Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Day In The Life

Last week, I was at the indoor play space with the Big Yam and the Wonder Twins and started chatting with another mum of multiples, whose twins were 20 months old.  She was a wreck and had the classic, dazed/crazed eyes of the stereotypical new mom.  She goes to the play space EVERY DAY.  Anyway, she asked me what kind of help I had when I first had the babies and I told her: my mum coming maybe once a week, my outlaw mom helping out here and there, my partner home the first two months.  Then I asked her what her situation was.

SO GET THIS: her mother moved in with them for the first TWO months.  Then she had a "mother's helper" coming in 3 days a week for the next TWO months after that.  THEN SHE AND HER PARTNER AND THE TWINS MOVED TO GERMANY TO LIVE WITH HER IN-LAWS FOR FOUR MONTHS AFTER THAT.

Imma give you a minute to read that last paragraph over one more time and let it sink in.  I was like, "YOU IS SOFT, LADY" (in my head; outwardly, I was in full sympathetic, mum-to-mum support zone mode).  I get that everyone has it tough in their own way etc., etc., but I was still a SEETHING, ROILING BALL OF RESENTMENT after hearing about her cushy situation.  CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT I WOULD BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH IF I HAD LIVE-IN HELP FOR EIGHT MONTHS?!?

I've been feeling under pressure lately.  Quincess has his helmet and doing the upkeep on that, in conjunction with the both of them eating solid food has been robbing me of even more of my precious, precious minutes in the day.  This is how a 24 hour typical day goes:

10:30pm - go to bed
11:00pm - pump for the Wonder Twins' night time "mega-bottle"
11:30pm - go to sleep after reading and winding down for half an hour (note: one of the only times I have completely to myself, ALL DAY)
2:00am  - the Big Yam wakes up, walks into our bedroom, stands beside my side of the bed dramatically whimpering until I get up, and go lie down with him in his bed
4:00am - the Wonder Twins wake up for their night time feed.  Stay up with them nursing, burping, and putting them back to bed until they're for sure asleep (this takes about an hour, on a good night)
7:00am - up for the day (note: this means I've had about 5-6 hours of INTERRUPTED sleep a night).  Feed the Wonder Twins, change them, clean out the Quincess' helmet, wash his head, put the helmet back on, get the Big Yam ready for the day - tooth brushing, changing, face-washing, packing for daycare).  This is a solid 1-1.5 hours of activity until we get out the door.
8:30am - drop off the Big Yam at daycare
8:30-10:00am - either doing a stupid errand (doctor's appointment, grocery shopping, etc.) or at home, feeding the Wonder Twins solids, cleaning up, changing them, cleaning out the helmet, doing some tummy time, doing the Quincess' stretches, prepping their food for the day, washing bottles, dishes, general tidying
10:00-11:30am - Wonder Twins napping, when I'm doing stupid admin stuff like: passport applications, kindergarten registration, banking, claiming insurance stuff, coordinating the cars being serviced, putting away laundry (maybe), putting on a load of laundry, cleaning the house, shovelling, tidying, dentist appointments, more doctor's appointments, etc.  Hopefully eating some breakfast (finally).
11:30-1:30pm - either having a visit/outing with a friend or in the 'hood or more of the above.  Nurse the babies, then solid food for the babies, then more play time where I dump them in the exersaucers or leave them to wrestle on the floor while I try to get a handle on life some more.
2-4pm - Wonder Twins afternoon nap.  Dinner prep, responding to emails, making more arrangements, organizing, etc.
5:00pm - Big Yam and Dotytron home.  Pass off the Wonder Twins so I can get dinner ready
6:00-7pm - dinner and clean-up and bottle prep and more bottle washing
7-8pm - games with the Big Yam or bath for one to three of the kids.  Babies' night time bottles (Dotytron responsibility)
8-9pm - Bedtime for the Big Yam
9-10:30pm - "free time" (which is basically more tidying, maybe folding laundry, passing out in front of the TV, talking to my partner).

Rinse, repeat.  Each nursing session lasts about 30 minutes, minimum.  That happens 5-6 times a day.  Each solid feed lasts about 30-45 minutes, and that's 3 times a day.  That doesn't count the time it takes to prep, cook, and warm their food, whatever they're eating.  Each diaper change is about 15-20 minutes and that includes lotioning up their eczema, powdering their little butts, etc.  That happens about 8 times a day.  The Great Gazoo's helmet has to be wiped out every 3 hours, washed with baby soap once a day, and then disinfected with rubbing alcohol every 3 days (but I think I'm going to do every other, because it already stinks and it's only been a week).  Each helmet session takes about 15-20 minutes.  Then we're supposed to do the Great Gazoo's stretches, every 3-4 hours, which takes about 15-20 minutes.

It's a f**king s**tload of work, guys.  I'm not gonna lie.

And honestly, I can't believe how well we're doing.  We know so many people who are getting OWNED by their ONE kid, let alone 3 under 3, let alone 2 of those 3 being twins.  But just because we CAN, doesn't mean we SHOULD.  I would effing LOVE to be able to really SPEND TIME with my kids instead of having to turn down a Big Yam request for a game of Thomas-themed Uno, so that I can do something a million times less fun like folding laundry or wiping down the kitchen counter or making sure our bathroom isn't one giant ball of hair and urine.  I would love to be on the floor PLAYING with the Wonder Twins instead of hoping against hope that they will keep themselves entertained long enough to allow me to eke out one stupid administrative task.  What I mean to say is, holding the babies is the last step in a long process of work that is invisible.  That's the GOAL.

