Please Don't Let My Daughter Poop Right Now, & Other Half-Hearted Mom Prayers
My amazing husband and I share a special language of non-verbal communication on exhaustion. Without pleading or martyring, we're able to heroically pick up each other's slack when the other is clearly exhausted. And by "each other's," I mean he picks up my slack for me, and I'll pretend that I do the same for him by saying yes to almost every outdoor adventure he wants to take by himself. Friday, he dragged us out of the house early to drop him off at Enterprise so he could drive to Sugarloaf for the day, returning for dinner. It's a tradeoff. He is awesome. He gets up every morning with them, fixes them breakfast, and usually dresses them (and even matches baby G's clothes pretty well, though he's very partial to her flannel plaid shirt).
This particular week, however, I've been logging extra hours working on C's birthday compilation, a project where I screen thousands (yes, thousands) of candid video clips of little moments together for an entire year, each clip about 2-10 seconds long. I've made one every year since he was born. I edit these down to usually 200-300 clips and pace them to music. A compilation is one of the video offerings I have for other families, and they take by far the longest to edit, about 60-75 hours per project. G's will take longer; I'm estimating 70-80 hours, even with a recent software upgrade to Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
By Friday night I was completely wiped. I didn't even want to participate in dinner, but since Geoff had made dinner for everyone while I laid on the couch with G watching a 1980's Babar movie that wasn't lip-synched exactly right, I dragged myself to the table. (Tough life, right?! I seriously have nothing to complain about.) But after dinner, that was it. I don't even remember laying back down, but the last thing I remember was noticing the time: 8:08, and the next thing I remember, Geoff was trying to get me to come to bed around 10:30. I didn't wake up again until the early morning nursing and not again until 8 am. A 12-hour sleep binge, long overdue.
So you'd think I'd be all refreshed and sliding down the banister, ready to sing while creating beautiful plates of heart-shaped croque monsieurs for breakfast, right? Nope. I continued to avoid the fray, because as much as I wanted to say, "I'm conscious! Just thought I'd let you know!" I knew communicating with my husband in a form other than yelling down the laundry chute would involve children climbing on me and fussing when I inevitably had to disappear to use the bathroom, an excuse that 1-year-olds interpret as a plea to follow you and bite your knees until you let them onto your lap.
So I did not pass Go nor collect $200; I went straight into the shower, no, to take a long bath and pretty much take all morning doing my hair and nails, etc., since it had been at least a year since I took care of all my personal grooming during the same month. Did I have permission? No. Did I feel entitled? No. Did I fear being interrupted? No. Well, yes. There was only one thing standing between me and Alone Time, and that was the possibility of a baby poop.
While we had plenty of diapers stashed for downstairs changes, the only location with poop spray for the cloth diapers is in the upstairs bathroom. (For you CD mamas, we use Biokleen Bac-Out, and it works wonders, but off here in the middle of nowhere I have to order it from Amazon.) I knew a poop would send Geoff and G into my upstairs bathroom tropical paradise to turn it into a tropical reality. So when I heard the THUD THUD THUD of Geoff coming up the stairs, I closed my eyes and prayed the half-hearted request for the baby not to poop right now, which sounded so silly in the moment, I had to laugh, but it was rooted in the real need to do nothing while awake.
Sleep is wonderful and necessary, but it's not enough. I also have a need to just Do Nothing while I'm conscious. Or at least to choose what I'm doing, because my day job requires that I am on duty with Something In Front Of Me That Must Be Done Right Now for 12 hours a day - from the time I come downstairs and take over morning duty from Geoff until the last hug & kiss at night, roughly 8-8. It isn't that I don't love it; I do. But sometimes I can feel like Robo-Mom.
Things I'm programmed to do and/or say: nurse baby dress for sub-zero weather wrangle tots into snow gear coerce child into preschool convince crying baby i won't give her a snack at 9 am because she didn't want her breakfast drop off husband entertain baby for exactly 2.5 hours, but not a minute more be on time for preschool pickup listen to story about how a giant poop monster took over Asia over sporadic baby screams for dropped shoes decide whether to have fun and sneak in a library trip or go home for lunch decide on lunch prepare lunch negotiate who says the blessing coax tots into eating lunch coerce tots into eating lunch give up on tots eating lunch and eat separately while checking facebook whoops, that 2.08 minutes is up and baby is throwing food again wipe rice off pants, which inevitably goes everywhere and sticks to everything clean up lunch give toddler mopping lesson clean up after toddler mopping story time bathroom time nursing time naptime quiet play time for you, C no, you can not have a snack; we just had lunch you should have eaten your zucchini muffins or the 5 other things I offered no we're not making cookies ok great, use the bathroom i didn't need that much detail i'm going downstairs wow, i can't believe 37 people like this status about me talking about poop separate towels, wash cycle whoops, it's time for his nap ok, naptime yes really, it is naptime do you want to go on your own or do you need me to control you in some way when you allow other people to control you, you don't get to decide things for yourself ok good choice night night oops, baby is awake no sir, you still have to take a nap if you come out again, i will choose your afternoon snack hi baby, you are so sweet let's go downstairs sure, you can have the blanket wait, why are you up after a 55-minute nap what should i do you will cry if i put you down and you're so cute i will have to let you stay up you are adorable how bad can this be? would you like kisses of course what about a pretzel and an apple wait, i should be feeding you your leftover lunch but you're so cute and you want a cookie ok no cookie but i'm so conflicted you should be napping of course i will hold you and hold you some more can i put you down to fold laundry no? oh, ok then, oh well ugh my back is tired, it's somehow 4:15 your brother is still asleep we're supposed to pick up daddy in 15 minutes that will never happen if i go pack his workout clothes now we will wake up brother that is not worth it i will wait until he wakes up are you sure i can't put you down i really don't want to watch barney no, no tv here, let's get laundry, you can ride back up in the basket no, don't climb in the dryer haha, wow that is so cute peekaboo! haha, teekaboo you are so precious i could do this all day wow it's getting dark why is he still sleeping maybe i should wake him it's almost 5 oh there you are, hi kisses? yuh, i love you too i have a snack for you no, you can't have cake you can eat it when we get there we're going to work out it's an apple and pretzels well i'm sorry, but it's workout day please get your coat on where are you going? it's not sofa-fort time what are you supposed to be doing right now that's right no, baby, don't take your coat back off - i... why are you naked? i'm sorry you don't want your coat on, but i can see you want to lay down for me to put your coat on hang on, i have to fill this water bottle oh wait, i forgot our clothes i'll be right back stop licking her! *negative language alert, reprogram* keep your tongue to yourself *that's no better, mama* just one more minute no, crayons are not food, come here - say AHH ok let's go i'm sorry, all done crayon why did you take your coat off again put your boots on NOOOO Don't dump water all over the floor! where did you get that chocolate? go ahead and get in the car pull the crotch strap out of your carseat; i'll be there in a minute oh, no, poor sweet baby we're going to get daddy! please stop screaming you can have your snack when you get there it's ok! it's ok! here, have some music no, i don't know how to make that song come on pandora is a magical music thingy, i don't know how to explain it singing time! chickadee, chickadee come to my window, chickadee, chickadee, come to my window Hiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how was your day? good! ok! you? it's quiet car time we're having mommy-daddy talking time oh, really, that's great!! ok,... ok - we're talking now what did i say? it's quiet car time oh wow, that's so exciting, Geoff oh, no. what a great idea i love you too and on and on...
Epilogue: Geoff took both kids out of the bathroom and even out of the house for the entire morning. Like I said, he's awesome.
What is the hope, the deep need behind your half-hearted, quick, in-the-moment wishes or prayers?