Seriously, sometimes I ask myself this. Sam will get home at the end of the day and I look at the mess of toys spread across the basement play room, the dishes piled in the sink, the laundry sitting in the washing machine that I forgot to switch to the dryer…and I wonder, as my children run shrieking through the house in just diapers and t-shirts (seriously, where are their pants? Why are they always missing pants? where do they even go?), I wonder what in the world I actually DID manage to do in the 8 or more hours since I rolled out of bed that morning.
Take today, for instance.
My day started at 5:30am when I was abruptly awakened up by my husband, who had apparently hit snooze on his alarm without intending to. So at 5:30 he sits straight up in bed, exclaims: “oh, shoot!” and JUMPS out of the bed. Seriously, who jumps out of bed in the morning? Like, EVER…?!
Maybe on Christmas morning na, lets face it, not even Christmas morning gets me jumping out of bed. Mornings are not for jumping. They are for rolling out of bed, hair tousled and mascara smudged under your eyes, grumbling and grunting a little as you make your way, eyes squinted and half closed, to the shower – where you stand immobile for a good 10 minutes before even thinking about grabbing for your shampoo.
Mornings are not for jumping.
But, I digress. He jumped out of bed and scared the crap out of me, so I sat up, heart pounding, and asked: “What? What happened?”
“I slept through my alarm.”
Seriously?! That’s it!? The world isn’t ending? There’s no earthquake? A child is not screaming in their bed?
Side note: It’s a sad sort of existence when 5:30 am is considered sleeping in. But, with kids who are early risers and a husband who leaves for work super early so that he can see the kids before his evening classes…5:30 is sleeping in.
I was up in the middle of the night twice with Clara and once with Oliver. Really, I just want to sleep more. But my heart is pounding and adrenaline is running from the crazy man who just leaped out of my bed and scared the daylights out of me…and the clock is ticking if I want to have any amount of personal space this morning before the two little munchkins get up and start a constant stream of noise and questions and toys and poop and pee and hugs and dirty knees and scrapes and kisses and…chaos.
I need a shower. I need a coffee. And I need to get up now so that the coffee hits my bloodstream before I’m the sole adult responsible for two kids under three all day.
So, I roll out of bed and scowl my way down to the basement where my husband reminds me we agreed that we wanted to start our mornings with a 15 minute workout each day. Nothing crazy – real basic. The plan is to then do some cardio on our own throughout the week.
Yea, it sounded like a good plan over the weekend.
Only, now it’s a Monday morning (well, Tuesday, but with the holiday weekend it feels like a Monday morning), I was rudely awakened, the kids will be up in half an hour, and it doesn’t sound like such a good plan any more. I ignore the hot shower that is practically calling out to me, willing me to abandon all plans of tighter abs and toned legs…and drop onto the floor, trying to resist the urge to curl up in a fetal position and get some more shut eye in.
Gosh, I hate mornings.
A few pushups and squats and planking and such later, and I’m ready for that shower. I’m soaping up my hair when there’s a loud crash of thunder, and I can hear Oliver’s voice on the monitor.
“mommy? …..mommy? ….Mommy? …..MOMMY! MOMMY!!!!!! MOOOMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!”
I peak my head out from behind the shower curtain, hair covered with suds and look at my husband, who’s got shaving cream all over his face and the line from a single razor path down one cheek.
“You or me?”
He turns off the water, shakes his hands and says: “I’ll get him.”
Great. If the thunder doesn’t scare him, maybe the white-bearded towel wearing man coming into his room will. But I’m not in any better shape at the moment…so it’s not like there’s a better option and the thunder is starting to roll again.
Have I said how much I hate mornings? And also thunderstorms. Killers of sleep, the both of them!
I finish my shower and come out to find Oliver sitting on Sam’s lap, clutching his blanket.
“Mommy!!!” he says, wide-eyed. “There was lightening! And big thunder!”
He’s up too early, but there’s no way he’ll going to go back to sleep with a thunderstorm going on. Usually after my shower there’s time to eat a quick bowl of cereal while Sam makes coffee – then Clara wakes up and I’ll sit and play with her and sip my coffee until Oliver wakes up and then it’s breakfast round 2. But, there’s no time for Sam to make coffee today since he’s running late, and Oliver is already up, so instead of pouring my granola in a silent kitchen to the smell of freshly ground coffee beans, I’m answering a million questions.
