The alarm goes off at 6:20 AM. I just watched my 61st sunrise in a row (not that I’m counting) so the fact that I even set an alarm is ridiculous. Really, I think I only do it to separate night from day in my delirious, sleep-deprived mind. Of course, now that I’ve got less than one hour to get my kids dressed, fed, packed up, and out the door, my infant and 4-year-old are in peaceful, happy comas, in my bed (when did they even get here??).
I can’t get more than half an eye open from the Big One so I dress him in his sleep. I imagine this is what it’s like to dress a dead octopus. He wakes up and realizes I’ve put him in the blue dinosaur shirt instead of the red one he’s worn every day for nearly a week. Apparently this is tragic. I pick my battles and I’m willing to sacrifice hygiene to just get out of the house. I trip over four clean loads of laundry (that still need to be folded and put away) and at least 6 dirty loads of laundry (one that includes a baseball uniform needed for tonight) to find the red dinosaur shirt – completely covered in Elmer’s and Nutella. I start another load and wonder what the actual maximum capacity is for a washing machine. And also how necessary it really is to separate lights and colors.
Little One starts fussing. He goes from zero to full on blood curdling screams in the 2 seconds it takes me to get to him. He eats for 5 minutes and stops because he’s peed his diaper and he can’t possibly continue to eat with a soggy butt. Thanks for the blue line, Pampers, because surely I am not competent enough to know my baby peed without it. Big One wants to help with the diaper change, and of course the baby pees again – on my bed – the instant the dirty diaper comes off. Make that 7 dirty loads of laundry.
Big One “needs” oatmeal for breakfast. No, not instant oatmeal but steel-cut oats oatmeal. The kind that requires 45 minutes of hands-on stove time to prepare. I’m no chef but I figure I can cut that time into a third if I use half the required amount of water and ignore the “bring to a slow boil” instruction. I put the stove on extra high, look at the still shirtless Big One, and remember he has not yet peed or brushed his teeth. Or put shoes on.
I help Big One into his shirt which apparently leaves the stove unattended just long enough to erupt into an oatmeal inferno.The smoke alarm goes off and Big One asks “Mommy, did you set the house on fire?” There’s no answer that will change what he tells everyone at school: Mommy’s an arsonist.
I dump the burnt, half-cooked steel-cut-effing-oats into a to-go mug and send Big One to get his shoes on and pee while I make his lunch. Little one smiles up at me and then I hear it: the unmistakable rumble of a fully loaded fart. Yup, it’s a double blow out – up the front and the back. I take him up for a wardrobe change and diaper-wipe bath and hear Big one yelling for help because he can’t turn on the light in the bathroom. I can’t get there in time and he tried to pee in the dark. No pee has made it into the toilet. The walls and floor, yes- but not a drop in the toilet. He’s trying to clean it up with toilet paper so my bathroom now looks like someone toilet-papered it. On Mischief Night, in the rain. Whatever – I’ll Swiffer it later. I tell him (for the 10th time now) to go put shoes on. We’re down to 5 minutes before we have to get out the door.
This is about when I turn into crazy-drill-sergeant-mean-coach-mom. “Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! Put. Your. SHOES. On!” I am clapping my hands and chanting (OK, screaming) to Big One while he calmly flies his Lego helicopter in and out of the room – barefoot. “WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES?!?! YOU CAN’T GO TO SCHOOL WITHOUT SHOES!!!” Mind you, he’s landed his helicopter in a closet with roughly 9 thousand pairs of his shoes and yet there are only two pairs he’ll actually wear: One is a candidate for Sneaker Savers and the other is in such bad shape it’s likely to invite the attention of Child Services. Screw it – today we’re going with Child Services pair.
I get Little One into his car seat just in time for a loud burp and then . . . projectile vomiting. He spits up all over himself and his car seat. I pick him up and he spits up on me. Fabulous. I’ve now been peed on, pooped on, and vomited on. It’s the maternity leave trifecta. Another wardrobe change (for him), another diaper-wipe bath (for both of us), and now a car seat disassembly. If you’ve ever wondered how stuff gets lost in a car seat, disassemble one (vomit optional). They’ve got more cracks and crevices than Grand Canyon National Park. And thank God we have two for just these occasions because reassembly takes for-ev-ver.
When we finally head out the door my sweater is turned inside out and my hair is in a bun to hide all of my infant’s bodily fluids. I get the kids buckled in and hear a quiet “uh, Mommy?”
Here’s Murphy’s Law applied to kids: If you are trying to get somewhere on time, they will inevitably have to poop, and it will be an event. One that can’t wait but that will take 20 minutes to get started. We run back in the house and get to the toilet just in time . . . to sit and wait. 25 minutes (and another diaper change) later, we’re running back out to the car when I remember I am “Snack Mom” and I left the class snack on the kitchen counter. I leave the kids in the car so I can run in and grab the strawberries, and by the time I get back to the car – not 30 seconds later – Big One is screaming at the top of his lungs that I left him alone, locked in the car for hours. Great. Now school will hear I am not only an arsonist but that I am an arsonist who abandons my children.
We’re finally back in the car, ready to go (for real this time), and my wrist starts buzzing. Thanks, Fitbit. 10,000 steps and it’s not even 8 AM.