I set the alarm for 4 or 4:30 or 5, thinking I can get up early and maybe catch up on some work, but of course the alarm wakes up the girls and then I'm nursing, and then it's 5:30 and I'm heading for the study and blinking at my computer. I work for a bit but it's not enough to catch up, and then my boys wake up one by one, and the babies too, and it's diapers and breakfast and changes of clothes and get your shoes on and get out the door and strap into your seats and haul ass to day care by 9:30. God fucking forbid we should be later than 9:30 because that's the cut off time and they can actually refuse to take my kids for the day if I'm late. An option I can't afford. So rush to day care, then take Jack to camp, then drive all over town to this doctor's office and the next, picking up tapes, dropping off documents, hoping none of them asks me why I'm one, two, three days behind. Maybe the girls are screaming in the car, or maybe they're at home, screaming (like they are right now as I write this post, carving out my 10 minutes today of writing, letting them scream). Maybe I hear them in the background when Brian calls me up to ask if I'm going to the store, we need diapers, we need half and half. Get back home and it's 10:30, 11:00 and I'm nursing and drinking coffee and worried already (still) about how late it is and how much there is to do. There are bills to be paid and the mortgage company to deal with and a house that's not selling and kids who need checkups and the poor wormy cats who have been forced to stay outside while the await their trip to the vet which is constantly being pushed back, pushed back, not today, I don't have time. And the thank you cards and the laundry and the vacuuming and my God the grocery shopping, the email to be answered. Sometimes there's an afternoon when the girls are both asleep for more than 30 minutes at once, and I work and work while they sleep and sleep, desperately trying to catch up, desperately trying to do a full-time job in the stolen moments of my blurry day and then it's late afternoon and I'm out the door again, picking up the boys, trying to figure out dinner in my head, driving home, refereeing fights in the back seat, my eyelids heavy, shoulders tight. Home at 6:30, feed everyone, nurse the babies, play with the kids, put them to bed, more nursing until before I know it it's after 10 p.m. and I'm looking at one, two, three, four days behind on my work. Maybe, if I'm lucky, the girls are both asleep and I try to carve some working time out of the night, I say to myself "tonight I'll stay up until 1:30 working," but then it's 11:45 and I'm crashing, and then someone wakes up to nurse and I'm taking off my clothes and falling into bed, setting the alarm, thinking...maybe I can do just 5 hours...maybe even 4...and then it's 2 in the morning and I'm nursing someone or other and all I can think is hurry up, hurry up, let me put you back down, let me go back to sleep, more sleep, precious sleep...and then at 4:30 the alarm goes off.