Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Day

7:00 am, I wake to Reid poking my face. I look at him; fingers in his mouth, puppy's tag covering his nose; and immediately hear his grunt. With his spare hand he gestures to his right side and belly, poking at the urine that covers the middle third of his body. This has been happening more often than not lately. Time to change the sheets.

Nell wakes up immediately after Reid; he is not a quiet kid when he comes barreling out of his room. Normally I'd be up a little before they are, but last night I drove over to Valders, WI to visit the Young Women's group I serve in my Church. The teen girls, aged 12-17, are camping with other teens of our faith from the East Central part of the state. I didn't return from my visit with them until about 11:30. I crawled into bed reeking of camp fire smoke. Oh well, I told myself tomorrow I'll change the sheets.

And now I get to change Reid's too.

For breakfast I make three bowls of oatmeal. Ben eats his usual, Raisin Bran, and is off to work before the kids and I finish up. Immediately after I clear the table I start my first load of laundry. Then it's time to dress the kids for the day.


We spend the hour after breakfast playing with toys in the living room; we watch sesame street while we are at it. Nell starts to act sleepy just before 9:00am. I sweep her off to her room for nap-time. Snuggles and stories are our pre-nap ritual. Reid rushes in to help. He loves naming all the animals in Eric Carle's classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear as I turn each page. Nell loves that we both participate in her nap-time routine, even though the extra kisses don't stop her from screaming each time we close the door and walk away.

Once Nell is asleep, Reid and I head outside to mow the lawn. I complete the North side lawn before I realize I have no idea where Reid is playing. I stop mowing and find him digging rocks out of our front flower bed. I convince him to come to the back of the house and play there while I mow around our new swing set. He now has his play lawn mower out and I can't help but smile as I watch him pretend to mow around the old medal swing set (that we never used) near our pine tree. I love toddler imitation play. It is totally validating.

Once I trim a big enough space in the back yard I stop and ask him if he'd like to fill up his water table. "Yes!" he shouts enthusiastically. Together we spray all the grass clippings off the accessories and fill the table with our cold, refreshing well water. He plays at the table for the remainder of my mowing.

I am about 2/3 done when I check the baby monitor and notice Nell is awake. Stubborn as I am, I finish mowing all the parts of our lawn that grow healthily. I ignore the front lawn between the two maple trees because I'm fairly certain no one will ever notice it was skipped this week.

Back inside I have to change Reid's outfit; he is drenched. The sight of his wet clothes is a pleasant reward, and I'm grateful the water table occupied so much of his time. Nell isn't too hurried to get out of her crib, so after I change her diaper I lay her back down and ask Reid to play with her while I shower. I love the warm water on my dirty body, but hearing sweet "baby Nell Bell!" peek-a-boo screams in the background is the most relaxing part of my morning. Once I'm all cleaned up I find the two of them laying head to head, sucking their favorite fingers in complete silence. Picture perfect moment.

But ... Nell moved as I ran to get my camera and when I tried to recreate the moment I bonked her head on the side of the crib and sent her into complete hysterics. Sigh.
Imagine his head smashed up against her railings, and hers on the opposite side.
He loves his "laugh with baby Nell Bell" time. It is a daily thing.

It is now mid-morning and I set them each at the table with some graham cracker snacks so I can run downstairs and start a new load of laundry. When I return Reid insists he is still hungry and wants a granola bar. I give him goldfish crackers and juice instead. Ten minutes later I am certain he is full, and I announce it is time to go to the grocery store. Reid makes it clear he won't get down (peacefully) until I give him a granola bar. I concede, knowing I just should have listened to his request the first time. Besides, he can eat his granola bar while I go change Nell's clothes. She smeared goldfish all over her shirt during snack time. So much dirty laundry.

I love our grocery store. It has a post office, the bank our mortgage is with, and a child's play area. Reid thinks it is such a special treat to go play with the trucks and trains at the grocery store. The real treat is all mine. Nell and I have several non-shopping errands to run before using the weekly coupons to save money on necessities like milk and sour cream chocolate cake donuts.

On the way home from the store Reid throws a HUGE fit. It doesn't hit until we are in the car, so at least it isn't a public two-year-old moment. He is screaming "go to the treat store mommy!" while simultaneously thrashing about in his car seat. Yesterday I had to buy some lasagna pans from Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree is like crack-cocaine for a two-year-old, so before we even went inside I gave him a 1/3 of a bag of M&Ms as a distraction. It seemed to work. But that was yesterday, this is today. Today he is sitting in the back of my car, kicking his baby sister in the head (yes, they are both in their car seats as he does this) bawling "go to the treat store mommy!" the entire drive home.

I ignore him as best I can. A stern "Stop that!" has to be shouted back at him when I see his orange shoes come down near Nell's head, but other than that I just look straight ahead. At home I carry him inside and the intimate contact seems to be all he needs in order to calm down. I am able to put the groceries away and heat up some leftover lasagna for lunch. Reid takes one bite and spits it out. He does sit at the table and wait for Nell and I to finish our lasagna, so that's a win. Of course he isn't hungry for lunch, considering his breakfast sized snack.
What the floor inevitably looks like after each meal or snack. On bad days, it only gets swept once. 

By 1:00 they are both sound asleep. Instead of a blanket, Reid is covered in library books. I read one to him, but when he insisted I read another I just left him in his bed flipping through pages on his own.

From 1:00 to 2:00 I check the budget, think about my "R is for Robot" preschool co-op lesson and write most of a Pioneer Day blog post. Nell starts fussing at 2:00 and I dread not being able to finish my Pioneer Day thoughts. Even if I finish writing the post tomorrow, it won't actually be Pioneer Day. Ugh.

