First of all, I decided to go about the task of tidying my home today. Don't get too excited; it's not like I changed my clothes for the task at hand, but I did put on my faithful rubber gloves. It's no easy task to clean the house with a toddler underfoot... read on.
I began with unloading and then loading the dishwasher... not my favorite chore, but a daily necessity. This otherwise simple, tedious task was complicated by Tucker's involvement, as he tried to climb into the dishwasher, pushed the racks in and out, and closed the door repeatedly. Okay, not a big deal, but the day was just starting. My patience was fresh.
After breakfast, with the dishes now freshly loaded into the dishwasher, I needed to transfer a load of wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. Again, my faithful two-year-old companion was at my side. I opened the dryer, so the door lay wide open at knee level to my right. Then, I stood up to get clothes out of the washer, only for Tucker to slam the dryer door shut before I could put the wet clothes in. I open the door, toss in the clothes, and stand up to get more of them. Slam. Open the door, toss in the clothes, get more from the washer - Slam. Repeat.
Oh. My. Word.
We (and I use that term loosely) finally got all of the clothes transferred over, and I looked at the clock to see that I had just enough time to do a quick sweep of the kitchen floor and to vacuum the living room before the speech therapist arrived for Tucker's weekly session. I got out my broom, and I gave the kitchen floor a quick once-over... but let me add that Tucker was arguing with me for the broom, since he dearly loves to sweep. He was following me around, whining, pulling on the broom, and stomping through my newly-swept piles.
Once I finished sweeping ("Fine... good enough."), I handed the broom over to Tuck so he could sweep 'til he could sweep no more, and I could move into the living room to run the vacuum.
Except it didn't work that way. Tuck loves to sweep, but even more than that, he loves to be with Mommy. So instead of easily gliding the broom over the hardwood floors in the kitchen, he chose to "sweep" the living room carpet, pushing the broom instead of pulling it, leaving straw bristles all over the place for me to vacuum up behind him.
Oh, and he loves the vacuum. I teased him once by bumping his toes with the front of the Hoover, and now he thinks that's just hysterical. So with each swipe of the living room carpet, I had to dodge his feet, ever in front of me, right in my path. (Aren't kids supposed to be afraid of that thing??)
Finally, time for speech therapy. That hour happened relatively smoothly, since Tucker was in the mood to play and be the center of attention. The only mishap took place when he dropped a puzzle on Tyler's face. (I do realize that Tyler may not see that as a minor mishap, since it was the low point of the day for him, and he has a small bruise over his right eyebrow to show for it. Sorry, Ty.)
After speech therapy, we had about 30 minutes before we were scheduled to meet a friend to grab a bite and do some Christmas shopping at the mall. In the course of that 30 minutes, Tucker decided to color on the kitchen wall with his Crayola markers.
Okay, okay, they were the special markers that only show up on the special paper, but aren't those just a godsend?? I mean, think of how much worse that could have been. Let's just take a moment and count our blessings for all things Crayola... especially the inventions with invisible ink.
Moments later, while I was packing the diaper bag, Tucker approached me with an opened bottle of his BlueBerry No-Tears shampoo, and he had a blue dollup of shampoo right on top of his head. Ugh! What do they mean No Tears? Clearly they weren't thinking of those of an exasperated mother! No time for a bath right now, and no time to cry in disbelief, either. I grabbed a dish towel, wiped off as much shampoo as I could, and rubbed the rest in. At least his head smelled berry fresh. All day.
It was also in this time frame that I gave my dad a quick call. He had asked if I could help him with a small errand that involved picking their dog up from the groomer. It seemed like something I could do. After all, I am a helpful girl, and I am always eager to help my parents out when I can (since there's just no way I can make up for the innumerable times they've helped me over the last nearly-three decades).
But I had to abruptly hang up the phone with him when Tucker threw his 8 x 10 mirror on the floor, shattering the glass and throwing slivers in varying sizes across my kitchen floor. (I am confident he threw it... he was mad that I wouldn't blow bubbles with him right that very instant.)
