Preschool... wow. In all honesty, I was really looking forward to the one-on-two time with my toddlers that preschool would give me, since my four-year old would be there for half a day. Now that we've been on the "preschool schedule" for the past couple weeks, I am looking back slightly longingly at the easy-breezy summer days!
Considering driving time, I essentially have a little over two hours while our oldest is in school. So, if I run one errand and it takes me an hour and fifteen minutes--our usual Target time-- I have 45 minutes left to... do what? I can't grocery shop in 45 minutes. I can't go home and let the toddlers nap in 45 minutes. Wherever I drive to, it will take about 10 minutes to unload and 10 minutes to reload, leaving 25 minutes to do something with two toddlers. Some days I do this accelerated shopping trip where I give myself 45 minutes in this store and 45 minutes in that store (these stops are usually for one thing, like PetsMart for dog food or Target for diapers); other days we slowly meander through whatever errand we are running that day to take up the entire 2 hours. The other day at the mall, I let both the toddlers walk. A man came up to me and grumbled, "This is ridiculous! It will take you hours to shop at this pace! Put those boys in the stroller!" First of all, I'm not too sure why it bothered him so much that the boys were toddling along behind me (they were actually being surprisingly well-behaved). Second of all, that was kind of the point. The biggest problem with this awkward amount of time is that I end up sitting outside of the preschool long enough for the toddlers to take a 20- to sometimes 40- minute nap, with driving and wait time.
If you aren't reading Honest Toddler, you really need to be. He opens up about "The Truth About Car Sleep" and now I finally understand why a 40-minute nap in the car means no 3-hour nap at home.
Along the lines of "Car Sleep," having a set schedule also keeps my days flying by. We wake up, do our morning routine, spend the 2+ hours D is in preschool doing something, pick D up from preschool, go home to finish lunch, lay the toddlers down for their 3 to 3 and a half hour nap (oh, that part is deliciously sweet), then it's time to make dinner and start our evening routine! Throw in evening plans two nights a week and suddenly it's Thursday night and I thought it was still Tuesday! Where does the time go?
And our morning routine is horribly flawed, I've come to realize. I'm still not exactly sure how to get three kids out the door in a way that works for everyone. Either they are puffy-faced from crying or I look like I just rose from the dead. This morning was a little of both. The toddlers spent the morning stealing each other's toys; the preschooler spent the morning following me around while not following directions; the dog was all over the place (I think he wanted to ride with us?). In the end, I had enough time to dab concealer under my eyes and brush my teeth and the toddlers had enough time to somehow work a fat lip in there. I'm feeling like I am probably going to have to start setting an alarm and getting myself ready before all the kids wake up, instead of doing it after I get all of them dressed as I have been doing.
Perhaps I've just come to realize that children's school schedules are intense, even just with drop-off and pick-up. Perhaps I really can figure out a way to get us all happily out the door in the morning. Perhaps it really isn't as stressful as I think it is and I'm really just stressed about my husband's crazy-busy senior year schedule (our third and final year of STA-21). Perhaps I just need a weekend away with good friends and good wine... Okay, I would even take just good friends and decent wine at this point. Whatever the reason, I need to find my stride. I feel like I'm living in fast-forward!