I have a new routine on Friday afternoons: When Jack wakes up from his nap, we all have a snack and then we go to the library around 3 p.m. It's a teeeeeeny, tiny library, but it does have a lot of little stuffed animal puppets, a lot of building sets, and a computer just for kids. I follow Jack around the library as he practices his walking and talks unintelligibly with the librarian. Cubby and Charlie play with the computer or build things or fight (quietly--indoor library voices, kids!) with the stuffed animal puppets.
And then--the key component of the library adventure--I check out a DVD* for Cubby and Charlie and we leave by 4:30 p.m.
The timing is important, because when we get home I unload all the library books, hand out a carrot or a cucumber spear** per child, put on the DVD and . . . why, would you look at that! It's 4:45 p.m.! That's cocktail time! And I have three occupied children!
Totally not a coincidence, obviously.
A lot of planning goes into my being able to sit down and have an uninterrupted Sidecar or gin and lime. In addition to the above, I have to come up with a make-ahead dinner so I'm not cooking at 5 p.m. And even then, it doesn't always work. Jack is the wildcard. Sometimes he fusses and turns the TV off and on or throws things on Cubby's and Charlie's chairs or generally ruins our peaceful scene by being, well, a one-year-old.
But if I'm lucky? Well, if I'm lucky, Jack is happy with his raw vegetable and it's just me, my gin, and a book.
* Today it was a National Geographic documentary about the animals of the Serengeti. Yes, I am That Mom who checks out documentaries for her children.
** Again being That Mom, handing out raw vegetables. I don't know who I am, either. The most unfun mom ever, apparently.