Some of you may not know that D works nights. He goes to work at 7:35 p.m. and gets home at around 8:15 a.m. He works at the beginning half of the week for 5 weeks, then switches to the end half of the week. He also owns his own lawn business, which he works "part time" during the spring/summer/early fall. During the winter, I much prefer D to be working the front half of the week, because that means he has his weekends off. During lawn season, it doesn't matter which half of the week he works because on his days off, he's doing lawns. Lawn season means that my husband is a zombie.
This means that much of the time that I'm not working is spent mothering two children under the age of two on my own. I know, I know. I shouldn't want a medal or anything. So many women are stay-at-home moms to two under two (2u2) and they aren't asking for medals. But let me tell you, they sure do deserve them.
Approximately 6:30 a.m. - Hear toddler stirring in his crib. Pray to God that just this once, he'll go back to sleep and not wake up again till 8:30. Ignore the nagging knowledge that, the later he wakes up, the later he'll go down for a nap.
6:45 a.m. - Toddler is not going back to sleep. But, toddler is also not crying yet and has been distracted by the book placed in his crib for this express purpose. Roll over so you are facing away from the monitor, hoping that somehow this will shut out reality and allow you to go back to sleep for at least another hour.
7:00 a.m. - Toddler has been whining and calling for you and every other relative he can think of for at least 5 minutes. However, crying has not reached crescendo so you stay half-asleep for a bit longer.
7:05 a.m. - Whining has turned to crying and you realize you can't delay the inevitable any longer. Look at the clock and realize that you have successfully squeezed an extra 35 minutes of half-sleep out of your morning and try to take solace in that fact. Gaze longingly at your still-sleeping infant and try to convince yourself that it is depressing and wrong to be jealous of a 3 month old.
7:06 a.m. - Open the door to toddler's room. Toddler who has been crying and calling for you for the last 30 minutes suddenly wants nothing to do with you and runs to the other end of the crib, throwing himself down flat so you have to stand on your tip toes to reach down and get him. Use every muscle in your body to haul his purposely-dead weight body up and bring him to the changing table.
7:07 a.m. - Lay toddler on changing table. Toddler suddenly springs to life and decidedly does not want diaper or clothes changed. Desperately grab any object within reach and try to distract toddler with it. "Ohhh look at the book! Read the book while mommy changes you! No, we don't throw books at mommy!" (Book hits floor, narrowly missing your toes.) "OOOOOH! Look at the teddy bear! Do you want to hold the teddy? ....Oh, you don't want the teddy?" Patience begins to expire. Resort to simply trying to overpower toddler.
7:08 a.m. - Overpowering didn't work. Decide that it's ok that you've only managed to change toddler's diaper and were unable to get clothes put on him. Reason with yourself that it's better that way since toddler will probably make a mess of himself at breakfast anyway.
7:09 a.m. - Time to go and wake up infant. Try to muster enthusiasm out of your still-sleepy body and excitedly tell toddler "Let's go get sister!" Bring toddler to your bedroom and put him down. Try to find clean clothes for infant. Meanwhile, also attempt to intercept toddler from somehow having a knack at grabbing the things in the room you least want him to have. Curse silently that you'll have to figure out how to re-program your TV to get rid of the Chinese subtitles your toddler somehow added to the bottom of the screen.
7:15 a.m. - Marvel at the achievement of somehow managing to get infant dressed while preventing toddler from using your cell phone to call 911, flinging himself face first off the bed, pulling out dresser drawers on his toes or stabbing himself with the retractable blade that your husband uses at work and carelessly left in the pocket of the pants that he tossed on the floor.
7:15 and 25 seconds a.m. - Pay the price for stopping to marvel and comfort both toddler and infant who are screaming because they got frightened when the full-length mirror slammed to the floor because toddler wanted to see what would happen when he pushed it over. Thank God for small miracles when you gratefully remember that the mirror is a cheap one from Target and not an expensive one from somewhere fancy like Pottery Barn that you could never justify spending so much money on and would break if it fell on the floor. Make mental note to ask husband to hang the mirror on the wall once and for all instead of leaving it propped against the wall.
7:16 a.m. - Promptly forget mental note. Hoist one child in each arm and trek downstairs to try to conjure up some sort of healthy breakfast that toddler will actually eat. Pray that infant can stave off hunger long enough to get breakfast on the table.
