I am a big fan of reading blogs. I tell people that I like reading blogs because reading a well-written blog gives me the same pleasure I get from reading a novel, except that it is constantly being updated. I could get more of the story at any moment! While that is true, the primary reason I like reading blogs is that I enjoy the voyeuristic thrill I get from reading about the minutiae of other peoples’ lives.
I’m assuming that many–if not most–blog readers are like me in that regard. So, with that in mind, I am going to kick off this blog with the most trivial possible post: a day-in-the-life entry. I suspect it will actually tell you quite a bit about me.
Without further adieu, the last Friday in February:
7:37-I awake to the simultaneous sounds of the garbage truck rattling outside on the street and my toddler fussing because said garbage truck is a highlight of his day and he can’t believe he overslept and is missing it. (Note: This is total conjecture, obviously, since the only word I actually understand in his fussed monologue is “BUS!”). My husband climbs out of bed to get Bash* and change his diaper. I take my basal body temperature because that’s one of the fun things you get to do when you are obsessively trying to conceive a baby. Bash arrives at my bedside and attempts to physically drag me out of bed by yanking on my hand. I comply with his “request”. I throw on my bathrobe and glasses and get to take the first of many bathroom breaks during which I am accompanied by a toddler who watches intently and then demands “Flush!”
*My child is not actually named Bash. Rumor has it that the nonsense we write on the internet will exist FOREVER, so I am going to give him a pseudonym so he can save face with his peers in the future.
7:45-I put my tea kettle on to boil and throw together breakfast for Bash (mini wheats, diced pears, milk). Penn, my husband, has already been downstairs to stoke the fire in our woodstove and turn on the furnace. [The heating of our home is…complex.] He has let the dogs out and back in and is at the table eating his breakfast. I pour some cereal into a bowl, start steeping my tea, and dash back to the bathroom to pop in my contact lenses.
7:51- Penn heads for the shower. Bash announces emphatically that he is “All done!” despite the fact that he most certainly is not. I am trying very hard not to start food battles in this house, though, so I let him get out of his high chair to run around. I take his uneaten cereal and start to add it to my bowl. He protests. I put it back for a second, but then when he loses interest and runs off I pour it into my bowl anyway. I put milk on my cereal and in my tea and sit down at the dining table to eat.
8:05-Penn comes out of the bedroom with his work bag, ready to go. Bash preemptively shouts “BYE!” and waves. Penn gives us both kisses goodbye. I ask him to give me a rough estimate of when he will be home and the smart aleck tells me “Between 3:30 and 10.” I pretend to grumble and he says “Well, you said ‘rough estimate’.” I tell him that dinner hinges on the estimate so perhaps it shouldn’t be quite so rough. He tells me 5:30 and heads out the door. I spend the next 30 minutes or so leisurely eating my breakfast and reading an AllRecipes magazine in relative peace as Bash runs around rolling with the dogs and riding on his push-and-ride bike. At one point it gets suspiciously quiet so I poke my head into the living room to investigate and find Bash and one of our hound dogs lying together on the dog bed with a book between them. I snap a quick pic and post it to Facebook.
8:35-I suddenly realize I need to get moving. I do the breakfast dishes and feed our three old-man dogs with a little help from Bash. Then I take him to his bedroom to get dressed. I lotion him up, put on his baby cologne (so ridiculous, and yet so irresistible), and get him into his outfit for the day (an orange moose onesie and khaki cargo pants that are way too small but that I am gonna stuff him into one more time before putting them in the hand-me-down pile). This takes twice as long as it should because he keeps scampering away from me to look out his window for trucks and grab books off his shelf. Next I get myself dressed in my workout clothes (grey Lululemon running pants and a black and grey Target tank top and my black workout jacket that Penn says makes me look like Cyndi Lauper, for whatever reason). I put my hair in a messy bun, brush my teeth, and put on chapstick and then put some on Bash when he sees what I am doing and shouts “Some!” This is a daily ritual. While all this is going on Bash is sitting on my bathroom floor playing with his bus-shaped Wheels on the Bus book. I head to the kitchen and fill my water bottle and Bash’s snack trap (multigrain Cheerios), tell Bash to pick out a couple of toys for Stroller Strides (he chooses the bus book and his dinosaur), and walk into the carport to buckle him into the carseat. I turn the car on so it warms up, then run back inside to close the flue on the fire place, turn off the furnace , and grab Bash’s heavy coat, my diaper bag, and the water bottle and snack trap I just filled.
