5:00 AM: Cries from Bea’s room. On odd days, full moons, and on solstices she’ll cry shortly and go back to sleep until 7; on even days she’ll cry enough that I’ll go in and bribe her with milk to get her to sleep a little longer.
6:15 AM: Husband’s alarm goes off, kick him. He wakes up just enough to change alarm to 7:15 AM. Six years of marriage and I’ve yet to figure out the logic of this.
7:00 AM: My alarm goes off. I should probably get up earlier to do important things like enjoy silence or paint the sunrise or yogalates but then I remember that my children always wake up as I’m walking to the coffee maker regardless of what time it is, so even if I tried to do that it wouldn’t get done. I think I’m the equivalent to the smell of bacon in the morning to them. They get a whiff of my pheromones walking by their closed bedroom door and WHOOSH ITS MORNINGTIME HOORAY.
7:15 AM: Gracie begins yelling my name like a helium-infused Gregorian chant. I open the door and she asks, “Is it morning time?” Several times, especially on rainy, overcast mornings, I’ve lied to her and told her no, and it’s bought me about 15 extra minutes until she catches on.
7:16 AM: Get Bea out of her crib. She’s talking gibberish; happy squeals when she gets released from her prison and deep chuckles when she sees Willis for the first time every day. I put her on the floor and she crawls away to another room.
7:17 AM: Gracie sits on the couch while I turn on the TV and hand her a bowl of goldfish. Thankfully Disney Junior has Little Einsteins on, so I only feel 50% guilty for her watching TV.
7:20 AM: Pour coffee. Take two sips.
7:21 AM: Realize Bea is missing. Find her in the dark pantry, laughing to herself, playing with a canned beverage.
7:22 AM: Plop Bea in her high chair and give her a Nutrigrain bar and a sliced banana. Trying to redeem the time with semi-healthy foods because in two years the only thing she’ll eat are rainbow goldfish (and not broken ones, those get fed to the dog because they obviously taste different). Glance at my coffee cup and think I should probably drink it before it gets cold.
7:28 AM: Walk back to the bedroom. Notice husband is still asleep. So, so peacefully. How he’s able to do that amidst the screams and tantrums, I have no idea. It makes me love him and despise him at the same time.
Wash face, sometimes. Depending on how close I’m going to be standing to people that day. The level of contact I have with individuals determines the level of hygiene I do that morning. Don’t worry, I always brush my teeth… I’m rather OCD about teeth… but everything else…meh.
8:10 AM: Begin the thirty foot walk from the back door to the car. Gracie usually throws some sort of fit about the weather (it’s too sunny outside, my eyes hurt/I don’t like clouds, make the clouds go away mommy/ it’s raining, I don’t like water, please carry me). If the weather is to her liking, she proceeds to talk to the flowers on the way down the steps and plucks a few to take to her teacher. The story I give her, to keep from picking flowers (especially from neighbor’s yards when we go for walks), is that they are living creatures and it would be horribly painful for someone to pull your head off, wouldn’t it?! This is probably laying the groundwork for her to chain herself to a redwood in a few years, but I have a hard enough time keeping my pansies alive without a three-year-old decapitating them.
8:20 AM: Myself and other cast members of The Walking Dead drop our children off at preschool. Gracie goes three days a week. Thankfully Gracie loves loves loves preschool and I love love love preschool so drop off at her classroom is short and sweet.
Parents have to volunteer five times a year at Gracie’s preschool so sometimes I’m at the school with her and Bea stays with a babysitter. The first time I volunteered, I was on bathroom duty. Gracie walked in without seeing me (because it’s like Charlie Brown and three year olds only see legs) and she started bullying another little girl. Standing behind her, I verbally reprimanded her. Whipping around, looked at me with huge eyes and said, “HUH?!?!?! What you doing here mommy?!?!” Did I take the opportunity as a teaching moment and put the fear of Big Brother Mother in her? Maybe.
Mondays and Fridays, I head back to the house. Wednesdays, I have a babysitter who watches Bea while I try to cram a week’s worth of appointments, grocery shopping, and anything else that can be done without children. If I forget something at Walmart, we just do without it for the week.
The only store I willingly take both girls to is Home Depot— they can’t break anything in the store; there’s nothing they can randomly grab and eat; and the only people in there are men. They’re not stupid enough to say something to a frazzled mother in the middle of the power tool aisle and they give me a wide berth as a swing the ginormous buggy around corners.
8:30 AM: So on Mondays and Fridays, Bea and I arrive back home. I put Bea down and she scurries away to some part of the house. I start cleaning up the kitchen, but let’s be honest, I stand in the kitchen checking social media on my phone for twenty minutes. I put my now cold coffee in the microwave.
8:50 AM: Realize Bea is missing and I go look for her. Find her in a dark room, laughing to herself, playing with one of Willis’ toys.
Bea is very solemn in public, so very few people get to hear her laugh. She has an incredibly deep, guttural chuckle. It’s adorable but also really creepy when you hear it coming from a dark room.
