My hairdresser just got married, but ever since I met her, she’s been talking about having kids. No doubt this woman will make a great mother. However, I may have scared her out of the idea this week at my most recent appointment.
I was babbling on about school and life, and at one point I brought up the craziness that my children contribute to my everyday existence. Heidi then said, “So take me through a typical day at your house.” OK, sister you asked for it. So this is what I told her:
“Alright, well, sometimes the kids wake up at about 5am and come into our bedroom. Then we have to try to persuade them to go back to sleep until a reasonable 5:45 or 6:00. This never ends well, and usually results in relinquishing my phone to a tiny person in order to grab a few more seconds of sleep. Other days, they refuse to get out of bed, and we have to use sorcery to get them downstairs. Never do people sleep until it’s time to wake up and just make life easy.
“Once people’s heads are off of their pillows, it is time to get dressed. This is a whole new element of excitement. Harrison can usually fend for himself, but somehow that kid never has socks. I do not know where they go-this might be one of life’s great mysteries. I send him off to the sock bin to get a pair and he regularly chooses two socks that could not be more different. One short, one long? Perfect. One orange and one red? Let’s rock and roll. In the meantime, Ella often forgets that she knows how to dress herself and is spinning around the house naked until I can catch her and finagle some clothes on her body.
“By the way, It is not even light outside and I still need to shower and dress myself in addition to all this other entertainment. Justin makes subtle comments about my inability to ever find anything to wear on the first try.
“Ella asks for Raisin Crunch. I pour two bowls. Life is grand. Life is easy. Cereal is salvation. I head back into the bathroom to do my make up. Then, I hear ‘MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!! I HHAAAATTTTEEEEE THIIIISS CERRREEEALLLLL!!!’ from Harrison. I walk out to the kitchen and catch a bowl of cereal almost in mid air. ‘Fine bud.’ I say. ‘Eat nothing.’ Back to my makeup. Seconds later, Harrison wants milk on his terrible cereal and before I know it, I’ve put foundation on half a face, and I’m ready to leave the house. This often happens. You want a put together mama? Let mama finish her makeup. Let mama put both earrings in. Let mama make sure she has matching shoes on. But this is not how things go. Mama needs to be sure that there are no spiders in the sneakers. Mama needs to be sure that the “good” toothpaste is out. Mama needs to break up a fight over whose turn it is to stand on the bathroom stool.
“At this point, I have emptied the dishwasher, switched the laundry, made some coffee, packed three lunches, and now it’s time to head out the door. But WAIT! No one has their shoes on. No one has their coat on. I have asked seventeen times. It is just not going to get done. I fly around the house, grabbing things that might be useful for survival throughout the day: a sharpie, a protein bar, a megaphone.
“Everyone is very surprised that Mommy is flustered. However, no one remembers that Mommy has had no coffee. This is when everyone decides to ask Mommy questions about God and Heaven and the Treasure at the end of the Rainbow. On a good day, people ask Mommy about how many teeth are in a dinosaur’s mouth or why we cannot have a pony.
“Once we arrive at daycare, Harrison goes into vacation mode. It is as if he has one million years to get out of the car and inside the building. I, however, am acutely aware of the ticking of the clock. Ella foresees an apocalypse and decides now would be an excellent opportunity to proclaim her undying love and cling to me as if her life depended on it. I peel children off, distribute last minute kisses, and slide out of the door.
“Once I am safely back in my car, ALONE, I take a deep breath and pick up my coffee. Eight more hours until more fun begins.”
Heidi cannot handle any more excitement even though I want to tell her how much fun it’s going to be after school when I pick the kids up. I’m dying to explain how one wants to go to the playground and the other wants to go to Grammy’s and how no one wants to go to swim lessons even though it’s Tuesday and we have swim lessons on Tuesday. Then I want to tell her about how it’s going to be bath time and one won’t get in tub while the other won’t get out, and regardless of where any of the kids are, there’s always water all over the bathroom floor. And then I want to talk about dinner time because the kids are starving all day, yet grilled cheese and carrots are just not going to cut it. I also want her to know that no matter how terribly brushing teeth goes in the morning, you can’t let that get you down ‘cause it’s gotta happen again at night. Oh and she definitely needs to know the fun-that-is-bedtime, where you’re too tired to even care if you have to run up and down the stairs 24 times for the right stuffie, and the blanket needs to be polka-dots down, not stripes-down, and the fitted sheets just don’t ever “fit” on a toddler’s bed, because of the voodoo that they perform while asleep at night.
I’m getting worried at this point, looking at Heidi’s face in the mirror. She’s holding scissors close to my head, after all. So it’s now that I tell her about the huge spot in my heart that IS my children, and how, no matter how crazy the day is, the feeling of their soft sweet breath on your cheek after they’ve fallen asleep is the most beautiful feeling in the world. The excitement and anticipation fills back up in her eyes, and I remember for myself, as much as I remember to tell her, that it’s the best thing in the world, being a mommy.