I put Ty in the ExerSaucer, Tuck in timeout, and scooped up my broom to clean up the mess. I called my dad back to see if we could work out a plan for the dog, but apparently I seemed to be a girl with enough on her plate, what with the screaming toddler, fussing baby, and shattered glass all over. He decided to take care of the dog on his own.
Did I mention it's not even lunchtime yet??
We met our friend at the mall, and I thought it wise to feed my little people before commencing with the shopping. Lunch went pretty well, if you don't count the number of times Tucker accidentally dropped his sippy cup, and then the number of times he threw it on purpose. Also, you would need to exclude that reality that both my children needed to eat at the same time; neither one is fully independent, and neither one was pleased with the choices I had made for him before we left the house. (What? Ty's favorite isn't a jar of pureed yellow/green "Garden Vegetables??" I know. You're shocked.)
When we finished eating, Tucker's plan was to get up and stroll on his ownthrough the crowded mall, assuming I would follow him. No, that was not my plan. I gathered him into the stroller, while he complained in as many ways as he could, without words. He arched his back, he kicked his feet, he looked me in the eye and shouted, vehemently, "Baaah!" And when all else failed, he took off his right shoe. That's his plan every time his will is thwarted. I can read his little mind... "Oh yeah, Mommy? Then the shoe gets it."
I saw the signs, and I wasn't interested in a recurring battle over this one, so I took his sock off myself. Sort of diffused the battle when I took away his ammunition. I put the sock inside the shoe, and tucked them both inside the stroller. That problem was solved, except for the countless well-meaning mall patrons, who stopped me to say he was missing a shoe. (I appreciate it... I really do. They don't know I have confiscated the shoe on my own. After all, there was that one time he was shoeless without my knowledge in the mall, and the charitable employees of Chick-fil-A held it for safekeeping.)
As we left the food court, Tuck was yelling, "Baa! Baa! Baa!" No, not like a cute little sheep. More like an angry toddler who will be heard. He attracted the glances of many, and I just smiled sweetly and said, "He's two."
I had a short list of items to get at the mall, but I tossed the list into the diaper bag when I couldn't get past all the shouting from the front of the stroller and all the glances from beyond. We made one exchange (and well worth it, since I'm wearing it right now), and we were ready to hit the road.
I am a good enough mother to have put the shoe and sock back on my son before we headed out into the 23-degree weather, and he is predictable enough in his tirades to take it off as soon as he suffered the defeat of being strapped into his carseat.
May I just add here: I know mall parking spots are at a premium this time of year, but seriously, do not wait behind a mother with a fully loaded double stroller, with your blinker flashing and your hand poised over your horn. It's gonna be a minute.
Tucker and I sang most of the way home, not because I had such a joyful song in my heart, but because I was not about to let him fall asleep prematurely, thereby depriving me of this much-deserved rest. No, I wasn't planning to take a nap... but his naptime means rest for all.
He was falling asleep as we pulled into the driveway, so I quickly parked the car, carried him up to his bed (one shoe on, one shoe off), and then helped Ty get settled in for his nap as well.
It was time for me to edit a paper and then get ready to leave for my afternoon and evening at work. Sometimes, my gratitude for my job are beyond words.
Whew. See what I mean??
And tomorrow? Well, I get to do most of it all over again. I'm hoping there won't be any more shattered mirrors or bruises for the little brother, but there's bound to be some tantrums and shoelessness. Bound to be.
But the good news is this: eventually, every toddler goes to sleep.
I read these quotes somewhere, and if I could remember where, I would share my source. But for now, you'll just have to settle for the sentiment:
"There is no child so perfect that his mother isn't glad
to see him go to sleep at the end of a long day."
"God invented sleep for toddlers so that mothers could forgive all the indiscretions of the day."
And with that... I'm off to bed.
I've earned it.