I get up and shower while my 3-year-old watches Bob the Builder. I wonder to myself if it's good for him to watch TV first thing in the morning, but I know it's the only calm time I'll have all day long, so I finish up and kneel to pray for strength and kindness today. I get dressed and consider putting on shorts, but I didn't have time to shave my legs, and apparently it's winter again. Jeans and a cardigan it is.
My 1-year-old is crying in her crib, so I lift her out and snuggle her. Then I pin her down with all of my upper body strength and change her diaper while she screams "noooo!" I tape it for good measure like always. My two toddlers sit on the counter and push the buttons on the blender while I make smoothies for breakfast. Fifteen minutes later, we finish; I congratulate myself on not losing it and text my husband to suggest getting me a new blender for Mother's Day. While I try to come to terms with the fact that my gift of choice is a small kitchen appliance, I grab a tissue to stop a gushing bloody nose. She must have been picking it again.
Before I sit down to my own breakfast, I see bibs and spilled smoothie on the floor, and I know if I don't get that purple stain out of her pajamas right now, it's there to stay. So I stop and scrub, and it still doesn't come out. I set it by the sink to dry when my 3-year-old runs into the bathroom screaming for help. I try to calm him down and reassure him that he can do this. Sit and wait, I tell him, and I'll be sitting just a few feet away at the table. I wash my hands before I eat my toast, because I always feel germy after being in the bathroom. Before I can finish my toast, he starts screaming again and I go in and pray with him. We clasp our hands and ask God for help going potty. Pooping is hard work.
While I finish eating and start on the breakfast dishes, he decides to try again later. She decides to take off her diaper (apparently the tape didn't stop her), and I chase her down to tape on a new one. I'm going to need more tape, I think to myself. I go back to the sink to give the pitcher full of sticky smoothie a quick rinse, and then abandon the rest of the dishes to dress my nearly naked children.
My mom texts me to ask if we can Facetime; I realize it's almost 10, and I'm late for a FaceTime call with a friend. I see the open note on my phone, too--a blog post I'm working on called "Positive Affirmations for Christian Moms" and laugh to myself. I finish getting everyone dressed and put my 1-year-old's wild hair in pigtails while she plays with the closed bag of hair bands. Her sweet big brother wants to help her, and approximately 400 tiny clear hair bands spill onto the carpet. We make a game of cleaning them up as fast as we can, then I coach him through the process of making his bed while I finish his sister's hair. I decide to ignore my own unmade bed for the moment, and I talk to my friend for the few minutes she has left while I change a poopy diaper.
My kids settle down to watch Leap Frog Phonics Farm, and I leave to tackle my bed...and because I can't stand to listen to that show. My mom and I Facetime while I straighten the sheets, but before I can get the pillows on, I hear shrieks and have to run to break up a hugging fight. I decide to start on the laundry and finish the dishes while I FaceTime so I can keep a closer eye on those two. We say goodbye right as my phone dies, then I throw some sandwiches, fruit and cheese on the table for lunch because we have to leave in a few minutes for a meet-and-greet with my 3-year-old's preschool teacher. I briefly consider the possibility of lunch for myself other than half-eaten PB and J. The breakfast dishes are still in the sink, and my phone is barely charged.
We get shoes on, and I realize my 1-year-old has a new stain on her shirt and grapefruit in her hair, but there's no time do anything about it. Five minutes later, everyone is buckled into their seats for our two-minute drive to the school. I was going to walk, but it's raining.
It's fun meeting his teacher and exploring the school. She has no problem with the kids dragging out all the blocks and books and puzzles. I sit down and we chat about my new baby coming and how she remembers being a mom with little ones.
When we get back to the car, my 3-year-old asks to go the library for the twentieth time this week. I always have a reason to say no, but today I think, why not? I try not to think about herding two toddlers around the library and parking lot with a pregnant belly and an armful of books. It will be fun for them, I tell myself. And it is fun, even though we spend half the time in the bathroom, trying to go again. Still no luck. As we get ready to leave, I use a generous amount of hand sanitizer on all of our hands and try not to cry when my 3-year-old drops all the books on my toes.
It's raining, and I'm wet and cold and tired when we get back to the car. It doesn't feel like summer, but I know they both need summer clothes, and I might not have another chance to go shopping before the baby comes. We head to the consignment store, vowing to make it a quick trip.
They play in the play area (thank goodness for the play area) while I shop, until my 3-year-old starts screaming. He runs--I waddle with his little sister in my arms--across the store to the bathroom. The toilet's too tall for him. He asks, why don't they have kid-size toilets here? Good question. It's another false alarm, so we all wash our hands and head back to the play area and my abandoned shopping cart.
I'm almost done when he starts screaming again, so I follow him to the bathroom for probably the tenth time today, but this time he manages to climb on the potty and go before I even get there. I'm bursting with pride and relief. We all wash our hands (for probably the tenth time today), and get ready to check out. She starts crying because she wants to wear the jelly sandals we're buying right now.
All of us are exhausted when we get home, and I wonder, why am I bringing more stuff into my already messy house? I see the breakfast dishes still in the sink. The wet laundry still in the washer. My bed still half-made. I unload the car with the books and clothes while the kids eat a snack at the table. We pick out a couple of our new library books to read and snuggle together on the couch. When they're both finally asleep in their beds, I collapse on the couch and try to decide if I should finish the dishes and laundry or take a nap.
I choose a nap.