A Day Like Today

inspired by Claire's post 

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The yelling starts before 5.  Kevin has obviously fallen asleep downstairs, as he is usually the one to get up with her.  I curse under my breath and haul my tied bones out of bed to pad down the hallway to their room.  

She won't go back to sleep, so she is brought downstairs and deposited with her father.  Keeping mutterings and swear words to a minimum, I climb back in bed with Theo. His breathing has been terrible over the last few days, particularly at night, so I watch him for a few minutes before I fall back asleep. As my lids droop heavily, Ellis comes in. I look at him and can guess what he's going to ask. "Can I have a boy's movie?" we say in unison. Before I can answer, Georgia returns, having escaped her father and bringing me a bar of soap and a squeaky toy.  The racket, plus Georgias new found ability to climb up on the bed, wakes up Theo and he decides he's hungry.

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After surviving the extreme torture that is breastfeeding and 8 week old whilst being jumped on by a 14 month old, I lift both babies to carry them downstairs, one over each shoulder.  Ellis has already settled into his spot on the sofa for a morning of cartoons.  I feel guilty about the amount of TV he is watching at the minute, but I can't handle the fighting.  From the minute he wakes up until the minute he goes to bed, when he is at home, he whines for the TV.

I stumble into the kitchen to begin the endless round of cooking a meal, eating a meal, cleaning up after a meal. I resent it, but there is no changing it, so I have to get on and cook.  This morning its Gluten and Dairy free crepes. I can't stand the things, but as Theo needs a feed again anyway, I miss my chance for breakfast. Kevin finishes off the cooking and makes a pot of coffee that I glug greedily while I feed the baby, watching the 5 minutes of news before Ellis realises I've changed the channel.

After breakfast, I nip out to the post office to collect a parcel.  Alone.  Its bliss, this whole not being touched thing.  When I come back into the house, it all begins again.  Someone is hungry, always hungry.  A baby is tired. Siblings are fighting. They all need to get dressed and nappies need changing.  Laundry, always laundry.  If I don't do at least 2 loads a day, I start to twitch.

After a quick round of chores, we settle into the playroom.  I am trying to be more present with them, because they must get tired of hearing I'll play with you after I've done the dishes/cleaned the kitchen/made lunch.  We play recycling.  Theo watches his siblings and laughs.  He even laughs as Georgia tries to strangle him gives him a hug.  We laugh.  The three of them are so funny and loving. Theo laughs until Georgia throws a wooden tomato at him.

 

After tears all round, both of the babies are taken upstairs for naps. Ellis has wandered back to the TV and I do a quick round of cleaning.  Ellis is hungry. Again.

Cheese on toast is made and eaten and cleaned up. More laundry. Theo is awake. A replacement for a faulty mattress is delivered. Ellis is allowed to play with the small lego, a treat saved for when his little sister can't destroy his lovely creations. I add more to this post and take some pictures.

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A cry announces that Georgia is awake.  I realise its noon and the mad dash for lunch then nursery run.  I am always late.  Sometimes, its not too bad and I can see the other mums going into the building as I near the gate.  Other days, like today, I am the subject to the sad and knowing smiles  of parents who have already been inside, dropped their children off and crossed the wide school grounds to get to the gate.

Once Ellis is safely at school, I head down the hill to the other post office to post parcels and letters. Theo will not settle in the buggy, so he is placed back on my chest in a sling.  Town is the usual battle of pushchairs versus pedestrians, but ultimately the errands are run, a wool blanket is purchased at a charity shop for £2 and we head home.

The walk back up the hill takes about 15 minutes.  As I open the back gate to let us through, I notice that Georgia is missing a shoe.  I was supposed to meet a friend today, but the shoes were expensive, so its back down the hill to collect it.  By the time we return, its 2:30pm…and we have 25 minutes to do a round of nappy changes, give Georgia a snack and feed Theo before I head off to collect Ellis again. I notice a break in the clouds and a load of washing is hung out in hope. Georgia spends the time playing the timeless game of stones and rain water. I realise she is soaked as I load her into the pushchair to go.

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Needless to say, I am late.  Ellis is once again the last child in the classroom.  Its a terrible walk of shame past the other parents and teachers to collect him.  I sewar under my breath. I am not technically late, it is 3:12pm and the session runs until 3:15pm, but everyone collects early here.

The evening routine begins in earnest after school.  Ellis starts the incessent pleading for the television, Georgia does her rounds of unloading drawers and cupboards. Theo naps, cries and feeds, over and over.

Its Tae Kwan Do night, so dinner needs to be early.  It tacos. Ellis eats his, Georgia bathes in hers. I manage one and realise that I've only eaten chocolate and this one taco today. Oh and coffee.

As we wait for a friend to collect Ellis for his class, Georgia begins to lose it.  She follows me around the house throwing her cup at me with all of her might, over and over again.  I try and offer her a drink, but she is too blind with rage.  I make a bottle and sit down with her, Theo in the sling, sucking hungrily on his pacifier.  

Georgia is happier and toddles off to play.  Now its Theo's turn.  He has fed every 2 hours all day and night. I use the time he feeds to browse online, visit Twitter and blog. I am exhausted and starving.  Once Ellis goes, Georgia and Theo are taken up for baths.  Theo will not settle, so Georgia's bath is quick before she is thrown into bed, past exhausted.

