! I am currently at the beginning of season three.
Lucien wakes and calls for me. I run to the bedroom and snuggle with him until he falls back asleep, enjoy a few moments looking at his angelic sleeping face, think about how he has gotten so big so quickly. Then I tiptoe out of the bedroom. Back to that coffee! Today, instead of watching the Doctor, I enthusiastically set to planning how I want to organize Lucien’s play room in our new house. Now that our offer has been accepted and the move to Oshkosh is feeling closer and more real, I am engrossed with arranging and rearranging furniture in my mind, drawing out possible floor plans, imagining how I want to decorate, and planning our new home to make it welcoming and homey for Lucien. I also squeeze in a very quick (10 minute) kettle bell workout.
Lucien wakes again. After about 15 minutes of snuggles he is back to sleep.
Lucien wakes up, but – miracle of miracles! – he falls back asleep. He has recently given up napping, and I am quite positive he is in the middle of a growth spurt (especially judging by the quantities of food he has been consuming!), so he really needs that rest. I decide use this extra time to eat my breakfast. I batch-cook my breakfasts ahead of time to make mornings run more smoothly. Just as I am finishing up my “green muffins,” as Lucien calls them, (eggs, salmon, and greens mixed together and baked in a silicone muffin liner) I hear the bedroom door open.
Lucien is awake, for the day this time. In the not-too-distant past, Lucien would wake up and call for me and we would spend about twenty minutes together in bed, snuggling, talking, playing, and going over our plan for the day. The past few weeks that has been rare. Now it is much more common for me to hear the door opening and feet running down the hall. The first words out of his mouth are “Mama, I want breakfast!” Alright, then! I ask what he would like to eat, and he requests a banana pancake. He helps me put all the ingredients into the blender – one banana, two eggs, a heaping spoonful of nut butter – and then blends them thoroughly. Meanwhile I heat up copious amounts of grass-fed butter in the pan. After I pour in the batter, Lucien informs me that he is a baby bird. A girl baby bird. The baby bird wants her bird food (that would be the pancake) and she flies around the house asking when it will be done. She then climbs up into her “nest” – actually the second shelf in the kitchen closet and talks with mama bird. I play with mama bird, stopping periodically to check and flip the pancake. In just a few minutes the baby bird sits down to breakfast. We read together. Lately the Berenstain Bears have been a favorite of Lucien’s, so we read through three different stories.
Lucien is very excited about library story time. After breakfast he decides to play “Miss Alice.” (She is the story time librarian.) He gathers up some books and hides them behind his back in the chair, just like Miss Alice. He does a great impression: “Good morning, boys and girls! Let’s all sing our good morning song!” We sing “The More We Get Together” together, complete with motions. Lucien “reads” me some stories. And then he is off to his next adventure. No longer a baby bird, no longer Miss Alice, Lucien is now a shop keeper named Andrew (I have no idea where he thought up that name.) who is organizing the food behind the counter. We play shop for a while. Now Lucien is a pet store owner selling me a variety of animals (actually stuffed animals that he is bringing out of his bedroom). I accumulate quite the menagerie, until it is time to get ready for our trip to the Aina Haina shopping center.
Time to load up the car – my backpack, snacks, a ridiculously large and heavy bag of library books to return, snacks and water for Lucien, and a box to mail at the post office. Then Lucien climbs in with three baby dolls, one stuffed dog, a pull-along dog toy, and a cow puppet. We are ready to go! On the car ride to Aina Haina Lucien asks lots of questions, and I spend fifteen minutes explaining the demise of the dinosaurs, extinction level events, and evolution via natural selection. He comes up with the most intelligent questions!
Today is a particularly exciting day, because we have a Starbucks gift card from Grandma and Grandpa! There is a Starbucks right next to the library, so we (and all the dolls and toy animals) stop there first. I get a grande and Lucien chooses a protein box. He immediately eats the cheese (his favorite) them asks me to skin the apples for him and help him open the salt and pepper containers so that he can make a “dunking pile” for his hard-boiled egg. He is very methodical, ritualistic, even, about the whole process. Next he eats the fruit and peanut butter. The bread that is included we tear up into tiny pieces and throw into the grass to feed the birds. Lucien is happy – today is a good day – we see at least a dozen birds. After the birds get their breakfast Lucien plays “pet shop” with me. After I purchase an armload of pets we see, across the street, the librarian unlocking the front doors to the library. Hooray!
