Friday, October 03, 2008

An Actual 18-Hour Timespan in the Life of a Mom

6:20 a.m. In my sleep, I hear the click of the door opening. I am awakened by both girls, climbing into our bed. Elaine steps on my hair and crashes her full weight against my head. OK, I'm up.

7:30 a.m. I have showered and gotten ready, gotten both girls dressed, beds made, and they're eating breakfast. I run downstairs because I want to put a load of laundry in, but I see that I've forgotten to take a load out from a couple days ago. It smells, so I start the washer again.

8:20 a.m. Elaine and I are back from dropping Lucy off at school. I make myself a cup of tea and plop her in front of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" so I can have my quiet time. Please don't judge me. I continue my study of the fruit of the Spirit; this week is joy. I learn that joy is often hidden within trials, and we must discover it. I read I Peter 1: 6-7 "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." I vow to be filled with joy for the day.

9:00 a.m. I turn on my laptop to check my email. I see a news story about a video game called "Killing Kindergartners." The point of the game is to virtually enter a school classroom and kill as many kindergartners as you can with a rifle. I think about what sort of sick, twisted piece of refuse would invent such a thing and what sort of sick, twisted piece of refuse would buy and play it. Then I think of my own little kindergartner in her classroom right now, and the biggest worry on her mind is that the class's caterpillars have not survived to turn into butterflies. I do not want to live in such a horrible place as this world is.

9:40 a.m. I take Elaine to swimming. I flip through the newest InStyle magazine and marvel at some of the unbelievably ugly things designers are trying to convince us we should wear. I look up and see Elaine and two other tiny girls, all on a rubber raft being pulled around the water by their teacher. They are all giggling and kicking their feet. I wish I had my camera. Elaine turns and scrunches her face into such a big and funny smile at me that even the man next to me laughs.

11:15 a.m. Elaine and I pick Lucy up from school. I see her skip out, trustingly holding her teacher's hand. Then I think about the Killing Kindergartners game again. She doesn't obey me when I tell her to stop fixing her pony tail and instead put her seatbelt on right away, so I tell her no treats at all today. Elaine sings "Do everything without complaining."

12:00 p.m. I fix the girls lunch. Elaine cries because she has to go to the bathroom but can't (or won't). I peel about a dozen apples and put them in the crockpot with brown sugar and spices to make applesauce.

12:30 p.m. I set Lucy up on my bed to watch Curious George, and I read "Little Bunny Follows His Nose" to Elaine before laying her down in her bed for a nap. I go downstairs to straighten up. Last Friday I read a Real Simple article about how you can spend 19 minutes a day cleaning your house, and then your house will always be clean. I've spent this week trying it, and the results are wonderful. I eat my own lunch and spend a little more than 19 minutes cleaning, but this is cleaning day anyway.

2:15 p.m. I savor my glorious clean house and sit at the kitchen island with a cup of tea. I have George Winston playing, applesauce cooking, and I'm going over plans for a friend's baby shower.

2:30 p.m. I get both girls and tell them we're going on a nature walk. We get tupperware to put our treasures in and set out. We collect leaves, and horse chestnuts, and maple seeds. I show them how they look like helicopters when you toss them in the air. Elaine calls them "alligators"; Lucy corrects her, and now she calls them "copter-copters." I listen to them chattering happily and think about the Killing Kindergartners game. Then I think about my mom telling me about the summer she was pregnant with my brother. She wandered around the house, listening to the radio coverage about Richard Speck, crying and wondering why she was bringing a baby into such a horrible place as this world is.

3:30 p.m. It's the most beautiful, crisp fall afternoon. The girls are playing on the patio. I check on the applesauce in my clean, clean kitchen. It smells fantastic. I can see Elaine bawling through the patio door. I go outside to check her. She's had an accident. I take her upstairs and clean her up and clean [solid matter] from her panties.

4:00 p.m. Elaine is crying. She's had an accident. I take her upstairs and clean her up and clean [solid matter] from another pair of panties.

4:30 p.m. Elaine is upset about her accidents and wants to be rocked. Lucy insists that I look at the new backdoor handle she has fashioned from a stick, a leaf, and some packing tape.

5:15 p.m. I feed the girls supper. Lucy hates the applesauce I've made and doesn't want to eat it. She simulates a gagging sound. Elaine is crying again. She's had an accident. I clean the table up from supper, then take her upstairs, clean her up, and throw pair of panties in garbage.

5:45 p.m. I start the girls' bath. They're in the tub, and I walk into their room to lay out their clothes for tomorrow. I hear Elaine screaming. I go into the bathroom to see that she has had an accident. In.the.bathtub. I screech for both of them to get out. Lucy stands, dripping on the bathmat and complaining because she's cold. I set Elaine on her little potty. She cries and cries and cries until finally, finally, she gets her little system cleaned out. She doesn't quite hit the mark, and I spend time cleaning [significant amounts of solid matter] from the potty seat.