Theo spends hours fretting tonight.  He won't settle for long, so I put the finishing touches on this post and edit the photos in between the up and downs of trying to calm him. Its only 7:30pm, but I am ready for bed. I know a long evening awaits me, so I make a conscious decision to get off of the computer and get my work done so that I maybe I can work on my crochet, rather than walk past it and look wistfully.

Kevin comes home with a sleeping Ellis and takes Theo, making him smile.  The new energy in the house gives me the oomph I need to get things done.

Number of nappies changed: 9. Number of cups of coffee: 4. Number of grams of Dairy Milk chocolate consumed: aprox 100 (maybe more). Number of loads of laundry: 3. Numbers of hours awake a the time of posting: 15. Number of hours till I can sleep: at least 3.

Its not a bad day, or a fantastic day, but a normal day. And then I push post.


17 responses

  • Deep breaths, Deep breaths. I remember this all too well. They collect early here too, I was always the one they looked at with disapproving eyes. Thye still do now and I am at the gate first, but we all have days like these. pareting is like being bi-polar, all or nothing

  • I read this with a smile and fond memories of raising my brood of 6. You’re doing a great job. Don’t worry about the tv. You give him love so he will grow up to be a fine man no matter how much tv he does or does not watch. Most of us fall to desperation and kids still do ok ;) . My kids were never going to eat sugar either but they did (as well as peanut butter with a spoon straight out of the jar). They fought, my voice was raised, they sometimes fell asleep with their day clothes on, sometimes breakfast cereal for dinner and sometimes their teeth didn’t get the best brushing either but they are all doing fine in the world now and they still even have great teeth ;) .

  • Well, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din.
    I read this with a huge sigh of relief that I lived through those days at all. It’s good to take the occasional picture so after it’s over you can look back and think it wasn’t so bad.
    The older my kids got, the better I liked them.
    My daughter was the oldest and an absolute whirlwind of activity, intense emotion, and complete resistance. After she was potty trained, I used to put her to bed in the sweatsuit that she wore to school the next day so I didn’t have to fight to get her dressed in the morning.
    Worked like a charm.
    I kept her hair short, too, because she refused to let me brush it. Another wise decision.
    Blessings on you all from Minneapolis!

  • You are doing a terrific job! I remember this stage also, although mine weren’t quite so close together. The relief of EVER being alone; the constant physical activity and never-ending needs; and the meals on the fly. I never had trouble losing baby weight! But remember you are feeding two, and you’ll feel better if you eat! Keep at it, and thank you for this wonderful word picture of life as a mom in your stage of life.

  • My third was a two hourly feeder since the moment he was born …throughout the night as well. And he would drain both sides. It is exhausting. At just over 3 months I started giving him some solids as I felt like I could never satisfy him ( having already breast fed 2 babies for 12 months each)- the solids helped. But then one night when he was 8 months old, I relented and gave him a bottle in the middle of the night. I think it was straight from the carton milk, but I was so desperately exhausted ( found out a week later I was pregnant). But once I started him on the bottle it made EVERYTHING easier. Not that I’m saying that’s what you should do- every mother should make own choices about these things. I went on to breast feed my 4th baby until she was 14 months old.

  • Just a word of encouragement. I am sure you have heard these words before but it never can hurt to hear them again.
    It will get easier. I had three kids in a row, all under the age of three at the same time. It is so difficult when everyone in the house relies on you for every single need they have. No one can even get a simple drink of water or a little snack or wipe their own bottom!
    Some little things that helped us when they were all so small was to put sippy’s with water already in them where at least our oldest could get to them by herself. A bowl of fruit that they are always welcome to when they need a snack.
    Let the laundry pile up, and try to enjoy your time with them as babies.

  • You write really well, I loved reading this and you really captured the fun, teh frustration, the repetition and the detail.

  • I had forgotten – but your words brought it all back. Afterwards it seemed to pass in a blink, but I know that is not the case when you’re in the thick of it. You’ll treasure this record of an ordinary day.

  • I think the hardest thing about parenting is that some days (most days) it is just so relentless! I too crave a little bit of me time where I don’t have to be doing something for someone else constantly – oh the bliss of spending 10 mins on your own to go to the post office!
    I have 3 under 5 (not quite as close together as your 3) and I just keep thinking that in a couple of years time when I’m done with breast feeding (and hopefully nappies) and my boys can manage to play together for more than 5 minutes without tears, then it will be all worth it!
    You are doing a fabulous job and I just don’t know how you remember to take such beautiful photos during such a busy day. Fingers crossed that you get a bit of rest and a more peaceful day tomorrow.

  • Great to read your post…I do wonder how people spend their days.I have two little ones 18m and nearly 4 and it’s kind of relentless too….i can’t imagine having another little one to look after. Don’t worry about the TV, all i can say is when my baby was born, in the midst of cold dark winter, I wish i had let my 4 year old (2.5 then) watch moore telly instead of insisting not to, thinking i was doing good parenting. It would have given me a lot less stress without having an overactive toddler bouncing off the walls driving my sleep deprived head absolutely mad. And he would have probably been happier too. xx