Just a moment
Boobies for one baby, healthy and varied breakfast for everybody. And for me? A cold coffee that won’t be finished. Why won’t the pregnancy weight go off if I can’t even get my hands on some food, anyway? Nobody is that hungry after all but there is plenty to complain about: It’s too warm, the diaper is wet, the floor is dirty, the shirt with the rocket is in the laundry machine, the book is too hard to chew, the teeth are coming out, I am not giving both hands to help to learn how to walk on a permanent basis. The singing is bad but there’s no way to stop it. Banging the boxes against each other is too loud but don’t even think about putting them aside. The toddler fell again, this time on top of the baby. Everyone is crying, I included. We can do this. Time check: 8:00.
It’s time for the baby to nap. My husband is off to work, no time to connect, but he seemed alright. The toddler wants attention. Dishes need cleaning. A pile of clothes need washing. I need a shower. The floor is still dirty. Our toddler can smell my anxiety – it’s time to test me: let’s throw a piece of the wooden puzzle at my face, say “no” to everything, jump on top of the sofa, climb on the table, open and close the electric blinds on the windows. He fell once more… and so did my grace. Stay cool. The baby is awake with the noise.
Let’s eat again. A tasty snack for everybody. Both baby and toddler spill half on the floor and eat the rest. They laugh, they are happy. I’ll take it. The food is over and so is the baby’s patience. Where is my mum? Crying out loud. Oh, she just bent down to get a piece of bread from the floor. Where is my mom? Crying out loud. Oh, she got some water. Baby cries again. Teething? Wants to walk? The toddler starts to cry. Wants attention? Wants to walk? We can do this. Time check: 10:00
We get dressed and go out. The baby goes on the carrier, the toddler walking more or less beside me. It’s cool, we’ve got this. There’s fresh air, we are moving and seeing Nature. We are fortunate and healthy. Smile and the world will smile with you. Right? The baby is too tired and wants to walk; it’s time to go back.
We go home I try to prepare lunch: couscous, lentils and veggies. One thing, though: I can’t be out of the baby sight for one second, or he’ll scream his lungs out. As a side effect, the toddler will get annoyed and start crying or yelling. This means, no leaning down to take off your shoes, use the restrooms, recover a piece of food or cutlery on the floor and definitely no opening the fridge.
My head is aching but at least they are eating. So there is that. While they eat there’s a moment of silence, maybe a whole minute. Then it’s time to guess which spoon or object the baby wants but doesn’t have and to make animal sounds for the toddler. Maybe they can help each other out with their requests. It almost works. The baby is covered in food and the floor is a mess, I can’t clean it because that implies a series of disappearing acts, so I leave the task for when they sleep. Time check: 11:20.
Alright, let’s get the kids ready to sleep. The baby goes first, so he doesn’t have to be alone. We almost cuddle and have a good time while getting cleaned and dressed, but he’s very uncomfortable and tired. We make it through, though, and soon he’s peaceful in bed, ready to fall asleep. As I leave, he crawls out of bed and tries to follow me. We repeat. He falls asleep next to the bed. Sigh.
Tough luck, mom
Now it’s the toddler, he’s very engaged with letters, so I let him finished. He can tell I’m anxious, so he tries something else and another thing and just one more thing, with me trying to stay patient and get him to cooperate. It’s not working. I leave for a second, sob for 20 seconds, breathe in and out and return to the room. We manage to follow our bedtime routine. I can tell he is rushing me but can’t really complain about that. We kiss and I leave. It turns out he was rushing me cause he was not done with the letters.
I try, I really do, to get him to reconsider his options but it’s just not going to happen. Tough luck. He wants to play and to do it alone. Fine, I’m out. But now the baby is stirring. Maybe I can take my shower? Nah, the toddler is crying. Go, repeat, nothing. The baby is awake as well. Didn’t shower, nor cleaned the floor. And my head is aching…
Time to feed the baby, clean him and enjoy the moment together. It’s beautiful, wonderful. It’s just a pity there’s a toddler waiting, so I can’t really pretend that’s not happening. We go for the kid, getting him ready and start playing together. Again, no one is happy with the level of attention, they are falling on each other and wanting each other’s toys. I look at the clock: it’s 14:00 .
But it’s okay. We have a playdate this afternoon: another baby and mother. We’ll distract ourselves, socialise, enjoy the community feeling. It starts pouring. It’s currently Summer. The mother sends a message: the playdate is off. In fact, any play is off because it’s raining cats and dogs. Time check: 14:30.
Because there was no nap, I can’t take do some of my go-to’s when the weather is bad, like the city swimming pools or even a bath at home. It doesn’t feel safe. We are stuck home.
I try different activities, no activities and everything in the book. It’s not working. The minutes feel like hours and I’m running out of options. And patience. Like a wolf, I howl in anger. It feels good. The baby thinks it’s funny and laughs, the toddler thinks it’s scary and cries. I wish I could cry as well but it’s been enough drama already in front of them.
This continues, somehow, until one can pretend it’s time to start preparing dinner. The toddler decides to stay alone and play while I take the baby to the kitchen in the carrier. Wow. This could work. We start preparing our food and shortly after the boy is calling me. I go there and it turns out he was playing with the blinds, and they are now both broken. I get flashbacks in my mind of all the things I want to say/scream at him but nothing comes. I’m shaking with anger. That’s the baby room and the blinds are now wide open. Have I mentioned it’s summer? The room won’t be dark before 22:30.
Eventually, I come back to reality and tell the boy that I am angry, that I am very angry. He knew he couldn’t do it; I reminded him not to do it throughout the day and that was just not a good consequence. We come to the kitchen, he looks sad and quiet and, maybe it’s just my imagination, he seems remorseful. I can’t stop thinking about it so I tell him I’ll go to the room quickly and give it another try. He lights up and I go. It worked, the blinds are closed again, at least. I return, the toddler is playing with the blinds in the kitchen. I howl again. He cries again.
Time to move on, we need to break the cycle. I clean them and we move to the living room. They play, try to take each other’s toys, and move on top of the other just for fun. They keep getting upset with each other. I jump to get in the middle – can’t they just play harmoniously together? No, of course, they can’t. One is a baby, the other is a young toddler. It finally occurs to me that I’m asking too much of everybody. I lean back and let them be. It surprisingly helps a little. While it’s necessary to watch them like a hawk, the whole interaction becomes less messy.
I’m depleted. The toddler, 5 minutes after his snack asks for a pear. I boil. This is hilarious because in my native language when to give a pear or to want to give a pear it means to punch someone.
- Mom, Pear
- Do you want me to give you a pear
And that’s it. I laugh. Finally, I’m laughing again. Attempting to get a pear is of course and odyssey given the baby. I space out for a moment. Will this day ever end?
My husband gets home, he’s late, tired and happy to see us. I sigh. How good to be with him again.
Tough to be alone
We talk briefly and as I get ready to tell I need a moment and to take a shower, he shares that he needs to work late. He’s clearly tired, there’s no way I can share how the day went or ask for help when he still has a long day ahead of himself. We each take a kid to bed, the four of us are exhausted. It’s been an intense day.
We have dinner quickly, and he starts working, until midnight. I lay in bed, too wired and tired to fall asleep. Tomorrow will be better.