9:07-Check the traffic on my cell phone as I get into the car. It says 27 minutes to my destination, which is only a few minutes longer than it should take (which means traffic must be not-so-bad this morning). I am going to be about five minutes late, though, which is dumb because I was just lounging around for half an hour and could have been on time. On our highway drive to the mall I attempt to listen to Morning Edition on NPR but Bash immediately says “Sing! Sing!” which means he wants to listen to music, specifically, HIS music. I put on a kids’ CD that I checked out from the library a couple of weeks ago. It’s Hawaiian music and generally pretty nice, especially for winter. At one point I dial Penn’s office and put him on speakerphone to remind him to print out a Certifikid voucher I emailed to him and to ask if he has seen the other CD I checked out from the library because it has suddenly dawned on me that it’s missing. The drive is uneventful except for my son’s occasional shout of “BUS!” when we pass an actual bus or truck of any kind and “CHOO-CHOO!” when we go under the metro bridge.
9:34-We arrive at the mall for Stroller Strides. I am not the instructor today, so I can just relax and get my workout on. There are about ten moms at class today. We do an hour of cardio, strength training with resistance tubes, and ab work on the deserted third floor of the mall. I’m mostly working too hard to chat (go me!) but talk a bit between exercise stations with a couple of my girlfriends. Bash is well-behaved and eats his snack and “reads” a couple of books in his stroller. At the end of class he mimics a bunch of the stretches, which is adorable.
10:30-After class I let Bash out of his stroller and he spends the next hour playing with the other kids while I chat with the moms. I adore the women I work out with and over the almost two years that I have been going to (and then working for) Stroller Strides many of them have become my good friends. I already can’t recall exactly what we talked about today. Conversation jumps around a lot, especially because at least every two minutes somebody has to interrupt the conversation to break up a scuffle over a toy or stop a child from attempting to go down the up escalator. Basically, I gab a bunch, Bash climbs around on a short flight of stairs and watches the glass elevators go up and down, and an hour elapses.
11:30-We make an uneventful drive home for lunch.
12:00-I pop Bash in his high chair and heat up some orzo and veggies from a batch I made a froze a while back. I serve it to him with a cheese stick and the leftover pears from this morning. I wait until Bash has already eaten the majority of his food before I start on my own lunch because I want to eat half of a Quizno’s sub I saved from yesterday and some Doritos, and I know if he sees me eating chips he is going to beg for them so I want to make sure he eats his healthy lunch before I let him eat a few (very few!) junky Doritos. While we eat I read more of my magazine and sort of chat with Bash, as much as one can chat with a barely-two-year-old. Once he is “Alldonealldonealldonealldone!” I wipe him off and he climbs down to do some aimless toddler wandering around. Honestly, I don’t know what he did at this point since I fell down the rabbit hole of the internet and got caught up in browsing and deleting mostly-junk e-mail and signing Bash up for an upcoming soccer class, which ended up being way more complicated than I expected it to be. All I know is that he was running up and down the hallway a lot and would periodically march in a circle around me as I stood leaning against the kitchen counter typing on my computer.
1:17-I realize that naptime should have started fifteen minutes ago, so I hustle Bash off to his bedroom for a diaper change and his nap. He goes down willingly and I ponder what I will do with the glorious free time of his nap. [Every day I make grandiose plans for all of the things I will accomplish during naptime, and every day I do precisely none of the things I planned.] I start a load of laundry that I remembered to pull out of Bash’s closet and then take a shower. I seriously ponder just putting on pajamas because I am not planning on going anywhere for the rest of the day, but decide that I will probably have a more productive rest of the day if I actually make myself get dressed. So not only do I get dressed in jeans and a grey sweater, I braid my hair AND put on makeup!
2:07-I make myself an afternoon snack of cake and ice cream, which is by no means my usual afternoon snack, but it was Bash’s birthday a few days ago and that leftover cake isn’t going to eat itself. I eat my snack while reading blogs and digitally signing a contract for my next freelance teaching job. I log into Facebook and remember that I owe my cousin some suggestions for her upcoming trip to the UK. She messaged me for advice since I have visited there multiple times and spent a summer living in London when I was in college. I spend the next half hour typing her a message.
3:02-Bash is awake and yelling “Diapey! Diapey!” He is absolutely furious until I get his dirty diaper off of him and then he is instantaneously the most cheerful toddler ever. He sits in his high chair and eats raisins and crackers for his afternoon snack. I go back to standing in the kitchen with my laptop. I read the local newspaper’s weather blog, which for some reason I find endlessly fascinating, especially when severe weather is forecast. Today’s posts are all about a potentially significant snowstorm predicted for Sunday night and Monday. I would have found this thrilling in January. I must admit that snow is less exciting when it is almost March. I am ready for a season change. As I read Bash periodically says, “Mommy! Mommy!” apparently just to see my reaction and to grin at me when I look over at him.
