Grace with a side of purpose, please.

I am a hamster on a wheel. It's a nice wheel most days, but a wheel nonetheless.Today started like the 1,592 before it. Caleb climbed in our bed shouting, "Oatmeal! Oatmeal! Oatmeal!" I popped my eyes open and immediately checked my phone - 7:55am, a respectable time to get up even if I didn't get to sleep until after 2am. I manage a kind greeting to a little boy dressed in Buzz Lightyear pajamas, slip on my ugly, over-sized red bathrobe, and do a quick mental inventory of the pantry. Bad news, kid: we're out of oatmeal. I clear the first hurdle of the day and avoid a major tantrum by offering Apple Dapples cereal instead. In the kitchen, I make Caleb's cereal and as I teeter off to get the baby, I make a silent list of all the little things that need to be done today: unload the dishwasher, decide what we're going to have for dinner, call in a prescription refill, put away Corrie's laundry...

Walking into Corrie's bedroom in the morning is a sweet pleasure. I love her bright eyes and rosey cheeks. I greet her in my high-pitched mommy voice, "Gooooo morneeeen, baby." I scoop her up and kiss her neck, and then scrunch my nose - someone made a pooter. I change her diaper faster than a pit crew changes a spare tire. In the kitchen, I pour Caleb a second bowl of cereal and ready Corrie's breakfast while holding her on my hip as I stuff a cookie in my mouth with my one free hand. Mmmm, breakfast. My phone is ringing upstairs but I plop on the couch and give baby Cricket her milk instead. I listen for Mike's morning noises and hear him turn on the shower upstairs. After the kids are fed and happy, I bee-line it upstairs to feed the guinea pigs, Flower and Charlotte. I already fed the fish when I grabbed that second cookie. Bad, Cris. Mike and I do that cursory check-in that every couple does in the morning (What's your schedule for today? What time will you be home? On your way home, can you pick up some oatmeal? No, I haven't seen your belt.). A quick kiss and he's out the door and a part of me thinks he's so lucky.

I hear the baby squealing downstairs in her exersaucer which alerts me that I've got ten minutes before she starts to wail. I brush my teeth, wash my face (no time for a shower today) and notice I'm getting a fever blister. Awesome. I throw on my sweat pants and put my hair in a ponytail - the uniform of busy mothers everywhere.

The next few hours are a fog of diaper changes, gold fish snacks, dishes, puzzles, Legos, and laundry. I laugh when Caleb ingeniously fashions a pair of my underwear into a gun holster. After lunch, I lay both kids down for nap. Of course, only Corrie actually naps- Caleb mostly sneaks toys under the covers and talks to himself for an hour- but nonetheless, I congratulate myself for arranging tandem nap times, a rare feat. I scratch a few small things off of the to-do list, take some parsley to the guinea pigs and let them out for "free range time" in the upstairs bathroom. Ridiculous, I know, but they're adorable. Then I remember that I forgot about dinner (sorry, family) so I dash to the outside freezer where I'm woefully uninspired by what I find. That's okay though cause there's bacon in the fridge so it's breakfast for dinner for the second time in a week. Oh, well. I need to use up those eggs anyway.

I turn on a rerun of Law and Order while I fold the last basket of laundry. For a blissful thirty-four minutes the house is quiet with the exception of a compelling closing argument by Jack McCoy and the occasional happy chirp from Flower and Charlotte. But the peace is short-lived. Caleb can't tell time but his body clock says he's been in rest time for long enough so I hear the expected, "Moooom! Can I get up now?" I let Caleb get up which means good-bye Law and Order, hello Octonauts. It doesn't take long for Corrie to wake-up too, so on goes the afternoon which is strangely similar to the morning one - snacks, games, diapers, bottles, kisses and hugs. Mike's working late so I stick the baby in her high chair with a cracker while I whip up a quick breakfast, er, dinner. Caleb and I have a most intriguing dinner conversation about robot fairies. Corrie's getting restless so it's time to feed her which reminds me that I need to make more baby food. After I feed the baby, I get her ready for bed and send Caleb to his room to put his toys away but what he hears is, "Go play in your room with Transformers." I make googly eyes at the baby and rock her for a few minutes before I lay her down. I pause for a second to marvel at her pink onesie and her precious chubby cheeks. Will she ever know how in-love I am with her?

Caleb and I put his toys away and then he darts off to the bathroom to brush his teeth (aka: get toothpaste all over the floor and vanity). He comes back ready for pajamas and tonight he wants his Spider-Man ones because they have little black wings under the sleeves that make him feel like he really has super-powers (and he does). I tuck him in bed, sing him a song, and walk towards the door knowing the bargaining will begin any moment. I need to use the potty. Can you get me some water? I need another hug and kiss. So we barter and compromise until he has run out of requests. I blow him one last kiss at the doorway and think about how lovely he looks in the glow of a dinosaur night-light.

The kitchen beckons me with food to be put away and dishes to be cleaned and trash to be emptied. I forgot to call and refill my prescription - dang it. Mike drags through the door. We give one another friendly but exhausted smiles followed by quick recaps of the day - highlights only, no energy for details. I should pick-up the living room but I don't want to so I head upstairs. It's late and I'm tired but I make myself stay awake and watch some mindless television. Mike and I both get in bed, laptops in tow, and begin our evening ritual of checking email, Facebook, etc. to the soundtrack of Storage Wars or Pawn Stars. Every few minutes Mike chimes in with something funny he read and thinks I should read it, too. We stay up later than we plan (every night) until finally one of us calls "uncle" and bids good-night to the other.

It sounds so mundane and boring when I write it all out, I realize. I kind of agree - it is boring. And then again, if I look a little closer, I am changing the world. I am investing every day into the eternal, living souls of my children. One day I will pass away, but the fruit I sow in Caleb and Corrie now will continue on forever. Generations I will never see will be blessed by the hugs and affirmation I give my kids today. These two babies of ours are loved and safe and happy. Caleb doesn't know what the word "bill" even means, and when asked, he'll say that me and Mike never argue (which isn't so, but I'm glad that's what he thinks). Each time I tuck one of them in, I think, pulling out all the poison was worth it to make it better for them.


Sarah aka Booty-rific said...

I know it seems mundane to you, but the way you write about your daily doings makes it sound so beautiful and magical. It makes me think of how I wish it had been for me growing up. I hope that I make it sound so good for my little ones as well.

Julie said...

You are a great mom!

jalna said...

Whew! I'm exhausted! :)

Kristina Lenee Clark said...

You write so wonderfully! I really love your styles because you always know how to set the appropriate tone and flow for each piece, at least for me.
I also found this entry kinda funny in the sense that I can relate to so much of this, the difference being mostly in my head. You've heard the joke about adult ADD? You go to do something and get distracted by something else that needs to be done and by the end of the day you are exhausted and everything is the same as it was that morning, that sums up my days lol.

Ooh Baby! said...

Thanks for reminding me of how amazingly safe my children must feel. Kinda makes it all worth it.