I get up 10 minutes before the rest of the family, to pull on clothes and read a Psalm and wash my face. Then I start with Jubilee, who wakes us yelling something in Cantonese. I turn on her light and she reaches for me with a big smile. I take her to the potty, fill her Dora sippy cup with milk, and then carry her into the boys' room. I am greeted with a soaked Brave, a bouncing Zion, and a sleepy Bright who wishes his siblings would let him sleep a little longer. I change Brave's diaper, let the big boys pick out their own clothes, and make my way to the kitchen to make a lot of oatmeal. Jubilee will eat oatmeal now, so I no longer have to make her a separate breakfast of fried noodles with salted pork.
By 8 we are done with breakfast, and from then on the clock seems to stop. The four hours between breakfast and lunch seem like four months. Play-doh gets us through 30 minutes. Hide and seek eats up 15 minutes. Music and dancing another 15 minutes. On top of the usual challenges of having four kids underfoot at once, I am teaching Jubilee English, teaching her to trust me, teaching her what love is and that I feel it for her very much, teaching Brave that I am Jubilee's mommy, too. I am teaching Jubilee what "No no" means, and that a child needs to obey her mama. I am teaching Jubilee what a mama is. By 10 a.m. my ankles ache, my head is spinning, and I am starving. I shove some kind of cold food into my mouth, preferably high in protein and/or sugar (a banana and a leftover chicken breast work well, especially together).
Lunchtime is a frenzy. Brave tests my authority every five minutes, typical for his 26 months of age. This battle of wills makes Jubilee nervous. She wants to go to the potty when she's nervous, so after every showdown with Brave I have to unbuckle Jubilee and take her to the potty where she dribbles into the toilet and then wants back up to her seat to eat more of her lunch. Bright, who has never learned to eat on his own, has to be reminded to take every bite. Zion sits in front of his untouched plate, picking his toes. At least he's quiet. I think I eat something, sometimes. I'm not quiet sure. I'm doing good to be dressed by this point.
From 12:30 to 1:30 I do everything I can to keep the tired kids calm. Books. Movie. Whatever works. At 1:30 the toddlers go down for their naps, and the big kids and I collapse in the school room for downtime (for now) and lessons (later).
From 3:30 to 5 we go outside and "play" and then come back up to our apartment for some kind of dinner (see frenzied lunch description above).
So there you have it, our little groove, of sorts. Jubilee is doing soaringly well. It is so obvious that she was made for us, and we her. However, pair the newness of her adoption with home schooling early grades and taming the terrible twos and Daniel's present busyness, and this is one groove I hope passes quickly.