The library is open! We are some of the first people inside. Lucien drops our books in the book return, and we set off to find new ones. Lucien requests the Berenstain Bears and Miss Frizzle. I also pick up some stories by Chris Van Allsburg (Lucien is fond of him) and the next installment of the Magic Tree House Series. Lucien really enjoys hearing about Jack and Annie’s adventures.
Story time begins! Lucien finds a spot on one of the floor pillows with the other children, and I sit down next to him with our big bag of books and animals. We sing the welcome song and the ABC’s, listen to four animal-themed story books, and do a coloring activity. We check out all of our books, load them into the car, and head back home. We listen to our Music Together CD on the way home.
We are back home for lunch (I had some beef and steamed, buttered cauliflower ready for Lucien.) and stories. Lucien asks to listen to a Sparkle Story from the Martin and Sylvia collection – his new favorite. He listens and eats for about ten minutes while I tidy up, then we read together for another 30 minutes or so. Chris Van Allsburg is a win!
Lucien heads out back to check on the bushes our landlord just had planted behind the house, as well as the seeds he planted in his pots. His seeds have not sprouted yet, but he sees that all the plants need some water, so he turns on the hose, waters them, waters the sidewalk, makes a mud puddle to play in, and just generally has a good time. He spies our sprinkler and asks for my help setting it up. We arrange it in the middle of the front lawn and Lucien turns on the water. We both have lots of fun running through and jumping over the water. I join in – because that makes it more fun for both of us, and because I am really hot. There are no trade winds today, just hot, muggy, still air, so I am very thankful that Lucien thought of the sprinkler. It putt us both in a much more cheerful mood!
I wasn’t planning on doing this much running or being this busy today, but there are only four eggs left in the house! This could spell disaster. (Seriously, only four eggs is bad. My husband eats five in a sitting. My son has been known to finish three.) Guess we are going to Costco today. Lucien is actually very enthusiastic about the trip, because at Costco they have samples, and rotisserie chicken, and pineapple! Lucien, all three of his baby dolls, and one stuffed dog ride along in the cart. It was actually a very good week for healthy samples – we find cheese, coconut milk, fruit, and salmon! Lucien lines up all of his sample containers very neatly in the cart. We load up the food and the baby dolls in the car and hurry home, because Lucien wants some chicken and pineapple right now!
We return from Costco. Sophia immediately runs to the car and asks Lucien to play with her. The two of them play chase while I unload the groceries. As I am walking back and forth Lucien asks repeatedly if I am done with my work and if I can come out and if he can have his fruit and rotisserie chicken for snack already! I ask Sophia if she wants some, too. She says yes, so I mach schnell and get two bowls and two forks for them. They have a picnic outside on the lawn. More running and giggling ensues, then it is time for play doh creations. They prepare some play doh food for me, the customer at their restaurant.
Sophia’s parents call her to come into the house. We go back to our house, too, and – at Lucien’s request – snuggle up in the chair for some stories.
We are hot and sticky and sweaty and dirty which means that it is time for showers! Someday in the future I might be able to shower alone, but for now I have a companion/assistant/soap-getter-downer. We are both clean by the time Dad gets home from work.
Dad is home! While I get dinner ready he and Lucien play “rowdy games,” which involve Nick throwing, catching, swinging and otherwise rough housing with Lucien. He loves this time!
We sit down to dinner. That spaghetti squash and beef casserole that I prepared this morning will have to wait until tomorrow, because we have a rotisserie chicken from Costco! That, and some warm, buttery purple sweet potatoes. Nick asks Lucien to give him a noun, a verb, and an adjective. Tonight, after some deliberation and prompting from us, he settles on microwave, to climb, and pink. Nick spins a delightful Lucius story on the spot. Lucien sits enthralled for a full half hour. Nick finishes up the story while I clean up the dishes.
Sophia walks up our front step and Lucien invites her in. They ask for paper so they can do art. They draw with markers and stamp on their papers until Sophia’s mother yells for her to come home.
Lucien gets out his Kumon cutting book and decides to use it for tracing practice. He methodically goes over several pages.
It is time for our nightly tradition of “snack and story.” Lucien requests melty cheese, (we work together to slice and microwave some Kerry Gold cheddar) and the Magic Tree House. We are on #3, Mummies in the Morning. Lucien loves it, and he is so engrossed in the story that we have to finish all of it. 45 minutes later, after we close the book, Lucien declares “Let’s go to bed.” It is about time!
We brush teeth, go into the bedroom, nurse, and sing lullabies. Lucien always sings “Love You Forever” along with me, and it melts my heart every time. We snuggle up together. 8:35 pm Sleep!