Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Time For a Day in the Life: Work Day with a newborn and 4th child.

 Recently, the mother-in-law of a good friend asked me, "How did you manage to get 26 hours in a day, and the rest of us are stuck with only 24?" To which I replied, "Guess I have friends in the right places."  I've been getting these kind of comments a lot lately.  A few people have even asked me to run through a typical day for them.  So, I decided it was time for a description of what exactly goes on behind the seemingly non-tired, unphased, energetic facade that I have so skillfully mastered.

A Day in the Life: Work & School Day with a newborn and 4th child.

5:47 am - Mitch wakes up to eat, likely because one of his 2 older brothers (even more likely it's Curtis) has opened our bedroom door and called out, "Mommy" while standing directly next to the pack 'n play where he resides.  If this doesn't happen, I might get an extra 20-60 minutes of sleep (but it almost always happens.) I then get Mitch and feed him.  Matt tries to convince Brock and Curtis to go back to bed, explaining, "It's too early!!"  Eventually, he gives up and showers.  I try to get Mitch back to sleep.

6:45 am - Mitch is fed and back asleep.  I am up getting dressed for work.  During this time, Curtis is begging me over, and over, and over to "come downstairs".  He and/or Brock are asking for a snack, or a drink, or to read a book, or to play.  They are touching my hairbrush.  My toothbrush.  Asking me when I'm going to be done.  Inquiring as to whether it's a "Mommy Daddy day?" Which, obviously, it isn't as we are both up and dressing for work.  If it were a Mommy-daddy day, we'd both still be in bed getting annoyed at them for being up, forcing them to play on the iPad while we get some extra shut eye.  Getting mad at them for opening our blinds. Letting them destroy our bedroom. Et cetera. How have they not picked up on this pattern!?  They seem like such bright boys...except before 8am.

7:00 am - To the relief of both older boys, I have finally finished dressing, and am now downstairs.  Though, I am bewildered by their relief as I have to get out the door in the next 5 minutes, and I am going to continue to say 'no' to their barrage of questions.  No, I cannot get you a drink. No, Kerry will give you your gummy bears (vitamins, duh people). No, milk and juice are "drinks" and I already said no to that!  No, I cannot get you a snack.  Ok, fine, if I give you some cereal will you leave me alone!?

7:05 am - I am still helping out the children. Kerry is now here for relief.

7:09 am - I finally get to the door.  Now I feel bad.  I am going to leave my kids, and I have just been telling them "no" all morning.  So, I search them out to kiss them goodbye.  I hear George now awake in his room.  Do I go in and say goodbye?  This is at least another 3 minute delay.  Oh great, he's in there saying "Momma" now, over and over in his sweet little voice.  Ugh, I'm going in there.

7:13 am - I am in the car.  I forgot my ID.  I run back in the house.  Brock exclaims, "Mom is home already!!" George comes running to greet me at the front door with his arms open, grin huge, stating, "Momma" as if he didn't just see me 30 seconds ago, and I've been gone for an entire 8 hour day.  Even Tater is excited...but he's an idiot, we expect that from him.  I say, "No, nope, not home, haven't left.  Love you all. Bye!" And I am back out the door.

7:16 am - Time for my daily internal Starbucks debate. If I stop, there is no way I can get to clinic by 7:45 on the off chance one of my patients has actually checked in 10 minutes early and is awaiting my knock on the door (which has never happened, by the way.)  But if the line is short or even better, non-existent, I can get there by 7:54.  I'm stopping. I order my usual Caramel latte with skim milk.  I say hello to whomever I know, perhaps chat a bit too long, and am on the road by 7:23.

7:54 am - Time now for my parking lot debate: North docs lot, South docs lot, patient parking out front, patient parking right by the clinic?  North lot.  I often sit for a moment, sip my coffee, finish listening to "War of the Roses" or a good song, or whatever subject Afentra and Danny are discussing.

7:59 am - I begin logging into the computer at my desk.

8:05 am - I am finally into eCare and can begin seeing my patients.  If any are roomed.  I'll spare the details here, as those would require a post (or three) of their own. Suffice it to say, I feel rushed, the ENTIRE clinic.  I begin to panic a bit around 9:30 because my pumping time is approaching.  Try as I might to avoid it, I always leave a patient waiting in a room for about 20 minutes while I pump.  This causes me significant guilt, anxiety and throws off the entire flow of my clinic.

11:56 am - I have finished with my last patient.  I have about 25 minutes left of documenting to do, and about 60 unanswered work emails, patient messages or results, faxes that need sending, and any other numerous office-type work to complete.  I begin to make a dent in this.

12:37 pm - I am starting to get really hungry.  As you may have noticed, I never mentioned eating.  This is because I haven't.  Some days I remember to grab a NutriGrain bar or something of the like, but most days I don't. There's milk in my coffee, right? Mitch is home, and he is likely getting hungry.  Do I stay and get to more of the work that I desperately need to finish?  Do I waste precious moments and run to the cafeteria to get my $6 lunch?  More often than not, I decide no to both, and I take off for home.

1:21 pm - George is napping.  Brock and Curtis are at school. Now, I can avoid pumping for a second time, and personally feed my teeny, little abandoned newborn.  It's such a relief to be home.  Work will just have to wait.  There is always tomorrow, right?  Just as I begin to nurse Mitch, I hear George jumping up and down in his crib.  He doesn't seem too upset, so I finish up with the baby.  Mitch isn't quite ready to be set down, so he cries as I get George and change him.  I really want to immediately pick the baby back up, but George needs his "hon" which is drink.  Yeah, I don't know either, don't ask. I get him a drink. I pick up the baby.  The baby needs changing.  I change the baby.  George wants a snack.  He is following me around crying and grabbing onto my leg.  I get him a snack.  I try to rock Mitch asleep.  I hear a drawer open in the nursery.  Damnit.  George is getting into the top drawer of the changing table.  AGAIN.  I am so tired of picking up Q-tips.  Mitch is getting more and more agitated because he just wants to fall asleep and keeps getting interrupted.

