A Day In The Life

             The last couple entries have been pretty serious, and I think it’s time we all had a laugh. So, I’m going to write about our typical day. This is a compilation, an average perhaps, and while some days are better and some worse, we have plenty of days like this. (I’m sure you do too!) Maybe seeing it in words will keep me laughing when I’m back in the trenches and living it tomorrow!

               5:30 a.m.: I hear one of two alarms. Either Mr. Twin chattering to his Puppy or Miss Toddler rattling the gate across her door. If it’s Mr. Twin, I jump out of bed to get him before we wakes his roommate, Miss Twin, who does NOT enjoy being awakened early, and will tell everyone so the rest of the day. If it’s Miss Toddler, our open bedroom doors are in direct line of sight, and since she can see me, there’s no point in pretending to still be asleep. And thus begins the day. Let’s assume Miss Toddler is the first awake today. 

               5:40 a.m.: Miss Toddler says she wants chocolate milk. (I long ago gave up this battle.) In my half-awake stupor, I get a clean sippy cup out of the dishwasher and cause a meltdown. “Not that cup! This cup over here. No, not this straw! That one.”

                “But that straw doesn’t reach the bottom of this cup and you won’t be able to drink all the milk.”

                Tears. “I WANT THAT STRAW!”

                “Okay, okay. Here’s the straw.” I pour the milk into the cup, and pick up the bottle of Hershey’s syrup.

                “NO, not that chocolate, the chocolate in the cupboard!”

                “The Nestle Quik?”

                Meanwhile, Mr. Twin has been rattling around upstairs. He now throws his Puppy against the wall and squeals because he’s being ignored. Do I finish The Battle of the Milk or go get him before he wakes up his roomie? One look at Miss Toddler’s face tells me if I leave, Miss Twin will be waking up anyway.

                I grab the Nestle Quik and a spoon.

                “I want to scoop it!”

                I hand the spoon over and hold the cup steady while Miss Toddler scoops the powder ever so  s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully. Oops, she dipped the spoon in the milk, and then put it back in the powder. She stirs it with great care and examines the bubbles she’s creating. Mr. Twin is shaking his crib and starts crying. Miss Twin squeaks.

                “Sweetie, I need to go get the babies. Let’s finish, please.”

                “Okay, mama.” She’s happy if she can just do things herself. She takes out the spoon, licks it off, carries it to the sink, stands on her tiptoes, and quietly drops it in, so as “to not wake the babies.” She tries to screw on the cup lid, but it’s crooked.

                “Can I help?” Now, Miss Twin is crying. I don’t wait for permission and grab the lid to settle it in place. Miss Toddler turns it one deliberate rotation at a time until it’s tight. She takes a satisfied drink. Finally.

                I fly back to the dishwasher, grab two pink sippy cups (thank goodness Mr. Twin doesn’t care about his cup yet), slosh them full with orange juice, and dash upstairs.

                Both babes are standing in their cribs, and reach out for their cups with relieved cries. They gulp their juice as though they’ve been wandering in the desert for a week.

                Multitasking is the key to survival with twins, so I pick up Mr. Twin to change his diaper and feel cold wetness soak through my shirt. There’s a big, wet, round circle on his sheet. In his opinion, juice trumps getting a dry diaper and he morphs into a greased pig in his effort to escape. I lay him on the floor and put a leg over his chest, manage to get a diaper and clean clothes on him, and release him. He now forgets about his juice, dashes directly to the night light, and pulls it out of the socket.

                “No sir,” I say, and scoop him up. I eye the wet circle in his crib and plop him into Miss Twin’s crib while I change her.

                Miss Twin is diaperless and struggling to escape when there’s a crash downstairs, followed by “Mooommmmmy” and dramatic crying.

