Parenting is TOUGH. Some days I’m not sure what’s harder — staying awake and energized enough to foster a safe and generally happy environment, or attempting to seize every teachable moment to ensure that my kids are equipped to be decent humans. And then there are those skills that you never knew you needed to master in order to simply tackle the mundane. What follows is a lighthearted list of a few of those abilities, now integral to getting through my day-to-day. *Absent from this list is the most obvious and essential requirement: harnessing a capacity for selflessness.
- The dexterity to pick things up with your toes. Much of my day consists of carrying or wearing a baby while picking up the debris of Tornadoes R and K. At least 20 items per day, once strewn across the floor, eventually make it to their homes by means of my little piggies. Luckily, I’ve been able to complete this trick forever, and even little R has begun to master it herself.
- The ability to conduct all bathroom business while wearing a child. My babies only like to nap if they’re strapped to me, so if I couldn’t relieve myself while donning them, I’d be quite uncomfortable and eventually combust.
- The ability to try on clothes or get dressed while wearing a child. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I wear these kiddos like they’re my wedding ring. I remember the first time I actually tested out a pair of pants (yellow skinny jeans from J. Crew) while on vacay in Florida. I discovered that I could, with a little bouncing and squeezing, change clothes while wearing a finally sleeping 9-month-old. In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve tried many a stroller and no, my baby bunnies don’t care for them and can actually wiggle their way out of them.
- The ability to nurse while wearing a child. Notice that my general appearance for many hours a day is that of a 2-headed pregnant person. I find that nursing in the Ergo is actually easier than nursing in a chair if we’re out and about (I first gained the courage to enact this skill at the above-mentioned mall trip in Florida nearly 4 years ago). The Ergo conceals me perfectly, and allows me to provide sustenance while running errands, doing chores or playing with R.
- The ability to do 5 things at once. T says that I never ever sit down — and I really am working on it. But if you’ve ever read the kid’s book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, you’ll get my reality. This book is a metaphor for my current life, wherein once one task has begun, another one presents itself immediately. For example, while changing a load of laundry, I notice cat food all over the floor, clean it up and see the baby eating the vacuum’s cord, which reminds me to vacuum, but before I can, I must pick up the toys on the floor (with my toesies), when I notice that the baby is being exceptionally good and quiet and realize it’s because she’s proud of herself for creating an epic diaper explosion, so I change her diaper only to find that I need to restock the wipes and change the diaper pail liners… Got it? Luckily I can move almost as quickly as my girls.
- The gumption to attend to the needs of others first thing in the morning, before coffee and following mere scraps of sleep. Even if I’m so tired I consider letting the kids have their way with the house and eating all the chokables and Halloween candy they can amass, I must roll out of bed (and do a quick check that my body parts are covered and in place following a night of nursing), change diapers, start breakfast and get everyone (including myself) semi-presentable to the world. Luckily R now understands my need for coffee and an occasional rest (if she’s in a generous, sweet mood), but little K still requires attention at the crack of dawn.
- Constant preparedness. Whether or not you’re a planner by nature doesn’t really matter once kiddos arrive. If you don’t restock the diapers, wipes and pacis in the diaper bag, and stock up on water, snacks and changes of clothes (for YOURSELF too), you will regret it and be forced to feed one whining kid your emergency protein bar (if you even planned for such an emergency), while mopping up the bodily fluids of the other with your car’s ArmorAll wipes as both kids sob and soil your seats.
- The ability to remain unfazed by said bodily fluids. Maybe your kids keep it all in their diapers, sleep through the night, play by themselves and seamlessly potty train at the age of 2. Mine don’t. My kids are nonstop, messy all-nighters (who are also creative, charming and whip-smart — believe me, I can also list my blessings!). They’re almost impossible to keep up with. My Ph.D in art history may still elude me, but I feel like I have a doctorate in potty accidents and diaper blowouts. And since I’m a fairly OCD person who enjoys (read: needs) certain things to remain clean and in order, it was rough adjusting to perpetual germy messes. I refuse to think too much about all the spills that are hiding in my couch cushions and carpets. I’ve learned that at times, I must quite literally throw in the towel, place it over the dirtiness and move on. If a calamity occurs in the middle of the night, then I’m banking on still getting my precious few hours of sleep. So when K pees (or worse) through her diaper and onto the bed, I (reluctantly) open one eye to complete a half-a*s diaper change, but keep the sheets as they are. We cozy atop a towel and tend to the sheets in the morning (or later). And forget about crying over spilled breast milk — it always finds its way through my clothes and onto my bedsheets as well. Bottom line, I’m usually wet and sticky so I worship my washing machine (which needed repair last week!!), baby wipes and hand sanitizer.
- The ability to break into character on demand. R’s favorite place is fantasyland, so we do a lot of roleplay. I guess I finally get to live my childhood dream of being a working actress.
So I guess that sums it up for now, but I’m sure other routines will reveal themselves soon. What are some of your daily truths??