Nell's fussing wakes Reid up. It's clear they each need more sleep, rarely are they so snuggly. I soak it  in, and the three of us rock peacefully in the nursery chair for a beautiful, brief moment. Before too long Nell is squirming to crawl around and Reid is begging to watch diesel train clips on You Tube. Realizing this is a great chance to do some more laundry and prep my kitchen for dinner, I put Nell in her jumperoo and start a stream of "rail fanning" on You Tube. I sure hope the grown men recording these videos don't cuss, I think to myself as I get to work in the kitchen. Why can't he just like cartoons?

After about 15 minutes of kitchen work I decide to tidy up the bathroom. Then I take the kids outside to play on the new swing set. Nell practically jumps out of my arms once her baby swing is in sight. While outside on the swing set, our neighbor kids wander over. We actually bought the swing set from their grandma, who had it at her house for them when they were younger and she was their day care provider. Reid is always thrilled when Sam and Tim come over.

The next hour and a half quickly slips away and before I know it Ben is coming down the road while Reid, Sam and Tim are taking turns riding his zwiggle bike down the driveway. I send the neighbor kids home and go into a quick panic when I realize it is 4:30. Ben took work off a half hour early so that he could help with the kids while I prepare dinner for our family and three extra guests. As I start preparing dinner I realize I forgot to buy broccoli for our roasted broccoli side dish. Duh! I send Ben to the store, and this means the kids are plopped in front of the TV ... again.

While Ben's out, one of our dinner guests calls and cancels. He isn't feeling well and doesn't want to get the kids sick. Immediately, I know Ben will take him some of our leftovers once the other guests head home. My husband has such a good, predictable heart.

Before I know it we have ten minutes until our two remaining guests arrive and I'm just throwing desert in the oven. I whipped up a batch of cookies 'n cream cupcakes and Reid is happily licking the beater. Dinner is done thanks to Ben's excellent help on the grill. Nell's in her high chair enjoying some garden fresh tomatoes. You can hardly tell a storm (named Liz) hit the kitchen too late in the afternoon.

The weather is perfect and (I think) we all enjoy the evening out on the deck. I had to sneak inside for a bit to whip up some frosting. And it was my turn to lick that beater, a heavenly break in the hectic evening.

By the time our dinner guests leave it is time for baths. Ben is always in charge of the baths in our house. Even if Reid begs for "mommy do it" (which he did) I just refuse. Ben calmly tells him "It's daddy's job to give you your bath, mommy needs a break," and then a slobber of raspberries begin, and Reid's tears and whines quickly turn into giggles.

My "break" almost always consists of cleaning up the kitchen, finishing up the laundry, or picking up leftover toys (some nights Reid does help pick up toys, but with the rush of the dinner guests this night is not one of them). Tonight I'm frantically trying to complete all three aforementioned tasks at once.

The moment both kids are in bed Ben starts making up a dinner for our sick friend. He stops to give me a kiss and I'm not even appreciative. My response is simply "I love you, but I'm so stressed right now."

"I can tell," he replies. There is no doubt the obviousness of my stress is exactly why he stopped my frantic cleaning for a kiss.

While he's visiting our sick neighbor I give myself some time to calm down, and plan my sweet apology for being so high strung. I've just had this mental checklist racing through my head.

  • Do the laundry
  • Mow the lawn
  • Take a shower
  • Feed the kids a healthy snack
  • Go grocery shopping
  • NAP-TIME!!! *little party dance here*
  • Kids wake up, regret not getting more accomplished during nap-time
  • Take time to play with the kids
  • Get dinner ready (while simultaneously keeping the house from becoming a complete mess)
  • Bedtime
  • Clean up dinner
  • Prepare my R is for Robot preschool co-op lesson
I hadn't scheduled in time for Ben to get sweet with me, nor for him to do service for our neighbor. I was racing through my second to last item in order to reach my final daily requirement. Well, if I didn't plan time for distractions like my neighbors coming over during play time, or Ben being sweet during dinner clean up, I definitely didn't plan for a monstrous clog in our bathroom sink to interrupt my lesson planning time. 

Thankfully, I handle this interruption much better than the previous two. And after two trips to Wal-Mart I can finally crawl into bed, sheets unchanged, at 11:30pm. The smoke has cleared (yes, our sink smoked as we unclogged it) and a bucket is under the sink to catch any harmful chemicals that might continue to drip through the night. My alarm is set for 4:54am. I have to wake up early to put the final touches on my R is for Robot preschool co-op lesson.
Even after my "R" is for Robot lesson, he still calls them Bobots.


*The above was written on July 25th. None of the pictures were taken on the actual day, which was July 24th, but they capture similar moments.

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to record the hourly details of my day. I picked a random day, one that turned into a long and stressful one. Looking back on my calendar I see that I completely missed an 11:00am appointment with some friends at the opera square downtown. Oops. Last Thursday was a blissful day at the end of another crazy week, and I remember thinking "I should blog about this day too/instead." But too much time has passed since then and I don't remember anything other than a fabulous morning bike ride (kids in tow) to a near by park and an even better evening family swim at the Y. But I suppose remembering one of the crazy days as a stay at home mom might be a real treat some day. 


Megan said...

Mom life is CRAZY! I'm on vacation right now with Matthew (no Nate) and I'm exhausted. I love that you recorded all this and that I had some quiet time to read it.

Anonymous said...

You are too funny! Please, please, please take time to smell the roses, and return those sweet kisses from your hubby. Life is too short to overlook all that is good.

I love your blogs sis. They are SO YOU!!! That's why I love YOU so much -- Pa

BTW, the kids are adorable in those pics. Love seeing them in real life situations and it appears you had plenty on the 25th!

Scott and Claudia said...

Great mom sis!! And great wife, most of the time! Love you and thanks for the photos and a peek into your daily life! Mom

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