Depending on Spencer's routine, come five o'clock he has either recently woken up or is waking up at precisely the time I am making dinner. Really, I should be making dinner at 4pm in order to preempt Eloise's hunger-induced meltdowns, but my heavy work schedule these days means I need every minute I can get and the late afternoon is when my Dad often takes to Eloise to the park while Spencer sleeps, meaning a few distraction-free work hours for me. My intention is always to stop what I'm doing to get dinner started after an hour or so of emails but I swear I sit down at 2pm and when I look up again it's five.
While I try to prepare dinner and manage Spencer - either at my feet in his bouncer or in one arm and over my shoulder - Eloise is watching tv. Spencer always needs to eat shortly after waking from his nap, so whatever I have been cooking needs to be put on pause so I can feed a sometimes frantic baby. It is now past five and Eloise is getting cranky. Once Spencer has eaten it's time to get Eloise fed pronto-tonto. Chris can barely make it in the door from work before I hand him the baby or ask him to deal with Eloise so I can get back to the (joyful?) solitude of preparing our dinner.
Depending on her mood, dinnertime with Eloise is either simple or a ridiculous process of whining and bribery. If I serve chicken we're safe, if I branch out too much we are in trouble and if we don't time it right we're hooped. Baths immediately follow dinner with each of us focusing on one kid. I usually have Spencer who gets bathed in a tub in the kitchen sink. He really likes his bath and this has become one of my favourite part of our days, even if I get peed on. Chris and Eloise have fun too, but he who baths Eloise must also brush her hair. Once Spencer has been diapered and dressed I position myself at the end of Eloise's bed so I can nurse and wait for Eloise to climb in. Chris is responsible for bringing Eloise her milk and after a kiss she says sternly, "Daddy, you can go" (and then she is told sternly that is not a polite way to speak). When Eloise is finally ready she passes me her empty milk, hunkers down into her pillow and I nurse Spencer for as long as possible before he passes out. It's 8pm and both kids are asleep but we still haven't even eaten dinner.