                I mutter, “Oh, for Pete’s sake,” then shout, “Hang on, I’m coming!” Miss Twin gets a diaper, but her PJs are left hanging off her legs like a coat tail. Mr. Twin demands to not be left behind as I lift her up, so I settle her on one hip, brace my biceps, and sweep him out of the crib onto my other hip. They cry over their dropped sippy cups. Sorry kids. I carefully, and with many prayers and visions of the three of us tumbling head over heels, feel my way down the steps. We arrive on solid ground, I slide the babes down my legs until they’re safely settled, put the gate in place at the bottom of the stairs after grabbing Mr. Twin already on his way back up, and head to the kitchen to investigate the crash. Miss Toddler is crying and holding her empty cup upside down. She had taken the lid off and baptized my hardwood floor.

                6 a.m.: I step over the puddle and pour a cup of coffee. I close my eyes, take a sip, and claim the next few seconds to imagine someday having three teenagers who will sleep until noon.

                 8 a.m.: We’ve had breakfast, gotten everyone dressed, watched TV, and played with every toy in the house. The children are bored. Mr. Twin cries because Miss Toddler took his Puppy. Miss Toddler cries because Miss Twin closed the door on the TV cabinet. Miss Twin cries because Miss Toddler pushed her to the ground.

                Let’s assume today is one of the glorious days when we have plans to go somewhere. (I’m wising up, so this is now the case most days. On the days we don’t, we’re all homicidal by 10 a.m. and think up ridiculous errands just to get out of the house.) I eye the clock and figure we can pack our bag, have a snack (these creatures eat every 2 hours on the dot), and be out the door by 8:30.

                Food brings about a 5-minute truce and I enjoy the peace. I realize I’m on my fourth cup of cold coffee, but haven’t yet had breakfast, so I join in the frozen waffle feast. When the decibels from children wishing to be released rise higher than my ears can bear, I wipe down syrupy hands and faces, grateful that we’ll be on our way soon. Wait. I smell something. I cast a suspicious glance at Miss Twin. She looks sweetly feminine, but I’m not fooled. I peek down her back, and see a brown flood deluging up her shirt.

                Taking off her shirt means bad news for her hair, so we head right to the bathtub. I plead with Miss Toddler to entertain Mr. Twin, who’s obsessed with toilets and bath faucets, and will wreak havoc if he’s not allowed in the bathtub too. (This is when Miss Toddler’s strengths shine through and she does a stellar job of being a Big Sister.)

                 9 a.m.: We’re finally heading out the door and I do a last check. Three children: Check. Diapers: Check. Crackers and water for the car ride: Check. Finally, we’re off! I glance in the rearview mirror as I back out of the garage and realize I haven’t combed my hair or put on makeup. I look down. My clothes are sprayed with bath water and I smell faintly of poo. I look at the bright faces watching me in the mirror. I sniff an armpit. Deodorant: Check. We’re out of here.

                 9 a.m. – Noon: These are the glory hours. We’re out in public and are treated like rock stars. We hear the usual comments. “Oh my, you DO have your hands full!” “Are those twins?” “Are they identical?” (Yes, except for the X and Y chromosomes.) “Are they triplets?” (Yes, except for the one who’s 8 inches taller.) “I didn’t know boys and girls could be twins.” (So tempting to provide all the logistics of how it happened, but I just smile.) And the best comment ever: “Let me hold the door for you.”

                The children are models of perfect behavior, are patient and quiet, and I think I’m the luckiest mom in the world. We all smile and work together to make a great team.

                This lasts until we get home, when something changes between the car door and the house door. Smiles turn to snarls. Sweet handholds turn to punches. There are tears. Naptime!

                 Noon – 2 p.m.: These hours aren’t so bad either. Mr. and Miss Twin nap, while Miss Toddler and I do all the things we can’t do when they’re awake. We play with small toys, a.k.a. choking hazards. We bake cookies. We play outside, where I only have to keep track of two little legs, not six. There’s no sibling rivalry, and thus, little drama. I remember why toddlers can be fun.

