When you’re slogging through your children’s early years, people love to tell you shit like “it goes so fast” or “wait until they’re teenagers.” It almost seems like an involuntary thing to say. It’s like parental Tourette’s. It’s not that those people are wrong or mean. It’s just not usually what you want to hear when you’re covered in snot and haven’t slept in 4 years. You’d rather hear things like “go take a nap and I’ll watch them” or “here’s a sandwich and a glass of champagne to enjoy while I watch your children.”
But they’re right. These little people are only little people once.
From time to time I’ve constructed a timeline of a typical day. I share it with you all out there so that you all know you’re not alone in the slogging department. But it’s also something of a memorial for myself one day. I haven’t done one of these in a while – (https://larva225.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/i-a-m-what-i-a-m/ )- since Felix was only a few months old. An update seems long overdue.
This is a recent morning. The specific day/date is inconsequential:
4:15 AM (Felix and I are in the master bedroom) Felix wakes up by sitting up, singing his little “ba ba baaaa ba baaa” song. I cannot persuade him to go back to sleep. I ask him if he knows what time it is. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t answer. I sneak as quietly as possible down the hall in order to avoid waking Stella. I proceed to put up child gates, make a cup of tea, feed the Three Stupid Cats, change Felix’s diaper, and put out a cup of chocolate milk and handful of Goldfish crackers. Felix watches Pocoyo while pulverizing Goldfish, since that’s what’s on Nick Jr at this ungodly hour. He attempts to climb up on the coffee table 9 times. I remove him 9 times. He finally gives up and empties out his big Lego block wagon. I try to check the news, weather, and Facebook on my phone.
4:49 Stella wakes up. It’s probably because Felix was playing the toy piano. And by playing I mean banging on it with both fists. I provide her with chocolate milk and we wait for Peppa Pig to come on. I unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry.
5:19 After sitting through the first episode of Peppa, Stella demands that I turn on Mater (Mater’s Tall Tales on Netflix). After picking up the blocks from Felix’s block wagon, I find the Roku player remote. By the time I get Mater going, Felix has upended the wagon again. Both kids are momentarily hypnotized by Larry the Cable Guy’s voice. I sneak to the back to throw on clothes and makeup. I return to make coffee and start sorting out lunch for Will.
5:54 Mater ends. Stella asks for more Mater. I pick up the blocks again and then hit play again on the Roku remote. Felix empties out the blocks. Again.
6:00 I try to get Will up for work. I begin making him breakfast: a couple of boiled eggs in miso soup. Stella demands food. Shit. We only have 2 eggs, and they’re for Will. I improvise. I decide to make breakfast quesadillas – one ham and cheese and one peanut butter and Nutella.
6:20 Will eats most of his soup and leaves for work. Stella and Felix are seated and given some fruit – apple and cherries – while I wait on the food to cool. Stella won’t eat the quesadilla, instead asking for stinky chips and pickles. Felix likes the peanut butter and Nutella. He likes painting with it more. I’m folding clothes, trying to avoid puddles of molten peanut butter and Nutella.
6:45 Clean up breakfast stuff. Stella’s plate is untouched (which sucks, as this means she’ll get wild at school when her sugar crashes) and Felix’s high chair tray looks like a tar pit. So does his face.
7:15 I hit play on Mater for the FOURTH time. I pull clothes for the little people. Felix runs away when I try to grab him. Fortunately he trips over his block wagon and all the spilled blocks. Stella hates the blue dress I chose. I get impatient and rip it off. Then she screams that she wants her beautiful blue dress back. I wonder if I need a bite guard so that I have molars left by the time I’m 45.
8:00 I try to Facetime with my dad and stepmother, since this is their appointed phone date with Stella. My dad’s wifi is F’ed up and he can’t connect. He’s mad. Stella’s mad. Stella WANTS TO FACETIME. I frantically try to Facetime with my brother. He doesn’t answer. Stella’s really agitated now. I announce it’s time to find socks and shoes and GO TO SCHOOL. Felix dumps out his wagon one more time and starts chirping “bye byyyye.” Stella’s demanding that we Facetime and where’s my socks and fruitsnacks fruitsnacks fruitsnacks chocolate milk. I just want to get in the damn car.
8:16 We’re in the damn car. Stella’s eating fruit snacks and drinking chocolate milk. She’s not going to do well at school today. I just know it. NO WE CANNOT RIDE WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN, STELLA. IT’S 85 DEGREES. SHOUTING WILL NOT MAKE ME ROLL THE WINDOWS DOWN.
8:25 Drop Stella off at school, signing her over to the staff for the day. Felix and I flee to the safety of the house, stopping briefly for eggs on the way home. I’m tempted to buy some liquor. But I don’t. But maybe the presence of eggs in the house will curtail some of this mania tomorrow.
I’ll stop here. It’s only 8:25 but at this point, I feel like I’ve already put in a full day. After a day of reading reports, feeding my son, laundry, and picking up that F’ing wagon full of blocks, I will get to pick up my daughter and basically repeat the above in reverse, only adding in extra yelling and bitchiness after a full day at school.
They say it goes fast. Sometimes, I hope they’re right.