Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Being Pecked To Death By Ducks (Come, Play Along!)

As I've been emotionally exhausted lately, it has reminded me of another time I felt like this, when Ian was 3 years 8 months and David was nearly 2. That time, it occurred to me that I might be worn out because a certain someone NEVER. STOPPED. TALKING. So, I kept track of his questions for one day, and was surprised to learn that, on average, I was answering 106 questions each day from one little boy.

I've noticed for a while now that I find myself, in the latter half of the day, feeling agitated and snapping whenever a child wants my attention, so, today, for about 12 hours, I kept track of all of the times a person demanded my attention, usually when I was doing something else already, and often when I was in the middle of talking to another person who had just barely demanded my attention. (I did not write down every question or request; only the instances of wanting my attention for something different than the last time they wanted my attention. I also did not count the times I demanded the other person's attention for something first.) Every time someone wanted me for something, I looked at a clock and recorded the time and the person. I noted a few instances of pets wanting my attention, but didn't record most of those, and I know I automatically responded to the children a few times without remembering to write it down.

(If you aren't interested in the details, scroll down to the end.)

H-Husband
I-Ian
D-David
M-Marie
Jo-Joseph
Je-Jeffrey

*6:45 A.M. Get up. Only one child is awake. Head downstairs to workout. Cat follows me down, sits on a box, and stares at me the entire time I'm working out. Dog comes down once or twice to stare at me and wag his tail hopefully.
7:05 (I)
7:12 (M)
*7:20 Start workout
7:32 (I)
7:33 (I)
7:40 (I)
7:44 (H)
8:04 (Jo)
     8:04:57 (Je)
*8:05 Work out is over. I try to head upstairs to take a shower.
     8:05:30 (Je)
8:12 (H)
*Shower time!
8:40 (I)
8:48 (D)
8:54 (D)
8:57 (D)
8:59 (I)
     8:59:30 (D)
*9:00 Time for morning music and scripture reading
     9:00:02 (D)
     9:00:20 (Je)
     9:00:31 (Jo)
9:02 (Jo)
9:11 (Je)
     9:11:10 (I)
9:15 (Je)
9:16 (Jo)
9:20 (Je)
9:27 (D)
9:28 (I)
*9:30 Time to start spelling lessons
9:31 (M)
9:34 (D)
9:40 (Jo)
10:00 (Jo)
10:09 (M)
*10:15 Time to start stations (Children rotate through 4 different "stations" with 6 different activities.)
10:20 (M)
10:21 (M)
10:32 (M)
10:33 (I)
10:35 (Jo)
     10:35:20 (I)
10:39 (Je)
10:43 (A)
10:45 (Jo)
10:55 (Je)
10:56 (Je)
10:59 (D)
     10:59:30 (D)
11:10 (D)
     11:10:15 (M)
11:17 (I)
11:18 (M)
11:21 (D)
11:23 (I)
     11:23:15 (M)
     11:23:17 (I)
11:28 (Jo)
11:30 (D)
11:33 (I)
*11:35 Time for kids to fix their lunches
11:36 (I)
11:37 (D)
11:41 (D)
11:45 (I)
11:51 (I)
     11:51:09 (D)
11:52 (D)
     11:52:12 (I)
11:55 (I)
12:02 (Je)
     12:02:14 (Jo)
12:03 (Jo)
12:11 (I)
     12:11:18 (Jo)
12:12 (Jo)
     12:12:38 (D)
12:13 (Je)
12:14 (Je)
12:18 (Jo)
12:19 (D)
*12:20-2:00 QUIET TIME
     12:20:30 (M)
     12:20:35 (Je)
     12:20:38 (D)
12:24 (Jo)
     12:24:19 (I)
     12:24:50 (M)
12:25 (D)
*12:26 I close my door
*12:27 When I lie down, the cat joyfully meows at me because she hasn't seen me for DAYS hours, and stares at me intently until I lift the sheet up so she can crawl under and snuggle up next to me.
*1:45 I come out, even though Quiet Time isn't over until yet; nobody is supposed to talk to me until 2:00
1:46 (D)
1:47 (D)
2:13 (Je)
2:18 (M)
2:33 (M&Je)
2:45 (M)
2:50 (M)
2:52 (M)
2:53 (I)
2:55 (Je)
     2:55:20 (I)
2:58 (M)
*3:00 Sent the children outside to play
3:01 (Jo)
3:05 (M)
3:09 (Jo)
3:11 (Jo)
3:15 (Jo)
3:19 (Je)
3:24 (Je)
3:30 (Jo)
3:31 (M)
3:32 (Jo)
     3:32:07 (M)
3:39 (I)
     3:39:12 (Je)
*3:45 I try to do some sewing because a friend wants me to make some nursing pads for her.
4:00 (H) Husband is home long enough to tell me that he forgot something at work and has to go back.
4:04 (M)
4:07 (D)
4:15 (I)
     4:15:03 (M)
     4:15:48 (D)
4:20 (D)
4:21 (Jo)
4:22 (D)
4:23 (D)
4:24 (D)
4:27 (Je)
4:28 (D)
4:32 (D)
4:33 (H) Husband calls to ask me something before he comes back home.
4:34 (D)
     4:34:18 (M)
4:36 (D)
4:41 (D)
4:42 (M)
4:57 (D)
5:00 (H)
5:01 (D)
5:09 (Je)
5:10 (Je)
5:11 (Je)
5:17 (H)
5:19 (H)
5:25 (M)
5:35 (Je)
*5:40-6:00 Dinner
6:10 (D)
     6:10:45 (M)
6:12 (M)
6:14 (D)
6:15 Husband takes the kids to the park. (HALLELUJAH!)

GRAND TOTALS

*Number of demands: 142
*Period of time: 690 minutes/582 minutes of people having an opportunity to interrupt me
*Ian: 25
*David: 37
*Marie: 27
*Joseph: 22
*Jeffrey: 23
*Husband: 8

So, subtracting the time from quiet time when I was left alone and the time for dinner when we plan to interact with each other, that leaves 592 minutes of regular day time, which averages out to someone demanding my attention every 4.17 minutes. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Anybody want to play along so we can compare? Keep track of people demanding your attention for about 12 hours. Come back and leave a comment telling us how long you tracked, the number of demands, and what you spend your day doing. (I am home sch00ling 5 kids, if anyone didn't already know that.)