Then I figured it out. Or at least I thought I did.
It has been a super exciting last few days because my brother and sister-in-law had a baby! I'm an aunt to this adorable little nephew! With all this excitement, I brought the computer downstairs, not wanting to miss the updates. Usually I try to check my computer at the bookends of my day and leave it tucked away the rest of the day. Or if I do check during the day, it's just once for a recipe or something. I do not own a cell phone, so I do not check messages on that mid day either. We also do not have a TV hooked up. However, I didn't want to miss anything so the computer ended up being the front and center of my day. My brother had been sending me all these pictures and video and we're chatting parenthood...all really good stuff I didn't want to miss. However, although I intended to only check quickly to see my brother's last message, I got sucked into this or that. Instead of just going to the computer to see the good stuff I intended to see, there I'd go, trailing off. Without even realizing it, my quick checks were sucking up my valuable time and attention. And my kids were noticing. At least that was my theory.
Today I put it to the test. I left my computer upstairs. I promised myself I would not check it for anything, even cute pictures of my new nephew. Those pictures would be there at the end of the day after my kids went to bed. If my brother really had something he needed, he could and would call. He wouldn't be mad if I didn't message him right back. I didn't NEED to check the computer. I decided to be fully present with my kids and not be distracted by the screen.
I'm just in tears writing this because I have to say that today was truly one of my very best days of parenthood ever. Before kids, I'd dream of what it would be like to having a family and I'd picture everything being "just so". Today that dream was reality. And more.
We started the day with morning chores and we all made homemade banana muffins. We gobbled up yogurt with our homegrown raspberries. It was raining, so we did our morning readings on the screen porch. We've been really enjoying the Beatrix Potter Treasury, such simple and sweet stories. Anna-Kate slept on my lap. Audra created with (lots and lots) of glitter. Adrian made a Viking ship and treasure chest out of wood and nails.
We had a nice lunch with everyone working together to prepare it and clean it up. We did chores. No one complained about said chores. The big kids helped chop for dinner prep. The sun came out and I hung the clothes out on the line. The kids played with the ducklings. I read a chapter in the book I'm reading (!!!). I picked raspberries the size of my thumb (we have more than we can eat now, filling the freezer!!) and the kids held a 'car wash' for their dump trucks. Anna-Kate fell asleep and napped under the grapevines. Adrian and Audra dressed head to toe in their cowboy/cowgirl gear and had some adventure they spent a lot of time on. I don't know what it was, but it seemed serious. I picked veggies in the garden for dinner (zucchini, summer squash, beans and peas...quite the medley!). We had a family dinner and finished evening chores. They surprised me and cleaned the bathroom. They were so cooperative that I rewarded them an extra bedtime book AND an extra chapter of Pippi Longstocking. Bedtime for the big ones and then wide awake time with smiles and coos with Anna-Kate.
The difference between today and yesterday was huge for everyone. You can bet I'll be leaving my computer tucked away tomorrow. They are only little once, I don't want to miss it.