What Do You Do All Day?

If there is one question that drives me nuts, it is “So…what do you DO all day?”  It is usually asked by a childless person, with the implication that taking care of a couple of kids can’t be THAT time consuming.  They are just kids, right?  Don’t they just play by themselves most of the day?  If you need some time alone, can’t you just pop in Barney?  Why is your house so messy if you have ALL DAY to clean it?  What do you mean that you were really busy and just forgot to call so and so?  WHAT do you DO all day?!

Want to know what I do all day?  Here it is.

6:20am:  The alarm goes off.  I turn it off, knocking my cup of water over (which is why I use the cups with the screw on lids.)  I reach over top of Ellie to shake Chev awake.  She grumbles at me.  Ellie either pops up like a daisy and tries to climb over me to get off of the bed (with full intent to wake up Laurel, who does NOT need to be up yet,) or she is so sound asleep that I have to pick her up and bounce her to wake her up.  Usually it’s the first one.  Then I shake Chev again, because waking her is like waking the dead.  I get up, feed the cats, and go to the bathroom.  Ellie either comes with me or starts crying because I didn’t take her with me.  I go back to the bedroom and shake Chev again, telling her that she REALLY has to get up now.  I scoop up Ellie and carry her downstairs.

6:45am:  Breakfast #1  First I change Ellie’s diaper, then I scoop her up and plop her on the kitchen counter while I make her a gluten free waffle from the freezer.  We spend most of the time that it toasts trying to decide what she wants on it.  Honey cream cheese?  Strawberry cream cheese?  Grape jam?  Butter with cinnamon and sugar?  Oh, the decisions.  I get her settled in her booster chair, cut her waffle up into bite-sized pieces ( screw working on her “bite and pull” skills before 7am), and get her milk cup.  Then I go grab a bowl of cereal and join her at the table.  I remind her to keep eating, because when she first wakes up she has the attention span of a goldfish.  When she’s just about finished, I get her gummy vitamins, antibiotics, tooth brush, toothpaste, and cup of water ready.  I thank the medicine gods that her doctor prescribed the ONE antibiotic that she will willingly take.  One less battle. today.  Brushing Ellie’s teeth is similar to bathing a cat.  Lots of yowling and squirming, not a lot of actual cleaning.

7:15am:  Pop in a movie for Ellie and attend to personal hygiene. She picks a movie while I go upstairs and brush my teeth.  We only have one (very small) bathroom, so I am inevitably in Chev’s way, but teeth must be brushed and this is my only shot.  If I’m not going to work out today, I also cram a shower in here.  I put on clean yoga pants and a bra and call myself ready for the day.  Halfway through this, Ellie gets bored watching a movie and comes up to visit us.  Because two people in a tiny bathroom isn’t enough; we need to add a silly bunny girl.

7:30am:  Get Ellie dressed.  Well, first I have to catch her.  She usually has a poop by now, so I get to clean that up and get her into her clothes for the day.  Then come her orthotics and sneakers.  Then the really fun part:  brushing her hair.  And you thought brushing her teeth was bad.  Ha!  Bid Chev a fond farewell as she heads off to work.

7:45am:  Start watching for the bus.  Some days it comes at 7:45, some at 8:30.  It is anybody’s guess.  In the mean time I get Ellie’s backpack ready, including a gluten free version of the daily snack and whatever she needs for show and tell.  (Something black…um…..why does my kid have no black toys?  Do they make black toys?  Hey, Cat in the Hat is mostly black!  Cram that sucker in her bag!)

8:15amish:  Put Ellie on the bus.  Listen to assholes blow their horns while I strap her into the six point harness that keeps her from falling out of the bus seat.  Give her a kiss.  Get off of the bus.  Blow kisses and wave as she drives away.

8:30am:  Laurel is up.  Change her into a pair of panties, and remind her that she’ll have to use the potty if she needs to go.  Listen to her throw a tantrum over the movie that Ellie picked out.  I turn off the DVD player and turn on the radio so we can have a dance party in the kitchen while I prep breakfast #2.  We go through the whole “what do you want on your waffle?” routine, with an added, “how do you want your waffle cut?”  Because heaven forbid I cut in quarters when she wanted it in half.  I get her settled with her food, milk, and vitamins.  When she is done, she brushes her teeth, then I “check” them.

9:00am:  Robot dance!  Time to do my aerobics, or as Laurel calls it, my “robots.”  I try not to trip over Laurel as she runs around me in circles.  I try not to kick Laurel as she runs around me in circles.  I try not to fall over Laurel as she crawls under my legs during hamstring stretches.  I chug water and sweat like a pig.  Goodbye fat!

10:00am:  Shower for me, movie for Laurel.  This is where I try to shower in peace by letting her pick out a movie, but it never works.  Just as I’m relaxing under a stream of hot water, the bathroom door opens and all of the nice, warm air will go out.  Laurel comes in and says she has to go potty and wants to use the big potty.  She sits there, playing with the toilet paper and asking me random questions for a while before deciding that she doesn’t really have to go.  She flushes the toilet and scalds me before running away, leaving the door wide open.

10:30am:  Craft time.  Laurel likes to do crafts, so we try to do them most days.  Today we are making salt dough beads for necklaces.  We are going to make doughnut necklaces to wear while we make fasnachts this weekend at Nana’s house.  Laurel loses interest in bead making, so I give her a piece of dough to play with like Play-doh.  We sing along with the Disney Pandora station.  I help her make a salt dough snowman (named Olaf).  Our creations go in the oven.  Laurel is hungry.

