Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So What Did You Do Today Honey?

You know the 'ol soap opera and bon bon joke? Well, I never bought into that one. I did however, wonder how a woman could be home ALL DAY, with no appointments, obligations or demands on her time, and still not manage to have the dishes and laundry done.

Now I know.
Why yes, that is half a roll of paper towels coming
from the kitchen. Thank you for noticing.
For those of you who are still wondering, let me tell you about one afternoon last week. After returning home from our shopping trip (no, not the mall - the grocery store. *rolls eyes*) we settle in to eat lunch. As usual, Grace requested PB and J, so I made two quick sandwiches, threw in a side of cottage cheese and peaches, secured them to their chairs and proceeded to put away the groceries. Luckily, I grabbed a spoonful of peanut butter while making lunch - otherwise I may have had no lunch at all.

As I put away the groceries, Mark busied himself with the cottage cheese. He immediately dropped his spoon. Being the genius innovator that he is, he lost no time in using his  hands to shove fistfuls of white goop into his face. Grace was busy peeling apart her sandwich so she could lick the jelly off one side and scrape the peanut butter off the other before shoving it into her face.

"Trust me. You have no idea what I'm capable of."
As the children proceeded to make a complete mess of themselves, I silently thanked them for not flinging food like they did at breakfast. Mark is still mastering a fork. While he is getting quite good at stabbing items, the process of bringing it to his mouth is more like a catapult motion over his right shoulder. Pancake bits found their way into a number of places. I'm not sure I've discovered them all just yet.

As I put the last of the groceries away, Mark's high pitched squeals reminded me that neither of them had drinks. I walk the house looking for the sippy cups from this morning. Blue cup under the coffee table. Check. Pink cup... pink cup? Oh, of course. Pink cup in the bathroom cupboard where the Elmo underwear resides. Naturally. Take them both back to the kitchen for a quick rinse and refill. Notice that the kids are about halfway through and I haven't put away the lunch fixings, emptied the dishwasher or eaten lunch. Okay, move faster.

I quickly empty the dishwasher, silently thankful once again that the children were strapped down. The last time I attempted this chore, the children were roaming free. One got stuck after pulling out the bottom rack and catching his foot in the grid trying to reach the water pitcher in the back. Luckily, he left enough room for his sister to stand on the edge of the door and begin jumping. All of this in the four seconds it took for me to put three plates in the cabinet. Not today though; today they were happily tilting their plates heavenward as they drank the last bit of peach juice from the compartmentalized plastic.

"What? I left room for Grace to stand on the door too!"
Hmmm.... if their plates are upside down, I haven't much time left. I have learned if the kids eat all of their food, it does not necessarily mean they are finished. It is at this point I see Grace drinking milk from her cup and spitting it into her plate. Meanwhile, Mark is fishing in his chair for bits of sandwich that escaped the first go round. I pause from dishes to remind Grace that spitting is not acceptable and remove her plate. (I have also become adept at dodging sticky little hands intent on grabbing my shirt if I get within six inches at mealtime.)

The plate is almost rinsed off when I hear "Pee pee mommy!" I head over, intending to wipe her hands prior to sending her toward the bathroom. After seeing the carnage the PB and J has left in its wake, I instead decide to follow her to the bathroom along with instructions not to touch anything.

I have her wash her hands before using the potty. I also wipe her face and torso down a bit while I have the chance. She goes potty, then jumps up and runs out of the bathroom - free from the lunch chair and anxious to play. I call her back to remind her there are a few other steps to using the bathroom... at a minimum she needs to put some underwear on.

I head back to the kitchen to find Mark happily crushing his peach and cottage cheese encrusted plate onto his head. I send up more thanks that short hair releases food particles easily. The plate gets rinsed and put in the dishwasher and I head over to give Mark the equivalent of a sponge bath.

