What Do I Do All Day?

I thought it would be interesting to outline the things I do during the course of an average day. I’m not doing this to make myself look busy, or worse, so you can feel sorry for me. It’s just for fun, so take it that way.

We all know how busy all mothers are, but I have had people, mainly those without children, say, “Mothers just sit around with their children all day.”  Or, “A stay-at-home mom doesn’t work.” “She’s lazy.” And on the list goes.

If you are a mother you know that is definitely NOT TRUE. You spend the day running from morning to night, and then collapse into bed wondering if you really accomplished anything more than exhausting yourself. I know there are mothers out there who have learned to pace themselves, and no matter how much they have to do in a day, they look as if they have just stepped out of a spa and are totally relaxed at any time of the day. But they are rare. Most of us barely get a chance to sit on the toilet without being disturbed (especially true if you have small children). Logan will actually cry if I go in the bathroom and close the door. It has to be open or he has to be with me.

Okay, so what do I do all day? Let’s start in the morning. (Just so you know, this is an average day. Not all this happens daily or at the said time.) I try to wake up around 6:30 or 7:00. I don’t always succeed but when I do, or Glad wakes me, we take time for spiritual input. Time spent strengthening your spirit is important to your happiness and inspiration, and it can be a sanity saver. We either read something from the Bible, or books on spiritual principles. Of course my first stop of the day is the kitchen where I make some coffee to help me wake up. I prefer hot coffee in the morning and cold coffee later in the day when it is so hot.

Logan usually wakes up by 8:00, so then we stop reading, and go make breakfast, tidy the room, etc. Lila may or may not be awake at this time so I take advantage of getting stuff done and Logan fed before she wakes up. When she does, I nurse her, change her diaper, and get her dressed.

Breakfast is over by 9:00. Up until now, Glad has been teaching daily, so he would be gone most days by 9:15. His classes will be over soon. (Also, the family we stay with are traveling now so I am at home alone with the children and the dog.) One good thing we recently did was hire a maid for 2 hours a day to come clean the house. This is making a world of difference for me. She will clean anything I want, plus will do extra like hang laundry, general tidying, and does the floors daily.

So now I just have to oversee her while caring for the children instead of trying to do all the work myself and not getting it all done. She usually comes by 9:30 and is gone by 11:30. I’ve made a plan of how to cover all the necessary jobs over the course of a week. The house is much cleaner for it.

Lila usually takes a nap by 10:30 or 11, so that is when I take some time with Logan for school. We do reading practice, phonics, discuss books and pictures, pre-writing practice, and Hindi. His current favorite activity is coloring. I also want him to learn Tamil but haven’t found a good interactive CD yet. The Hindi one I have has the instructions in English so I can use it with him. Both of us are learning through it. Okay, so I only know a few words but it is better than nothing, right? And when Logan starts talking I’m sure he’ll be able to say the Hindi words that he knows.

Once the maid is gone and Logan’s school is over, I check on what to make for lunch. If Lila is awake then I nurse her again. Sometimes she will play on her own which gives me time to do things like laundry or chase Logan out of the fridge or cupboard where he knows he is not allowed to go. Today Logan and I made a banana cake since the bananas were going bad and I didn’t want to waste them. He loves bananas and banana cake, and it’s healthy so I don’t mind him eating it.

I make lunch for us by 12:30, usually something simple, such as yogurt and fruit with a peanut butter sandwich or pancakes, or a pasta salad with things like sprouts, chickpeas, and paneer (a cheese). Or if there is leftover dinner I may heat that up so we don’t waste it. Now that everyone is gone I also have to make food for the dog. He doesn’t eat dry dog food. It’s too expensive, so we make him soya chunks with some chicken liver and rice. He will also eat eggs, milk and cold cooked cereal in the morning. (Sometimes I wonder if he is really a dog.)