7:17 a.m. - Stare blankly into the bleak-looking fridge. Remind yourself that this is one of those times you wish you knew a thing or two about cooking and resolve yourself to use part of nap time to research healthy toddler recipes on the internet. Abandon all hope of healthy breakfast. Put blueberry Eggos in the toaster and satisfy yourself with the thought that blueberries are fruit, even if they've been dried and processed to within an inch of their lives.
7:18 a.m. - While Eggos are toasting, try to strap toddler into booster seat. Remember 5 seconds too late that there's a certain way to finesse the situation and resist the urge to swear out loud in front of the toddler who has begun repeating everything when you realize you forgot the finesse and will be screwed for the remainder of breakfast. Give up on trying to get toddler into booster seat and resign yourself to allowing him to sit in a regular chair, forcing you to sit vigilantly next to him so he doesn't fall off.
7:19 a.m. - Infant starts crying for her bottle, so you quickly mix one up while the Eggos cool on the counter. Since infant's crying often causes toddler to cry, you forgo the usual cutting of the Eggos and hastily throw them on a plate in front of the toddler and remind him to take bites (because if you don't, he'll try to stuff an entire waffle in his mouth at once) while you scoop up infant and quiet her with the bottle.
7:20 a.m. - Momentary peace reigns as you enjoy pleasant "conversation" with your toddler while he eats his waffle and you feed infant.
7:21 a.m. - Look at clock in shock and horror when you realize that you've only been out of bed for 15 minutes. Swear to yourself that you will not get caught up on Facebook when toddler goes down for a nap (a nap that feels lightyears away) and instead will have a nap yourself.
7:23 a.m. - "Toddler, eat your waffle. No, don't feed the dog. Eat your waffle. No, don't throw it on the floor. Please don't slam your cup on the table so that juice leaks out everywhere. No, stop slamming your cup down. I said stop! Don't make me take your cup away. Look, you have a waffle! Show mommy how you take a bite! Toddler, show mommy how you take a bite. What, are you done? You've only had a couple bites, eat some more. ::Sigh:: Ok, I guess you can be done." Toddler gets down from chair and runs into living room to play while you finish giving infant her bottle.
7:24 a.m. to 10 a.m. - "Toddler, let's play with your blocks. See, they go together like this. No, no don't throw blocks at your sister. Book? You want to read a book? Ok, bring me your book. Toddler, bring me your book. Come on, bring it here! Toddler, bring it here and mommy will read it to you. Don't you want mommy to read to you? Oh you don't? Ok. (Wait 45 seconds to 5 minutes for toddler to decide he really does want to be read to and brings book over. Read Dr. Seuss book that is somehow a classic, despite the fact that it manages to be 63 pages long with absolutely zero story line.) Again? Ok mommy will read it again. (Reads again.) Again? No, baby, we're done with this book. Go pick another book. Hey! Stop that. You don't hit just because you didn't get your way. No toddler! We do NOT drop books on our sister's head. See, now she's crying, you hurt her." And on and on while you go stir crazy waiting for Target to open because it gives you a place to go to get out of the house.
10:01 a.m. - "Ok toddler! Let's go get our shoes on! We're going to Target!" Commence with the 15 minute struggle to get toddler's shoes on while he screams as if you are continuously dunking him into a pool of scalding water, then keeping him out of trouble while you try to get infant into her car seat.
10:16 a.m. - Despite the fact that infant is 3.5 months old and you've been doing this since she was born, stand by the front door for 5 full minutes while you try to decide the best way to get both kids out the door. Realize that you really don't have to take them both at once and leave the easy infant in her carrier by the front door as you maneuver the toddler out the door. Depending on your patience level at that point, either allow him to walk to the van himself (then proceed to chase him in circles around said van when he inevitably breaks free from your hand) or carry his squirming, unhappy body. Summon super-human strength to simultaneously hold struggling toddler down while clicking him into his car seat.
10:17 a.m. - Begin drive to Target, making sure to point out every truck or bus you pass on the way in an effort to keep toddler content and distracted before he remembers that he doesn't really care to be strapped into things.
10:21-11:00 - Wander around Target slowly, putting things in your cart that you didn't know you needed. Breathe a sigh of relief that toddler seems to share your love of Target, and happily give him something from the dollar bins to keep him entertained while you browse through trashy celeb magazines or peruse the racks of mostly over-priced-for-what-they-are fashions.
11:01 - Widen eyes in horror as you check out, and ask yourself how in the world you spent $50. Nothing you bought cost over $10, after all. Inventory everything you purchased and do the mental math. Fail at adding everything up exactly and satisfy yourself with rounding up and estimating. Come to the sad realization that the cash register was not wrong. Mentally prepare a convincing argument for why you need each item, since you'll need it when you get home to your husband.
