Wednesday afternoon, the girls and I had to meet Brandon at church for Ash Wednesday service. As we were preparing to head out the door, I had a moment that felt worthy of blogging about.
Since Brandon was at work, I was on my own to get bags packed, girls dressed, and get myself looking somewhat presentable. We had to be at church at eleven, which meant in the car, pulling out of the driveway, by ten thirty.
I decided to prep Penelope first since she was awake and what do you know. She had already gotten herself "dressed." Dressed these days consist of three random mismatched items that she has compiled together in addition to two unmatched socks. Well I had to give it to her, she was ready. After letting her choose one of the items on her body to leave on, (she chose the shirt), I grabbed a pair of jeans, a sock that matched one that she had already put on herself and shoes. Done. Then I prepared her backpack with books, snacks, and water bottle. Penelope was completely ready and so that left Scarlett and myself.
I hurried and picked out my clothes, got dressed and threw on minimal makeup. Scarlett had woken up early from her nap which left her in a very grumpy state. This resulted in me having to hold her as my attempts to find something to soothe her failed. I was running around the house with baby in arms trying to get everything else done (Lionel Richie outside with water, find my keys and phone, make sure stove was off, yada yada, and the list goes on!) I got Scarlett in her onsie and socks and then loaded her into the carseat. The clock was ticking and it looked like I was making good time. I had to get Scarlett's diaper bag prepped and then I was ready to head out the door!
But then something happened, the pivotal moment that made my time go from good to bad, the moment I can attribute for my tardiness. A moment that you can not prepare for. Double meltdowns!
As Scarlett sat so nicely and patiently in her car seat, I gathered the last few items for the diaper bag. But then just like that, her disposition went from content to angry! Her loud screams let me know that she no longer wanted to be in that car seat. Hearing Scarlett screaming must have reminded Penelope that she too was frustrated, because just like that, Penelope starting crying. The cries in my household can often times be contagious. If one girl starts whaling, the other feels it is necessary to cry as well, regardless of their prior happy disposition.
Running into the living room, I saw Penelope attempting to put on a jacket, but with one arm in the wrong hole (not to mention it was also inside out). Her extreme irritation expressed that she wasn't going to figure this one out on her own, and needed mommy to come to the rescue. In my greatest efforts to somehow keep on schedule, I quickly helped her out of her entanglement and put her jacket on correctly. However, this was only the beginning of her meltdown.
I was still helplessly listening to Scarlett screaming, knowing that she would only calm down if one of two things occurred. A) I got her out of the carseat or b) if I could get her loaded into the car and start moving. Since I needed to leave, option a was not a choice and I would have to continue to hear her angry sobbs for a bit longer. These are the times when my mantra comes into play. When I am unable to get Scarlett at her sobbing moments, like when I am helping Penelope go potty, or I'm pulling dinner out of the oven, or my hands are tied up doing something else, I repeat, "all right, all right, all right, all right." This translates into, "Hold on baby for just one more second, I'm coming!"
With Scarlett still screaming, I grabbed the diaper bag, Penelope's backpack and placed Scarlett in carseat, on my arm. Penelope was still crying (playing the "who can cry the loudest?") but this time she was crying about her lost baby. I told her to run into her room to search in the bed.
I felt I was forgetting something and with absolutely no hands available to even grab something if I wanted to, realized my untouched (and most likely cold) coffee was still on the bar.
My first cup of joe in the morning is the most critical part of my day. Without it, I cannot exist and carry on throughout the rest of my day. At this point, I had a screaming baby in a carseat and my two year old shouting at me from her room and I knew I had to leave the house. I yelled to Penelope to worry about baby when we got back, and headed out the door. My plan was to get Scarlett in the car, Penelope situated in her carseat, then make a run back into the house for my coffee cup. As I sprinted back into the house to retrieve my coffee, I stood at my door way for a split second. I laughed at how crazy hectic it was for me to get both girls ready and how frazzled we all got.
On the way to church, I was reminded that I needed to do one more thing before I left the house, use the restroom! I had actually been holding it for some time and kept telling myself I'd do it. First it was after I got the diaper bag packed, then it turned into, after I got Scarlett in her carseat, and so forth and so forth . Unfortunately, my need to use the restroom was not on the mommy mental checklist and was easily forgotten.
Later that evening, I shared with Brandon how insane my morning went. I told him that I truly didn't know how I was going to do it with two more children, and I didn't understand how parents made it look so easy.
I got to thinking about back when I had no children and only had to worry about myself. Prechildren life. I remember I would sleep in as late as possible to maximize my time in bed. I would get up, have a cup of coffee, sit on the couch, watch the news and then get ready. I would leave thirty minutes before I had to be at my destination, with TWO free hands, no, maybe just one because my left hand would be holding my coffee cup and my right hand would be available to open the door, close the door and lock it. I wouldn't have to turn back around for a second trip to retrieve anything else, because I did it all in my first trip. And the most shocking part, I was actually PUNCTUAL! That's an old concept now.
But the thing about my prechildren life, was that there was obviously something missing. A love that can only be summed up in one word, indescribable. Wednesday, when I stood back and observed my five month old Scarlett screaming in her carseat, and my two year old Penelope whaling with her arm swinging to get into her jacket, I realized that my life is a beautiful mayhem and I wouldn't want it any other way. I would never trade my two a.m. disturbances when I go to check on my crying Scarlett and along the way, stub my toe from a toy that was left out, for the nights I used to get a full ten hours of sleep. I would never trade the worrisome and self consuming anxiety I feel when I leave my girls, wondering if they're all right, for the unattached luxury of coming and going as I please. I would never want to go back to the days when I was able to eat my food hot, because that would mean I wouldn't be getting a little girl her "dip", chocolate milk, and more chichin as she calls it (translation, chicken!) . I would never want to go back to the days when my house was neatly kept, with clean floors, no traces of playdough in the carpet, or blue crayon lining the wall. I would never want to go back to the days when I only had Brandon's and my clothes to wash, because that would mean I wouldn't have sweet little pink onsies to put away, or red Elmo pajamas to fold up and ruffled dresses to hang up. I would never trade the loud public restroom announcements that "Mommy goes peepee," for convenient in and out bathroom breaks, because that would mean, I wouldn't get to hear a beautiful voice calling me mommy. I would never trade my late morning starts for my seven am ones now, because that would mean I wouldn't start my day with an amazing little girl who coos when I talk to her and wraps her little hand around my pointer.
My life is so much more fascinating and fulfilling with these two amazingly delicate miracles. I am beyond blessed to be a part of this beautiful mayhem and only hope that they too, feel the same.