And you thought 24 hours with a newborn was tough. Here is Part Two….
Let’s start at 3am. Not because it’s the start of the day. There is no start to your day. There is no end. It’s just one long, never-ending, mind-melting continuum of time….
You gently lower your baby into her bassinet and collapse back into bed, hopeful you might get a solid two hours sleep before she wakes again.
You’re asleep before you close your eyes.
A 15 kilogram missile launches at you from the end of the bed. A deep, dark part of your brain tells you to take your toddler and put him back in his bed because ‘sleep habits’ or something else that’ll ruin his life, but that would require you to stand up. And talk. And reason with a two year old. And 6 minutes sleep has not equipped you for that shit.
He falls asleep with his big toe in your ear, his arm across his father’s face and with his future as one of those creepy guys selling body scrub to housewives in the middle of the shopping centre, secured.
He’s a heavy breather. The baby has a blocked nose and coos like a pigeon in her sleep. The husband snores. The cat is at the foot of the bed purring like a Harley. It’s a suffocation of smug comfort and ENT issues.
You should probably be thinking something along the lines of, “oh how sweet, all my loves in one spot” but you’re actually thinking “CAN YOU ALL JUST FUCK RIGHT OFF???” Ahhh… motherhood <3
3.30 – 5am
You’ve blocked it from your memory but whatever it was, it was not restful sleep.
5am – 6am
“Mummy you awake?”
“Baa baa black sheep”
“I want a cupp-o tea”
“Sistaaaaaa you awake?”
“There were 4 little monkeys jumping on the bed”
“Mummy you awake?”
“Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad.”
Husband takes kids downstairs for breakfast so you can “have an hours sleep”.
Toddler runs into room to tell you there’s a truck across the road.
You wish herpes upon the truck driver who has the utter GALL to be on your street so early in the morning in a blatant attempt to lure your child to your room.
Husband hands you the baby, kisses you goodbye, slaps you on the back and wishes you luck. You look at the clock. Eleven hours to go…
Explain to toddler, again, that he cannot put food in the baby’s mouth.
You’ve convinced toddler to sit and watch TV. Feel guilty about the sharp increase in screen time since the baby came home. Guilt lasts 4 seconds before you thank the TV for its exceptional co-parenting abilities
Baby is asleep in her bassinet. Race to the shower.
“Whatchoo doing mummy?”
“I come in too?”
“My shirt is weeeeeeeet”
LEAVE YOUR SISTER ALONE
Decide you’re going to go to the shops.
After three nappy blowouts, four outfit changes, two meltdowns (one of which was you), one escape attempt, two bruised knees and one fractious discussion about why the bike can’t come to the shops, you give up and decide to just stay home.
Explain to toddler, again, that he cannot sit on the baby.
You sit down to feed the baby.
The box of “feeding time activities” you carefully curated for your toddler before the baby arrived lies discarded behind the couch as he hangs off your neck making slightly derogatory comments about the feeding process.
Try to encourage your toddler to do some ‘craft’ which means 30 excruciating minutes in which both of you are half-heartedly sticking shit on other shit and wondering when you can just turn on Peppa Pig and be done with it.
Explain to toddler, again, that he should not stand and yell in his sleeping sister’s face.
Take 45 minutes to change the baby’s nappy because the toddler wants to “help”, which means 45 minutes of trying to stop him unwrapping the dirty nappy or sticking toys in her clean nappy. Aren’t kids fun?
Make a one-handed peanut butter sandwich because the child is hungry and the baby refuses to be put down.
Toddler takes three bites and carefully places the rest on the floor to express his wish to be done with the eating.
Pick sandwich up off the floor and eat it yourself. Lunch done.
Lure toddler to his room with a bottle of milk. He wants to sit on your lap, alongside The Baby Who Can’t Be Put Down.
They both fall asleep, trapping you under their weight which triggers an internal struggle about whether you should try to get up or whether you should accept your fate and let your children use you as their mattress.
After a lengthy, silent debate, your bladder makes the decision for you. In a move that proves you are an actual superhero, you manage to stand up without waking them.
Toddler is in his bed and you go to the toilet with a sleeping baby in your arms.
Creep downstairs to make yourself a relaxing cup of tea. Turn on the kettle. This is how your children know it’s time to wake up.
Farewell Tea. Hello circus.
The baby has lost her ever-loving shit and so you walk laps of your hallway, jiggling and shushing while your toddler runs alongside you begging you to “play running” so you keep jiggling and shushing, but now you’re also jogging down the hallway which is not at all calming her down, especially given her brother is squealing about who is “winning the running” because that’s all that matters to him because he apparently cannot hear the baby crying. He is, however, raising his voice sufficiently to be heard over the crying, which means he is screeching like a fucking caged velociraptor and so you tell him to please stop screaming which is apparently a poisoned arrow to the heart because he throws himself to the ground and wails like a stuck pig.
Look at the clock because surely it’s time for dinner. Feel like crying when you see you’ve still got hours to go. Have scientific studies been done to prove that time goes slower between the hours of ‘end of nap’ and ‘dinnertime’ ?
Sit down to feed baby at the exact moment your toddler declares he needs to do a wee. On the big boy toilet.
Although you had given up trying to potty train while you all got used to the new baby, you don’t want to discourage him, so you stand up with baby attached to boob and walk upstairs to the big boy toilet. Bend down and help him take off his pants (you pick your battles and let him take off his shirt too, even though you’ve explained 41,000 times he doesn’t need to be completely nude to wee) and stand outside the toilet, singing his praises for 45 minutes, during which you execute one boob change and one slow sink to the floor as you realise this is your life now and you ponder whether you should just lie down on the carpet and accept defeat.
He announces he didn’t need to wee after all.
2.45 – 4.45pm
Two solid hours of trying to stop the toddler from waking the baby, feeding the baby or killing the baby.
Try and put yourself in time-out. The toddler finds you.
Sit down to feed baby when you’re overcome with shushpiscion (the suss feeling you get when everything goes quiet). Go in search of toddler and find him standing in the pantry, blowing on your breast pump attachment like a trumpet. Make a mental note to sterilise it and leave him to it. Chalk it up as “independent play”.
Stand and burp baby while cooking dinner for big brother. You could make something nutritious and colourful but your give-a-fuck tank is dry. So you make plain pasta because he’ll eat it without a fight. For five and a half minutes you are the best mummy ever. Let him eat plain pasta while watching Peppa Pig so you can sit and settle your other child while looking at Facebook. If only The Pig lasted more than five minutes.
Husband arrives home a bit early. Toddler behaves as if you’ve been beating them all day and daddy is here to rescue them.
Whatevs. At least you now get a small break from the kids. In which ‘break’ means a full 30 minutes in the laundry, sorting and folding clothes without needing to scream at anyone. You are living the dream.
Children are bathed, dressed and ready for bed.
Children are asleep but part of your soul has died in the battle.
Reheat something nondescript from the fridge and call it dinner. Sit on the couch and pretend to watch TV while wishing you could just be asleep but refusing to go to bed because if you go to bed as soon as the kids are asleep then your whole life is “taking care of kids and sleeping” and you really need to have a few minutes in the day that are just about you, even if you really would rather be asleep.
Crawl into bed.
Baby wakes up crying. And so begins the night shift.
So… tell me how much more fun it is with three…??
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Journalists Lauren Dubois and Jodie Speers talk about how they (barely) survive raising small kids.