6:00 p.m. I drain/rinse/scrub/disinfect the bathtub and fill it with fresh water. I bathe both girls and wash their hair.

6:30 p.m. They are fresh and clean in their matching turtle pajamas, sitting on my lap. We read Goldilocks and the Three Bears and A Bargain for Frances. I walk over by the bookshelf with Elaine and smell a tell-tale smell. I check. I clean her up and clean [solid matter] from her latest pair of panties.

7:00 p.m. I kiss them both goodnight, turn out the light, and shut the door. I go downstairs and fix supper for Darren and me.

9:00 p.m. Lucy comes in the bathroom where I am. "Can you please come rock me, Mom?" Waves of guilt wash over me as I say no. "I am so so so exhausted, sweetheart," I say. "Does 'so exhausted' mean you're weary?" she asked. "Yes, it does. Come here and I'll tuck you back in and give you extra kisses." I do that, and we talk a little bit about the day that's coming when Darren takes Elaine for the weekend. Lucy and I plan to eat popcorn and candy and stay up late watching "Anne of Green Gables." I kiss her again and say goodnight.

9:45 p.m. I'm reading a mystery. Darren comes in our room and turns on the VP debate. I beg him to turn those two yammering arguers off.

10:00 p.m. I fall asleep.

11:00 p.m. I am abruptly awakened by crying. I rush into the girls' room. "Mama, Mama!!!" It's Lucy. I shush her kind of harshly because I think she just can't find Rabbie, and I'm 3/4 still asleep. I come over to her bedside and can see (and smell) in the dark that she's thrown up all over her bed. I lay her gently on a little pallet on the floor and remake her bed. I take her sheets out in the hall by the bathroom door. I turn on the light (ouch) and clean [solid matter] from her sheets and pillowcase. Elaine comes to the bathroom door. "You rock me, Mom?" I take the bundle of sheets down to the washer, where I find the rewashed load from this morning still in there. I put it in the dryer and wash Lucy's sheets with hot water on superwash. I enlist Darren's help since he is still in his basement office, working.

11:30 p.m. Darren goes upstairs and asks Elaine what happened. She says, "My Lucy throwed up. And I tootied." (She's the master of understatement, that one.) We get both girls settled back into bed. I collapse back in our bed, but I'm so jazzed at this point that I can't sleep. I say, "Let's see. I've cleaned up four panty accidents, a bathtub accident, a potty accident, and a throw-up bed. There's still 30 minutes left to this day. I wonder what else is going to happen?"

11:58 p.m. I hear the click of the door opening. Elaine walks in, looking for all the world like a little lost lamb in her pajamas. "I want Mama" she baaaaas piteously, climbs up on the bed next to me, and lies down. She thrashes around and crashes her canonball-like skull against my head.

12:20 a.m. I wait until she is asleep and carry her back to her bed.

12:30 a.m. or somewhere in that vicinity. I lie in bed and try to force myself to sleep. I think about the Killing Kindergartners game. I finally drift back to sleep in anticipation of my alarm going off at 4:08 a.m. so I can get up and get ready for work this morning.

I Peter 1: 6-7 "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."


Ann-Marie said...

Oh, Alice! What a day! I'm stumped as to how you found the time to write all this down. Well, let's just say...I'm praying for you...the whole family...and I'm sure it was so trying, but you did make me laugh throughout!

I hope my room is next to yours at Shady Pines, then maybe E&L will stop by and say hi!

Becky said...

Poor Elaine! POOR ALICE! Then poor Lucy! What a day! I just cannot imagine. I read this to my mom, and she was like, "Oh, I am SO glad my kids are grown!" Are the girls feeling better?

Alice said...

Well, let's just call this next day "Lather, rinse, repeat" except I was at work, and poor Darren was on duty. I guess it wasn't AS bad, but Lucy apparently has some sort of stomach virus...

Shady Pines, here I come!!

Alysa said...

oh goodness - and you know my first thought - "at least we didn't give her the stomach virus this time!!!" whew.

what a day (or 2) you have had. so sorry my friend.

i think, however, i will steal your blog idea about documenting a day in the life of a mommy - that's clever!!!

Jill said...

Wow -- the energy that it must have taken to even recall that day makes me tired. Hope that the girls are now feeling better -- maybe you can find a little "mommy alone time" to refresh yourself.

I can also relate to the early rising...I get up at 4:20 3 to 4 days a week -- oh the joys of being a working mom. Hang in there :)

Melanie said...

Alice! I'm torn between marveling over how well-crafted this post was and feeling horrible for you guys. Poor Elaine - poor you and poor Lucy! I hope the weekend went well and had a lot less solid matter involved.