(*disclaimer: this may have been the very worst day of my entire motherhood to chronicle, but journalistic integrity compels me onward.)
Let us begin…
7:09 am: someone is snorting and tugging on my shirt. I open my eyes and blink at Evie, lying in a sweaty little bundle under my arm. Oops. I don't really remember pulling her into bed with me, but I suppose it happened at some point in the night. Oblige her by nursing until she falls back asleep.
7:19 am: roll carefully out of bed and watch as Evie stretches out like a teenager, flopping her arms over her head and trying her best to take as much bed space up as possible. Blow gently on her floppy black hair and laugh before creeping out of the room to find…
7:20 am: COFFEE. My amazing husband has an espresso waiting for me on the counter and has already fed both boys. Bless him. I could never breastfeed without the tag team system we have in place, whereby I handle the nighttime parenting and he takes the 6 am - 8 am shift. If I know I have at least an hour of two of uninterrupted sleep coming my way at dawn, I can handle almost any nocturnal shenanigans. Which reminds me…
7:26 am: peek into boys' room. Whew, no fresh vom. Joey's 6 hour stomach flu seems to have run its course, and the dorm smells only faintly of puke and Dawn dish soap. Crack the window open to let in the spring air and flee the scene.
7:31 am: sit down with my egg and Arbonne protein shake. Hear my phone ringing from the other room and run to see a missed call from my little sister. Dang, it's my day for preschool carpool. Slam the shake down and run to pull on actual pants, and a shirt that is not black. I have maybe 3 shirts that are not black, so this is a sign of real effort in living.
7:45 am: breakfast is done and I really should leave, but Evie is 'wolfishly hungry' says Daddy. Dave is going in late this morning because he has a lecture series to emcee this evening, so he agrees to watch Evie and JP while I run Joey and his cousin to school. I nurse Evie for 5 minutes to abate her hunger and scan Facebook for morning news.
7:56 am: oops. We're late. I
8:01 am: a minor accident has traffic backed up. Joey is delighted by a firetruck and ambulance parade and reminds me to pray, so we say a quick Hail Mary and inspect the bumper damage as we creep by. He knows about a third of the words to the prayer now…Catholic school FTW!
8:11 am: roll up to my sister's house and grab a nephew. We're gonna be so late…
8:19 am: arrive at school, running to the preschool entrance to beat the timed lock that automatically seals at 8:20 (I think? I've never been late enough to actually miss it). Hustle the boys into their classroom, check their mailboxes, make awkward small talk with their teachers and run back to the parking lot. Remember that for once I didn't do a guilty leave-behind of any other offspring in the van and relish the temporary silence of having no additional cargo for the 17 minute drive home. Mentally recommit to Dave Ramsey's principles as I look longingly at the beautiful houses in the neighborhood surrounding our parish. Resolve to never eat out again or buy any clothing so that we can buy a house sometime before 2019.
8:39 am: Home again. Take a hungry Evie from Dave as he is one-handedly finishing the breakfast dishes. I. Married. Up. Sit down to nurse and read a couple morning blogs.
8:46 am: Dave is asking me if checks and pinstripes can work together. Nope.
8:58 am: Finish an impromptu dusting session of the main floor. Look regretfully at my 2-week-old white cami that I'm using as a dustrag before throwing it down the basement steps to the laundry. Curse our 'new' old top-loading washer that has so far shredded the spaghetti straps on five camis and an embarrassing number of other unmentionables with stringy parts. Try to remember to buy one of those stupid mesh bags to wash delicate laundry in.
9:00 am: strip protective plastic trash bag off of Joey's pillow (under the case; no suffocating allowed in this house) and decide to run through all the bedrooms and bathrooms dumping the small trash cans into it. Arrive at the front door with an entire trashbag full of dirty diapers and thank God mentally for modern conveniences and the good sense to have given away my entire stash of cloth diapers before we moved to Rome. Never again, landfills be damned.
