When Benjamin was a newborn (just about this time last year), I was certain that life with two children was as difficult as it could be ... I had one VERY needy baby and an 18 month old. As Benny grew things seemed to get a little easier and a little easier ... until movement happened. Now, I maintain that life with two children who are both mobile is probably the toughest balancing act I've ever learned to juggle. I slide into bed at night and wonder how in the world I got so tired out .... I have nothing to "show" for my day. In stubborn refusal to believe I do "nothing" I decided to journal the events of my day.
It is 2:40 on the day of my journaling and I feel like I could write a novel describing all that was "noteworthy" about today ... I'm going to actually blog it, so I can feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from looking back over all of the things I managed to juggle :) ... So, enjoy my narrative (or skip it if doesn't sound amusing) ...
6:00 a.m. hit the snooze button twice
6:20 a.m. manage to lace my running shoes for a now shortened (because of hitting the snooze button) but very hilly 2.2 mile run
7:15 a.m. finish recovering in the garage/stretching in the breezeway and get ready for KIDS to be up ... and here's where the fun begins ...
During breakfast my daughter (who is wearing pink sponge rollers and her Mickey jammies because she didn't want to "get dressed right away") says to me:
"Mommy, when is Daddy coming home (he literally walked out to the door not 5 minutes before this)."
"Later, K, why?"
"Because I want to listen to Rock n Roll. My iPod only has worship music, and Daddy needs to fix that. He has to give me my rock n roll music." (Daddy claims to know nothing about why her previously adored worship music is now insufficient).
I continue feeding Ben, who is quite a bit less focused on his food than usual. It takes me a little while to figure out why ... then I notice a pattern. Take a bite of oatmeal, stare at sister's crazy head, point ... laugh like a hyena. Chuckle a little more ... laugh again like a hyena ... regain composure and take a bite. Repeat ... I was so flabbergasted at his lack of eating that I didn't notice he was actually mocking his sister; my baby boy had learned to "make fun" of someone else ... Funny now, not so funny later ... :)
After breakfast I'm cleaning up the dishes and Kayleigh's forgotten worship music is still playing ... She's downstairs in her kitchen "making Mommy some snacks" and Benjamin is sitting in his favorite chair. He crawls up in the toddler chair any chance he gets (which is basically whenever Kayleigh's little bottom isn't in it). He gets up, calls Mommy over and says, "Jake..." (while pointing at the tv .. "No, Ben, it's not time for Jake yet. Listen to the music and dance." At first he appears angry with me and then resigns himself to music instead of tv. He relaxes a bit and NO LYING, he starts bobbing his head to the beat. No wiggle his hips, no clap his hands, no imitation of his sisters crazy waving ... he starts gently bobbing his head to the beat, like a grown man, too cool to bust a move. I just about died laughing ...
As I was still wiping the tears away, Kayleigh comes up with my snack. She serves me a "pretend cupcake" in a bowl from her stove. When I say, "Kayleigh, this is DELICIOUS (her favorite new word), where did you learn to make this." She looks at me with a very demeaning expression and says, "Oh Mommy, you know I learned that at Spanish school. It's my favorite place ever and they teached it (what she said!) to me. You know this."
And again with the tears ... no wonder I'm so unproductive. I spend most of my morning laughing at my hysterical children ...
During "Jake and Mickey time" I manage to get the Tuesday chores finished (I know it's Wednesday, U2 set me back a bit), but no sooner did I have Ben down then I'm back to laughing at my children again ... I told Kayleigh she could play downstairs in her kitchen and with her downstairs puzzles while I took a quick shower (still hadn't after a 6:00 a.m. run ... I know, I'm gross). She amuses herself quietly for most of the time until I hear, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!!!" I peek out of the shower and almost trip over her princess bike. She's right under my nose. "I think my bike works now! It's not broken anymore. I rided (yup, we struggle with past tense irregulars) it in to the bathroom to show you! It's fixed! YEAH!!!"
Sigh ... there's another milestone we've checked off the list ... She can ride her bike. Before I know it she'll be riding off with her friends to someone's house for a play group ... I manage to finish getting dressed with a bike in the bathroom and then tell Kayleigh I'm heading upstairs and she can join me when she's ready. "In a minute, Mom. I'm working down here ..." (It's usually not long before she comes along; she simply hates being alone).
Nearly 10 minutes passes and I'm just thinking to myself that we've reached "independent play stage," when I see her, trotting into my bedroom. "Mommy, I need help putting on my shorts." Instead of being annoyed I'm thrilled ... she's had a little trouble with learning to "put things back together" after bathroom time. (It's the only obstacle left to feeling CONFIDENT in her early pre-school experience.) If her shorts (that have a zipper and a snap on them) are the only obstacle here, she may just have used those 10 independent minutes for something good ... "Did you go potty?"
(Kayleigh was never one to mince words) "Oh yeah Mom. I did both. It was really really big one! But I already took care of it (cupping my face in her hands); I'm a good girl like that." After I get down chuckling, I race downstairs to see what I'm gonna have to clean up now ... sure enough she did take care of it ... all but flushing the big toilet. Whew ... crises averted (AND ANOTHER MILESTONE REACHED ...)
