Course Description: Non technical information and statistics intended to illuminate the murky depths of parenting multiple offspring while maintaining safety and sanity. Parents of singles exempt.
Mandatory Supplies: Multiple offspring, small house, mini-van, excessive "stuff", and a loose screw. Also, a boatload of patience (which may be obtained in small amounts as required).
6:00 - 7:30 A.M. - Waking & Readying for School - Approximately 2/3rds offspring will put up a fight. Begin with the most amiable to set the tone. Wake in ten minute intervals to avoid lavatory crush. Ignore all complaints until offspring are dressed and downstairs. Utilize kitchen for your own needs while clear, then step aside. Insist on food despite resistance. Expect delays.
7:30 - 8:00 A.M. - Surviving the Commute - ALWAYS pre-assign seating in the vehicle - eldest gets shotgun, youngest picks radio station. Allow teen offspring personal tech devices with earbuds only if kept below ear-splitting decibles. Note: A minimum of once a week, someone will need to arrive early. Parent chaufeering least number gets to take the "cool" car. Intelligent alternative --- live within walking distance.
8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. - Appointments - 3% will have been incorrectly recorded on your daily planner. 65% will require an additional trip. 100% will require more time than you have alotted. You may attempt to double or triple-up back-to-back pediatrician and dental visits, but more than this may result in a meltdown. Bring snacks.
Afternoons are tricky due to numerous unforeseen variables. Amend the following to suit.
12:00 - 3:00 P.M. - Errands - Grocery shopping best accomplished when babies are sleepy and preschoolers are not. Multiple stops (multiple buckling/unbuckling of car seats) best left for another time. Fill up gas tank at full service station when available.
3:00 - 3:30 P.M. - Pick up and delivery - Transfer appropriate offspring to afterschool activities. Go back after urgent text from child you missed.
3:30 - 4:30 P.M. - More Appointments/Activities.
4:30 - 5:30 P.M. - Drive or Down-time? - One or more offspring will always need to stay later - plan accordingly. (Tip: Working spouse may take on second, part-time job to kill time in cost effective manner.)
5:30 - 7:00 P.M. - Pre-dinner Crunch - Non working spouse oversees snacks & homework, engages in meal preparation, and responds to various & sundry pressing matters while playing Candyland and/or sculpting Playdoh.
7:00 - 7:30 - Dinner - Includes clean up. Expect complaints.
7:30 - 8:30 - First bedtime - Take turns overseeing bedtime routine to avoid burn out. Older teens may need pick-up from evening activities from now until midnight (they will be ravenous upon arrival).
8:30 P.M. - 1:00 A.M. - Lights out - Fact: Teens are night owls. Do not try to stay up as late as they do. You need sleep, regardless if they think they don't.
Extra credit for two working parents and/or managing to have any outside interests.
Proficiency Level: After 18 years
Excels - Fruit & Veg. eating, drug free A+ students
Succeeds - C+ students with no criminal record
Fails - Offspring in cage while you are in the Bahamas
Check out these additional course offerings: Building Bunkbeds for Beginners; Bedroom Delegation - Who gets a Single; Disguising Healthy Food 101; Feeding Five or More on a Shoestring; and Hand-me-downs - Sustainable Dressing for a New Generation.