I feed Logan by 1:00 and get him ready for nap by 1:30. If Lila had a short morning nap she will also nap when Logan does, but if she had a long or late one, she will be awake when he sleeps like she is now. She is playing in her bed while I type this. (Since everyone is gone, I will also have to do the dishes and feed the dog. I hope I don’t forget.)

Once Logan is down, I have to decide what to do with my “free time”. Ha. I usually try to get some exercise, or check my mail, or update my blog, or do all of that and, oh yes, relax, before I wake him up at 3:00. I used to let him sleep longer but I found that the longer I let him sleep, the later he goes to bed at night (no, really?). I want him to sleep earlier so the most I let him nap is 1 ½ hours. But it seems that no matter how long or short a nap he has, he still takes about an hour to fall asleep at night.

I wake him by 3:00, put him on the potty, etc. Lila is usually asleep at this time so I take him out of the room. Sometimes we watch some T.V. together (Animal Planet) or I might be in the middle of my workout and I have him sit by me while I finish. By 4:00 I give him a snack, a cup of milk with something to eat, like that banana cake, or a banana or raisins and dates, etc. He loves that kind of food.

Then Lila gets up. I feed and change her, and then we get ready to go outside. We are usually out by 5:00. It is too hot to go earlier most of the time, though now the monsoon has arrived. Today it has rained all day so far. If it is too muddy and wet I will keep him inside and try to find a way for him to get indoor exercise. Otherwise we go out for a long walk, sometimes for shopping, sometimes to the park, sometimes just around the neighborhood.

We are back around 6:30 or 7:00. When the others are here, they take turns cooking dinner but now that they are gone, I will be doing it, or sometimes Glad will if he is home. I usually plan it early and even try to do some prep before our walk so that I just have to throw everything together. We eat anywhere between 7 and 8:30, depending on who is cooking.

After dinner, I stick Logan in the tub and give the baby a bath at the same time. I’ll have to start doing that separately since the tub is getting crowded with two of them in it. Then it is into pajamas. Sometimes daddy will have playtime with the kids (if we ate earlier). If we ate late, then I try to get Logan into bed by 9:15 at the latest. Sometimes he does go to bed later but no matter what, it always takes him an hour to fall asleep. He tosses and turns and plays and gets up whenever the door opens and cries if one of us isn’t there. Usually he is asleep by 10:00 but not always. Lila will nurse and then fall asleep on her own. I just lie her in bed and she will suck her thumb and fall asleep.

After Logan is asleep I can finally take a shower and relax. Sometimes we try to watch a movie but don’t always manage to as it is usually 10:30 or 11 before we can start so if we want to get up in the morning we just go to bed.

And it all starts again the next day. Sometimes I do find pockets of time for things like primping, doing my nails, etc. but that is rare. I can’t find a long enough time when I don’t have to touch anything to give my nails time to dry properly. Oh well. Such is life.

Mommy Stuff

Life with two children is definitely busy. I spend the day going from one to the other and rarely have a minute to myself.

Most of the day I am pulling Logan out of one thing or another – such as the toilet. No kidding. He loves to stick his hand in the toilet and splash the water. If it is flushing I have to make sure he is far away as he wants to stick his hands in then too. The other day I was cleaning the bathroom so to keep him busy I stuck him in the shower with a trickle of water and some cups. He had fun for a while but kept coming out to see what I was doing. When I scrubbed his bathtub, he tried to climb on it, and when I turned my back he had his hand in the toilet. I pulled him out of the toilet 3 times that morning. Why do boys love such things? What attracts them to things that other people would rather avoid? I used to take care of a little boy who had a knack for getting dirty in minutes, no matter where he went or what he did. I used to jokingly call him a “dirt magnet” and he loved it. He was so proud of that nickname.

Lila is growing up too. She now likes to smile, especially when I talk to her. She will also respond with a coo and gurgle, her eyes staring right at me. She knows what she is up to. She hates when daddy kisses her with a pokey beard. He likes to kiss her face but she will scream if the beard scratches her. Daddy just says she has to get used to it but I don’t think she ever will. I know I hate it like that. Imagine her baby soft skin getting poked with sharp whiskers. Poor thing. I’ve tried to explain to him that it’s like having sandpaper rubbed on your face but he doesn’t understand. He only likes to shave when he has to; otherwise forget it.

