Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A day in the life...

I'm having one of those days where I feel like I should take my "I lost a baby" badge off and lay it on the ground. I'm just housebound and kind of cranky and really feeling like I yearn for something more. But I know, that in reality, I have all I need... but still I feel stuck.

Let me preface this by saying I am on day 7 now of sick children quarantine. I am normally a pretty busy person, and since I am a stay at home mom, this means that my children are also normally pretty busy. And so the 3 of us have been home, together, for seven straight days.

I would also like to bring to the forefront the idea that, when you are a housewife (I use that term deliberately here because right now I feel like a housewife), what you do is you do things all day long and people follow you around and undo what you've done. You sweep a floor, and somebody grinds a cracker into it. You wash a diaper, someone poops into it. You put toys away, and they sneak in behind you and pull them off the shelf. But on good days, this is fine: in fact, this is the whole point. You create order, they create disorder, and this is how you exist together, each with her own purpose, and you are very happy.

And then you mix this with 7 straight days indoors, and sometimes it seems less than quaint.

I think the best way for me to explain the feeling I am having right now would not actually be to explain about how I was walking down the driveway to get the mail and had the urge to just start running as fast as I could away from my home, or to tell you about how I was absolutely fantasizing about vaccuuming the house because it would just be so satisfying, but actually it would be to just describe lunch and naptime. Lunch and naptime would sum up the kind of seemingly fruitless morning I had been having.

I wanted to make a nice lunch today, Aoife is sick. I want her to really like her lunch so she will eat it. So I get the nice, lovely box of Annie's organic orange mac and cheese, and I lovingly cook it for her. I mix up some chick peas, pour some soft, sweet applesauce into sweet little ramekins. I arrange this artfully on a plate, with little piles of this and that, and present it on her favorite blue plate. Liam and Phoebe (Liam's age mate who we care for 2 days a week, we have since they were 4 months old) dig in, happily scarfing down this lovely, child friendly presentation.

The phone rings, and I am in the kitchen for maybe 2 minutes. Maybe 3. I return to the dining room. Here is Aoife's plate.

She has ever, ever so carefully, ever so artfully, distributed the nice, sweet, organically expensive applesauce atop her nice little piles of equally expensive noodles and cheap chick peas.
Now I hate to waste food and avoid doing so at all costs (I almost always eat their leftovers as my lunch) but this? What might one do with this?

Now, I admit, I didn't get angry, really. It was amusing. I chuckled because it was the perfect example of what it's like to be a mom today.

Then, we headed up to nap. I don't want to dwell on the nap subject, because I already have, but here I might just mention it a teeny-tiny bit, because it really almost put me over the edge. I brought Aoife up and nursed her for, maybe 15 minutes. I really wanted her to drop off so I violated my own 10 minute rule. But she wouldn't stop talking to me. Absolutely non stop. One sip, 34 words. One more sip, 33 words. Aoife talks pretty complete English, but like a foreigner. Actually, to tell you the truth, she sounds really a lot like Borat. It is hilarious how similar their syntax is, although not so much the vocab. So she's very amusing. But Liam and Phoebe are patiently amusing themselves downstairs, waiting for their books, and so after 15 minutes I give up. I go down, read to the 3's, tuck them in for their naps. Liam, who has been grumpy all day, falls straight to sleep. Did I mention our upstairs doesn't have proper doors? So basically the kids share a room, because there are just these little shutter folding doors at the low-ceilinged, gabled end of our upstairs. So there's Liam, asleep, sleeping off his grumpies thank god, and Aoife chattering non-stop.
So I head in for another 14 minutes of nursing. This session ends with me saying, almost shouting except that I am talking quietly, "You are here to nurse. If you want to talk, you can talk to yourself in your bed." Then I put her in her bed and stomp out. Wait 2 minutes until she starts to wail, which causes me to fear that she will wake up and re-grump Liam, so I dash in and try some more. And fail.

So I go downstairs, clean up some of the aftermath of the morning (which included making a papier mache balloon pinata and oatmeal raisin cookies, so I am trying to be a good mom) and leave her for another 28 minutes of talking. Then I decide she absolutely has to nap, she is feeling so sick, so I go up and rock and nurse her about another 19 minutes until she is asleep.

Do they ever say a mother's work is never done?
I go back downstairs, and start to clean the kitchen, and then, about 22 minutes after she has fallen asleep, I hear a piercing yell, "CAROL!!" Phoebe has pooped, and needs a wipe. Aoife immediately wakes up and starts to cry.

I wipe Phoebe, send her back to bed, and rock for another 12 minutes.

She sleeps for 30 minutes.

And just FYI-- the total elapsed time here is about 2.5 hours, and all minutes are approximate.

So everyone wakes up, gets up. I'm cool. It's now 3:30. Only 2 hours till dinner. I am firm on the fact that I won't get cranky, even though I still kind of want to walk out the door and just walk in a straight line for about an hour or so. So here's what we do to keep busy:

I put a bunch of toys into a cardboard box. I give the kids spoons and chopsticks. They go to town, trying to tear into the box. I am the postman, I've delivered a package. They stab and rip and stab and rip and delightedly take out the toys.
Then we move the boxes into the playroom and make an airplane. There is an old phone on the wall which becomes com center. We are flying somewhere, it doesn't matter where.
The rest of the afternoon is fun.

Now it's time to go out. This blog post was written from about 2 until 6 pm. I feel much better having unloaded the undoing of my day here.
All in all, it was a great day. I love my kids. The nap is over. The mac and cheese is in the trash. I am happy. Maybe tonight I won't get out of bed 9 times like I did last night. Maybe I don't have to turn in my badge after all.
There's always hope.


Aimee said...

Thank you for the laugh! Chris and I thought we were the only ones who live like this! You know, except for you and me, all the other stay-at-home moms are perfect all the time....

Becky said...

You have echoed my day almost to the "t".

What is with these days?