It’s one of those days. Not exactly the everyone-crying-together days; I haven’t had one of those since the zombie-like tired of the early months. But you know, the toddler equivalent.
This is the best age I can imagine right now. But for most of the same reasons, hard days are also really hard– if not for me, definitely for the girls. They understand more now, but still can’t express much in words. So when the molars are coming and you’re cranky and just want the pacifier Mom seems to keep losing, and she can’t seem to understand that all you want in the world is to be pulled around in a laundry basket, life is tough, man.
I woke up dragging today, even though I crashed early last night and left a lot of the cleaning and laundry for today. (Thanks, self.) I started on the dishes during breakfast, and the girls finished just in time to demand to get down and grab all the silverware from the dishwasher. I made them stay in their chairs till the knives were safely put away, so they climbed into the dishwasher itself. I extricated them and decided to load the dirty dishes during nap time.
After we read Brown Bear Brown Bear four times, I pulled out a basket of clean laundry. As soon as there was a pile of little girl clothes on the couch, Lucy grabbed an armload and dumped them on the floor. No problem, I thought cheerily, I can put things on the back of the couch. Where Catalina can now climb, of course. When she did, she shoved the pile of diapers behind the couch.
I gave up on the laundry till nap time, and both girls climbed into the baskets and pleaded with tears to be pushed around. But that is a lot harder than it looks, when you’re still dragging and haven’t even had a chance to eat your own breakfast.
I convinced them to play in their castle tent for a while til one of them dragged a doll stroller in and it got crowded. So they pushed strollers around while I swept the floor, sweeping up piles as quickly as possible to keep them from eating the crumbs. (Why does food always seem most irresistible to toddlers when it’s not only on the floor, but has been touched by the broom?)
Once the strollers lost their charm and the floor was clean, I gave it to Curious George. I am so thankful for those 26 minutes to drink some hot coffee! It takes some maneuvering, though, since food from the floor and mom’s coffee are toddlers’ two favorite things.
I managed to drink most of my coffee before the girls piled onto my lap, shoving for space. They prefer undivided attention these days, which I can often give them for a few minutes at a time, but not when they’re both on my lap. Fortunately, they were both hysterically laughing while I tickled and tickled and tickled them. It works for all but the saddest babies.
I thought a trip to Target might help us all last the hour till lunch time and naps, but as soon as I stood up, they’d cry and cling to me. Not even worth the two minutes it would take me to get ready, so we tickled some more, played games, and watched just enough Curious George to make it to an early lunch. We survived lunch, barely, and they are peacefully sleeping… for now. The more they need a nap, the shorter their nap is. It’s like a universal toddler law.
Another universal law is that when they really need a nap, some stupid car sits outside your window honking. Wake up my babies, sir, and I will end you.
Meanwhile, I haven’t finished loading the dishwasher or fished the laundry from behind the couch. I haven’t even showered or done my workout. But I did read a wonderful devotional, which reminded me that someone else is in charge of my day, someone else goes before me, and all I have to do is follow. When you’re mom to two grumpy toddlers, paradoxically, sometimes what you really need is to be reminded you’re not the one in charge. I think we’ll make it to bedtime just fine, laundry or no laundry.