2:30 pm - Mitch is not going to be happy about this, but it's time to put him in the infant carrier and run to pick up the older two from school.  I get George's shoes on, and take them to the car. Mitch screams the whole way.  I mean, he even stops breathing sometimes.  I can tell he is panicked and sure that he has been completely abandoned.  He is a snuggler, a people person, loves to see your face.

2:39 pm - I lug the 2 babies into school to pick up the 2 older brothers.  I have to carry George and the baby through the play ground, or it would take 15 minute to walk from point A to point B.  My wrist and back are aching.  I'm hot.  I'm a bit stressed.  Or frazzled really.  Do I get Brock or Curtis first?  I almost always pick Curtis, I don't know why, just seems like the right choice.  Recently, though, I found out from Brock and his teacher that it's "really cool" and "awesome" and "the best thing ever" if YOUR mom is the FIRST mom to pick up in the afternoon.  Great, another thing to feel guilty about as a mom. Looks like I need to change up the routine.  I spend the next 5 minutes trying to corral the kids out the door, making sure they have their jacket, lunch box, back pack, art work and any other loose item.  And then we are faced with that damn playground, again.  I can't very well carry all 4 of them past this obstacle, so we play for a few minutes.  Luckily, I have trained them that it is imperative we leave before the bell rings at 3pm for the "big kid's school" or else we will be trapped at school forever (which I don't think is far from the truth). 

3:00 pm - Saved by the bell.  We all walk to the car.  At this point, I am always sure we are the cutest little sight anyone has ever seen.  I am carrying the baby, while the other 3 mobile boys hold one another's hand.  Adorable, right!?  Then I load all 4 into their 4 carseats (well, Brock can buckle himself in, thank goodness).  Now what?  Is it nice out?  Then snack and the park.  Or ice cream at Foo's with Magra.  Or home to feed Mitch again.  Or the park with some friends.  Or a walk.  Is it not nice out?  Then I'm bummed.  Home it is, to take out every toy, in every room of the house. And heaven forbid I step one single foot in that kitchen without feeding all the kids and getting them a drink.  Remember those incessant questions from this morning?  Magnify them by 10 and add tired crankiness from a long day at school.  Let me just say, from 3pm until bedtime, there is A LOT of crying.  I repeat, A LOT of crying.  And some whining.  There is definitely some wrestling, tickling, tackling and laughter too.  But lots of crying.

5ish pm - Matt and I have the daily debate called "What's for dinner".  This ends up being anything from frozen pizza or fish stick's to carry out from the Blue Moose and anything in between.  The kid's don't even eat much.  They had too many snacks because I walked into the kitchen more than once. They are usually mad at whatever decision we make, anyway.  More crying.  Every so often, we get "the good food dance" from Brock...this makes the meal much more smooth and enjoyable.  George eats anything, our "Human garbage disposal". Mitch needs to be held through the whole meal. Always.

6-7:45pm - The SLOWEST two hours of the day.  I know, I know I should be so happy to spend this time with my children.  And I am.  But bedtime never comes soon enough. They are just nuts by this time of night.  Exhausted. Hyperactive. Adorable. You name it.  Some nights this is a great opportunity for bath time.  Sometimes an evening walk.  Sometimes a movie and popcorn.  Mostly, it's time to take all the pillows off the couch and create a "bouncy house" where inevitably somebody gets bounced on...more crying. Oh, and Mitch is eating, and requiring to be held the ENTIRE time.  Sometimes you can put him down for a moment while he takes a quick catnap.

7:45 pm - George gets changed, his jammies put on, teeth brushed, ZeeZee sequestered, and he is put to bed.  Goodnight George.

7:51 pm - The 3 minute bedtime resistance routine begins.  Brock has NEVER successfully postponed bedtime, but I'll give it to him, that kid has tenacity. Curtis, on the other hand, is waiting pitifully at the bottom of the stairs because he has suddenly gotten so very tired.  He loves bed.  They both trudge upstairs.  Then they get a second wind and want to play with all their bedroom toys.  NO.  We spend 10 minutes trying to get them into their pajamas.  We brush teeth, never a chore, they like this routine.  We read a book (after an argument as to who gets to pick it out, or complaint over the choice of read).  We give kisses, turn on the noise-maker, turn out the light.  And Brock's second 3 minute attempt at post-poning bedtime begins.  He either claims he did not get a "hug" or a "kiss" or an "I love you" (to which he did receive all three) or he says "quesion" and will yell my or his father's name until we finally come back in to answer the question.  During this entire process, one parent is caring for Mitch (usually me).

8:11 pm - Silence. 

8:12-11ish pm - Matt and I clean the kitchen.  Pick up some toys. Feed the dog.  Perhaps then watch a show or two.  Or he edits photos.  I generally just hold Mitch...he won't let me put him to bed just yet.  I wish I could reply to some emails. Finish addressing Mitch's announcements.  Blog.  Post, edit, print photos.  Read.  Eat something.  Then, finally, we decide Mitch is out enough to be put to bed.  Or I feed him again. Then we go to bed.

3:31 am - Mitch wakes up.  Matt changes his diaper.  I feed him in bed.

4:42 am - I wake up and realize Mitch and I fell asleep.  Do I leave him here or take him back?  50/50 chance I'll do either.

5:47 am - "Mommy!?"

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