Friday, July 22, 2011

Day In The Life

Benny's off to Idaho for an "epic, babe" fishing trip with his friends and I've got the girls all to myself for the next couple of days.

I don't mind admitting it... a year ago, with just one little girl to look after, the prospect of dealing with her alone for two whole days TERRIFIED me.  But there's something to be said about how time wounds all heels... and also something to be said about growing up and growing into the role of "Mommy".

And I gotta admit, I'm psyched to spend some time together.  Just the three of us. 

Part of this may be because (with the exception of this morning when she couldn't figure out how to get Daddy's onion cutting goggles to fit on her face... and OMG, end of the world!) Hazel has been an absolute doll lately.  She has her moments, sure... but for the most part, she's just a ton of fun.  And then there's Millie.  I'm telling you... this chick is THEEEE coolest baby on the block.  Nothing phases her.  Not her sister walking on her.  Not her sister screaming with joy in her face.  Or her sister stealing her binkie for the zillionth time that morning.

I remember when it was just Hazel and I'd hear her wake up in the morning, I'd get this anxiety like:  OMG... I have to do this all over again??  And thus my day would begin... sometimes on a sour/bitter note.  But I guess I've finally figured out how to be a Mommy and have embraced all that it means.  I totally look forward, every. single. morning. to waking up with my girls.  I look forward to "visiting" with Hazel over breakfast.  Even when that breakfast consists of her eating her applesauce/yogurt/cereal with her hands and then smearing it EVERYWHERE.  I look forward to seeing Millie's smiling face when she (finally) wakes up.  And my day starts off on an amazing note when Hazel loves on her little sister... and Millie can't get enough of her big sister. It's such a heart-warming moment that I get a little teary-eyed every morning.

So, since I know I probably won't remember how these mornings went 20 years from now, I thought I'd document a step-by-step guide to A Weekday in the Life of The Bean and The Bird - Circa Summer 2011:

