I’ve often wondered that. They say to write about what you know, and what I know is staying at home with my two little kiddos. Josh claims that because I’m a good writer, I find creative ways to discuss our daily life. And I love writing about what happens day in and day out, but when you have toddlers, it’s all pretty much the same thing over and over and over. That’s the way the squirts like it.
Our days usually go like this:
1. Emmeline wakes up first. Emmeline throws toys and kicks the walls of her room to get attention.
2. I wake up in a rotten mood. Looking like the hunchback of middle Tennessee, I shuffle over to Emmie’s room and remind her for the millionth time that she has to play quietly in her room until I come and get her. I then shuffle back into my room and wonder why Emmeline insists on waking up so early and noisily when all Gareth and I want to do is sleep til 8 o’clock without being rudely awakened.
3. 8 o’clock. We all wake up. As a “treat” for obeying and playing quietly, I let Emmeline (and by default, Gareth too) watch cartoons while I take a bath or shower.
4. After breakfast the kids usually play in the sunroom. They bang things, they fight over toys, I remind them to share. Between pretend meals, block towers, and rocking horse rides, I steal kisses and hugs. I chase Gareth down and try to change his diaper. He gets away from me and runs around naked while I yell, “Gareth, let mommy put your tee-tees away!” I try to get chores done. Sometimes (like today) I let them watch extra TV if I’m especially behind on things like dishes and laundry. Except I only end up doing the dishes and laundry about half the time. The other half I manage to find valuable but not quite as productive pursuits–like blogging and catching up on Bible reading. See, I don’t have to feel quite as guilty about their extra TV watching and my general laziness if I’m seeking intellectual fulfillment.
5. After lunch Emmeline has quiet room time, which is very difficult for little extroverts. She comes to her door a lot. Gareth is supposed to take a nap, but he usually just screams, and points a chubby, accusing finger at me and says, “Momma go!” with tears streaking his red-from-crying face. I flop down on the couch and wonder what on earth I’m going to do with a baby who is so attached to me that he can’t even bear to be abandoned for a two-hour nap. While I’m thankful for two kids who know they’re loved and want to be around me all the time, they can’t be around me all the time. I would like to feel that I could leave them with friends or relatives for a couple of hours without the world coming to an end. So I call Josh during his lunch break and whine, “I don’t know what to do! If I leave Gareth for 5 minutes he’s terrified, and he gets so wound up that he can’t settle down and sleep!”
6. After about an hour I give up and let Gareth watch Cars, Barney, Yo Gabba Gabba–anything that will keep him quiet so he doesn’t wake up his sister, who does actually take naps. I would let him play, but he’s a boy, so he’s very noisy. Then Emmie wakes up grouchy and says, “Mommy, Gareth is bothering me!” And I do like for at least one of them to be well rested.
7. Afternoons. Chaos. If the weather’s nice we go play outside. While we’re outside, I’ll get stressed out about all the yardwork I wish we could do. I’ll get mad at Josh and his crazy work schedule. Then I’ll get a shovel and some hedge clippers and take out my anger on the bushes. My goal is to be able to plant some flowers this spring. I’ve now dug up 3 bushes which were probably planted in 1978 when the house was first built.
8. Gareth takes his bath before dinner, otherwise he gets too wound up and won’t sleep. The bathwater raises his body temperature and makes him a little bit wild.
9. Dinner time. Half the time Josh works late and doesn’t get back til after the kids’ bedtimes. Gareth, who probably hasn’t taken a nap, goes to bed around 6. By this time I’m so exhausted I’ve stopped caring if Gareth feels abandoned in his crib, so I stick him in there, sing him one song, and leave. He actually falls asleep in about 10-15 minutes, and I realize for the millionth time that maybe the problem is me not him. Emmeline plays computer games, does puzzles, and colors until her bath and bedtime. I try not to let her watch TV at night because it makes it hard for her to settle. Sometimes she gets away with it though–like last night when she got her first splinter. We were both so traumatized by it that I let her eat popcorn for dinner and watch as much Nick Jr. as she wanted.
And that’s pretty much every day in our house. You know how it goes: The days are long, but the years are short. It can get lonely, and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have another intellectual discussion ever again. But as hard as it is, I wouldn’t pass these years up. All that to say, don’t expect any fascinating blog posts on my adventures backpacking through the Amazon or anything like that.