Monday, May 21, 2012

A Day In The Life - Part 1

(In response to my Fifty Thousand post, Liz requested a day-in-the-life breakdown to show what my routine is like with two kids.  Then she called me "supermom" and when I wiped the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard, I knew I had to do it.  But when I wrote it, it was so painfully long that I simply had to break it into two pieces.  So check out the first part of our day, and check back tomorrow to see how it ends.)


Somewhere off in the distance there is a bugle call.  Did that extra episode of Caillou propel me into such a deep dimension of insanity that I have awakened in a Civil War base camp?  What side am I on?

Nope.  It's just Joel's ridiculously loud iPad alarm app, that experience has taught me will be trumpeting with ever-increasing volume until I nudge or knee him to hit the snooze.  In nine minutes, as I am just drifting back to sleep, I hear it again.  And again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.


Ugh.  I've taken a knee to the bladder and I'm forced to get out of use the bathroom so that I don't spend my last 21 minutes of early morning rest in a wet puddle on the bed. 

"Mommy, I want to watch 'Iron Giant'!"

"Fine, but we're not watching the whole thing.  Just until I need to get up, okay?"


6:31am.  "Mommy?  Can you make it louder?"  6:34.  "Mommy?  I still can't hear it!"  6:43.  "Can I wake up Graham?  I want to wake up Graham!"


I can't ignore my own alarm clock anymore, and I have a short time left to get ready for the day.  I throw on my mommy uniform of jeans and a t-shirt with my hair in a ponytail and head downstairs to dress the boys.  Cael is still in my bed watching "Iron Giant", allowing me a few quiet moments with Graham.  I kiss him awake and he smiles at me, waiting for me to say the same words I say every morning so that he can respond in the same nonsensical manner.

"Good Morning, Bubba!  Did you have good dreams?"

"Yup.  I dreamed about red frogs and green frogs and white frogs and blue frogs."

"Oh, wow, that's silly.  I dreamed about you."

"No, Mommy.  You dream about cookies.  And poop."


I grab shirts and pants for the boys and encourage them to dress themselves, knowing full well that they won't and I will be forced to yank big heads through little collars and wiggly legs through stationary sleeves.  Once they are fully covered, we collectively head upstairs and I prepare myself for battle. 

"Mommy, I want cereal!"
"No, I want 'nanas!"
"He got to pick last time!"
"We never ever eat da bananas!"

There are no battles as consistent and as deadly as the battle for breakfast domination.  Except, perhaps, the battle for the colored plate of choice-- a ceaseless war that has been raging since the dawn of civilization despite the fact that Cael always picks green and Graham always picks purple.  Always.


Time to eat.  I dish out french toast sticks as I am unwilling to choose sides.  There's syrup everywhere, further reminding me why I only let them have it on occasion.  Graham's fingers stick together.  Cael's hair looks crusty.  The fresh shirts I put on them are stuck to their bibs where globs of syrup dripped as they abandoned their forks and started shoving french toast chunks in their mouth like they'd never seen food before. 

I should have gone with the bananas.


Off with the sticky clothes, on with an entirely new outfit.  I wonder if everyone has to change their kids' clothing three times before 8am.  I brush two mouth's worth of tiny teeth, scrunch gel into Cael's wild mane and strap them into their shoes.  It is at this point, knowing that I have only a few moments left before I need to deliver Cael to preschool, that I realize I haven't eaten and grab a banana before shooing the kids out of the house and into the van. 

"Mama!  You say I not have bananas but you eat bananas!" 

Ugh.  Rookie mistake.


I drop Cael off at preschool, say a silent prayer that he does not mock, steal from, assault or otherwise torment any of the preschool children who have managed to preserve their innocence beyond age four.  I drive aimlessly around my town for 30 minutes in an effort to "find a train" for Graham, who has picked up the slack from Cael who has moved on from trains to guns and dinosaurs.


Two steps in the door, and it starts.

"Mommy?  Mom?  Momma?  I have a drink?  Mommy?  I want a cookie.  Momma?  I watch Mickey Mouse?  Momma, Mickey?  Mom?  Mommy?  Momma?  I play with Oscar.  Oscar needs to go potty.  Mommy?  Does Oscar need to go potty?  Momma?  Look at Oscar, Mom.  He needs to go potty.  Go potty, Oscar!  I need more cookies.  Mommy?  Cookies?  Mom?  More drink?  Mommy, I need more milk.  Mom!  Mommy?  You like cookies?  Momma?  You want a cookie with me?  Mom?"

"I have poo, Momma.  Mommy?"


