Saturday, November 11, 2023

Economies of scale

I can't believe Phoebe is going to turn two in just two days! Lucky for her, she loves the number two!

Here's a little video of Phoebe from October 26 (the day after Miriam's birthday, when we were just getting the bunk bed set up in the girls' room):

First she reminds herself to be "careful," only she says it more like "waffle." Then she starts counting her steps. "One step! Two step!" And then later she realizes that she can count her steps a different way and starts counting how many slats she's skipping. You can hear her say, "One step, two step, two step, three!" (only she says "tee" instead of "three").

She has been so excited for her birthday! It's been hard for her to watch everybody else have a birthday because we never celebrate her birthday. Fortunately, we will celebrate it on Monday. She's excited for cake and presents and singing the Happy Birthday song.

Here we are singing together a little bit before bed: 

And, yes, at the end she's asking to nurse. So clearly she's not weaned yet, but we're working on it. I'm not sure that it will happy by her second birthday, but I'm positive it will happen before her third (like, way before her third). 
Andrew has been at a conference the past couple of days, and although that conference was here in Atlanta (which meant he didn't technically have to travel anywhere), it did mean he was gone for at least 12 hours on both Thursday and Friday (if not longer). So, I was on my own with the kids, which really isn't so terrible anymore. I mean, I have always loved being with my kids, but having teenagers has really made a huge difference to my sanity because they're like...people

Being alone with all little kids? That's just plain difficult. Like, when we lived in Durham and Andrew would go away for a conference, I'd be left on my own with a bunch of tiny humans who needed me to do practically everything for them. 

I still have a small army of tiny humans who need me to do many things for them, but my teenagers are functional humans, and, thanks to economies of scale, their functionality helps me function better, too. 

For example, on Thursday night while the little kids were outside playing and Rachel was working on her homework (she's taking three college courses this semester and, honestly, maybe that was a bit much; but she seems to be enjoying herself in spite of the challenge), Miriam helped me make dinner. 

We had pot stickers, rice, Korean carrots, and peas. That's quite a few pots to watch, and kids were still coming in and out of the house needing drinks and new socks and hugs and kisses, so it was pure chaos. 

I had Miriam start the rice in the Instant Pot while I started shredding carrots. When the rice was cooking (and I was still shredding carrots), I had Miriam start working on the marinate for the salad. Then while she was still working on the marinade, I got the pot stickers started. We were both still working when Rachel came upstairs, so I had Rachel throw in some peas. And...the three of us got dinner on the table. 

My older kids weren't watching their younger siblings during this time; they were either helping with dinner or doing homework. But because dinner needed to be made anyway, it was just as easy (aside from shredding all those gersh-dern carrots, perhaps) to make dinner for seven as it was for the three of us. That's economy of scale. 

When Andrew was in grad school, I didn't have big kids who I could hand a recipe and say, "Make this sauce. Go!" and trust that they could sauté an onion and measure out the correct amount of vinegar and sugar and bring it to the correct temperature know?

I had kids who start microwave fires because they'd forget to put water in with their oatmeal. 

And there was no one bigger to help me get dinner on the table while the circus of kids streamed in and out of the door. I burned a lot of dinners.

I still have the circus today, it's true. But I also have someone who can be trusted to keep an eye on that sauce while I apply band aids. So it's not as scary or overwhelming to think of Andrew being gone for a week or whatever's just not. 

Anyway, the past two days while Andrew's been mostly gone, the big girls and I got their bedroom more or less squared away. We unpacked all the boxes they'd shoved things inside when our construction date suddenly got moved up, and we put stuff away enough that they...have a floor!

That cute blue futon was from the Buy Nothing Group and it opens up into a lovely little bed, which is helpful when, for example, Zoë has sleepovers down there (or whatever).

The girls still need to work on organizing their shelves and their desks, but that will come. 

So they're feeling quite moved in at this point!

You can see they have an actual ceiling. Our contractor boxed in all the ductwork (whereas before this room simply had a drop ceiling at the height of the box). The wall behind the bunk bed also dropped straight down from about where the duct work is boxed in, so we opened that up and put the wall right up against the foundation, making the room bigger by...however much (like 15 square feet or something, which doesn't feel insignificant??). 

We also moved around dressers in the little girls' room upstairs, and then I decided that I didn't like it because I'd moved Phoebe's clothes from a short, horizontal dresser (that I'd hoped to get rid of) into a tall, vertical dresser and while I think the taller dresser is the superior dresser (I had Benjamin go around the house and measure the volume of every drawer in every dresser so we could make mathematically based decisions on which dressers to use for which child)...that change took away all of Phoebe's independence. She couldn't open the drawers on her own, and couldn't even reach the top drawers. 

She really likes to fetch fresh underwear and choose which jammies to wear and pick out her own outfits, so the bigger, taller dresser was really putting a damper on her day. 

So I made the big girls help me switch everything back and help tidy up the little girls' room after all those dresser-moving shenanigans. And I had all the little kids help finish tidying up their rooms so that we could vacuum everything. Andrew came home just in time to interrupt my vacuuming. He knows it's one of my least favourite chores (it's just so noisy). 

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