Sunday, June 11, 2006

Flying Solo

Friday was a long day for Charlie. He was up at 4:00 AM and didn't return home until 9:30 PM. Which translates to ... Friday was a long day for me, too.

The only way to adequately capture what a day without my husband is like ... is imagine having one arm tied behind your back, one leg in a potato sack, and you're wearing a patch over one eye. Your good eye. And you're in a pool. With a shark.

We make a very good team, Charlie and me. Charlie and I. Whatever. He and me ... we go together like peas and carrots.

We work extremely well together - running interference with the babies - and executing plays like dinner and bathtime, flawlessly. On the days when I know Charlie will be home to help with getting the babies settled for bed at night, I often find myself counting the minutes until he returns. Literally.

Now, that's not to say that I don't have a good handle on things. I do. Our routine is a well oiled machine. But, as the daytime starts creeping closer to nightime, the kids get a bit ... how shall I say ... cuckoo. Just like the clock. Interestingly enough, we have a cuckoo clock, and as we get closer to bedtime, that little bird starts to make more and more of a racket. Just like the kids.

On the days when I know Charlie won't be home to help with getting the babies settled for bed, I try to mentally prepare myself for the day, before I even get up in the morning.

"Today, you are on your own. There is no one to call for help. It's you and the babies. Rah-rah you are all ALONE! Rah-rah you can DO this! Rah-rah you have NO choice!"

After I have my private pep rally, I usually pray that the babies will sleep for another two hours fifteen minutes, so that I can sleep for another two hours fifteen minutes, because I need all the strength I can get. To date, my prayer for our babies sleeping in until 10 AM hasn't been answered, yet. But, still I pray.

Friday morning the kids were busy doing stuff they always do in the morning. Play outside, read books, ransack the house while I try in vain to clean the house, sort blocks ... that kind of thing. Then, the babies went down for their nap. When they woke up from their nap, and after lunch, I took them to Costco. This time, I couldn't find any Famous Amos cookies, so I had to settle on a 30-pound vessel of Nonni's Chocolate Biscotti. Yes, I know the pediatric dentist said "no sweets" but, I had shopping to do. Fortunately, the children were blissfully entertained the entire time I perused Costco. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera. I wish I had ... the sight of our three babies covered from hairline to chin in chocolate, was magnificent. MAGNIFICENT. In a Tide commercial kind of way.

Back from Costco, we played in the yard. We napped some more. We went for a 4-mile walk around the neighborhood with the dogs. We came home and ate dinner. And then, I started on getting the kids ready for bed.

By myself.

For anyone who might be thinking "What's the big deal?" this task is a lot easier said than done. I once hiked 8-miles down the Kaibab trail, swam in the Colorado River, turned around and hiked 11-miles up the Bright Angel trail. All in one day. The point is, hiking in to and out of the Grand Canyon, in June, is an easier task, both mentally and physically - than getting three toddlers ready for bed.

By yourself.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe a little. But just a teensy bit ... it's an almost immeasurable difference.

I plugged in a Baby Einstein DVD to keep two of the kids entertained while I attempted to get the third one dressed and ready for bed. Everything seemed to be going well until I heard a crackling noise. Kind of like plastic. I popped my head around the corner and saw William and Carolyn standing, with their backs to me, playing with something. Had I not had a partially clad baby on the changing table, I would have definitely investigated. I was in a tricky position, so I finished brushing Elizabeth's teeth. This is a huge chore in and of itself. But after the vast amount of chocolate biscotti she consumed at Costco, it had to be done. I plop Elizabeth in her crib. One down. Two to go.

I run in to the bathroom to fill my wash basin up with water and come back out just in time to see William passing graham crackers up to Elizabeth, and her freshly brushed teeth ... in her crib.

How thoughtful of him.

William gets an accelerated sponge bath while Carolyn has free reign of the house. Right now, I'm wondering why we ever took the 14-foot baby gate down ... and what kind of fool am I to not put all three kids in their crib while I get them ready, one at a time??

I finish up with William, one ear straining to hear what Carolyn might be up to. I don't hear anything. That's never a good thing. I quickly brush his teeth and before I have the opportunity to pick him up and move him to his crib, Carolyn wanders in to the nursery and hands William, and his freshly brushed teeth, a graham cracker.

How thoughtful of her.

Apparently, they do know how to share ... afterall. Two down. One to go.

I put William in his crib, and turn to see Carolyn high-tail it out of the nursery. I fill my wash basin up with fresh water and take off looking for Carolyn. She has obviously found our stash of graham crackers (from behind *supposed* baby-proof doors) and is hiding in the dining room. Beneath the table. I wouldn't have found her ... if not for the trail of crumbs leading directly to her hide-out. I scoop her up and bring her in to the nursery.

Quick sponge bath. Quick teeth brushing. Plop in to bed.

Three down.

I survey the disaster that is our kitchen and playroom. I see the same scene every night, but it always shocks me. It looks like there was a huge food fight and in the middle of that, a toy bomb exploded.

It's nearly impossible to summon the energy to clean this disaster when I am so tired. I'll start cleaning in just a minute. But first, I pick up the phone to call Charlie.

"How was your day? Great. Me too. What time will you be home? Good. Drive safe."

I hang up and head in to the living room, the only clean room in the entire house, to sit for a quiet moment. Something catches my eye. It's white. It looks like a diaper. In the middle of the living room floor. Did I do that? Did I change a diaper in the living room, today? Why - I don't think so....

And, what's this ... another diaper ... and another and another and another. Diapers, dirty diapers, littered around our living room, just barely visible from beneath the sofa, behind the curtains, under a chair.

The crackling noise was the trash basket as the babies were methodically pulling out all of their dirty diapers. Which they then strategically hid around the living room, for me to find. Kind of like a scavenger hunt for dirty diapers.

How thoughtful of them.

I grab a beer from the refrigerator and debate waiting for Charlie to get home and help me tackle this mess. I am nothing without my zone defense. Instead, I grab a chocolate biscotti, which goes well with my Heineken ... and clean up the house.

How thoughtful of me.

If Charlie doesn't know how appreciated he is - he should for sure after he reads this posting. It turns out Charlie does read my blog. Which is why I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him for my brand new razor.

How thoughtful of you.


  1. Oh, I can so relate. I hate putting the kids to bed alone! I seem to run out of energy way before they do. And, I'm sure you'll agree, it's worse when you are expecting your husband to help and something comes up and he's not there. And like you said, you're not mentally preped. I hope you find all the diapers!

  2. Oh what wonderful days---they just fly by and you will in a few years laugh at all this. I remember how tired you do get when it is time to get the babies ready for bed. Thank you Jesus for Charlie, the Champion. I do wish we could clone him so everyone could know what it is to have a great hubby.
    He just has a sixth sense of what to do. Try to take a rest when the babies for in for their rest. You need it MOM.

  3. Awe, they are so cute! Dirty diapers,crumbs and all...
    By the way, my dear husband would make a comment like; "so what have you done all day, and why is the house such a mess". But then the next time he's alone -- he would say; "wow, I'm exhausted! don't know how you do it. Now I know why your so tired" and all would be well in the wonderful world of husbandland!! and I am in love all over again. (cute pictures)