Lila also enjoys bath time more these days. I sometimes put her in the tub with Logan and she floats on my hand while kicking Logan. There isn’t much space for two in a baby bath tub but Logan actually likes having her join him. He tries to poke her belly button or grab her toes, not to be mean, but just out of curiosity. I will have to get a picture so that one day they can see that they used to take a bath together.

As soon as I take her out, Logan tries to get out too, even though I haven’t washed him yet. While I dress her, I have to keep taking him back to the tub, otherwise he runs around the room dripping wet but still dirty. Ha. I finally manage to convince him to stay put for a few minutes while I dress the baby and then I go back to wash him and let him out. I’ve never known a child who didn’t like to stay in the tub. Most don’t want to get out, but he will climb out at any time. He likes to take a bath but isn’t into staying in long.

I miss when he was small. He is growing up so fast now that I wonder how time could have passed so quickly. I have to remember that he isn’t a baby anymore but a speeding toddler. He takes a long time to go to sleep at night cause he plays around and stands up in bed and doesn’t understand why I want him to lie still. I spend a lot of time telling him to lie still. I can say it without thinking. I will even tell him to lie down when he isn’t standing up. Something must be wrong with me.

He is addicted to videos, wanting to watch one at any hour of the day. He will watch 3 or more in a row if I let him. When I do finally allow him a video, I have to have something else interesting ready for afterwards or else he cries that it is over and begs for more. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he asks for is a video. At bedtime, he wants a video. Any time, he wants a video. I have a line for that too, “It’s not video time”. He hears that many times a day. I’m worn out just from talking to him.

Right now it is after 10 pm and he is still awake. Lila is awake too, though she was asleep. The pacifier is keeping her quiet. And Glad is sleeping, hanging over the bed next to their beds. Why do the parents sleep and the kids stay up? I’m tired ’cause Lila usually goes to bed between 11 and 12 pm and gets me up in the morning by 6:00. She nurses, plays and cries to be picked up and carried.

I get up, make my coffee, and by 7:00 she is asleep again but I am up. I can’t go back to sleep after that, so I spend the day tired due to lack of sleep. And I’m living on coffee. But after all, God designed mothers to live on black coffee and leftovers so I’m doing well. (Do you know that story? If not, read on.) But I hate black coffee so I add lots of milk to it. But the rest of this story is absolutely true. (Come on, mommies, agree with me. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about.)


When God Created Mothers

When the good Lord was creating Mothers … He was into His sixth day of “overtime.” An angel appeared and said, “You’re sure doing a lot of fiddling around on this one!”
God nodded and said, “Yes, but have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not made of plastic.

She has to have 180 movable parts … all replaceable.

She’ll have to run on black coffee and leftovers.

She’ll need a lap that disappears when she stands up.

She’ll have to have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped finger to a disappointed love affair. She will also need six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands? … No way!”

“It is not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded and said, “One pair is to see through closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?” … although she’ll already know. She needs another pair here in the back of her head that can see the things she shouldn’t have to, but things that she has to know. And of course, she’ll need a set of eyes here in front that will be able to look at a child when he goofs up. Those eyes will be able to say, “I understand and I love you,” without even muttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel touching God’s sleeve gently, “You had better go to bed. Tomorrow …”

“I can’t,” interrupted the Lord. “I’m so close now to creating something that is so much like myself, that I just can’t stop. I’ve already created one who can heal herself when she is sick, feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger, and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

Slowly, the angel circled and carefully looked at the model of a Mother. “It’s too soft!” the angel sighed.

“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother will be able to do or the things that she will be able to endure.”

The angel asked, “Can she think?”

“Not only can she think, but she will be able to reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the mother. “There’s a leak in her!” the angel pronounced. “I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model.”