3:12-Done with snack! We head downstairs. I set him up in his play room with his toy trains and I escape into the office to do some filing. The filing takes all of five minutes and I wonder why on earth I have let it linger on my to-do list for over a week. Since I am now on a role, though, I decide to conquer a couple more to-do list tasks. I grab a handful of thank you cards out of my stationary drawer and give them to Bash along with some crayons. I’d like him to color on the cards so that I can mail them to friends and relatives who gave him birthday gifts last week. I’m hoping he’ll quietly do this while I sort hand-me-downs in the unfinished part of the basement. No dice, of course! He abandons the coloring after less than three minutes and instead opts to climb in and out of the wardrobe that I use to store his outgrown and still-too-big clothes. Whatever keeps him occupied! For the next hour or so I keep up a near-constant refrain of “Where is Bash? Where did he go? Oh, there he is!” as he pops in and out of the wardrobe. (Yes, I, too, am amazed that he does this for AN ENTIRE HOUR, but I am not exaggerating). Meanwhile, I put away a bunch of clothes he has recently outgrown, sort the long-ago outgrown stuff that had gotten a bit disorganized, and dig through the bag of summer hand-me-downs to see what might fit this year. I put up a post on Facebook asking veteran moms whether or not I should plan to pull out the 3T clothes in addition to the 2T stuff.
4:25-Bash is suddenly and inexplicably done with his wardrobe game. Unfortunately, I figure I still have about ten minutes left of hand-me-down sorting to do in order to complete the project. I can hear him climbing the stairs back to the main floor of the house, something he is not technically supposed to do without me or Daddy there hovering anxiously (I did not grow up in a house with stairs, and they make me nervous). He makes it to the top and I attempt to pick him up to bring him back down, but he goes limp in my arms and is clearly about to launch into a tantrum. So I take a calculated risk and decide that he can probably be trusted alone upstairs for the few minutes it will take me to finish my project. Lucky for me he is the world’s loudest, stompiest walker so while I am in the basement I can hear exactly where he is above me. It appears he’s chasing the dogs (the patient, patient dogs) again because in addition to the stomping I hear jingling collars and maniacal giggles. I finish my sorting and finally convince Bash to come back downstairs with me for a few minutes while I start another load of laundry. Once the laundry is started, he flings himself to the floor, bereft, because now he doesn’t want to go UP stairs. Honestly.
I should add that the entire time we have been in the basement I have been letting dogs in and out the back door periodically–they never want to go out as a pack, naturally–and trying to get a good fire going in the wood stove. For some reason the big logs won’t catch and it is driving me crazy.
4:45-I carry Bash upstairs to the living room and finally break down and resort to television so that I can at least have a fighting chance at cooking dinner in peace. I ask him if he wants choo-choos (Thomas and Friends) or Elmo (Sesame Street). He chooses Elmo but then immediately abandons the TV to hang on my legs and whine about the fact that I will not let him into the locked cleaning supplies cabinet. After a few minutes of whining I walk him down to his bedroom and pull out a new toy he got for his birthday. It’s a bead threading kit where all of the “beads” are appropriately sized for toddler hands and shaped like trains. I’m hoping the novelty will distract him from the locked cabinet.
4:55-Success! Bash is entranced by the combination of his bead kit and Elmo, and I am finally able to start dinner. I’m trying a new recipe, a pasta dish that calls for a crazy mix of ingredients. Tuna. Crushed tomatoes. Chinese five spice powder. I picked it out solely because it consists of ingredients I already have on hand. It has the potential to be a bust, but luckily none of us are picky (not even the toddler, especially when pasta is involved).
5:07-Fluffy White Senior Citizen Dog runs to the kitchen door and begins yapping at absolutely nothing. Bash hears the commotion and barrels into the kitchen. Noooo! Fortunately, he assesses that Fluffy White Senior Citizen Dog is just being a dope-a-lope and he returns to his TV show. I go back to standing at the kitchen counter with my computer, reading replies to my hand-me-down question on Facebook, in between fiddling with dinner preparations.
5:27-My husband walks through the door and is greeted by a happy commotion of hungry dogs and boy. The dogs are trained to expect their supper the instant Penn walks in from work, whenever that may be, so he feeds them immediately while I put Bash in his high chair and plate up dinner. The early part of our dinner conversation is mostly me talking about what Bash did today. The pasta turns out pretty good, actually.