11:30am:  Lunch #1.  Asking a three year old what they want for lunch is like asking me to name my favorite book of all time.  It is just SO hard to choose!  Finally, after several false starts, we settle on a hard boiled egg, a mini Babybell cheese (which I know she isn’t going to eat, but she REALLY wants it), an apple, and some pretzels.  I eat leftovers from last night.  (And her cheese.)  Laurel begs to watch her new Strawberry Shortcake movie, and since I want to surf Facebook while I eat, I let her have at it.

12:15pm:  Ellie’s home!  I listen to assholes beep their horns as I get her off of the bus and wave goodbye to her driver.  We come inside, take off her coat, shoes, orthotics, and socks (heaven forbid she leave her socks on), and look through her back pack.  Aww, look!  She made a picture of a heart!  Laurel puts the picture on the fridge while Ellie and I go through the “what do you want for lunch?” routine.  She wants yogurt and pretzels.  Lunch #2 is underway.

12:30pm:  Do the hustle!  Today is Thursday, which means that Ellie has speech and occupational therapies up the street at 1pm, so we need to hurry so we get there on time.  I try to get Ellie to eat her yogurt faster while getting Laurel dressed and ready to go.  I have to cut Ellie off from finishing her pretzels with a promise of more food after therapy.  I put her socks, orthotics, and shoes back on her.  She gets a fleece jacket pulled on while I strap on the Ergo carrier.  Up she goes on my back!  Then I pull Chev’s big hoodie on over top of both of us, make sure Laurel has both of her mittens on, and we head out the door….just to come back in a minute later because we forgot Laurel’s cars that she takes to play with while we wait.  Ok, now we can go for real.  We walk three blocks in the cold to therapy.

1:00pm:  Therapy for Ellie, play time for Laurel.  The pediatric department of the hospital is a mad house until all of the kids go back with their therapists.  Then it is just the moms and the younger siblings left in the waiting room.  Laurel has several little friends that she plays with, but she mostly just likes to run around the chairs in a circle.  I get to gab with some adults, which is SO nice.  When therapy is over, I get updates on her progress and suggestions for stuff to work on at home.  (We are working on getting her to put two signs together.)  Then we bundle back up and walk home.

2:15pm:  Snacks and relaxation. Snack time for my hungry girls means crackers, raisins, almonds, and chocolate chips.  We either read books or I let them watch a movie (depending on my sanity level at this point.)  The girls play, hopefully nicely, often not so much.  I try to do some laundry, and Laurel locks us in the laundry room, so I have to drop kick the door to get us out, because Ellie doesn’t know how to work the lock.  I break part of the wall.  Laurel gets a time-out while I curse in the other room.

3:00pm:  Dishes.  This is the one housework-type thing that gets done every day.  Why?  Because we only have so many dishes.  I turn up the radio and wash dishes and hope the when I turn off the water no one will be crying.  No such luck today.  Ellie put on Laurel’s hat.  Laurel ripped it off of Ellie’s head.  Ellie pushed Laurel.  Laurel pushed Ellie.  Ellie fell over.  Laurel tried to help her up.  Ellie wouldn’t even look at her.  Now they are both crying.  I calm them down and we read some books together.  I get them to build block towers and knock them over.  (Laurel does construction, Ellie does demolition.)  I try to sneak upstairs to pee in peace, but they find me.  They always find me.

4:00pm:  Start working on dinner.  Laurel likes to help, so cooking can take a long time.  Peeling a carrot is an art form for a toddler; it takes time and patience.  So while she peels a carrot, I make everything else.  Ellie likes to stand on a chair at the counter and snitch pieces of whatever we are making.  We dance to the radio while our dinner cooks.  Laurel tells me how much she loves cheesy veggie chowder.

5:00pm:  Chev is home!  Time for dinner!  Laurel decides that she does NOT like cheesy veggie chowder, even though she has eaten it umpteen times.  Ellie just wants the broth (it is like a wonderful cheese sauce), so she makes a hot mess of herself trying to eat just the broth and not the veggies.  Laurel doesn’t want to eat any of it, and makes horrible faces when I make her take the obligatory three bites.  Chev and I try our damnedest not to laugh at her faces.  We let her escape once she has choked down the food that I know she likes.  Ellie gets cleaned off (how the hell does she get soup on the back of her head?!).  Chev and I get three minutes to catch up on each other’s day.

5:30pm:  Chev is on duty.  This is my time to surf Facebook uninterrupted while Chev roughhouses with the girls, reads them stories, and gets to listen to Laurel tell her everything that happened today in excruciating detail.  I go and sew something in the kitchen while they play.  My current project is a set of “Frozen” dolls for the girls.

7:00pm:  Time to get ready for bed.  Laurel gets changed back into a diaper for sleeping, Ellie gets a new one.  Both girls get jammies and their cups of water filled up.  Ellie gets her antibiotic, then I have to brush her teeth again, which she just LOVES.  Up the stairs we go, to the big bed.  The girls get a couple stories, always ending with “Goodnight Moon.”  Then we say our prayers. Laurel goes in the rocking chair with Chev, while Ellie curls up with me in the big bed, and I sing them a couple songs.  Ellie is down for the count, so I roll her onto Chev’s side and make a stealthy escape while Chev rocks Laurel a bit longer before putting her in her own bed.

8:00pm:  Free time!  Chev and I either watch a movie or read our books or surf the internet while enjoying the lovely sound of silence.

10:00pm:  Bed time for Momma.  Because tomorrow I get to do it all over.

There you go.  My day in a nutshell.  Of course, this is just an average day, with no doctor appointments or shopping that needs to be done.  And when it warms up, we are outside pretty much the entire day.  Right now, though, it is really freaking cold here, so we are staying inside and going slowly crazy.  I have never been more ready for spring in my life.  Bring on the sunshine!

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