“Can I have that?’
“Not that one. I want THAT one.”
“In a bowl. No, the blue bowl.”
“I want blueberries.”
“Oliver, there ARE no blueberries in the cereal. It’s chex.”
“I don’t want kix, I want that one.”
“Chex, Oliver, it’s called chex.”
“It has blueberries?”
“No. No blueberries.”
“It does, it DOES!”
I look at the box. The photo of the cereal in the bowl on the front of the box does, in fact, have blueberries in it.
“Well, no. There are blueberries in the picture, but not in the box. Someone added them to their cereal.”
“I want blueberries.”
Darn you, Kroger and your false advertising! Now my kid wants blueberries. Did you think about that when you made your box? Did you?!
“Oliver, the only blueberries we have right now are frozen solid. So you can’t have them today, ok? Please just eat the cereal.”
“But if it DID have blueberries?”
“But if it DID?!”
“If it DID, then you would eat them. But since it doesn’t, then there are none to eat.”
“I want cheerios too. In same bowl. And milk. And a spoon.”
Sam’s racing around the kitchen trying to get ready for work (thankfully I made his lunch the night before) and Oliver and I have only eaten about 4 bites of our cereal when Clara wakes up. I stare at the blinking lights on her monitor in denial as I listen to her talk away. She’s clearly wide awake, but illogically I think: Maybe I can get her to go back to sleep! I just need a little bit more time before I handle all of this today. Just a little more time. PLEASE.
I go in to get her, fully intending to try and convince her to go back to sleep. I’m pacing around her room in the dark and she has just finally started to relax when I smell something…funky.
Well, scratch that. There’s no chance of more sleep with a full, poopy diaper.
I change her diaper, walk into the empty kitchen and close the garage door that indicates Sam has left for work. I can hear from the kitchen that Sam has set Oliver up down in the basement watching Curious George while he eats his cereal – probably in hopes that I would have actually been able to convince Clara to get some more shut-eye. (it’s one of the ONLY things we can play to have him actually SIT in one spot longer than 2 minutes)
Since he never eats and watches TV, he is quiet obviously thrilled with the fact that he gets to watch the monkey AND eat breakfast today. At the SAME time. So I decide not to rain on his parade and just feed Clara her breakfast downstairs too. But, Clara’s chair is upstairs at the main table, so I set her down, go get the chair and drag it to the basement, and then head back up to the kitchen to get her breakfast ready. It’s 6:15 am and I’ve already been up and down stairs like 40 times. And, that workout I decided to do today? Yea. Apparently you use different muscles to lift kids than you do to do pushups.
Oh, my word. I can’t lift my hands over my head.
Who decided workouts were a good idea?
The cereal is on top of the fridge. Above my head. The baby is crying from downstairs. Oliver is probably dribbling milk all over the carpet as he watches a mischievous monkey dance across the TV.
And now I hate pushups too.
We make it through breakfast, get everyone cleaned off, do potty time for the 3rd time that morning with Oliver, celebrate ridiculously over poop in a potty, and are adding a sticker to a chart when I realize I haven’t had my coffee yet. 7:45. Oh, thank God. That will help. I’m suddenly relieved that I’m not in this state AFTER coffee. There’s hope yet!! I drag both kids and the high chair back up to the main level, pull a bin of toys into the kitchen, and make my coffee.
Ahhh, glorious coffee.
Which I attempt to drink while trying to fend off a one-year-old who insists on climbing and jumping all over me.
I’m not joking, someone needs to get this kid signed up for gymnastics. I finally get her distracted with something else and take a sip of coffee when a plastic ball comes sailing across the living room and smacks me square in the forehead.
“Oliver! You don’t throw them at people’s faces!”
I wipe the coffee splatters off my arm and attempt to gulp some more as I simultaneously get up to see what Clara has managed to find and put in her mouth.
A clump of cat hair. Gross.
I can tell I’ve been at this whole mom gig for a while though, because instead of going to throw it away, I toss it on the nearest bookshelf to take care of later, wipe the kid slobber on my jeans, and pick my coffee cup back up. I sit down, keeping one eye on Clara to ensure that she’s not attempting to consume any other gross/dangerous/important/non-edible things, and am JUST about to take another sip when…
Another one of those dang balls hits me in the temple.
