My son Lou is standing next to me with no pants on and a finger in each nostril. “I can watch Magic School Bus?” he asks, as the snot drips down his finger onto his wrist.
“I don’t know, baby. We watched Magic School Bus a lot yesterday and—"
“Mama.” He steps closer to me and I silently applaud myself for not recoiling from the snot, which is now twisting around his forearm. “I can watch Magic School Bus.”
I realize he has already put the remote within my reach (When? How?) and I obey my orders. Lin-Manuel Miranda starts singing the theme song and Lou walks away and plays with his blocks, the television blinking and making noise at just me. As I marvel at his twisted mind, my daughter Edie begins to squawk from her rocker, indicating that the weird, 20-minute nap she takes every weekday morning has ended. She stares me down, wordlessly telling me to stop typing my work email and get the hell up and make her a bottle.
I make her second breakfast and realize I forgot to make Lou’s school lunch the night before. He notices me pull his lunchbox down and begins telling me that he is not going to school today and he needs a cookie. Edie cries and Lou runs to her telling me, “EDIE NEEDS MILK MAMA,” as if I wasn’t holding her prepared bottle while he argued with me about the lunch he requires for school, to which he won’t be going.
Lunch packed and baby fed, I wriggle Lou into his uniform and carefully stuff Edie into her Tauntaun suit and fold her into the carrier strapped to my chest. Lou loads his bookbag with toys and I quietly remove each one as we make our way to the door.
The half block walk to school takes seven minutes. As I leave Lou on his school’s playground, he stands at the wooden fence and kisses me through each rail.
Our nanny arrives and I leave the house. I debate listening to How Did This Get Made or WYPR on my run/walk to work. I opt for the former, despite the latter’s morning show being kind of important for my job. I reason that, because it was one of my favorite movies as a kid, I can’t not listen to the HDTGM crew dive deep into the inappropriateness of Rodney Dangerfield’s Ladybugs.
I get to work.
At work, I do my work.
My husband calls on his ride home and offers to pick me up. It’s raining and I’m tired, so I say yes. We walk inside and Edie beams at us and Lou comes running, talking over himself to tell us about his day. He mentions one girl in particular over and over and we try to be cool because it sounds like he has his first little crush.
The house is in such disrepair that I cant even think of a clever simile. We divide and conquer: Rob feeds Edith and fields questions from Lou, I pour wine for us both and start reassembling what was once our living room. I notice something brown next to Edie’s foot and brace myself for poop. It is, mercifully, leftover “breakfast cookie” (our term for waffle) and Lou pops it in his mouth. Someone gets dinner on the table; I think it’s me. And maybe “on the table” is misleading because that makes it sound like the coffee table and kitchen sink we’re eating over are actually our dining room table, which is currently covered in some laundry and a tool kit and a few cats.
I take Lou up to bed because he can play my husband like a fiddle. Mama bedtime consists of teeth brushing, two books, kisses, and lights out. Dada bedtime includes all of that plus a forty five minute bubble bath, four extra books, 30 minutes of rocking chair time, multiple glasses of water, songs, and promises of puppies and ice cream. Dada bedtime often includes caving and bringing Lou into our bed.
While Rob puts Edie to bed (she is six months and has not yet learned the art of manipulation), I fire off some more emails and finish cleaning up. It is 8:45 p.m. and Rob and I spend five minutes deciding if we should watch last week’s SNL or just go to bed. We turn on SNL and I wake up at 1:35 on the sofa. I turn off the TV (I think I made it to "Weekend Update") and crawl into bed. I think about how busy and lucky we are. In my 20’s, I would have hated that my days are sort of monotonous and not at all my own. In my 30's, it amazes me how much I love the routine, even when it means that there isn’t a lot of time left to be grownups.
We’ve had two kids for six months. I’ve never been happier or more drained or busier or more excited to go home.