a day in the life
“Upside down…upside right.”
Some days are just mixed up like that. Some things go upside down. And other things, which by all other accounts should be right side up, end up upside right. That’s the world according to Little Friend today, who demonstrated the concepts of upside down, upside right on her willing model, Thumkin. First Thumkin went cheek to cheek with Little Friend. Then Thumkin was unceremoniously flipped around and dangled by his nether regions. Upside down. Then he was back to heads-up. Or upside right, in Little Friend parlance.
She was supposed to be eating the grilled cheese sandwich I’d just lovingly assembled for her. She nibbled one small peck before moving on to something other than her nap. Nap was supposed to come next. It didn’t. It was an upside down upside right kind of day all around.
Which is why I’m amused that I’d planned today’s post to focus on a typical day in our life.
Today was the upside down of typical.
6:39 am: 39 minutes late, I drag myself out of bed and into the shower. I creep down the hall lest the slightest noise give rise to my chipper morning bird.
7:15 am: Head downstairs, turn on Good Morning America, put the kettle on for the first cup of morning tea. Start prepping okra for the Crock Pot gumbo that’s going to magically materialize at dinner time.
8:12 am: Finally, about an hour overdue, I hear from Little Friend. A bellow forces its way down the stairs: “Mama. Eeyore and Pooh want. some. FOOD!” I race upstairs to avert the famine ravishing the Hundred Acre Woods only to find the lights off. Odd. Normally Little Miss Chipper Morning Bird turns on her lights right away. There, in the dark, lurking in the middle of her bed and clutching Pooh and Eeyore who combined are twice her size, is a Little Troll. I sit gently on the edge of the bed. The Little Troll first wallops me with Pooh. Then Thumkin is launched at my head (but thanks to the Troll’s abysmal aim takes out a lamp next to me instead). Finally, a little hand gives a ginger but definite slap to my face. I retreat downstairs. I know when I’m not wanted. It’s going to be an upside down kind of day.
8:32 am: a Little Troll masquerading as Little Friend arrives in the kitchen to feast on french toast. I retreat to the dining room to check emails on my laptop. Because Mamas who get hit by little girls have to re-energize some way or another.
8:37 am: I run to the basement to throw in the final round of wash from the week.
8:54 am: Diaper change. Much kicking, squalling, and flailing involved. This is not my typical Little Friend, but hey, I love her anyway.
9:04 am: Pour cup of tea in to-go mug and head out the door to Bible Study. I’m grateful for three things: 1. Caffeine. 2: Car seat restraints. 3: Babysitters who watch Little Troll Friends while mommys re-energize with God, grace, and good friends.
11:33 am: Pick up Little Friend from the church nursery. She’s outside holding court on the swing set. This is normal. She drapes her head and arms across my shoulders in a hug that lasts all the way to the nursery door. This is also normal.
11: 44 am: Grocery store run for odds and ends. Thanks to construction, I find myself going the wrong way on a one-way street to get to the parking lot. I hope the luxury SUVS who begrudgingly edge past me forgive my transgression. Construction or not, I need butter. Little Friend finds a dollar coin in the back seat. “Hey Mom. Can I have special treat at grocery store?”
11:59 am: Checking out with butter and OJ in bag. Little Friend purchases a vanilla Charleston Chew as her special treat. 80 cents from her dollar coin find its way back into her hand. “Hey! Where I put all this money?” she wonders on the way to the car. “I know, in umbrella!” Because we all typically keep our money in an umbrella opened on the backseat. It’s an upside down kind of day.
12:05 pm: I’m beaned in the back of the head with an umbrella spike. “Little girls who keep their umbrellas closed get to keep their umbrellas in the car.” Where do I get this stuff?! Can someone please refer me to a helpful parenting manual?
12: 24 pm: Grilled cheese is served. Grilled cheese is nibbled. Grilled cheese is discarded. Thumkin goes for an “upside down, upside right” ride.
12: 47 pm: Another kicking, screeching, hitting symphony ensures that no books are read before naptime.
1:00 pm: Peace and quiet.
1:07 pm: I settle down to my 20-minute lunch of only-slightly-nibbled grilled cheese sandwich and strawberry yogurt as I watch part of an episode of Bleak House from the BBC. Somehow, the stiff British upper lip is a very good example for me today.
1:30 pm: Sit down at computer to work. After only three minutes of distraction on Pinterest (a record, I’m sure), I’m up and running. I write part of a press release, work on some website revisions, and put together a PowerPoint template. I check emails.