I load Graham into the car, clad in a fresh diaper and relish in the fact that he is quiet in the car as long as Cael isn't present.  It's not that I don't like to converse with my own children, it's more that Graham speaks nonstop when Cael is in school, spilling out all of the thoughts he was saving up while his brother dominated the conversation with tales of pterodactyls and assault rifles.  So as we drive to the preschool to pick up Cael, I have nothing to show for the last two and a half hours-- no housework done, no writing accomplished, no activities executed.  Just a boatload of words, some knocked over buckets, and one smelly diaper that took 14 wipes to clear up. 


Once home, I throw together lunch.  I don't prepare it or plan it, because I have found that the easiest way to keep it somewhat healthy and organized is to stick to the formula.

Meat + Grain/Potato + Veggie = Toddlers That Don't Have To Wear Adult-Sized Clothing

I dig in the freezer.

Chicken.  Meat... check.
Rice.  Grain... check.
Carrots.  Veggie...check.

And ketchup.  Because these maniacs won't eat anything unless it's doused in ketchup.


As usual, Cael has eaten all of his meat, Graham has eaten all of his vegetables, and I find myself in a stand-off with each of them that could rival the OK Corral for bragging rights.  They know that they have to make an effort with the foods they're not crazy about.  I won't force feed them, but in our house, one coin-sized slice of carrot does not earn a dessert, despite the fact that "dessert" is either a cup of yogurt, applesauce, or fresh fruit. 

 So I bribe them.  I beg them.  I blackmail them with photos of bare buttcheeks that may or may not reappear at their high school graduations.  Basically, I do everything you're not supposed to do as a parent.  But they eat, and I dole out yogurt like nobody's business.  Because at the end of the day, they love it and I still want to make them happy.  Quiet, but happy.


I've almost gotten all of the ketchup and yogurt off of Graham's face when I start in on the layers of crusted food that have been deposited behind his left ear.  They pile up like sediment, and in a bizarre session of parenting archaeology, I am able to step back in time and see what he has been consuming simply by attempting to remove whatever sauces have petrified there.


Once clean, I wrestle Graham into my arms and whisk him off to bed.  I remember fondly how my boys used to ask to go to bed, or at the very least didn't argue when the time came.  Now both hurl themselves against the floor, wail and flail uncontrollably as if they were on fire, and only when they see that I am not backing down, stop abruptly with an "Ugh.  Fine." and trot off to the bedroom. 

After his surrender, I tuck Graham in and return to the family room to help Cael.  In an effort to kill two bird with one stone, the time between Graham and Cael's bedtime became the designated time for Cael to play the computer/iPad/Wii, not only keeping him quiet while his brother attempts to slumber, but limiting the amount of time his brain can atrophy before he throws the aforementioned, standard-issue fit and I send him to bed.


Silence.  I stare at a blue fleck in the carpet for 20 minutes and wonder... whose brain has atrophied now? 

Check back tomorrow to see if we made it through the day.  :)


  1. I'm already tired reading about your half day LOL :-)

    1. I'm sure your days are just as exciting! I purposely chose a day when we weren't doing anything out of the ordinary, but as I wrote it I realized just how much AND how little I am doing!

  2. Love this! I also find myself sitting for an extended time doing nothing when kids are finally sleeping!

    1. Lori- It's called the silence coma. And it's a lifesaver!

  3. You are brilliant. Just brilliant.

    1. Um, in a battle of brilliance-- especially PARENTING brilliance, you take the cake my dear! (But thank you anyway...)

  4. Yay! Thanks for the half day so far.. It's nice that at their age they only need 1 nap. My daughter's down to 2 now but she won't go down without a fight every time. I'm also glad to see that I'm somewhat justified in thinking that just the task of feeding a kid (or kids) is a full-time job. It takes up so much time! Prep time, eat time, bribe time, clean-up time, etc. It's a battle every day haha...

    1. It IS a full-time job, one with ridiculous hours and bad pay but awesome benefits! I'm glad I'm not the only one that struggles sometimes, though!

  5. Lori Wise MorelandMay 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM


    You have such a gift at writing. I laughed as I read your article, but I agree whole-heartedly with each word. The most difficult, but also the most rewarding job you can EVER have- MOM!!!

    1. Thank you! You're exactly right, and you've been through it more times than I have-- kudos to you!

  6. Mary, you are a genius! The Formula will be my mantra!! My daughter turns one this Sunday and is already exhibiting a very strong will to get things done her way (which of course is the opposite of how things are generally done) I am petrified thinking of the future!
    Oh and may I say, Graham has very cute butt cheeks!
    PS. Loving the insight into how you spend your day. You really are a great mom!

    1. Thanks, Shaz! The formula works well for the kids, but it doesn't leave much room for creativity. Congrats on your daughter's birthday... what a milestone!

      And yes, Graham has very cute butt cheeks. :)

  7. Pull the boys nappy up


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.