9:00 AM: At the kitchen table, I spread out whatever project I’m working on— lately it’s been VBS— and put Bea down for her morning nap. If I’m caught up on that, I turn on a podcast about cults or conspiracy theories and clean the house. I’m convinced that one day, there’s going to be a lull in a conversation, and I’m going to wow everyone with a verbal treatise on Sea Monkeys, the Illuminati, or chem-trails.
11:00 AM: Woohoo! Chores are done and I can watch some TV— oh wait, never mind, Bea is up and I have to go pick up Gracie. Crud. Maybe next time, DVR. Realize I forgot about my coffee and zap it again in the microwave.
11:30 AM: Gracie is placed in my car by her amazing preschool teacher. Gracie’s behavior has gotten better as she’s adjusted to a school schedule; we had some bumpy parts last fall. Her teacher really knows how to work with her and her personality so Gracie has blossomed in her class. As soon as Gracie gets in the car, she gleefully announces that she has not been in time out today and shows me a half-melted Skittle she was given as her reward. She also shows me the rocks she got from the playground or the leaves she picked off the boxwoods (“I want to bring leaves to daddy’s office!”) where she stands in the pickup line. Faith Presbyterian Kindergarten- if you begin to wonder why your playground is looking muddy or your boxwoods are getting bald- I have half of your outdoor decor at my house.
11:45 AM- 1 PM: Lunch. The struggle is the same, the food is the same from my last post. The only difference is PBS changed their scheduling (like, why, PBS?! I pay my taxes) so no more Dinosaur Train and we watch PJ Masks instead. When I go to microwave the girls’ lunch I find my forgotten coffee. Set it aside to drink during nap time.
1:00 PM: Go find Bea, who’s in my husband’s study throwing DVD cases across the room. Put her down for her afternoon nap. Get Gracie ready for her afternoon “nap”. We converted her crib to a toddler bed last fall. After I get her settled, I close
the door and don’t open it until 4 PM. I don’t really know what happens in there during nap time. I don’t really care. All I know is that nothing in her room costs more than $50 so it’s ok if it breaks. I do find it amazing that for someone who isn’t allowed to get out of bed, she has an uncanny ability to surround herself with every toy imaginable around the base of her bed. Two out of seven days she falls asleep around 3:45 and I let her doze until 4:15 or whenever I think she’s completed a REM cycle. The other days of the week, she talks non-stop for just under three hours, reads books, and uses telepathy to transport stuff hidden in her closet to her bedside. Because according to her, she doesn’t get out of bed.
4:15 PM: Gracie and Bea are up from naps. I put Bea down and she scurries away. Gracie loves “playing” with Bea in the afternoons (Gracie is not very social in the mornings). Bea is becoming extremely vocal (again, very shy in public, but she’s just as verbal as Gracie at home) so the house is usually filled with shrieking. Gracie shrieks because Bea has a toy, Bea shrieks because Gracie grabs it, Willis barks because he wants the toy too, and I do the “stomp-clap” mom response with some minor shrieking. It’s either thunderstorms or rainbows in this house; we don’t have anything in between.
For the past two months, we’ve had random wasps fly in our house. I have two major, lose-my-mind fears, and one of them is wasps and hornets (the other is my teeth falling out but that’s for another day). As I’m writing this, I have a very angry wasp trapped behind the blinds of one of kitchen windows. He’s been there for two days.
We get a new wasp once a week around 4:45 pm (legit. it’s like clockwork). So just to give you a mental picture of what my husband comes home to, it’s the girls shrieking, the dog barking, and me trying to suck a wasp up with the vacuum cleaner (doesn’t work, hence new blind-trapping tactic).
5 PM: Start dinner. Tom and Jerry re-runs come on Boomerang so the girls watch that while I cook. Gracie is in to “clean” eating… so everything she eats cannot have any discernable seasoning, charring, or caramelizing. A few weeks ago, I had to put hamburger helper in a colander and rinse it with water before she ate it.
6:15-7:30 PM: The worst part of the day. Writing about it is just another reminder that I have to get through this time slot every day so I’m just going move on. If it’s been a particularly hard day, I tell my husband I need to go take a shower and then I find every possible thing to do in the back of the house while I’m “showering” and then magically get done at 7:30.
7:30 PM: Bea’s bath. Unlike her sister, who hates water, Bea adores bath time. As soon as she gets in the tub she sticks her head under the faucet and just lets the water run over her head. It’s the oddest thing. I give her a bottle and put her down to sleep.
7:45 PM: Gracie has approximately three excuses she uses :“I can’t, I need help”; “It’s Tuesday and I only do ____ on Fridays”; and something unintelligible because she’s sobbing and screaming. She presents one of these excuses each night with a dramatic flair as if she has FINALLY cracked the code and her father and I will say, “You know, I’ve never thought of that. Of course you can stay up all night.” She ends every argument with “Maybe another day”… I’m not sure if this is a control mechanism and I need to nip it in the bud, or it’s harmless. Usually I’m so tired so I’ll agree with her… because eventually, fifteen years down the road, she will stay up all night. Just not tonight.
8:30 PM: I look forlornly at my half-full coffee cup and realize I never got to finish it this morning.