Monday was my first day at work and happily it was a no-kid day. I had the freedom to get up, get ready and get going without worrying about anyone but myself. And the same with my return home at the end of the day. (I might even have gone out on an elusive Monday night date. That’s me, walking on the wild side.)
Tuesday was a half-kid day, so the morning was all me but end of the day was everybody. I thought I was primed and ready for this. I was not.
Let’s do this by the clock, 24 style.
4:00 pm Working. Happy. Feeling pretty good.
4:13 pm Phone rings, number isn’t one I recognize. But I answer it anyway. It is bus dispatch. They want to know why I haven’t come out to pick up Graham from the bus. I freak out a little bit at my desk (which, by the way, is out with all the other desks all open and such) and apologize that they weren’t notified that he should’ve stayed at school for the After School program. They say they can take him back to school.
4:19 pm Call school, let them know he’ll be there in 5 minutes.
4:20 pm Wipe tears from my face, feel like worst mother ever. Graham tends to freak out over the slightest change in routine on the bus and I can’t help but think about how upset he must be.
4:30 pm After trying to push through for a while, I give up and decide I’m going to leave a smidge early to get the kids.
4:35 pm Walk to the train, then catch the bus to daycare. Email their dad because apparently our co-parenting agreement hasn’t covered the finer points of school communications on days where we also have a hand-off and we both had different ideas of how that would work. New procedure agreed upon.
5:15 pm Arrive at daycare. Tessa is thrilled to see me and it helps erase a little bit of the mom guilt. We put on shoes and coat and take home several adorable art projects. We sit in traffic and listen to Let It Go on repeat, neither of which is my favorite.
5:45 pm Arrive at Graham’s school. I realize that my thoughts that I could plan to leave work at 5 on kid days were misguided. No way I can make Tessa’s 5:30 pickup and Graham’s 6 pm pickup so actually it wasn’t a total loss. Graham is playing, happy, and totally chill. We get in the car and I’m planning to drive them home for dinner instead of our normal Tuesday pancake night at IHOP (kids eat free!) but Graham’s request for pancakes comes the minute he sits down in the car and I am not quite ready to say no to him. In the car I ask him about the bus and if he was upset and he insists he wasn’t. Usually he’ll tell me if he cries but I can’t believe he made it through this unscathed. He narrates them going to our house, honking, waiting, leaving, dropping off other kids, coming back, honking, then coming back to school. I’m glad he isn’t still caught up in being upset, I was worried he’d be inconsolable, but it’s still not helping much.
6:15 pm Arrive at IHOP. Realize with a groan that it is National Pancake Day. We go to National Pancake Day every year (free short stack!) but I always take a little time to mentally prepare myself for it as it’s always packed full of people and I have to remind myself it’s for charity. Tell Graham that maybe we should eat somewhere else, he refuses. Assure him that we will have to wait a long time before we eat. He promises in his most earnest little boy voice to wait nicely. I cave. We go in.
6:45 pm Seated at a table. Lately instead of sitting with Tessa on one side and having Graham alone on the other, I let them sit on the same side. They generally amuse each other well and it’s oddly calmer that way. They actually do really well even though we’ve waited for a while. They split a short stack and there is minimal whining about the fact that these pancakes do not have chocolate chips or a smile made of bananas. Of course, it wouldn’t be eating out if Graham didn’t declare an urgent need to go to the bathroom the minute our food arrives on the table.
7:40 pm Escape relatively quickly, but it’s already past Tessa’s bedtime and we still have to make a quick stop at the grocery store which is just down the street. Cereal, fruit and veggies, and other necessities are required. It will be a short trip, but it’s an essential one.
8:10 pm Our short trip is officially not short. Tessa has decided she wants to walk and we are slowed to the pace of her tiny tiny legs. Then we end up in line behind a woman with WIC checks. I always make a point not to huff or complain when I’m behind someone with limited money or food stamps or WIC checks. Today it takes extra patience. Tessa is all over the place. Graham is whiny. And the lady keeps forgetting she has another check and making them start the whole process again. I’ve done it, it’s not a fast process. It almost feels designed to humiliate you. When she gets to the rest of her purchases she realizes it costs more than she thought and we wait while she decides which items to take away from her choices.
8:30 pm We finally get out of the grocery store. It is now an hour past Tessa’s bedtime and 30 minutes past Graham’s. Everyone is fussy and tired and low on patience. We get home and I pack them both off to bed immediately, before I even unload the groceries. It goes smoothly and quickly and thank heavens for one thing going right.
9:30 pm Once everyone’s down for the count I head up to bed myself. I have a lot of things I need to do this week but I don’t know when they’ll get done and I’m just too tired for now, especially since I have to be up early for my first morning dropoff before work.
12:00 am I wake up. Like really awake. Well my brain is awake and every other part of me is exhausted. I read, I look at my phone,I meditate, I do every trick I know but I can’t get back to sleep. I haven’t had this kind of constant-brain-that-won’t-stop insomnia in years.
2:00 am-ish I finally get to sleep.
6:00 am Alarm goes off. Not super happy. I can really feel those lost two hours. Jump in the shower, though I have to leave the door open in case anyone wakes up and wonders where I’ve gone to.
6:20 am Out of shower, kids still asleep. Win.
6:40 am Dressed, hair, make-up. Kids still asleep. Win.
6:45 am Wake up kids. We’ve got to get moving. Take kids downstairs and say we’ll have a short breakfast since they’ll both be fed after dropoff. Both turn up their noses at their usual cereal and ask for yogurt instead. T eats only a little of hers and gives it back. I lay out G’s clothes and make his lunch.
7:00 am Start getting kids dressed, change Tessa’s diaper, get my own lunch ready, realize I’ve forgotten to eat my own breakfast.
7:20 am Make coffee to take in the car since I don’t have time to drink it. Make sure kids are dressed complete with socks and shoes. Get Tessa’s hair pulled up in a little ponytail while she is distracted.
7:35 am Leave the house, 5 minutes late but surprisingly close to on time. Tessa has a suspicious cough.
7:40 am Drop off Graham, feel annoyed that I have to get Tessa out of her carseat and then back in for all of the 90 seconds it takes to walk him inside and walk back out. Also annoyed that it is freaking freezing outside still.
8:00 am While driving to daycare Tessa starts to fuss and when I turn around to look at her she throws up her yogurt. A few times. Crap. Wait until I can turn around, drive back home.
8:30 am Email work to tell them I’ll be out. Put Tessa in bed.
Yup, had to take a day off on my third day of work. Still haven’t completed a full day of dropoff/pickup. At least I found some time to post to my blog today, run some laundry, do some dishes, work on my taxes, etc. Tessa had a few down hours this morning but was perked up and normal by 11 am. And while I’m glad she’s feeling better it still has me miffed to be missing a full day.
But I’ve been down this road before. This is my third time starting a job since having kids. They’ve all been different, but I’m definitely used to the insanity. What I haven’t had to do before is deal with quite this level of time constraint. It’s not going to be easy, I know that much. All I can do is just step up and try, and not let it worry me too much when I achieve a constant stream of fail.