First of all, where did he suddenly get this great arm from? Yesterday he couldn’t aim in the same general direction as his daddy when they tried to play catch – today he can aim two in a row right at my face?! Second of all, I totally regret buying those balls. Third of all, anyone know of any good day cares around here? I’m in the market for one… They open at like 5am, right?
But, since we don’t use a day care, it’s now 8am and one kid is already in time out, the other is ripping hand fulls of fur out of the cat, and I’m sitting in the corner, behind a bookshelf, attempting to guzzle a cup of coffee without being hit by some other flying projectile. I don’t even care if I taste it at this point. I just need the caffeine. And FAST.
As I’m downing my coffee, I remember that I’m making pizzas for dinner tonight which means that I have to make the dough this morning. Well, I figure both kids are fed and
happy …er, perfectly capable of playing with toys for the 7 minutes it will take me to make the dough …er, not currently screaming, so we traipse back to the kitchen. I set Clara on the floor, wash my hands to get off the remnants of the cat fur/kid slobber combo, and drag out the flour container.
“Mommy? I have to go potty.”
I want to scream. Curse the potty and all it’s training. Rip the kiddie potty to shreds. Do they make 5T diapers? 6T? Teenager? Lets just go that route. Diapers to depends. Skip the potty all together!
“Ok, Oliver. Lets go.”
One thing I’ve decided the last couple weeks, is that I will never, ever again buy or rent a house without picturing/practicing what it would be like to potty train a toddler in the bathroom. Never again.
Ours is so small that Oliver and I can’t walk through the door at the same time ( a normal sized adult has to walk through kind of sideways), and we can barely both fit in there at all. The door opens into the room, and won’t even open all the way because it would hit the wall mounted cabinet if opened fully, so it just kind of hangs out there at a 30 degree angle right into the 3ft square space in front of the toilet/sink. In order to help Oliver up on the potty, I have to hang halfway out of the bathroom and bend my upper body a different direction than my legs. Oh, and did I mention, Clara thinks potty training is something super exciting that she’s missing out on? So while contorting my body to inhuman angles trying to pull down a pull-up and get a kid on the toilet, I have another one trying to crawl between my legs and get in the bathroom too. As usual, I’ve just managed to get Oliver onto the potty as she squeezes past me and races the .057 feet to the tub, hanging over the edge and trying to get inside. I pick her up, set her in the hallway, and turn back to Oliver.
“Point down, Oliver! Down! Into the potty!”
Clara is now sobbing in the doorway dejectedly while I help make sure that pee is not flying in an arch through the bathroom.
“I did it, mommy! I peed!”
Meanwhile, Clara managed to reach through my legs and grab the toilet paper roll and is shredding it to pieces (the TP holder broke after a we-don’t-all-fit-in-the-bathroom mishap a couple weeks ago at bath time, and we haven’t had a chance to fix it yet). I rip that away from her as Oliver decides to stand up – on the stool – and try to pull up his training pants on his own. I lunge over just as he’s falling forward, feet tangled in the pull-up that is stuck around his ankles. In the chaos, the potty seat flips off the toilet and onto Clara. She thinks it’s funny and is now playing peek-a-boo. With a potty seat. A potty seat that is probably wet in the front/cup area. And I’ve got a toddler hanging over my shoulder, hitting my back with his hands, feet flailing in front of my face as I attempt to hold him in mid-air and get the pull-up back on his bare butt.
Please, please don’t pee on my face.
I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up.
I finally wrangle the pull-up back onto him and take the toilet seat away from Clara, tossing it in the tub to deal with later. I pick her up and wash her hands, while shouting over my shoulder for Oliver to come back and wash his hands too as I stretch my leg out to pull the stool over to the sink from it’s place near the potty. In the mean time, Clara has grabbed onto the bathroom door and is swinging it open and shut, slamming it into my shoulder. I move my foot off of the stool and brace it against the door to keep it open and, with Clara on one hip, turn backwards to use my one free hand to squirt soap onto Oliver’s hands. As I’m squirting the soap all over his hand (and his arm…and the side of the sink…), Clara hangs over my arm and yanks the night light out of the chest-height bathroom outlet with her dripping wet hands.