2:54 pm: Someone begins singing the alphabet. I’m not sure if it’s Little Friend or Little Troll, but I wait a bit to make sure it’s safe to head upstairs. Just in case. I dash off one last email and try not to moan over the “to-do” items left unaccomplished.
3:00 pm: The day starts to go upside right. I walk into Little Friend’s room and find that Little Troll has disappeared during naptime.
3:30 pm: Head out the door for a trip to IKEA. “Hey, Mom. What is IKEAs?”
5:30 pm: Back home with enough cheap frames to construct a gallery wall in my half bath, a roll of paper for Little Friend’s easel, and a purple flower that has already become detached from the stem by the time we make it to the car.
5:31 pm: Open front door to the blissful smell of a fully-cooked, fully-prepared meal. Thank you, oh unknown creator of Crock Pot.
5:32 pm: (If you’ve somehow formed a high or even mediocre opinion of me at any point, please do me this one favor and skip down to 6:44 pm) Relent to endless requests to watch Dora. Drag yellow table, purple chair, and bowls of gumbo to the living room. Press play on Dora and let it roll through one (times three) episodes. Edit photos for gallery wall on laptop while Little Friend sings out, “Swiper, no swiping!” Reasons why I’m pretty much okay with this scenario: 1. Big Friend is out of town all week, and I’ve got to catch a break when I can. 2. TV during dinner typically occurs only on the upside down upside right kind of days. 3. Someone’s got to stop Swiper before the whole world runs amuck.
6:44 pm: Kitchen clean up. Little Friend helps by bringing out her cup and bowl. Bearing these gifts, she looks as proud as the Wise Man who got assigned to the Frankincense. I gush in praise over the good choices she’s making. She swipes my dish towel when I’m not looking and runs away, cackling in her mischief.
7:03 pm: Upstairs for a bath. I give in early tonight and swap my clothes for PJs. Little Friend gets launched naked into the bath. She plays with a yellow ribbon, a pink plastic spoon, and grey sea shell. Can someone please refer me to a helpful parenting manual?
7:13 pm: The yellow ribbon does loop-di-loops around the bath. The yellow ribbon is cautioned about splashing other people. The yellow ribbon wraps its soggy tentacles across my face. The yellow ribbon goes in a drawer. Little Troll is back. Little Troll is in desperate need of her “yoop-di-yoop.”
7:27 pm: Teeth are brushed. Diaper is snug. PJs are cozy. Lights are off. Little Troll/Friend and I rock in the night-lit darkness of her room. I whisper a story in her ear about how I used to rock her to sleep every night.
7:40 pm: Stories are told, Little Friends are tucked in, Thumkins are doing their job. Mamas are almost ready to creep downstairs and call it quits for the day.
7:42 pm: Someone needs some water.
7:47 pm: Someone needs to be tucked in. Again.
7:50 pm: Someone asks to wear Mama’s glasses. “These glasses are Mama’s special glasses,” I preach. “I don’t share them with Little Friend, and I don’t share them with Daddy.” “I know,” comes the reply, “maybe when Daddy gets bigger and turns into Mama, Daddy can have Mommy’s glasses.”
7:54 pm: I settle into the living room chair with more work propped up on my lap. I answer some emails. Fill out a questionnaire. Review tomorrow’s to-do list.
8:17 pm: From upstairs: “Mama. I have to go pee.” I don’t miss a beat. I yell back, “Thanks for letting me know. Use your diaper.” And I wonder why she’s slow to potty train.
8:18 pm: Peace and quiet. And presumably, a wet diaper.
9:30 pm: I settle work accounts for the day. I contemplate three options: 1. Write something–anything–for my poor neglected blog. 2. Watch some mindless TV show. 3. Sleep.
So here I am, at 10:03 pm, just winding down from my upside down, upside right kind of day. In retrospect, it was mostly normal with a few snafus thrown in, but then again, what day’s complete without a snafu or two? In retrospect, my daily life is pretty mundane, pretty boring. In retrospect, I’m a bit surprised and humbled by how much of my day has very little to do with me and much to do with Little Friend. In retrospect, I realize I forgot to put the wash in the dryer. I’ll get to that at 10:16 pm, after I’ve written another sentence or two and hit spell check. Then again, maybe I’ll forget and have to re-wash it tomorrow. Because that’s just what you do when the day turns out “upside down, upside right.”