11:15 - Arrive home and begin lunch preparations. Make the grilled cheese, mac and cheese, turkey dog, etc. with full knowledge that only about a quarter of it will be consumed by toddler. The rest will be picked up off the floor by you or fed to the dog, who has long since learned that the best place in the house is by toddler's seat while he's eating.
11:16 and 30 seconds - Almost as soon as you get the grilled cheese in the pan to start cooking, infant decides she is sick of being ignored (as I'd imagine most infants of parents who have 2 under 2 are when they are being quiet and happy). She starts crying for her bottle. Your brain whirls as you try to figure out how to simultaneously cook a grilled cheese and feed infant her bottle. The choices before you are: a) burn grilled cheese while feeding infant or; b) leave infant to cry while you mentally urge the stove to cook the grilled cheese faster.
11:17 - Decide to leave infant to cry while you hastily try to get toddler's lunch in front of him.
11:19 - Infant's cries are no joke at this point. She wants her bottle and she wants it now. You grab toddler and try to put him in his booster seat. He, of course, fights it with every fiber of his surprisingly strong 27 pound little body. You do your very best to stay calm and wonder to yourself if you could convince your husband to leave for a spontaneous trip to Napa that night so you can drown your stresses in lots and lots of wine tastings.
11:21 - Finally have toddler strapped in with lunch in front of him. Make a bottle in record time and scoop up infant to feed her.
11:22 - While feeding infant, keep an eye on toddler and talk with him while he eats his lunch. Do your best to not laugh when he squeals with delight as the dog tries to take the food right out of his hand. Yell at the dog and further enforce toddler's idea that dog is actually named "NOCONNERGETAWAY".
11:36 - Toddler is still "eating", which means he is taking one bite approximately every 5 minutes. Look at the clock and wonder how such a small person could take such a long time to eat such a minuscule amount of food. But also feel slightly happy about this fact because the longer he takes to eat, the closer he gets to nap time.
11:45 - Finally tire of the food games and take toddler out of his booster seat. Attempt to hold his squirming body up to the faucet and wash his hands but mostly just succeed in getting both of your clothes soaking wet. Clean up lunch dishes and prod yourself to keep on swimming because it's almost time for the incredible, wonderful N-A-P.
11:55 - Toddler has occupied himself with his toys so nicely while you did the dishes that you are almost reluctant to put him down for his nap. Almost.
11:56 - Try not to sound too gleeful when you scoop toddler up and say "Ok, time for your nap!" Carry him upstairs with a little skip in your step and happily put him in his crib. Give him a kiss, say, "Mama loves you!" and shut the door.
11:57 - Tell yourself that you'll just go downstairs to check your Facebook for 5 minutes and then you'll take that delicious nap you've been craving all day.
1:15 - Realize that you've been on the computer for way to long. Feel sad inside because you know that if you took a nap at this point, it would only be for half an hour tops because toddler has some specialized radar that lets him know when you are about to sleep and causes him to wake up.
2:30 - After taking care of infant and wasting the rest of toddler's nap time by being completely unproductive, you hear toddler waking. Go upstairs to get him and remind yourself that you only have to make it through another hour before you can wake husband up without feeling guilty.
3:30 on the nose - Say to toddler "Let's go get daddy!" and pound up the stairs as loudly as possible so husband knows your coming and that there is no escape.
3:30 - 7 - Blissfully share parenting duties with husband. Slyly trick him into taking care of toddler while you hold lower-maintenance infant. Make husband take everyone out for dinner so you don't have to cook.
7:00 - Put toddler to bed and collapse on the couch to watch DVRed shows and waste more time on Facebook. Pray that infant decides to be easy and veg out on the couch.
9:00 - Think about going to bed but decide against it when just the thought of getting yourself and infant ready for bed exhausts you.
10:00 - Muster the energy to go upstairs to bed when you realize that by the time you are able to actually climb into bed, it will be, at best, 20 minutes later, at worst, 45.
Sometime between 10:20 and 10:45 - Climb into bed. Almost start to cry when infant begins fussing and wants to be held and swayed by someone who is standing. If husband is not working, ask him to please take her just this once. Punch him in the arm when he pretends to be sleeping and get up with her anyway. If husband is working, send him a text telling him that HIS child is awake and fussing and ask him if he knows why the universe is against you.
11:30 - Infant has finally fallen asleep as if nothing ever happened. Crawl back into bed and pass out immediately, stopping only to pray that toddler sleeps later the next morning.