“That’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear!”

“What’s it for?” asked the angel.

The Lord said, “It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, love and pride.”

“Wow! You’re a genius!” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber and said, “But I didn’t put it there!”

~ Erma Bombeck ~

Keeping Order

Today my life feels rather disorganized. No matter how hard I try to keep some semblance of order to what I do, it gets over-ridden by impulse. I get bored by routine. Most days I want to break out and do something different, anything, just to have a change of routine.

But then the other side of the coin is that I love order. It bothers me when anything is out of place, not to mention that if it is misplaced I usually can’t find it. Just trying to keep my room tidy is a major chore, thanks to my small helper who’s job is to make as many messes as possible to keep mommy busy from morning till night. As if I don’t have enough to do already!

I spend much of my time tidying and re-tidying, folding and re-folding, picking up the mess that I picked up 5 minutes ago, and trying to figure out how long the pair of pants my husband left on the chair has been sitting there. Are they still clean? Can I put them back in the cupboard or do they belong in the laundry basket instead?

At times I just give up and leave the mess, until it bugs me so much I have to tackle it. Then I get into everyone’s’ shelves and refold all their clothes and line them up neatly, hoping it will last at least for the day. The children’s shelves will stay neat as long as I am careful but mine is usually messy. By the time I am done with theirs I don’t have time to get to mine. And as for my husband’s shelf, well, he seems to always want to wear the shirt that is at the bottom of the pile and the rest get knocked over in the process. After a few days when I can no longer see the neat piles of clothes, I pull everything out and fold the whole thing again. Then he complains that he can’t find anything when its neat. I don’t even bother anymore with his sock and underwear drawer. At least no one can see that.
I suppose things will never be perfectly neat and tidy, but then again, I will never lack for something to do as long as messes abound.

Life with Two Children

Let me tell you, I am busier than ever! With two children, time for myself doesn’t seem to exist any more. For example, it took me about 2 weeks to stop and clip a broken toenail ’cause I needed to spend a long enough time in the shower so it would be soft enough to clip without making a mess of the nail. Showers lately have been on the run.

The other night Lila fell asleep and Logan was in bed so I figured it was the perfect time for a shower. Just as soon as my hair was wet, Lila woke up. Since Glad wasn’t in the room I had to go get her as Logan won’t go to sleep if she is crying. Then she wanted to nurse, so I fed her and she looked like she would sleep, so I left her in her bed and headed back to the shower. No more than 5 minutes later when my hair was full of conditioner and I was soapy, she started screaming again, so I had to take her to Glad so I could finish my shower. I won’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve done proper hair removal. Shhh…that isn’t supposed to be public knowledge. I’m making due with a razor but I prefer to epilate. But again, no time. By the time Logan falls asleep, Lila is up again. And this cycle continues throughout the day.

Do you want to see what my room looks like when I am not able to clean it? I know you do so I took pictures of it one morning when it was a mess.

As you can see, I have a little helper who likes to make sure the room is as messy as can be. He does his part to make sure I never lack for work. One of the closet doors has a key, and I keep the door locked just to keep Logan out, otherwise he would pull everything off the shelves in minutes. The other two doors I keep closed, but when I’m not looking, guess who gets into them?

Then I had to clean it up so you could see it what it looks like for a short time each day, until my secret helper pulls out all the toys, empties the laundry basket, pulls my bed cover off, and puts anything that is not tied down on the floor.

Can you see the baby’s bed between Logan’s and mine? I have it up on a box of baby clothes I am storing so that I can have her close to me at night yet not on the floor. To keep Logan away from it during the day, I turn his bed at an angle but he has learned how to move it. She will need to move into the crib soon anyway as she is outgrowing the cot. Only one month old and she is already so big. We are going to get a bed made for Logan, and we need it soon. But I’ll miss having him contained at times when I don’t want him to get out of bed. Ha. Once he gets a new bed, keeping him there will be hard as he will be able to get up whenever he wants to.