Mark is released into the wild while I wipe down two chairs, a tray, and a kitchen table. During this time the kids manage to throw every toy out of the playpen, remove three pots and pans from the cupboard and take the broom I need into one of the bedrooms. My stomach has sent only one signal reminding me that a spoonful of peanut butter does not constitute lunch.

Blessedly, nap time immediately follows lunch. I've been home almost an hour. There are toys, pans and brooms scattered throughout the house. The dining room floor does its best impression of teen acne angst with its strawberry jelly and cottage cheese covering. That's when the dryer buzzes with shirts needing to be hung up.

I'm tempted to open the dishwasher door, just to show that I have indeed accomplished something. The closed door mocks me - there is nary a hint of my putting away dishes and groceries. There's no evidence of meal prep or clean up. Clothes sit wrinkling in the dryer as a testament to my laundry handicap. I'm certain I have been busy the last hour...

Mark screams indignantly in the playroom. I walk in to find Grace looking innocently at Mark. She's embracing three toy trucks as though their very existence depends on her protection. Mark holds nothing - a scene that looked quite different two minutes ago. No, I didn't see it - I know.

"Hmmm. He seems a little dramatic don't you think? I've
no idea why he's crying. Best send him off to bed..."
It's definitely nap time.

A quick diaper change and Mark will be ready for bed. I hear Grace closing all the hallway doors as I get him ready. As I'm finishing up, I hear "Pee pee mommy!" (Didn't you just go?) I know the bathroom door is closed, and Grace cannot open it without help because it sticks.

I can't leave Mark on the changing table, and I've not got his pants back on. I should put him in the crib but by this time my brain fails me. I set him on the ground to go help Grace. It is then I discover the entire contents of the linen closet have been brought out into the hallway. "Grace!" I scold her as I usher her towards the potty. She does her thing while I clean up the linens. Once again, she returns sans underpants. I ask if she wiped, which she assures me she did. I am equally sure that she didn't. I tell her to go back and wipe. I have almost finished putting the linens away when I look up to see that Grace has brought the toilet paper to me. By "brought" I mean she has unrolled the TP from the bathroom all the way to the end of the hall. Well, at least she's obeying...

After re-rolling the paper, wiping a bottom, clothing said bottom, and washing three pairs of hands (What?  You think Mark doesn't get in on the toilet action?) I pick Mark up, put on his pants, turn on his fan, turn off his light, give him his blankie and a quick hug and put him to bed. Whew. I then follow Grace to her room, get her tucked in and head back to the kitchen, sidestepping brooms, pans and toys the entire way.

I reflect on my younger, single, child free self. I had no idea what having small children entailed. On the bright side, even after missing lunch I won't go hungry - I can always eat my words.


Tracey said...

Thank you. I was waffling a bit on a very important decision. After reading this, I have decided. I am giving my children away.

Melanie said...

THIS IS MY LIFE! You've managed to get it all on paper for other people to see what it is we do all day! Twice last month I declared I'd had enough and I wanted to go back to work for a break. Then I realise I'm lucky I have the choice.
I might print this off and thrust it in the face of the next person who asks me what I do.
Thanks x

Tracey said...

Okay, seriously, I had to come back and tell you...this really depressed me. The biological imperative to reproduce must be the strongest force on the planet, because no rational person would do this to themselves, on purpose.

Maybe I just need more sleep.

Grandma DeeDee said...

You are so funny! Your article sent me back to the days when you kids were little. I wish I had blogged then - and added pictures. Your blog is so fun to read and your last sentence was so apropo, you're a genius. Love you, miss those kids!

Sunshine SAHM said...

@Melanie: I've often had that thought of returning to work! It's bad enough when you look around and can't figure out what you've done all day, but when your husband asks... and you have no idea, well - you begin to wonder.
@Tracey: I think our parents keep the truth of our childhood a secret until they're sure they've secured enough grandchildren as repayment. I have no intention of letting my kids see these posts until they've given me at least four kids between them.
@DeeDee: What? You're saying I did this as a child? No, that couldn't possibly be... I'm certain this behavior is a result of Robert's genes. Certain.