When I was in middle school, I babysat everyday after school and all weekend EVERY OTHER WEEKEND for 2 little boy monsters named Alex (6) and Michael (7). Their behavior convinced me to never have children. As soon as the mother left, Michael hid under his bed, refusing to come out. At times I dragged him screaming, kicking and biting from his safe haven. Alex was a WILD THING. One time he snuck out of the house, climbing a tall tree in the front yard. A neighbor called the fire dept.. Sirens blared, as the firefighters employed a 30 foot ladder for his rescue. He also was a bit of a pervert at that young age (Alex, not the firefighters). As often as he could manage, he grabbed my breasts or tried to unbutton my pants.
So now I have kids. I love them and all, but still those maternal feelings have to be worked on continuously, developed like a muscle. I know women have been raising kids for centuries—so why does it seem so difficult to get through a single day?
A typical day begins at 7am with my 2 yr. old human alarm clock screaming, “Mommy out, Mommy out, Mommy out, Mommy out, Mommy out, MOMMY OUT!!!” I go into my 7 yr. olds room whose alarm is blaring; yet she is somehow still sleeping through the racket. “Camille, it’s time to get up. You’re going to be late.” I go into Cole’s room to change his diaper and get him dressed. “I do it. I do it. I do it myself”. “No poop, just pee” Ok Cole you can do it. “Pocket pants, Mommy. Pocket pants. Pocket pants. No, BLUE pocket pants. Me no like that shirt. Pocket shirt. Blue pocket shirt.” Cole, the blue pocket shirt is dirty, here’s a truck shirt. “NOOO!” Car, car, blue car. Ok Cole, here’s your blue car. Cole, let’s put your shoes and socks on, so your feet aren’t cold. “I do it myself, Mommy” Cole, you’re putting the shoes on the wrong feet. Your feet will hurt. “No Mommy.” “I DID IT, I DID IT”
I go back into Camille’s room—“Camille why haven’t you gotten dressed? You have been staring at your dresser for a half an hour and we’re going to be late.” “I can’t find anything to wear”. “Just put on a pair of jeans and T-shirt”.
I go into the kitchen to make breakfast and pack lunches. The dog whines to be let out. The cat meows for food. Even the fish are on my nerves this morning. I briefly contemplate pulling the plug on their oxygen bubbler. Camille comes into the kitchen wearing dressy black patent leather shoes with jeans and a T-shirt. “Camille, you can’t wear those shoes to school.” “Why not?” I have told you that those are for dress up and they will get ruined in gym class. Have you fed the animals yet?” No, I still have to brush my hair. “What have you been doing for the past 45 minutes?” “getting ready.”
I gulp my chocolate protein smoothie, while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. “smoovie, mommy, smoovie”. Okay Cole, if I let you have some smoothie, you have to be careful and not spill. “ok, mommy, no spill”
Shrieks erupt. “Mom, Cole hit me” Cole, don’t hit your sister. Say you’re sorry. “No” Cole, say you’re sorry now. “No” Say you’re sorry or you’ll get a spank. “Sorry sissy. Uh oh, mess mommy mess. (He starts to cry) Oblivious to the crying, Camille says, “Mom, I really want an American girl doll. I saw it in this book I’m reading. I have to have one. They are so cool. (Cole is still crying) Taylor and Dillon have them.” Camille, I can’t discuss this right now. Camille still talking, “Yesterday in school, I was sitting at my desk and Taylor was mean to me.” “She said she didn’t want to play with me at recess”. "I’m sorry about that." “Can I stay up and watch the dinosaur movie tonight?" "If your room is clean and your homework is done, we can talk about it." Whining and Stomping. “But mom, I don’t want to clean my room. I hate cleaning my room. Cole doesn’t have to clean his room." "Cole is only 2 and you are 7." “That’s not fair. Lori’s mom helps her clean her room. You’re mean."
Phone rings. Both kids run to answer it. I got it, no I got it. Camille rips the phone out of her brother’s hand. Cole starts crying, “Daddy, Daddy”. “Hi Daddy, when are you coming home? I want an American girl doll. Cole hit me. He’s being a pain. He messed up my room and now I have to clean it.” (Cole is now screaming at the top of his lungs and bites Camille on the leg). Cole gets the phone and now Camille is crying. “Mom, I can’t walk, my leg is hurt”. "Camille, we only have 10 minutes util we have to leave and you haven’t eaten your breakfast." (Cole is in background still on the phone) “Daddy, monster here. Roar. Monster, monster in phone. Here mommy” (hands me the phone) "Hi Ian, sorry I can’t talk, we have to leave in 5 minutes and we’re not ready yet." I hang up the phone and Cole cries, “Daddy, Daddy”. "Camille, get your shoes and socks on. Cole, get your coat on." “No zipper mommy, no zipper”. Ok Cole, no zipper. Bapac, blankie, bear, monster book, mommy. "Ok, let’s hurry and pack your backpack. Camille, we’re getting in the car now."
We’re all in the car and I’m backing out of the driveway. Cole says, “Poop, mommy, poop.” Camille says, “ mom, I can’t find my sneaks”. "Camille, how many times have I told you, that if you put them away when you take them off, you would know where to find them." “Big poop, mommy, big poop”. “Mom, I’m not allowed to wear my snow boots in class”
I pull back in the driveway to change Cole and let Camille get her shoes. 10 minutes later we are back in the car. “Alligator song mommy, alligator song.” "Cole we’re already heard the alligator song 5 times, let’s listen to something else." “Alligator song, pees mommy” Okay.
We finally make it to school. Camille’s in a bad mood, so am I and it’s only 8:45 in the morning.
Some things haven't changed. I still have to yell at them to get ready in the morning. They still argue and can't find their clothes, shoes, backpacks, sports bags. Thankfully, I'm done with the diapers phase.
I GOT AN "A" FOR MY PERFORMANCE.