Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Day in the Life

Thanks to SRMM for inspiring this post. She wrote "What I Did All Damn Day" in response to the condescending question often asked of SAHM's: "What do you do all day?" I work, so I don't get that question, but there are those out there that assume that working moms are somehow not really moms. So, here's a day in my life.

12, 2 and 4 a.m. Pink P wanders into our room and has to be reminded to go back to her own bed. At some point, she ends up sleeping on the green glider I sit in to feed the baby.

3 a.m. (though, thankfully, not every night!) Stow cries. Ren gets him out of bed and changes his diaper. I kick Pink P out of the glider and then stumble to the bathroom before settling in to a 20-minute feeding session.

5 a.m. Sky asks me if it's time to wake up. "Read in your bed," I mumble before drifting off for about 30 more minutes of sleep.

5:45 a.m. Up and in the shower. During the 15 minutes it takes me to shower and dry my hair, I am interrupted approximately five times. At least one of these times (though often this happens way more than once), Pink P comes in crying because Sky has picked on her. Throughout my shower, I hear a cacophony of crying, laughing, and yelling (mostly by Ren who attempts to herd the cats while I am busy). This happens every morning.

6:00 a.m Time to get the kids started on their morning routine. Pink P loves to choose her clothes, so she quickly picks out an awesome combination of stripes and hearts and gets herself dressed. Sky, who has already been awake for hours, has trouble pulling himself away from the Lego Star Wars book. Eventually, I coax him into getting dress, making his bed, and spending 15 minutes in his therapeutic sling swing before heading to breakfast. This was virtually impossible before we made a visual schedule, but these days, most mornings go fine-- that is except when they don't. Then all hell breaks loose.

6:30 a.m. Making breakfast and lunch. Fortunately, Ren helps with this part. He usually washes and cuts all the fruit that we need for breakfast and lunch. He also gets the older two started eating while I finish getting dressed and gathering my stuff for the day. He will sometimes also start making lunches, which is why I love him so much. On the days the kids take "Japanese lunch," there are rice balls, various vegetables, cute fruit, and some kind of meat involved. On non-Japanese lunch days, the bar is lowered considerably. As you can imagine, I ♥ non-Japanese lunch days!

Sky and Pink P usually bring out the worst in each other over breakfast. Fortunately, I've pretty much devised a way to keep them apart. Pink P eats while Sky swings, and Sky eats quickly, so he can get back to his Lego book. Pink P, on the other hand, take approximately two hours to eat. This also means, fortunately, that they don't have much time to play together.

7:00 a.m. While Sky plays upstairs, Pink P finally finishes eating and gets her nebulizer treatment (administered by Ren). Meanwhile, I dress and feed Stow.

7:30 a.m. Shoes and jackets on, bags in hand, we head out the door.

7:45 a.m. First drop off: Pink P. She refuses to let got of my leg when I attempt to leave her there. She loves her preschool, but she does this every morning just the same.

8:00 a.m. Second drop off: Sky. We have to get there right at 8. If he's to early, he has to go into the cafeteria (a.k.a "a special ring of hell for kids with sensory issues") to wait. If he's too late, there are too many other kids creating too much chaos, and he panics (which means I get to go in with him). As we pull into the parking lot, Sky packs his backpack with three 2-pound weights. This is our transitional activity meant to get him focused on walking into school calmly and quietly. The weights are for added compression, for more calming.

8:15 a.m. Arrive at work. Phew!

8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. "Work" (because all that stuff I did up until now was something else). Today was a good day, so no calls from school, no trips to the doctor, and no crying college students or crazy e-mails.

4:30 p.m. Get home. As soon as I step in the door, it's time to feed the baby. I feed Stow and then start the evening routine. First, I check Sky's homework and start making dinner. While I make dinner, Ren gives Sky and Pink P their baths. None of this is easy. It involves screaming, resistance, and a lot of repetitive noises. It also involves slathering Pink P with greasy eczema cream which she proceeds to deposit on furniture throughout the house.

5:45 p.m. Dinner. Sky hums. We remind him to stop. He hums. We remind him to stop. He hums. We remind him to stop. He hums. We give up.

At some point during the meal, Pink P finds a reason to cry. Her crying triggers a near meltdown in Sky, who manages to grab his sound dampening headphones and flee the room before Pink P hits hyper-pitch. Eventually, Pink P is appeased (like always, this requires two princess bandaids) and Sky is lured back to the table with promises of a piece of Halloween candy.

6:45 p.m. Start brushing teeth and pushing the kids toward bed. If Sky stays up too much past 7:00, he's a wreck the next day, so the goal is to have teeth brushed, stories read, sheets tucked, and kids asleep by 7:15. Since Pink P is a night owl, this is not always easy. Fortunately, lately she's taken to reading in bed. Once the older two are in bed, we finish cleaning up from dinner and give Stow his bath. He eats again and goes down for the night around 8:30.

8:30 p.m. Start dissertation revisions, check blog, chat with online friends. For the next three or four hours, I attempt to make progress on chapter edits, grade papers, and begin prepping my classes for the next day. I also stare into space. A lot.

12:00 a.m. I realize I am not getting anything done and go to bed.

My daily schedule does not include the trying hours between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., when first Ren picks up Pink P (at 12:30) and then Sky (at 3). The last 90 minutes before I get home are apparently the worst since both kids are tired and more prone to tormenting each other. Don't get me wrong. They love each other. Unfortunately, that love is currently expressed in less-than-lovely ways. Not only does Ren keep everyone alive and injury-free until I get home, he also does all of the laundry and cleaning, and most of the grocery shopping.

We survive by strict adherence to our schedule. Any deviance can be catastrophic. Therapy days, sick days, school holidays-- all of these are more challenging. Still, somehow we manage to get through and start anew every morning.

(As I was writing this, it occurred to me that every mom I know tells some version of this story, and I am reminded of the oh-so-catchy tune: "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down..." There. Now it's stuck in your head, too.)

1 comment:

Jenn said...

saw this from your link at RFML. we are two full-time working parents with one car, a highly sensitive child in kindergarten and a highly sensitive 17mo who comes to work with me. this sounds A LOT like our routine and day. thanks for sharing! helps me keep perspective that we do this to survive and the insane routine is a necessity for this season of our life. i have never seen that swing before, gonna check it out...