I love having well-organised plans. Of course it’s a rare day when things happen as I planned. In fact, I’m pretty good at letting the plan slip without flipping out – the plan is there to serve us, not the other way around, after all.

Mum and Dad leave this morning on several weeks of travelling around europe and it’s time for us in the Paulussen house to settle into a routine. I have this great desire to draw up timetables and schedules, daily to-do lists, and all that. The problem is that I’ve already actually drawn up a timetable but it got quite messy. Which is probably an accurate reflection of how things will actually play out. I don’t mind that life will be a bit chaotic. I hate that the schedule is though.

There are lots of predictable variables (the babies won’t sleep at naptime, I’ll have to spend half a day lined up at the prefecture, Luuk will have to travel for work and I’ll have the kids to myself for three days.) Then there are unpredictable variables, but I won’t even begin a list because if I could they’d no longer be unpredictable. And where’s the fun in that?

Today is Friday. On a normal Friday (if we ever get one), here’s the plan:

7ish feed Elena. When Louis finishes his breakfast (my rather lovely hubby gets up at some unearthly hour with our rambunctious toddler) he sits on the potty, you know, just in case – we’re not full-on potty training yet but breaking down some barriers, with any luck, so that potty training will be easier when we do commit.

before 8ish drink coffee, make breakfast, maybe eat some of it… Dress both kids. Check emails/facebook while the children’s television is still good. Eat breakfast. Drink remains of cold-ish coffee.

after 8ish put Elena down for a nap. Make sure Louis is busy and the knives are out of reach in the kitchen. Get in the shower. Get dressed. Barely tidy-up and open curtains – light! Hurrah!

9ish put Louis down for a nap. Coffee number two, perhaps, and write in my journal. Put on laundry and do a little bit more tidying. Then write!

10ish feed Elena and read or watch television. Play with Elena, maybe put on some music, put her in the bouncer, hang out the washing. (Today: write thank-you’s.)

11ish Elena goes down for a nap. More writing for me. Write write write.

until Louis wakes up.

12ish make lunch for myself and Louis and then we usually watch a little television. Sort out any errands that need to be done in the afternoon.

1ish feed Elena. Get everyone dressed and clean and decent, wearing shoes, jackets, hats whatever… and off to halte jeux (nursery)

2 – Drop Louis off at halte jeux then go for a good long walk and do errands. Today: buy envelopes for thank-you’s, stop by Mairie (town hall) with Elena’s birth certificate (which they issued) to register with them that we have two children, so that we can pay less for Louis to go to nursery… ah, sweet bureaucracy.

3ish coffee, at a cafe, if Elena is asleep in the buggy. I could sit there and read. It could happen. It really could.

before 4ish – go home, feed Elena, play with her. Do a pre-weekend tidy-up.

Put Elena down for a sleep and organise dinner.

5.45 – walk down to halte jeux and pick up Louis. Grab bread for Saturday at the bakery on our way home.

Dinner for Louis. Cook dinner for me and Luuk. Fingers crossed Elena sleeps but it’s that nasty time of day when anything can happen. Including take-aways.

before 7ish Luuk gets home, plays with kids. I might finish dinner or take the rubbish down to the basement, or print off some writing I want Luuk to proofread before I take it to writer’s group on Saturday… or I might be feeding Elena, really any time in here, because it’s just that time of day.

Sometimes they go to bed before we eat. Sometimes not. Then we might watch a little tv, or a lot. Or we might read, much around on our phones or the computer, skype someone on the other side of the world, get really crazy and sit on the couch and talk to each other, play a game, do the dishes (rare) … but we’ll probably just watch some tv. It’s a friday after all.

Today’s already falling off the wagon. It’s 9.40 and Louis only just went down, because he had a second go at breakfast at 9ish, and just finished. Elena is waking up and I haven’t written my journal. My second coffee is here beside me, ready to go, but I’ll probably feed Elena and it’ll go cold. Unless… (skulls hot coffee. Ouch.)