Monday, August 1, 2011

All Before Noon...

It isn't entirely uncommon to hear someone wonder under their breath what stay-at-home-moms even do all day. Typically it makes me Livid with a capital L. And even more typically it comes from a non-parent. Because if you were a parent, you'd know.

You would know that getting out of bed isn't even something you get a few minutes alone to do anymore because "MAMAMAMAMAMAMA! Ouooot! Ouooot!" is being screamed from the crib next door. Your first morning pee becomes less of a time to continue to wake up and more of a battle to save the toilet paper from it's shredded fate. And pausing before flushing to excitedly examine and wave bye-bye to your pee isn't on your list of 'most relaxing ways to greet the day' either.

You would be impressed with how still-asleep you can be while changing an incredibly full diaper as the toddler tries to escape and the dogs prance around begging to go outside. Zombie like, you take the dogs to the door, and to avoid a full blown tantrum in your first ten minutes of the day, you follow them out so the toddler can play too. Because God forbid anyone or anything ever goes outside without her joining. Within seconds, you're fishing a pajama-clad toddler out of her kiddy pool, who is now screaming (shhh...don't wake the neighbors) not from being wet, but from being dragged inside. You round up the dogs and carry your thrashing, whining, dripping child back into the house, call your husband to tell him you're awake while you strip the kid, put a new diaper on (two in about twenty minutes if you're counting) and get the already distracted toddler her morning milk.

Against your desire to have her not watch any TV you turn on the one show you do let her watch in hopes to get a few minutes to check your email, indulge in your guilty pleasure of Facebook and read a few blogs before moving on to clean the kitchen. Yes, the kitchen that is very messy from the previous day because using your child-free time after bedtime cleaning a kitchen is the very last thing on your list of things you want to do. So you simply don't.

Unfortunately, the TV isn't enough to keep her attention off of the clanging of unloading the dishwasher so you either A.) unload as fast as you can, breaking every 30 seconds to tell her 'no' as she climbs into the dishwasher and move her back into the living room or B.) give up and promise yourself you'll do it at nap time. Clean kitchen or not, you move onto making breakfast. Scrambled eggs with cheese and ham, whole wheat pancakes slyly stuffed with fruit and veggie puree, fresh toast made with homemade wheat bread with extra eggs, or steel cut oatmeal with homemade applesauce, in addition to a banana, peaches or nectarine, cottage cheese or yogurt, and a sippy cup of water or a blended fruit smoothy with wheat germ. You feel like supermom for a minute for taking the time to make your kid such a healthy meal, but the feeling quickly slips away, because if she is even willing to give it a try, she now requires a spoon or fork meaning she will manage to not get a single bite in her mouth. Silently you curse the toddler eating stage. You realize you forgot to feed yourself as you're cleaning her tray and picking at her leftovers . Gross? Yeah, but whatever.

After a sponge bath cleaning breakfast off every inch of her, (and you and her seat) you're on the floor reading 'Moo, Baa, La La La' for the 4,897th time. Forget the fact that you haven't read an actual book for yourself since the day she was born. Goofy rhymes and silly stories are whats in your queue, and its all made worth it by the quietly sitting-in-your-lap toddler who says and signs 'more' before you're even done reading the last page. Tickle session, hugs, kisses, "ni-nights", "love yous" and nap time. You trip over toys on the way back from her room, pick up a few, shrug off the rest and fall onto the couch. Because its exhausting. Because it is constant. Because you love her enough to feed her well, to play with her on the ground and to forgo your own desires so she can have hers (Which is always you. Well, and graham crackers when you give in.) Because you are her everything. Because its only 11AM and you haven't gotten anything of visible worth done, but you have a well rounded, healthy toddler, who is learning in leaps and bounds, attempting to repeat everything you say and do, and is happy. She is happy. And while there is no doubt it is all exhausting, there is also no doubt that it is all worth it.