And I have found the best way to bathe Lila is to take her in the shower with me. She doesn’t like the baby bath tub, it is awkward to wash her under the tap, and sponge baths just don’t get her clean enough in this hot weather. The only drawback is that I can’t get very clean with her in my arms. Oh well, I guess I can’t have everything I want. At least I get to cool down until she is asleep; then I can have that relaxing shower and primping time – unless she wakes up yet again.

Spring Cleaning

Have you ever walked into your room and realized that it was long overdue for a thorough cleaning? I had that revelation today. It seemed that while I was in the hospital, all the local spiders had decided to move in. There were cobwebs in not only every corner of the room but also along the walls in between. My desk had long since ceased being a desk. It was now a graveyard of forgotten items covered in dust. I didn’t even have space to put the laptop down so I could use it.

Yes, I know you are going to yell at me for working, but what would you have done? I went slow and only did what I could. First I opened all the windows to let out the stale air-con air (yes, we have an air-con now and sleep so much better for it) that had been permeating the room all week since it was installed. I realized the screens were dirty so I hosed them down and hung them to dry.

Then I dusted every surface in sight, beginning with the window frames which were beyond dirty, then the doors, the lamp, and even the clock. The desk took some time to find under the many piles of who-knows-what that was on it. I finally got down to the surface and cleaned it well. When it came time to replace the stuff that belongs there, I made Glad show me all the stuff that was there that could be thrown away since most of it was papers of his that had been there for at least 2 months and not moved. (I’m serious about the state of the desk. This is no joke.) I was able to throw most of it away. Wow. I now had space for the laptop with room to spare. And with the dust and cobwebs gone and the fresh air coming it, we could all breathe easy again.

Once I could see the surface of my bed again, I made the bed and put the laundry away. I didn’t bother with the tough stuff like cleaning the fan since I can’t reach it anyway. Glad will have to do that one. (By the way, if you don’t want anyone to know your fan is dirty, just leave it on all the time.) And I left the floors since I can’t bend over and I left the toys for the same reason. The only other thing I did was clean the bathroom, not a difficult job once everything is removed. I just use the toilet spray hose and hose it down, wipe everything with disinfectant, use a little laundry soap on the ceramics, hose it all again and let it dry before returning everything to its place.

Okay, I see a question from those of you who have never lived in India. What is a toilet spray hose? Well, it’s like a mini hose with a tiny nozzle that you use to spray your butt after using the toilet. It’s a step up from the bucket of water under a tap that is next to the toilet that you use with what looks like a small measuring cup to pour the water to wash yourself. But it has a strong spray so it’s good for cleaning the bathroom and the floor and even your feet when they are dirty. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here it is.

Notice the tap at the bottom of the hose. And if you are wondering where the toilet paper is, it’s right above the hose. But not every bathroom here has that. Most places won’t have toilet paper, so if that is your preference, you’d better carry some with you when you go out.

On another note, Logan had an accident today. I’m not sure how he did it as he was on the floor playing, but he fell forward and drove both his front teeth into his lower lip. It must have been painful as he screamed and cried so much, and it was bleeding profusely. We rinsed it with water and I held an ice cube to it to numb it. Even then, it took a few minutes before the bleeding stopped. But with some cuddles and a chance to lick the ice cube, Logan was back to his happy self in a few minutes and went back to play. He isn’t one of those kids who drags out the agony of an injury and cries long after the pain is over. Sometimes I am more worried about the injury than he is. He gets over it quickly.

Just before bed, daddy was having some playtime with Logan, and he decided to do some push-ups, just to see how many he could do as he hasn’t had much chance for exercise lately. But every time he would start, Logan would crawl up on his legs and attack him. Finally he put Logan in the crib and Logan just stood there and laughed so hard at each one that Glad could only do about 5 before he would fall to the floor laughing. He never did get past 5 reps, because Logan was laughing so hard that it was impossible not to laugh. I had to look the other way as when I laugh it hurts my scar, but I couldn’t help it. It was too cute.

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