A few days ago, it was a long day. A really long day. Monkey was up at 4:30, quietly cooing that then turned into soft whining that then turned into some controlled crying that by 5:20 had turned into full out “Get me out of bed!” dramatics. The moment he saw me, the crying ceased and was replaced with, “Mamma … mamma … mamma …” all the way down the stairs, through the family room and into the kitchen where I promptly made his bottle and turned on the coffee. Upon sucking down those 6 ounces in record time, he realized there was not a drop left; this started another round of dramatics. Husband got up and joined us with hugs, kisses, and Good Mornings. All was well till it wasn’t. The kinds of things that make it not well are situations like:
- No, you can’t have that (tv remote, dvd remote, my current book, Girlfriend’s current book, the plug to the lamp, the diapers in the diaper basket, you get the idea …);
- no, you can’t do that (climb over the back of the couch and lay there, climb up the stairs, go into the downstairs bathroom to stick hands in the toilet, you get the idea);
- no, you can’t pull Kitty’s tail;
- no, you can’t throw every toy you own over the gate and into the hallway from your playroom.
Well, eventually it was time to get ready for the day (and it was only 6:30 with no work to go to!!) so I managed a quick shower before Husband left to go to work. That left me and Monkey. We played, we read books, we colored, we sang songs. Girlfriend woke up and joined us. They played but there was lots of throwing and hair pulling, and of course, Girlfriend screaming, involved.
Breakfast time arrived. Some food was eaten, some food was thrown (thankfully by the younger child only). There were tantrums and kicking and crying.
We were all able to get dressed because this was taking place in Girlfriend’s room, where there are so many things to look at and play with! Of course, Girlfriend and I had to run around, swiping anything and everything that could be potentially hazardous to a 15 month old. Not to mention the activity cards for the Tooth Fairy Girlfriend had made and was leaving out for her special guest that night. Those almost didn’t make it; luckily, we were able to save them just in time before Monkey grabbed them.
Finally, finally, it was time for storytime at our local library. Monkey loves songs and books. Girlfriend was dying for a new batch of books for herself and I was going to get to sit down for a few minutes. Win-win-win for all!
Except that sitting down did not happen.
Oh, no sirree. Nooooo sirreeee. Monkey loved Storytime – he loved the songs and the books and he especially loved chasing the other Little Readers all around the room. They liked it too, but not when he hit and pulled hair. Thank Goodness for an amazingly warm Librarian and fellow parents who understood because aside from the hitting and hair pulling, their Sweeties were kinda crazy, too. There were a few who sat angelically with their mothers. I understood and I harbored no hard feelings. I had an Angelic many years ago, too. So yeah, I barely sat. I stood and walked slowly around, keeping my eye out for Monkey antics. I talked to fellow Mamas and then it was time to leave. We joined Girlfriend in the Children’s Room. She had chosen all kinds of books for herself and was so excited to sit Monkey down and share some baby books with him. Our library has a really nice collection. He was interested ’till he wasn’t, as running around and pulling books off the shelves was way more fun but certainly not allowed by any means so thus ensued screaming, crying, kicking, flailing, protests of “no, mamma, no mamma!” I got The Eye from one lady but I’m 40, this is my 2nd kid, I teach elementary school, I’m a pro at nonsense. Give The Eye all you want, that’s what I say. Still, it was slightly … embarrassing.
So we checked out our books and headed back out to the car, buckled in and away we drove, home for lunch. A little more eating, a little more throwing, Girlfriend wanting to read her books and watch a show. I took Monkey up for a nap. We read and read and read and sang and sang and sang and then he sucked down his bottle and went.to.sleep. For 90 minutes. Hey — I’ll take it!!!
I sat down on the couch and Girlfriend said, “Mommy, you could take a short nap.” I could? Yeah, I could! OK! Well, she proceeded to wake me up about 3 times to tell me various important things. And then, groggy, and head full of sand, I woke up to the demands of Monkey.
We three snacked, and then there was nothing else to do but go outside and play. It was 2:40. Monkey loves outside. We filled the water table and his little pool. We managed a good hour outside, Monkey eating dirt, pushing the Step 2 Ladder back and forth across the lawn, attempting to help me rake up the pine needles. Girlfriend tried to enjoy the sun in her lawn chair as she wrote her comic, but Monkey was far too interested in pulling, ripping, and hitting so she left us for the safety of indoors.
By 3:40 Monkey was covered in dirt so we headed in to take a bath which he loved. After bath, he was so relaxed and I thought, Oh m y God, it’s 4:00. Husband will be home in two hours!! And this was a long day but no one died! And I didn’t cry! I didn’t even lose it a little!
I took a chance as I surveyed my disastrous downstairs … dishes piled in the kitchen, pillows and throw blankets littering the living room floor, toys everywhere in the playroom … I asked Girlfriend to keep Monkey entertained while I cleaned up the kitchen. Record time – 20 minutes later the kitchen was spotless. I thought about moving on to the other rooms but decided, no.
Instead, we went to Dunks for a treat. Girlfriend got a donut, Monkey got some munchkins and I had a delicious iced coffee.
Ahhhhhh. Quiet. Happy. The end of a hard- but honestly??? -pretty darn good day in retrospect. Girlfriend wrote a comic. We went to the library. We read tons of books. We played with toys. We ate lunch together in our kitchen. We got outside. A nap happened. And my kitchen was clean (for the moment!). I felt tired, but peaceful, like I achieved something.
We drove into the driveway, and there was Husband’s truck. We ran inside to meet him and tell him all about our day.
This kind of harried day happens all the time now that Monkey’s been added to the mix, but here’s the magic: in the summer, there’s nowhere to go, nowhere to be, nothing to do but take care of my kids. There’s so much mental space in my head. No lessons or big events to plan, papers to correct, projects to prepare, phone calls to make, worries to process, items to cross off on a never-ending to-do list. Being home with my kids is just so different in the summer months. Yes, it’s tiring, yes, it’s frustrating, yes, it’s hard. But it’s life and that’s all there is right now. I want to bottle it up and save it, I know I’m going to miss it when September rolls back around. So I’m just taking it day by day, hair-pulling and all.