By Renee Calo (Work Program)
The 4:30 am alarm sounds and the race begins. I tip toe around the bassinet and the cat, who tries to assassinate me in the dark. The next 40 minutes challenge my inabilities to be quiet. Between dropping stuff (everything), a usual toe stub or wall bump, the cat meows and the blow dryer, it’s a crap shoot whether or not the baby will wake up. Finally ready to go downstairs…wait… I have to grab the baby’s clothes, last night’s bottles, the warmer, my shoes, cell phone (which I use as a flashlight) and my older son’s unfortunately wrinkled uniform from the dryer. Now I can go downstairs, but watch out for another attempt from the super hungry cat to assassinate me on the stairs as he races by.
Coffee- check, lunches – check, prepared bottles – check, book bag packed – check, pets fed – check. It’s now 5:45 am and I can quickly shovel in my breakfast before waking the troops.
At 6:00 am the house comes alive. I now have 30 minutes to feed and dress baby while dodging throw up and possible explosive diapers. I actually had to ask myself the other day: “How much baby throw up on your clothes is too much before you need to change into something else?” Answer: Not much, unless you want to smell like sour formula all day! Not pleasant. So as I’m taking care of baby, I have to stay on top of my 9 year old who is “too tired” to eat, get dressed and brush his teeth. He moves as speedily as a sloth. His hair may not get combed, but I have to pick my battles. Of course the minute my husband comes down, the older child suddenly has a burst of energy.
I’m finally out the door by 6:30 am, making two trips to the car with all of the stuff that everyone needs, and stumbling over the cat one more time from his final morning attempt at assassination. I dropped baby off at daycare, dropped older child off at school, and I finally have 20 minutes to myself to hear ‘my’ music or just silence as I drive to work.
7:30 am and time to work. I clear my head from outside distractions, but my cell phone must always be close in case a child needs me. Busy, busy, busy with meetings, phone calls, spreadsheets and 250 emails. “Yes you can have $10 M”, “No, that project is not getting funded”, “Heading to the Gateway meeting now” all before lunch. Someone notices that I have something on my shirt. Ah yes, a baby drool spot lingering from this morning which, at that moment, puts a reminiscing smile on my face.
Lunchtime: Yay! What super healthy, low calorie, non-cardboard tasting, and yet still filling thing will I eat today? So many temptations. Oh yum, Donuts – NO! Someone’s birthday cake – NO! Chocolate – NO! Someone is grabbing Five Guys? – NO, NO, NO! Still working on losing this baby weight. I guess I will eat this tiny, itsy bitsy Lean Cuisine and a celery stick.
The afternoon is more of the same with deadlines, new emergencies and edit reports. “Put your request in PSEE”, “Update the PPR”, “A MADDOG will get you what you need!” I must watch the clock to make sure I get out on time.
4:30 pm and another race begins. Time to drive from one side of town to the other to grab both kids and head to the gym. But will the baby be hungry before I’m done at the gym? Should I try to feed him a couple ounces first? Nah, I’ll be really fast! Lift, grunt, spin, sweat… done.
It is now 6:30 pm and what’s for dinner? Seriously, what’s for dinner? I have nothing in my fridge. Have to stop by Publix. A rotisserie chicken, microwaveable rice and a steamer bag of broccoli will do it! Yes!!!
Finally home, making three trips from the car to the house while avoiding yet another assassination attempt from the ravenous cat that is sure to die soon if he doesn’t eat Right Now! Older child is talking nonstop about EVERYTHING. Baby is fussing to get out of the car seat and be held. Both kids are starving, and now my husband and I start the tag teaming. Dinner – done. Dishes – done. Homework – done. Baths – done. Reading time and older child in bed – done. Final nighttime bottle and rocking baby to sleep – done. Oh, and finally my shower – done. It takes all the energy that I have left just to crawl into bed at 9:30 pm. How many hours of sleep before baby wakes up to eat – 3, 4, 5…? Maybe tonight will be the night that he sleeps straight through until 6:00 am. Say a little prayer.
Melt into sleep… Life is good.