Just as I'm getting nostalgic I hear Benjamin laughing in his room (yeah, he pretty much STILL wakes up happy all the time). It's now 11:00 (anyone tired yet? I am, ) BUT that's my errand running window ... It's gotta happen now.
So, we race back upstairs pack up the kids (and all that that means) and head to our first stop ... the bank ... I no sooner pull into the parking lot than I hear from the backseat. "Benny, you have to ask NICELY if you can have a sucker. You can't just grab them from the lady. You have to say, 'May I please have a sucker, please?' And then wait your turn, ALRIGHT?" I laugh smugly as this was our last lesson from the bank. We walk in to no line (HALLELUJAH) and my precocious toddler races to the first teller. "I'm not shy anymore. I can ask you like a big girl. May I please have a sucker, please?" The teller laughs hysterically and gives me the questioning look (I'm still positioning the stroller through the door and trying to catch the toddler). I nod and Kayleigh now has her pick of candy is happy (for the moment). I shrug and continue with my business - before long, it's off to the next errand.
I had to go to KCHS to handle some tennis details. So, I thought I'd use my BOGO coupon to get Steve a McD's frappe on the way. (Thoughtful for him, not well thought out considering my van load of children ...) I anticipated a fuss from K who can usually spot a golden arches nearly half a mile away. BUT, seeing as she had a sucker to occupy her mouth, she gave her little brother a chance to be the smart aleck. He sees the McDonalds from at least 3 blocks away and as I start towards it he screams, "EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT!!!" (Seriously??? He's got this association down already ... I have to be the world's worst mother!). As I pull into the drive-thru he begins his screaming/shake/excitement move that accompanies just about anything he finds too great to wait for. He continues this through the drive thru line, as a I fold the contents of small bag of fries into his cup. The shaking only ceases after he's stuffed about 4 fries into his face ... Ahh ... now, they're both happy ...
It's this tiny moment of blissful silence that reminds me ... I still have a LOT to do yet. So, we pull into the school, unload, carry Daddy his treats and I'm about to head out to do my errands around the school when the sucker/fries are no longer sufficient. "I'll hold your coffee, Mommy. You can sip it when I let you." (Sigh .. oh right, the mother of the year also introduced her toddler to iced coffees last Spring. She didn't forget). But this time, she has a hungry/curious brother. Steve and I share (very small) sips of the coffee with our kids. While I'm running about, he lets them have a dance party with him in the lab.
Ben wastes no time turing everything into a toy. He used the rolling chairs as a walker, the carts as a personal jungle gym, and Mommy and Daddy as instruments critical for moving from one to the next. He wasn't naughty, just very busy ...
Within 25 minutes, we have to be off ... I want to prune the badly over grown, spindly petunias in the front yard before we must do lunch and naps. So, we pack it all up and head on home. I pull out the tennis racquets and a can of balls and set the kids up to play a little in the grass/on the driveway. They are amused for all of the time it takes me to pull out the pruning sheers. Then it's on to both of them "helping Mommy." At this point, I don't much care how dirty they get (gonna have to change 'em both and get them ready for naps anyway), so I just plug away. In the time it takes me to prune my tiny bed of petunias/daisies two injuries, 5 "fights," and 3 acts of disobedience occur. I am convinced that if it weren't for these, I could have been done pruning in about 10 minutes. I'm sure it was closer to 40. We were now behind schedule, the kids were cranky, Kayleigh is bleeding from a scrape on her knee and Benjamin, well, Benjamin looks like this:
He's soaked his pants from dumping out the watering can; he's covered in grass from clippings left in the lawn. He's got double strands of snot from his being upset at being told "no," or the fights from his sister, and most of all, he's HUNGRY! I muster up the strength to deal with this mess because, well, because there's a light at the end of the tunnel. It's nearly nap time. They strip in the garage, get clean diapers/underoos, which they'll eat in (no sense in having PB and J in the clean stuff ... yes, they still wear bibs, but my boy is a full contact eater).
As I make lunch I watch my hungry, tired and sad baby boy reach yet another milestone. He gives up on the toddler chair, it was fine this morning, but now it's too easy (probably all the practice he got at Daddy's work). He scrambles his butt up into the BIG ikea chair and pulls a magazine on to his lap. He sits quietly flipping through it while I fix his sandwich. Princess Grace won't be outdone either. She's insistent that the job I did fixing her "really big owie" wasn't sufficient. So she says, "I'm going to clean this off myself." And she heads off to the cupboard, grabs a Microfiber cloth, soaks it in water and spends the next 5 minutes dabbing at her scrape ... (I'm already not good enough and she's just 2 1/2) :) ...
The pre-nap Mickey plays while they INHALE their lunch and as soon as they finish dancing to the Hot Dog song, they are whisked away to bed ... 2:00, on the nose ... and Mommy crashes ... to write a blog, catch up on chores, print out the time sensitive coupons, handle emails, oh yeah ... and eat so I'm ready by 3:40 to leave the house and go teach 2 hours of tennis with some of the best girls on the planet.
.... Why is it again that I fall asleep by 9:00?? Oh yeah, I'm a mommy ... and you know what? I wouldn't change a thing ...
I hope you caught the undercurrents of sheer joy amidst all of the "venting" I did today. I truly love my life, exhausting as it is right now, and I thank God for the privilege of being able to be here to see it all ... He is SO good to me.