I take it away, dry her hands, and walk to her room to set her in her crib where she’s not going to electrocute herself or play peek-a-boo in a puddle of pee. On my way back to the bathroom I can hear the water turned on full blast…followed by giggles which I’m sure are caused by an absolute mess of spraying water and soap bubbles.
Pull the kid out of the bathroom.
Turn off the water.
Close the door. (I’ll just quarantine it and deal with the whole soap/bubbles/water/pee on floor/shredded, soggy toilet paper mess later…sometime…maybe).
Retrieve the crying younger sister from her bed.
Place sticker on chart.
Give Clara a sticker to put on her fake I-want-to-do-everything-my-brother-does-and-get-stickers-too chart.
Set up kids with toys.
Grab the flour container.
Ok. Attempt #2 at making dough. 8:30am.
Only, this time, Clara has decided that since she just spent 3 minutes in her crib, now she cannot be put down. The entire time I’m measuring out flour and yeast and hot water, she’s hanging onto both of my shins, head between my knees, crying. Huge tears dripping down her face – the whole nine yards. I half walk / half scoot over to the sink to wash the dough off my hands as she hangs onto my legs for dear life – tripping and crying and pinching my legs the whole way to the sink. I rinse my hands, pick her up, ask her to wait just another minute, and set her far enough away so that I can run back and open the drawer with the syran wrap in it without hitting her head. Apparently, this abandonment is too much for her because she flops onto the floor, lays with her face pressed into the linoleum, and continues sobbing. Wailing. Shrieking.
Oh yes, child. You LOOK like you really were ready to switch from two naps to one. Sounds like that’s going just splendidly for you.
I cover the dough, toss the dirty dishes into the sink, pick up my sobbing daughter, kiss her forehead, and tell Oliver that he can sit on the couch and read some books for a little bit while mommy puts Clara down for an “I-don’t-care-if-you-never-take-morning-naps-anymore-you-ARE-taking-one-today-and-that’s-final” nap.
“But, I have to go pee!”
Clara is clinging to my arm. Chin quivering. Eyes pleading to not be set down.
I sigh. Brace myself. Count to ten.
Here we go again.
Clara knows we’re headed to the bathroom and tightens her legs around my waist. She’s grabbing on so tightly that her nails are digging into the tender skin on the underside of my arms and I know that putting her down is going to be nearly impossible at this point, so I attempt to conquer potty time with her on my hip. Miraculously, I manage to single-handedly pull off Oliver’s shorts and pull-up (no easy feat, let me tell you), and get him onto the potty.
I glance at myself in the bathroom mirror. I’m frustrated, tired, sweaty…My hair that I threw into a giant, wet, messy bun after my shower, is falling out on my shoulders and frizzing out around my face, tickling my neck. My coffee is sitting in the kitchen getting cold. I feel like I’ve already spent hours in the bathroom today and it’s not even 9am. And, I really just want to crawl back into bed. But, Clara still has my underarm skin in a death grip (in case I had any designs of putting her down) and Oliver is sitting with his pants around his ankles and shouting in triumph over the two teaspoons of liquid that just went into the toilet bowl – expecting me to cheer with him. He stands up, hobbles over to the side of the toilet and flushes it.
“Yea! Pee goes in pipes under the house! I did it mommy! I DID IT!”
I don’t care.
I mean, I do care. But right now, I don’t feel like caring.
I want my coffee. And a second shower. And a pry bar to remove the Clara-sized pinchers from the back of my arm.
But I cheer him on anyway. We talk about stickers and where the pee goes after the toilet and how much of a big boy he is.
“I’m so proud of you, Oliver!” I say.
“Yes.” he nods at me, grinning.
And as I’m squatted there in the bathroom, trying to help him put his clothes back on with just my one free hand (Clara still tucked firmly on one hip), Oliver suddenly turns and plows head first into me – knocking me flat on my butt in the doorway. There’s nothing I can do to brace myself because I’m trying to keep Clara’s head from hitting the door and I can feel the tears springing into my eyes involuntarily as my back scrapes down the doorjamb and I hit the ground, hard. I’m trying so very desperately to bite back the anger and irritation that I can feel mounting when he throws his arms around my neck, squeezes as tightly as he can, and plants a huge, slobbery kiss square on my lips.
“I love you mommy. You’re my best friend.”
. . . What do I do all day?
And a lot of hours filled with…well…I couldn’t really tell you what it’s filled with
It’s important stuff.
That much I know.