At Ladies Night I was talking to my neighbours, some of whom are, like me, lucky to have partners who are hands-on and great, nuturing, capable parents in their own rights, and some of whom are kind of slackers.  My one neighbour was talking about this documentary that aired on the CBC called The Motherload, which is about women, mothering, work-life balance, etc.  Apparently (haven't had a chance to watch it yet, for reasons listed above!), the filmmakers talk to Anne Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg, etc.  One of my neighbours, who has a very hands-on partner, was still complaining about how her partner sometimes asks if he can "help" her give their daughter a bath, and she's like, "why are you 'helping' ME? Just give her a G-D bath!"  One of the women with a less hands-on dad was like, "So and so can get my daughter dressed, but he doesn't realize that getting her dressed is the last step in a 10 step process, of which he's oblivious - like, buying the clothes, making sure she has enough in every size for the right season, making sure she has back-ups, knowing that she's only wearing purple and making sure there's enough purple stuff and then doing the laundry when we're running out, etc."

This was all pretty relevant because the Dotytron and I got into a minor disagreement about how I disproportionately shoulder the majority of the household administration.  Some of this is just me being a Type A Little Dynamo multitasking, administrative, ubermensch.  Like, a lot of the stuff that stereotypically falls on the "man" in a relationship (insurance, mortgages, bills, budgeting, cars, home improvement, etc.) I take on 100%.  In addition to that though, I also take on a lot of the domestic stuff - meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, now that I'm home on maternity leave - the cleaning.  My big beef is that I'm responsible for the administration of four people's lives: mine and the kids.  The Dotytron is only responsible for his own, and very often, I do the majority share of his administration, too.  So, when I'm back at work, I'm working effectively at minimum, 3 different jobs (simultaneously), whereas the Dotytron only focuses on his one.  The other galling thing is that the Dotytron likes to position his job as more demanding or challenging than mine.  Which is patently false.  We're both public servants - I'm just helping the province to run, NO BIGGIE.  Anyway, we had an in-depth, not entirely adversarial conversation about it and we're working through some of those issues.  At the end of the day, I can't reiterate enough how I can leave the Dotytron in charge of all the kids and be totally secure that he's got stuff handled.  He can take the Big Yam to the doctor's and whathaveyou.  That's a biggie. But, as my neighbour mentioned, physically bringing the kid to the appointment is the last step in a long chain of events, of which the Dotytron tends to be oblivious.   However, I don't think that changes things that the bar is set much lower for "dads" traditionally, and that with the amount of work women take on in the home and work spheres, simultaneously, it makes it even more galling that such gross income and professional advancement inequities continue to exist.

Anyway, enough belly aching.  I'm not going to get s**t-all done if I continue on like this.  That being said, GIVE ME SOME DAPS, DAMMIT!  Haha.  At the end of the day, someone telling me that I'm rocking this whole situation goes a long way to soothing or smoothing over my raw edges.  Also: please don't ever, ever tell me how to parent, if you haven't had multiples or 3 under 3.  What went well for you 10 years ago, doesn't apply, and so please keep your comments to yourself.  If you're not going to say something supportive, or, better yet, offer PHYSICAL support, then please take your tips and tricks to, like, Yahoo Answers, where they belong.

In other news: the Great Gazoo got his Great Gazoo helmet and somewhat predictably, is the CUTEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN:

This is how chill my kids are: they don't cry when they get needles and you can plop a helmet on their head and they don't cry or complain at all.  He's been so good about it!  We were supposed to gradually wean him up to the 22-23 hours a day in 3 hour increments but we basically fast-tracked it because he was so fine.  That being said: he's a stink-head.  I wash it out every three hours or so with water, wipe it dry, baby powder his head, wash it with soap and water twice a day, wash his head with soap and water twice a day, and disinfect with rubbing alcohol every 3 days, and he's still a Schweatz McGillicuddy.  I don't think there's anything to be done about it.  You wear anything for 22 hours a day, especially something that traps the heat and makes you sweat, and you're going to be a stink head.  Luckily for him: an adorable one.

We spent the weekend in Port Stanley.  Our friends S & P moved out there and bought what would be a million dollar house in the Beaches for a song.  I'm in LOOOOVE with their house.  Look at where we got to be holed up through a storm:

Our friends B & G came up as well and we ate and hung out in our pyjamas and played board games and snacked, and hung with the babies and talked and went for a long walk.  It was so nice.  They're about a 5 minute walk from the beach at Lake Eerie so I'm pretty pumped to visit in the summer.  I miss having them in town terribly, but am grateful for the opportunity for extended hangs.  You know how much I loves me a friend sleepover and a cottage getaway vacation.

Also, these things happened:

This outfit will forever be the funniest thing in the whole world

For people who think the Big Yam and Lenny the Lighthouse look identical, here's a chance to play, NAME THAT BABY: 

The Quincess rocking some mad cleavage

Freezer bolognese with slow-cooker polenta, topped with a fried egg.  Steamed cauliflower with browned butter and toasted thyme breadcrumbs.  Steamed green beans.

Slow-cooker "Asian" style ribs, root vegetable mash, and more steamed green beans.

Phew, it feels nice and cathartic to get all my "YOU THINK YOU KNOW, BUT YOU HAVE NO IDEA, THIS IS THE DIARY OF KARL LAGERFELD" griping out of my system.  Now I can sign off and proceed to the task of doing 10 billion things!  Huzzah!  


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