The countdown is on – and no, it has nothing to do with the countdown that happened Wednesday night to mark the end of 2014 and the start of 2015. That one was nice and all – capped as it was with a kiss and fireworks – but the only meaningful countdown for me right now is the number of hours until my children are back in their respective schools.

Between illness and vacation, my children – both of them – have been out of school for more than three weeks.

I. Am. Losing. My. Mind. Stay-at-home moms, I salute you. I am not cut out for this.

 Yesterday, I had to put myself in time-out because I just needed a few minutes without someone touching me or whining at me or smearing banana mush on my pants or spitting chewed-up bacon into my hands.

I love my children. God knows I love them. But we need – mad love to Khalil Gibran – some serious spaces in our togetherness. My children get a minute in time-out for each year they are old, per all of the discipline books. I did not get 34 minutes to myself in time-out. Good Lord, that sounds like heaven. But I did get about 7 minutes to sit on the heating vent and eat chips and salsa while my kids watched TV before they both came into the kitchen complaining that “Bubble Guppies” was over and Georgia had bitten Ruby on the toe and could they have some chicken nuggets and also Ruby is pretty sure she has lice again

We have done the playground. We have done Celebration in the Oaks. We have ridden tricycles and Razor scooters and tended to the resultant injuries. We have done holiday parties and playdates and several kinds of crafts. We have read easily 200 books. We have driven to the country and out by the Lakefront and around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights and in big circles to let the baby nap. Two days ago, I just gave both kids a roll of painters tape to play with because I was fresh out of ideas. And yet Ruby still told me last night that as she was falling asleep, she kept seeing Candy Crush when she closed her eyes because she had played it so much, and Georgia named her new fish Benny the Bull after her favorite character on “Dora the Explorer.”

My coworker who just had a baby told us all at her baby shower that she and her husband  weren't going to let their son have any screen time until he was 4. I bit my lip so I wouldn't laugh out loud, and then I turned to my other coworker who has a 6-year-old and said, “Oh, bless her heart.”

“Bless her heart so hard,” she said.

And we smiled knowing smiles at each other while also feeling pretty guilty about the fact that all three of our daughters know every word of dialogue in “Frozen.”

But you know what? I'm just going to “Let It Go.” (Oh, God, I'm so sorry.)

I am doing the best I can. Georgia potty-trained herself over the break, and Ruby read three new chapter books, and I am pretty sure that I am still able to hold an adult conversation (despite the fact that the microwave beeped at me the other day to alert me that my food was ready and I mindlessly said to it, “OK, honey, hang on; I'm coming”).

So we are all still hanging in there with just – by the time you read this – three days until Georgia goes back and four until Ruby does.

Now if you'll excuse me, Ruby just screamed, “Mom, Georgia has been sitting on my hands and now they smell like butt!” and Georgia is shoving wooden triangles of Melissa & Doug birthday cake into my lap and also I have to go comb nits out of someone's hair, possibly my own.

So I'm over and out. And so so so ready for school to start.

Best wishes to you and yours for the rest of vacation and all of 2015.