The Will to Wear Pants

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There are days when I simply lack the will to wear pants. When my old, faded jeans are a mountain that I cannot climb. I’ve come to understand that this is an oddly reliable indicator of how things are going with the boys. During easy stretches at home, my jeans are just jeans but when one or (more typically) both boys are in some flavor of challenging transition even casual wear threatens my equilibrium. How can I so much as glimpse peace when I’m expected to do things like button and zipper my own clothes? This is another (of the many) reasons that my re-entry into the working world is sure to be entertaining.

During these stretches I rely on pants with elastic waistbands and wicking fabric. Clothing that in a previous life I wore to do things like running and yoga. Life is different now. I’ve found that these very same pants are the perfect companions for chasing boundary-pushers around parks and preparing meals with 30 lb, giggling weights attached to each leg. The small measure of comfort they offer is a balm. You take what you can get.

I’ve been off the real pants train for more than a week now. If history is any indication I expect that I’ll be buttoning my own pants fairly soon. These things wax and wane. I’m looking forward to the wane. For now the Monk is committed to keeping me in comfortable clothing. The little dude is stretching his wings and it’s a raucous affair. He is two in a way that is wholly different from the way Yogi was two. So all the things I thought I knew are irrelevant and useless and beside the point. And while it is technically true that he won’t actually be two for another two weeks, I assure you that this is purely a technicality. The Monk is TWO and denim is too much for me.

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My First Week at Home with the Boys

 

I’ve been working on this post since the end of last week. Grabbing minutes here and there in an effort to record what this first week post-maternity leave at home with the boys has been like. I can’t imagine it will be all that interesting to anyone else, but I want to remember it.

I’m finally wrapping it up on Tuesday night and as I write this I’ve abandoned hope of maintaining this pace. Monkey has been making it increasingly known over the last few days that he is tired. Fussy and grumpy and pretty much miserable. Something clicked in my head this morning and I realized that the boy needs a nap. Not a snooze in the Ergo, not a wink in the swing, but a real legitimate nap.

Damnit.

The only secret I have found to maintaining sanity while staying home with a toddler is keeping busy. When the less attractive features of toddlerhood emerge, a change of scenery is a beautiful thing. How I will keep Yogi busy and myself sane while also getting Monkey the sleep he needs is a mystery. I have no idea. All I’ve got is this:

One day at a time.

Enough preamble, here’s what my first week as a SAHM of two kids under the age of two looked like.

5:30-6:00: Wake-Up

These days the boys are my alarm clock. I need every minute of sleep I can get. Somehow both boys wake up at almost the exact same moment every day. I don’t know how this is possible , but it happens. Every day. Monkey is eager for milk and Yogi has book in hand, ready for the first story of the day. Both boys need diaper changes. Mama could use a trip to the bathroom herself, but that usually has to wait.

6:00-8:00: The Morning

We take it slow in the morning. The first order of business is feeding Monkey which usually involves holding him in my lap with bottle while either reading to or being climbed on by Yogi. After that, more stories are read, coffee is brewed (Yogi MUST scoop the coffee into the filter), and Yogi helps make his breakfast. It’s usually Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal with banana or strawberries (my baby eats cereal! With a spoon!) or a bagel with peanut butter and banana. Monkey hangs out in his swing or on a blanket while Yogi and I stack blocks, race cars and color. Now that we have Itunes loaded with what Yogi calls “Kid Music!”, there is usually music in the background which allows for the occasional outburst of dancing.

8:00-9:00: Getting Ready for the AM Activity

Giving myself more than enough time is my path to patience. I hate to be late and I hate to feel rushed, so I go to great lengths to avoid both. Assuming that Monkey doesn’t spit up in the split second between donning new duds and placing the bib, he’s a cinch to dress. Yogi is something else entirely. I usually lay his clothes out on the bed and make a grab for one item at a time when I get a chance. It looks something like…. Brush teeth, pull Yogi’s shirt over his head, get dressed myself, brush hair, check diapers, make bed, put on Yogi’s shorts.

Once we have ourselves ready, we have to get the stuff ready. There is the bucket, the Ergo and the diaper bag to contend with. The diaper bag is no joke these days. I now carry 2-3 diapers per boy, wipes, a burp cloth, backup bib and outfit for Monkey, a snack bag for Yogi, a bottle with a frozen sleeve, a water sippy for Yogi, a muslin blanket for Monkey sun coverage, sunscreen, my phone and keys.

9:00-12:00: Morning Activity

This is where the mania came in. Over the course of last week we toured a Fire Station with some friends, went to Story Time and played at the library, had lunch in the park, and had a playgroup at our house.

12:00-2:00: Yogi Nap

When we’re out of the house during the morning, Yogi always falls asleep in the car on the way home. This makes it easy to carry him inside, tuck him into bed and get back downstairs to feed a hungry Monkey.

2:00-5:00: Afternoon Activity

A little less mania here, but still a bit nutty. We busied ourselves with park visits, grocery shopping (a Yogi favorite) and water table play in our backyard with a friend. In the midst of the activities, Monkey got his milk and (hopefully) a bit of rest.

5:15: Mommy is Home!!!!

My poor wife enters the fray when everyone is beginning to unravel. 5:00 is not a pleasant hour for babies, toddlers or Mamas.

5:00-6:00: Dinner

All four of us sit down to “dinner” together. Yogi eats dinner, Monkey eats with Mommy and Mama and Mommy have a glass of wine and some kind of snacky something. We all talk about our days and Yogi is beginning to pipe in with his own contributions. When everyone is finished we clean up the dining room and kitchen and I make my way through the backlog of bottles from the day.

6:00-7:00: Tub and Pre-Bed Play

On the days we bathe Monkey, he goes in the tub first. Once he is dried and jammied, we add a bit more water and Yogi goes in. When everyone is settled I duck out and hop in the shower myself.  When everyone is clean and ready for bed, we usually stack blocks  and read stories in the tent in Yogi’s room. Before bedtime Yogi gives me a BIG hug (this involves a running start) and settles in with Mommy.

7:00-7:30: Yogi Bedtime with Mommy

They read a few stories, do what Yogi now calls “Mommy Milk” and sing one song. Then she tucks him into his big boy bed and closes the door behind her. He doesn’t go to sleep immediately, but it doesn’t take him long.

7:00-7:30: Monkey Bedtime with Mama

This is when the attempts at Monkey bedtime begin. Sometimes he agrees and sometimes he doesn’t.

7:30-9:30: Mommy and Mama Time

Most of the time the house is relatively quiet by 7:30. We eat dinner together on the couch and half listen/half talk through the Colbert Report or the Daily Show. The rest of the night involves reading, internet surfing and snuggling.