9:01 am: Dave is ready to go and we pray a quick morning offering with John Paul sandwiched between our legs shrieking about 'his monies!' Dave takes the trash bag from my hands and heads off to work and I see that our cans already lining the curb. I have the best husband.
9:06 am: scrub the kids' bathroom down with a pair of diaper wipes. Wonder if my toilet will be any less disgusting when my boys are teenagers. Decide the answer is probably not one I want to know.
9:10 am: sit down to start writing this lovely thing. JP is still screaming for 'monies,' so I dig 33 cents out of a dish on my dresser and line the coffee table with change for him to count. He squeals with delight and finds an old Trader Joe's bag to use as his 'purse.' I try not to be too disturbed.
9:40 am: look up and see John Paul lying in the Rock n Play, cackling to himself and counting his monies still. I'm a little embarrassed that all I've been doing for the past 30 minutes is recalling my day thus far, but not embarrassed enough to stop.
9:43 am: time to switch gears and start looking at headlines for Heroic News. Look at my open tabs from last night and count at least 3 bizarre headlines that apparently caught my attention before bed: "Jesus didn't care about being nice or tolerant and neither should you," "NH Teacher fired for friending students on Facebook" and "How to spot a psychopath." Decide that I probably am one, and get to work.
9:50 am: JP alerts me that "Evie doll is cwyin, mama" Find a somewhat unhappy baby in her swing and get a whiff of JP's 3rd diaper bomb this morning. Carry both offenders into the boys room and set Evie down on Joey's bed (mattress on the floor) for some dreaded tummy time while I address JP's nasty. Mentally vow to find and kill whoever keeps feeding him raisins. Wonder if it was me.
9:56 am: nurse again. Reflect in gratitude for Evie's stellar nursing abilities and my own gift of being able to type while she eats. Lovingly stare into the screen of my MacBook Air and rejoice in its small lightweightness.
9:57 am: JP is trying to put a pull-up on his stuffed monkey and is laughing hysterically. Wonder if it's time to think about potty training him, as Dave insists. Mentally slap myself across the face for even thinking this thought. Think about going to the library and/or Target before preschool pickup. Ask JP if he wants help outfitting his monkey. Help him.
10:01 am: He decides monkey would prefer a diaper.
10:02 am: Evie is no longer pleased with my multi-tasking. Shut computer.
10:20 am: Target it is.
11:16 am: Ooops, Old Navy was closer. $89 later and many spring colors later, I'm now late for preschool pickup, but I no longer look like a haggard recovering meth addict in a facility issued head-to-toe stretchy black uniform.
(School pickup, Lunch, nursing, phone calls, texts answered, bathroom trip with creepy 2-year-old observer in tow.)
1:24 pm: Ahhh, naptime/quiet time. Joey has been fighting this relentlessly since around Christmastime, but now that it's warming up he has relented to lie on a Superman sheet in the backyard with a stack of library books and a handful of roly-polies. I harvested the roly-polies for him. Vom.
1:25 pm: the remains of JP's quesadilla is hardening on a paper plate (survival mode 4ever.) I'm only semi-drawn to it, so this new eating plan must be working.
1:27 pm: they're all quiet at the same time. Evie in her swing and the boys in their respective nap zones. The second best part of my day has now begun.
1:28 pm: Joey is back. He needs a paper bag and a handful of sticks to have quiet time with. He asks me if I'd like to join him. I stare at him, wondering why God thought it would be funny to make my firstborn an extrovert.
1:30 pm: I settle down to write and check some emails. I see one from my editor at Catholic Exchange and I start thinking up ideas for another piece later this week. I never plan posts ahead of time, and I hardly ever write down ideas that come to me, but maybe I should. At this point what I write is 90% spontaneous, though I do have occasional insights in the shower.
1:31 pm: I haven't showered today…
1:37 pm: And I'm not going to. Joey is back and he is "all done with his quiet time." I break his heart by telling him he is mistaken. I wonder if i should start planning dinner, and then I remember the chicken sausages I put on the counter to defrost this morning. I move them to the fridge and, remembering that Dave has a work dinner, consider making salads for dinner for a second night in a row. Joey must have taken me seriously, because he wandered back outside with a sippy cup filled with Pellegrino. I absentmindedly finish the rest of the bottle.
