I don’t know guys. They say it’s just a season, but I don’t know if I’ll ever sleep again. Granted, I did sneak a shower today during “nap time” and my deodorant finally came in the mail, and turns out my black leggings were in the clean basket after all, so I’m feeling like 110% better about life than I did this morning. But this is how my week started. Let me set the stage for you:
It was a chilly, rainy day. There was a hurricane somewhere nearby which created this amazing napmosphere which worked on neither of my children. I picked the big kid up from preschool at 1:15pm (because at 1:16pm they start charging you extra) and hightailed to the Starbucks because I am a twenty nine year old white female and mother of two small kids and that is what I do when I don’t know what else to do. The entirety of the time he was at preschool was spent trying to get the little redheaded one to take a freaking nap. The whole time zone had basically become a rain sound machine and she was not having any of it. Not even in the Ergo, not even in the Solly, not even in the swing, only on my boob while I moved. Literally. The only way she would not scream was if I was standing up, swaying while holding her with both arms. She can scream while she nurses. It’s unreal. I couldn’t even trick her into nursing in one of my seven carriers so I could use both my hands to do some work. So yeah, heading into that Starbucks drive thru I felt really accomplished and like I was rocking it. Not. I am pretty sure the barista sensed the regret in my voice when I said “tall” and “half caff” like I was trying not to go all out with a venti americano at 1:30pm on a Monday. I got my coffee and took a sip and it was glorious. You know that episode of Friends where Chandler smokes? Yeah, that was pretty much me.
Lincoln then started asking where his coffee was, so before I drove away I had to awkwardly wave down the barista with a dollar bill from my wallet and I asked for a small cup with a lid so my two year old could pretend to drink coffee. He didn’t really understand what was happening but it was cute how quickly and awkwardly he found an empty “tall” cup for me to give to my toddler who was pumped. We took that Starbucks cup home and put some almond milk in it and read a book at the kitchen table while we drank our coffee and for about three minutes I did not feel like a complete failure. It was awesome. The baby napped in the carseat on the floor with the earth sound machine going and also the little iPhone sound machine playing for her and my Lincoln felt like the coolest most important kid in the world for those few minutes and it was everything. And then I told him the three words no two year old ever wants to hear: “It’s nap time.”
Basically I could have told him “hey buddy, we’re selling all your toys and you have to go to school only in your undies and sandals for the rest of all time!” because he lost his mind at a volume that was ever so slightly louder than the sound machines keeping
the world spinning Emmeline asleep, so naturally she started expressing her distaste for nap time as well. Even worse, she was mad she got tricked into it in the car and with the sound machines, so she was super pissed. I ran Lincoln upstairs and in my haste forgot the most important detail of them all: potty. Mistake one. I slapped some comfy pants on him out of the clean clothes basket in his room (mistake two), and turned on his sleep sounds (he’s an ocean kinda guy) and hightailed downstairs to deal with the little screaming one. I grabbed the monitor and watched him wind down and read a book so I figured he would be asleep in a few minutes like he usually is. Mistake three.
Finally the combination of all the sound machines and breastmilk and swaying got her to go back to sleep and by some miracle she stayed asleep even when I swayed her into the swing which was also swaying. Say that three times fast. She was asleep, Lincoln was almost asleep. Finally, I could do some work. I got my laptop open, all my tabs open in Chrome, all my spreadsheets open and I was ready to roll with four days of grading that had been neglected since the previous Thursday and then…. I woke up. The laptop was sliding off my lap. Man, those sound machines are effective. And also, I haven’t slept for longer than 2 hours in a row in over a month. Basically I can sleep anytime, anywhere. Do not invite me to the movies. Or on a car ride. Or basically, anywhere.
Oh, but wait, what is that weird sound? Sounds like a baby crying? That’s weird, she’s asleep in the swing. It’s coming from upstairs. I didn’t even check the monitor, I bolted upstairs in my nap hungover state, not aware of what time it was, what day it was but managing to get one foot in front of the other to Lincoln’s door, not sure what I’d find on the other side. I swung the door open and found my sweet blond babe head first in the laundry basket (see mistake two, up there) but feet still on his bed, perched at this awkward angle where he was clearly stuck and didn’t have the upper or lower body strength to push himself out of it. Because I had been sleeping I have no idea how long he had been like that, and no idea how long he had been screaming and crying. But basically, the kid had wet his bed, (see mistake one) and I am pretty sure he was looking for some clean pants. In the excitement of being stuck in the laundry basket he had peed some more, and was wet from his ankles to his shoulders. His shirt and undies were completely soaked. He apologized (Mommy, I so sorry) and my heart broke in half as I dressed him in warm dry clothes and wiped the snot and tears off his face and he told me, “Mommy, I so sleepy” and crawled onto his pillow with a clean, dry blanket off the floor and fell asleep. So, that’s one way to get your kid to nap. At three forty five, he fell asleep on a bed with no sheets. I laid down with him and stroked his hair, told him I loved him approximately 3859208590205 times and apologized for not hearing him crying. And then I heard those ginger shrieks from downstairs. The swing sound machine had stopped. Ran downstairs and she had pooped all up her back.
So, when people have asked me lately “how is it with two kids?” or “how’s work going?” or “do you want to hang out one day this week?” I kind of just smile like a lunatic and say “things are exciting! I’ll text you!” because I literally have no idea. I don’t know how it is. I don’t know how work’s going. I don’t know if I want to hang out. Basically just keeping everyone alive. Self included. Fistfuls of dairy free chocolate chips at a time.
You know, it’s kinda great though. I have a flair for the dramatic when I’m telling my stories, but really it’s so freaking good. You know, when the big independent almost three year old asks to sit with you and wants to snuggle. Or when the four month old unlatches to smile at you because you are her whole world. Or those moments when the big brother disappears from the breakfast table to sit thisclose to his sister and tell her about his toys or ask her what kind of food she likes (oh? you like baby milk?) There are days where I feel like a total failure, but I know better, you know? I’m doing okay. They are both happy and healthy, fed and clothed (note that I am excluding ‘bathed’ or ‘clean’). They know they are loved and they keep crying because they know I’ll always come, arms ready. That feels good.
Am I completely failing at cleaning and laundry and eating well and getting enough rest? Absolutely. Is work stressing me out a ton? Absofreakinglutely. Is there any sort of boundary between work life and life life right now? NOPE. I am feeding a baby while I teach classes, I’m answering text messages from students while I play trains and more often than not I respond to work emails while I poop. It’s a hot mess. It’s my mess though. And I love it. When my circus is grown and has circuses of their own, I can’t wait to tell them about the crazy days I had with them. They are crazy for sure, but crazy special. And they are ours.
And you bet your jellybeans that today at Starbucks (Thursday? How the eff is it just Thursday?!?) when I ordered a tall while my kids were screaming in the backseat, that I wised up really quick and changed that to a venti. It’s 8pm and I’m still drinking it. The way I see it, what’s the worst that will happen? I won’t sleep tonight? Probably not.