                 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. (bedtime): I forget why toddlers can be fun. You’d think that babies would feel jovial after a 2-hour nap (I would), but the happy mood only lasts an hour or so. Then, everyone gets hungry and tired at precisely the same time. Miss Toddler turns manic and runs circles around the babies. Miss Twin cries because Miss Toddler kicked her in the head on the way past. Miss Toddler cries because she gets a timeout. Mr. Twin cries because, well, we’re not sure, but we think he’s still hungry, even though he just had a snack. Everyone decides that the best way to deal with their unhappiness is to steal other people’s toys, hit, kick, spit, push, steamroll each other, and torment the dog.

                 4 p.m.: Time for TV! If I’m very lucky, this provides 20 minutes of relative peace to make dinner, which has led to dinnertime now being at 4:30. (I’ll never again giggle at seniors who eat dinner in the late afternoon. They’re just repeating their life with small children.)

                 4:30 p.m.: Three children refuse my casserole with noodles, ham, and cheese that I thought would be a sure winner, and claim they’ll only eat mac and cheese, and hot dogs. Again. Fine. Except I can’t throw the food at them fast enough. I feel like a zookeeper with ravenous lions, who, if the food doesn’t appear in record time, will gnaw on the hand feeding them. I’m a tornado whirling back and forth, between the counter and the table, the microwave and the table, the frig and the table, the freezer and the table, and back again to the counter. No matter how fast I move, they move faster and cry whenever they take a breath in between chewing.

                Then, just like that, they’re done. Miss Twin throws food across the table and all over the floor. The poor dog knows that hot dog has landed on his back, but he can’t reach it. Mr. Twin bangs on his high chair tray and hollers to be released. Miss Toddler starts painting the table with applesauce. In the span of 10 minutes, the kitchen looks like a hurricane blew through it. There’s still smoke rising from my trail between the microwave and the table. I pause, take a drink of wine, and let the children squirm while I help out the poor dog.

                 4:40 p.m.: The children are released for more TV. Now begins a desperate attempt to make a decent dinner for Daddy and me. Some days, I make him eat the unwanted casserole, and he always does without complaint, bless him. Once in a while, if it’s an especially absorbing Sesame Street, I manage a meal like we had in the old days, before kids. And there are many, many days when frozen pizza or takeout are the only possible choices. There are no more leisurely meals or rousing conversations about politics or current affairs. We takes bites as fast as we can in between breaking up fights, issuing timeouts, and dressing war wounds. Brain death occurs in mothers at this time of day anyway, and my only coherent sentences are one word: “Stop!” and “No!”

                 6 p.m.: As we close in on the finish line, the competition gets fierce. Sometimes, there is blood. Always, there are tears. I’m as ready for them to go to bed as they are; therefore, the only solution is pancakes and pajamas.

                 7 p.m.: We have a Norman Rockwell moment. The entire family is together in the twins’ room and playing a rousing game of stuffed animal catch. The children giggle and hug each other. The kiddos are tucked in, kissed, and, most of the time, go right to sleep. In this, I am a lucky mommy.       

                 10 p.m.: I do my last rounds for the night. Miss Toddler is sprawled across her Big Girl Bed, with her princess crown askew on her head. When did she get so tall? Mr. Twin is gently snoring, one arm over his head and the other holding his Puppy close to his face. I wonder, will he hold his pillow close in the same way when he’s a teenager? Miss Twin lies on her side, cradling her Bunny. I realize it wasn’t that long ago that Miss Toddler was this age, and it won’t be that much longer before Miss Twin will have her own Big Girl Bed. I smile. The day wasn’t so bad. I fall asleep feeling content and strong.

                 Until 5:30 a.m. the next morning.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynda Olsen
    Jul 10, 2010 @ 16:43:27

    Abby,
    You are truly an amazingly gifted writer. I cannot begin to imagine when you even have time to write these gems but it is so much fun to read them. Thank you for sharing.

    I want to see you and Miss Toddler, Mr. Twin and Miss Twin. I miss all of you.

    Love, Lynda

    Reply

  2. bethy
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 13:03:51

    Your life is the best form of birth control. JP thanks you!

    Reply

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