1:44 pm: Retire to my room to hide from Joey for the remainder of 'quiet time.' A friend texted us an invite to come play afternaptime, and I consider waking JP up early just to get us all out of the house. Evie is crying to nurse from her swing. Flop onto the bed to nurse her while browsing for news stories with my free hand. Update the site with breaking news. I love having a baby who loves to nurse lying down.
1:59 pm: I got distracted by the internet. I look up from my reading to see Joey sitting in my doorway with his stuffed animals in his arms. He looks at me guiltily and then sits down on the hall floor and starts reading the atlas. Whatever.
2:03 pm: I can't imagine anybody is still reading at this point. I can't believe how many times each day I am interrupted. Start streaming the new Ingrid Michaelson album (free on iTunes for a week!) and Joey crawls up into my bed and announces "I just want to beeee with you." I send him to wash his ropy poly hands before letting him crawl up next to me. He covers my the back of my arm with kisses and snuggles into our bed. Now I'm a mommy sandwich.
2:30 pm: naps are a bust. Wake a sleepy John Paul and toss all 3 kids in the car for a trip to a friend's house and some magical Vitamin D time in her stay cation of a backyard. Pick up a nephew on the way because YOLO, and my sister has to take somebody else to the doctor.
4:05 pm: Why do I bring them anywhere? Oh yes, socialization…
4:43 pm: cooking dinner. Way too early. Trader Joe's chicken sausages on the barbecue with asparagus and baked potatoes.
4:50 pm: everybody is yelling for something, but I'm happily sweeping through the house and flinging dirty laundry/errant toys/random books down the basement stairs. All our toys and books now live in the basement, and my favorite part of the day is pitching things down the stairwell one by one. Clean house = happy mommy.
4:52 pm: dinner is served.
4:59 pm: dinner is over. Dammit, I've overplayed my hand. I run a bath for the boys and they run screaming towards the bathroom, shedding clothes as they go. The floor is littered with asparagus, but I did make them 'mop' the spilled milk under the table.
5:15-5:46: books are read, diapers are applied, teeth are brushed, and then I sort of lie there on Joey's bed, letting them both jump on me while they yell "fight fight fight!" and proclaim it wrestling time. Wish for the hundredth time today that Dave was home for bedtime.
5:50: prayers. A quick, incoherent story about some pigeons, a penguin, Lightening McQueen and Mater flying to Rome for JPII's canonization. Lots of random words in Italian. Ends with a trip to Old Bridge for gelato. Joey is satisfied. Hit the lights and head to my room to nurse Evie.
5:58: brag on Facebook about having put my kids to bed 2 hours before sunset. Hear banging and shouting from the back bedroom,
6:35 pm: Both boys are watching a double episode of Curious George on a laptop propped on their dresser. Eating granola bars. I'm a sucker.
6:40 pm: fine, one more episode. Evie is asleep in her swing, so I unload and load the dishwasher and spray down the counters and table. Check for new headlines and get briefly immersed in a stupid post on Facebook. Wonder why I came crawling back to my social media habit for the umpteenth time.
6:46 pm: because the internet.
6:50 pm: bedtime for real this time. Good night, sleep tight.
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Sit at computer. Think about doing a couple waiting loads of laundry.
8:05 pm: is it too late to take a shower? Evie wakes up and wants to nurse. I don't feel so hot...
8:25 pm: oh, the stomach flu. Now it's my turn. Spend the rest of the night in a prone position on the bathroom floor, returning occasionally to bed to lie there moaning. Please, God, don't let the baby get this.
11:54 pm: PLEASE GOD don't let the baby get this. Dave offers her a bottle and she refuses. Violently. I attempt nursing in between bouts of vomiting. Joey wakes up screaming that he's hungry and Dave goes to comfort him.
Maaaaaybe this was not the greatest day to chronicle…but it's certainly not one I'll forget.