1) Anywhere between 3:30-5:30 a.m. - Millie wakes up for an early morning snack and then goes back to sleep.  Cuz she's an amazing baby and yep... is sleeping through the night at 5 months.
2) Anywhere between 7:00-7:30 a.m. - Hazel wakes up and starts telling stories in her room.  Mostly about the dots on her sheets, but can include stories about the doggie next to her bed.  Or the Tumblebus she played on two days prior.
3) 7:15-7:30 a.m. - Mommy gets up, showers and gets dressed.  While listening to Hazel's stories.  This includes getting the gym bag, breast pump, cooler for breast milk, miscellaneous items that have to be taken to day care (diapers, wipes, blankies) ready.  And trying to find her keys. 
4) 7:35 a.m. - Mommy gets Hazel out of bed.  If Millie has woken up prior to this, she is waiting for Hazel in the jump-a-roo.
5) 7:36 a.m. - Hazel runs over to Millie and screams with joy right in her face, to which Millie responds with a - wait for it - smile (and a little drool).  Hazel then hugs Millie and starts telling her about the dots on the sheets of her bed. And the Tumblebus... OMG HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE TUMBLEBUS, MILLIE?
6) 7:45 a.m. - Hazel has breakfast.  This usually consists of a banana (nana), toast (boshe) and applesauce.  But can be a pancake if Mommy is feeling ambitious.  Hazel would like for it to include moosh (mousse) for her to put in her hair, but applesauce will do just fine.
7) 8 a.m. - If Millie is awake, we attempt a feeding.  If Millie is still asleep, we attempt to wake her up pleasantly.  This is not always possible with a toddler testing out the socially acceptable limits of her voice.
8) 8:05 a.m. - Mommy changes Millie's diaper and gets her dressed for school. Hazel watches and waits patiently for the opportunity to step on Millie's face or back. 
9) 8:06 a.m. - Mommy attempts to catch Hazel to change her diaper and get her dressed for school.  This requires Mommy to be faster and more mobile around the couch or table than the 21-month-old who thinks this is the greatest. game. EVER.  Even better than Angry Birds. 
10) 8:10 a.m. - After catching Hazel, Mommy must attempt to wrestle a honey badger into a new diaper and an outfit. And honey badger doesn't care.  Honey badger doesn't give a &*%#. Sometimes, honey badger is cooperative and doesn't attempt to kick Mommy in the eye, nose, mouth, or boob.  But sometimes, Mommy has to just hold the honey badger down and wait for submission.  This process can take anywhere from 5 minutes to THE END OF TIME.
11) 8:17 a.m. - Mommy attempts to put her face on. (Over her game face. Which, as a rule, she has on at all times.)  And fails miserably because she has to make sure Hazel isn't drawing on her sisters face with the pen that was accidentally left within reach.  Or allowing her sister to suck on her toes. And Hazel!  Where did you find that sleeve of Ritz crackers?  NO CRACKERS IN THE MORNING!
12) 8:20 a.m. - Oh look!  Mommy forgot to get Hazel's shoes ready with the rest of the outfit.  Repeat steps 9 and 10.
13) 8:24 a.m. - Mommy puts Millie in her carrier... with her blankie, binkie and giraffe.  Millie is just happy to be alive and Hey Mommy!!! Can I possibly be easier?  No?  Okay then!  I'm just gonna sit here and smile while you try to negotiate with my sister about why she can't wear the picture frame she took apart and put over her head. 
14) 8:26 a.m. - Hazel's in her car seat, Millie's in her car seat.  Somehow, even though Mommy has resorted to using binkie leashes, Hazel has procured Millie's binkie and has it in her mouth... in a misguided attempt to help build Millie's immune system.
15) 8:30 a.m. - With any luck, we pull out of the driveway and Mommy hasn't forgotten anything important like the pump, a blankie, a dolly, wallet, swim suit for water day... sanity.
16) 8:31 a.m. - Listen to Chris Brown's Yeah 3x's for the first time that morning.  We will repeat this song the rest of the trip to day care.  If we do not repeat this song the rest of the trip to day care, Hazel will scream MO! MO! MO! at the top of her lungs... waking any sleeping babies in whatever neighborhood we are passing through at that time.  Millie thinks it's hilarious.  Hazel thinks knows she's in charge.  Mommy picks her battles.
17) 8:39 a.m. - Pull into day care, get Millie out, set her on the sidewalk... get Hazel out and with any luck talk her into walking to the door on her own.
18) 8:40 a.m. - Coax her down the stairs with the promise of Second Breakfast.  This is the point where Mommy is grateful she's working out because this is the point of the morning where she actually starts to sweat... what with carrying the car seat, walking backwards down the stairs while encouraging The Bird to move it a little faster cuz people are waiting and Mommy... yep, Mommy's gonna be late for work if you don't hurry up. 
19) 8:42 a.m. - Drop Hazel off with Miss Denise... where she immediately sits at the table and waits patiently for Second Breakfast.  No screaming.  No pounding of the fists on the table.  Has anyone seen my child?  Could have sworn I brought her in here....
20) 8:43 a.m. - Take Millie upstairs to the nursery and try to keep her from noticing the jump-a-roo in a misguided attempt to spend some QT with her before I go to work.  It never works and I eventually have to give up and put her in the jump-a-roo.  Or stick her in front of a mirror so she can look at herself and giggle.
21) 8:47 a.m. - Remember that I forgot my __________(insert something new every day here), and head back home to pick it up before finally getting to the office.

Mommy has not stopped moving all morning... and has not eaten breakfast.  Because that would require an extra set of hands that don't come standard.   What goes on in day care varies from day-to-day with both girls.  But I pick them up around 5 and that consists of:

1) 5ish - Mommy arrives at day care and goes to pick up Millie first.  Millie is, of course, happy and totally cool with being put in her car seat.  Hazel gets passed through the window between the nursery and the Toddler A room... where she immediately latches on to a toy and won't put it away because that would be admitting defeat and THIS TOY GOES WHERE I GO, MOMMY.
2) A little after 5ish - Hazel is screaming and in tears because after the hostage negotiation failed with the toy, Mommy just took the toy... thus devastating The Toddler who had just grown so attached to it in the 2 minutes she had held it.  Millie is, of course, enjoying the show.  Possibly picking up behavioral pointers from The Toddler.  For which Mommy will never forgive The Toddler.
3) A little after a little after 5ish - Mommy carries The Screaming Toddler over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes, while carrying Millie in the car seat, and walks down the stairs and heads to the car.  Mommy needs to stop wearing heels.  But let's face it, Mommy's the Strongest Woman Alive and should get a medal for keeping her cool.  After securing The Toddler into the car seat and calming her down with the promise of "Dada" or "cracker", Mommy puts Millie in the car and away we go.
4) 5:15ish - 12th Street is under construction and I sometimes avoid it, but Hazel lurves to point at the big trucks and say "duck" or "tuck". And she also attempts to say tractor (tacktah).  This takes her mind off the fact that Mommy is mean.  Until we get home, at least.
5) 5:25ish - Pull into the driveway and Daddy comes out to welcome his girls home.  Hazel immediately latches on to Daddy and will remain stuck to him like glue the rest of the night.  Which means that Mommy and Millie get some special time together.  Although, Millie is very interested in the rough-housing that is going on with Hazel and Daddy.  Mark my words, Daddy isn't that far away from having two little girls climbing all over him every night.  I can actually see Millie planning it.
6) 6:30ish - Hazel has eaten and is either reading a book with Mommy or Daddy, wrestling with Daddy or taking a bath.  If she is taking a bath, the Nadolski household is pretty calm.  For another 15 minutes. 
7) 6:45ish - Hazel has gotten out of the tub, run into the living room and promptly peed on the carpet.  Mommy or Daddy is feeding Millie
8) 7ish - Millie is asleep and will stay that way until morning.  WORD
9) 7:15 - We start the process of putting Hazel to bed.  This includes reading a book, brushing her teeth, telling her we love her and putting her down.  Takes a total of maybe 15 minutes. 
10) 7:30 - Kids are asleep.  House is blown up.  Mommy and Daddy are wiped. 

It's a good life. 

Note:  It took me three days to write this... Benny got home last night.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the girls, but it's nice to be a whole family once again. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On The Bi-Polarness of Toddlerhood

One of the very first things I had to learn as a Mommy was patience. 

As in:

Just be patient... She probably WON'T scream all night.  Just most of it.
Just be patient...  She'll eventually stop moving long enough for you to change her diaper.  Maybe just in time to potty train.
Just be patient...  She'll grow out of it.  No.  She won't.
Just be patient...  And give her some goddamned Tylenol, already!

Patience is a virtue that honestly, I have to learn and re-learn every single day.  Especially when we're living the movie/documentary of Toddlerhood: The Bi-Polar Years.

I remember, before I had a toddler, thinking to myself:  "Seriously... I survived the first three months of parenthood... having a toddler should be a piece of cake.  It can't possibly be as bad as I've heard."

Fast forward 17 months later and OMG... those people - the people that people quote as "they"... as in "they say that the toddler years will make you want rip off your own arm and beat the next stranger that passes by with it.."... THEY WERE RIGHT.

Honestly, we hardly have a day where there's not some kind of a dramatic scene the likes of Grey's Anatomy - or, I dunno, American Idol, maybe? - have never seen.  Not that we actually watch these shows anymore... because we're often in the middle of a full-on meltdown.  Usually caused by Mommy or Daddy not doing exactly what The Toddler wants.  Be it holding her, not holding her, not cutting her grapes/bananas/insert other choking hazard here fast enough, feeding her, not letting her play with matches, not letting her drink bleach... you know, things that you start to wonder "Is the fit really worth it?  I mean, how harmful can bleach really be?"

And I'm tired of it.  I'm tired of being patient, when all I want to do is rationally explain to The Toddler that it's not okay to hit Mommy in the face because you didn't want peas tonight.  Why can't you, a thriving - albeit verbally-challenged - 20 month old understand the concept of ONE. MOOD?  Mommy's not down with the Happy-One-Second, Deranged-The-Next Personality Disorder of The Terrible 16 Months and Up. 

That's right... Terrible Twos?  Please.  I would give my pregnancy-induced cavity-filled teeth for this crap to have started when she was 24 months.

I cannot keep up with the I want up, I want down, I want peas, THE PEAS ARE TRYING TO KILL ME, MOMMY!  WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT?, I love you, I hate you, I want my dolly, DON'T TOUCH MY DOLLY!, I want your phone, Your phone is my phone, My phone is my phone... the rest of you can go screw yourself... And if you ever even think about taking my phone (your phone) away from me, the eruption that will take place will make Vesuvius look like a mere pimple bursting.... mentality of The Toddler Years.

Honestly... can't. keep. up. 

"They" keep saying that one day we'll look back at this period in our lives with melancholy about how easy life was... and how fleeting these times are. 

I suspect I'll look back on these days and think... I cannot believe they made it out alive. 

Because, honestly?  "These days" are the reasons that some animals eat their young.