5:37-Bash makes his “All done!” announcement. We let him out of his high chair to run around in the hopes that we can maybe squeeze in a five-minute chat about Penn’s work day.
5:41-Not quite. Bash has realized he is still hungry and is clambering back up into his high chair, this time demanding a “kooky.” I give him two small cookies, which is his nightly quota. He stuffs them both in his mouth simultaneously and demands “More!” before he has even finished chewing them. I tell him there are no more cookies tonight. Remarkably, he doesn’t protest and instead holds out his empty plate and demands more pasta. I oblige, and he basically eats Dinner Part Two.
5:45-We adults are done eating (both my husband and son are astonishingly quick eaters, so I’ve learned to keep pace). Penn clears the table and starts doing the dishes. I stand at the counter yet again and make a pass through my feed reader. Bash continues stuffing his face.
5:50-Bash once again announces he is done and seems to mean it this time. Penn goes downstairs and starts carrying in firewood from the backyard. Bash and I join him so that he can give me a fireplace tutorial. I explain how I struggled all afternoon. He manages to get a roaring blaze going immediately. Of course. Bash and I go back upstairs and he is actually moderately helpful with dusting the living room.
6:17-Penn swoops Bash away for his bath. I finish up the dusting and vacuum. Pretty much every Friday evening one of us vacuums while the other one bathes Bash. This is a holdover from when he was younger and afraid of the vacuum. He’s actually pretty much okay with it now, but it’s still just easier to have him happily occupied while the weekly vacuuming goes on.
6:37-I realize that the boys have moved into Bash’s bedroom. I hustle in there to fold and put away Bash’s laundry while Penn gets him into his PJs and reads him his story. I eavesdrop on the book they are reading, Lovabye Dragon, since it’s from our library pile and I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet. It sounds cute and Bash seems to enjoy it. The three of us say Bash’s bedtime prayer together and then we engage in our nightly Tickle Time ritual, which is exactly what it sounds like: some sort of wrestling and tickling before he goes into his crib for the night. When Dad is the main bedtime parent it’s usually an all-out wrestling and tickle fest. I’m partial to nose kisses and neck tickles. We turn on the humidifier, the Twilight Turtle, and the sound machine, turn off the lamp, and say goodnight.
6:52-The baby is asleep! Let the wild rumpus start! Yeah, just kidding. I dust the master bedroom.
7:00-I sit down on the couch and read the latest snow update on the weather blog and then start making notes for this blog entry while Penn practices the piano. He’s trying to teach himself “Imagine” and “Piano Man,” apparently.
7:35-Penn finishes his practice and turns on the rerun of last night’s Daily Show. I decide I really should mop the floor but can’t seem to stop working on this blog.
7:50-I watch the last few minutes of Jon Stewart, then finally overcome my inertia. I had a few Valentine’s decorations out for the month of February so I put those away in the basement since it will be March tomorrow. I drag the mop upstairs and start mopping the wood floors.
8:00-Penn decides he wants to watch The Pianist. We have a talk about why he would want to re-watch something that was so awfully depressing the first time around. He says he doesn’t really know why, he just has the urge to watch it again. I tell him to watch whatever he wants because I have a lot to do tonight and probably won’t really watch much of whatever he is watching anyway. He puts it on. I finish mopping.
8:12-I put the mop away downstairs and grab my workout inspiration notebook from the office. While I am in the basement I check out my basement “pantry” (really just some shelves Penn put together for me) and make a list of things I need to use up and also stock up on at the grocery store. I head back upstairs and settle in on the couch for the duration of the night. For the next two hours I plan the Stroller Strides class I am teaching tomorrow morning, read blogs, plan my dinner menus for the next nine days, read more blogs, and start to order groceries online (to be picked up at the local grocery store tomorrow). All the while Penn is watching The Pianist and I’m half-watching and occasionally chatting with him. [Important aside: Re-reading this, it appears that my husband is a bit of an ass who just lounges around while I do all of the housework. Maybe one of these days I’ll put together an essay on the division of labor in our marriage because I generally find that topic pretty fascinating. For now, though, suffice it to say that he pulls his own weight (and then some), we mutually agree that indoor cleaning and grocery shopping are my domain, and if I wanted his help with either of those things I would merely have to ask for it.]
10:45-The movie ends and Penn heads to bed.
11:10-I finish up as much of the grocery shopping as I can stand to do tonight and tell myself I’ll finish the order when I get up in the morning. I make myself another bowl of ice cream and eat it with a Girl Scout cookie while finishing up my AllRecipes magazine.
11:45-I head to bed and snuggle up beside Penn. So nice of him to have warmed the bed up for me!