I keep hearing from people that these are the best days of our lives and that we're gonna miss the "good old days" when our children were young and keeping us busy. I don't doubt that they're right but in the moment it's hard to see it as such. How about an excerpt from a typical day in our house:
I wake up at seven and spend two and a half hours (approximately) getting Gabriel up for school. At 7:22 or thereabouts, he groggily walks out of the bedroom to the bathroom where he splashes his face with four drops of water and looks at his toothbrush and calls it good. We spend fifteen minutes having this conversation over and over and over and over:
Mom: What would you like for breakfast?
Groggy Gabriel: werkoc8a9
Mom: okay toast it is
If we happen to make it through breakfast without a major catastrophe we call it good. If we make it to the bus stop ON time with a fully packed backpack and lunchbox I paste a gold star on my mom board when I get back.
The feeling of elation at being the best mother in the world (trademark pending) pretty much ends one and a half minutes after Bits gets up.
Mom: Good morning Bitsy, how are you?
Bitsy: (read this in high pitched voice really really fast) HIMOMMMAHOWAREYOUIHADREALLYGOODDREAMSLASTNIGHTBLAHBLAH
Mom: Mhmm, what would you like for breakfast?
Bitsy: (screaming) AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIHATEBREAKFASTWHYAREYOUOFFERINGMEBREAKFASTWHENYOU KNOWIHATEITDOYOUHATEME?!
Mom: Okay, toast it is.
Breakfast is done and it's time to get on with the business of the day...but not before cat one and cat two get in on the act. I don't speak cat, but I can try and translate what they're saying:
Cat one: meow meow you should probably feed me today
Mom: what would you like
Cat one: filet mignon, caviar, and whole milk fresh from the cow
Mom: okay! toast it is!
Cat two: meow meow, I'm dumb, you could feed me cardboard and I'd be happy
Mom: Okay! Toast it is!
If during the course of the day nothing manages to catch fire, fall out the window, get stuck in the toilet, or end up all over the wall, I call it good. In fact, if I can brag for a minute, I call it an AWESOME day and strut till it's time to miss bus pick up in the afternoon.
Dinner time is utter chaos, in fact if you could hear the noises coming from the apartment, you'd probably think it was either a) a zoo at feeding time or depending on the day b) a wrestling match complete with grunting sweaty wrestlers, I mean, children.
The best part of the night is bedtime. Oh who am I kidding? No it's not. It's worse than the morning. It's loud and awful and stressful and I want MY mom to read me a story by the time it's over.
Mom: anyone need anything before I shut the door?
Gabe: yes, can we talk about jets? what kind of jets do you like? do you like big jets or little jets...blah blah jets jets jets..blah blah
Bitsy: (at this point sobbing) MOMIHATEGOINGTOBEDINMYOWNBEDIHAVENIGHTMARESANDTHECATSDON'TLIKEMEANDIWANT
Mom: okay, toast it is!
At this point cat one and cat two get in on the act;
cat one: meow meow get those damn kids to sleep so you can pet me, brush me, and attend to my every need in the manner I've become accustomed (he's rather articulate for a cat, let me tell you)
cat two: meow meow, yeah what he said...oooh what is that shiny thing?oh hooray a moth. oh look over there....*crash* cat two has run into the wall and knocked himself out...at least someone is sleeping in the house.
Obviously this is a *slight* exaggeration, though at one point in our lives all of these things HAVE happened (other than the cats speaking, man that would just be too weird)
I love my kids, but as Geo and I were talking about last night, sometimes when you're in the thick of it, it's hard to see the humor in what's happening, it's hard to see the memories we're making. He said that after two days of us being gone on vacation, he was so bored and lonely, he could barely stand it. As he said "at first it was wonderful. No one making messes, no constant laundry or vacuuming, I could listen to whatever I wanted, watch whatever I wanted and no one cared! WOOHOO it was wonderful until the third day and I realized that the kids are what keep things interesting around here" (the cats don't speak to him, apparently) and he's right, the kids DO keep it interesting, our lives would be incredibly dull without them. I mean, I would NEVER have to listen to an explanation of the screen being knocked out on accident at six am (that was this morning, I was woken up to Bitsy crying, quietly saying "momma, I knocked out the screen in our window accidentally getting my pig out of the window" and oddly enough, I knew what she was talking about because I'm mom and mom knows these things! there WAS a pig in the window last night, he needed some air!) I wouldn't ever get to hear jokes from Gabriel like "what did the zero say to the eight? Nice belt!" and then hear him laugh hysterically about it.
I think this quote says it all:
While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
Okay! Toast it is!