Ever wonder how other parents handle (or try to handle) the day-to-day grind of raising young kids? We were, which is why we started this series to shed light on how real women do it–from wake-up to bedtime and everything in between.
So how does Adina Kay-Gross, mother of twin 2-year-old girls, writer, contributing editor at Kveller.com, and adjunct faculty at Stern College and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion do it? Here’s a day in her life:
6 a.m.: Maya bursts into song from her crib. It’s generally a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, though some mornings she mixes it up and goes with Twinkle Twinkle or the ABCs, which, as we know, is the same song. Avi, her twin sister, yells some form of Stop it Maya or Maya noooooo.
6:15 a.m.: Maya stops singing. Everything goes quiet. I try not breathe, praying they’ve gone back to sleep.
6:30 a.m.: Maya begins to yell MOMMYYYYY in earnest. There’s banging. A thud. A stuffed animal has likely been flung from the crib. I throw back covers and trudge to the bathroom while Jon, who is already showered and dressed, goes in to the girls’ room.
6:40 a.m.: I go in to the girls’ room. Jon has riled them up sufficiently and they are jumping in their cribs. They applaud when I walk in. I must admit, this is a nice perk of the job.
7:00 a.m.: Jon has hugged the girls goodbye and we are down in the kitchen. The girls have climbed into their highchairs. I have put on an Elmo DVD. We don’t have a TV set up yet (I know this is odd–we moved into our new house six months ago and we have nothing against television and we even paid for the fancy Verizon Fios and yet we haven’t hooked our TV up. We tell ourselves this is because we don’t want the girls watching it. But I cannot handle breakfast without Elmo and now, they can’t either). I pour coffee and make them oatmeal. I also fill little cups with blueberries and strawberries and hope someone will pick at them. The girls go zombie for 25 minutes, which is enough time for the caffeine to hit my bloodstream.
7:25 a.m.: Breakfast and the Elmo DVD are over. The girls begin throwing food on the floor. This makes me mad and I try to take deep breaths while simultaneously swatting at their cheeks with a wet wipe. I release them from their highchairs and wait to see if the dog will eat the berries so I don’t have to clean them up. Nope, she doesn’t like berries. I scramble to clean the floor while the girls jump on the couch in the family room. Then we all trudge back upstairs to get dressed.
8:00 a.m.: We are dressed. We have a half hour to kill before it’s time to leave for school/daycare/work. I consider putting the girls in the car and just driving around for the extra half hour because it’s easier that corralling them at home. Instead, I make them “help” me with the laundry. This involves Avi stringing my underwear around her neck and Maya biting Avi no less than two times on the same arm. Avi falls to the floor, hysterical. I scoop Maya up and decide she can sit in the car for a little bit while I tend to Avi. Maya is happy with this as long as she also has some cheerios. Fair enough.
8:25 a.m.: We are all in the car. Girls ask for music. I put on a CD and everyone sings happily for a few minutes. From the backseat, I hear Avi tell no one in particular, “I like Mommy.” I will replay this moment in my head throughout the day and I will forget that minutes before she was driving me bananas.
9:00 a.m.: Girls have been dropped off, and I am FREE!
(Just kidding. This is where I go to work–either teaching in Manhattan, or writing at home.)
4:00 p.m: I arrive at school to pick up the girls. Their class is outside, running amok in a field. Pick up is one of my favorite times of day. The girls come running at me like they haven’t seen me in a decade, and I generally get a good report from their teachers (except on a day when Maya bites like crazy which is approximately once a week). I have snacks ready in the car and on our drive home I attempt to learn about what they did that day but generally I wind up listening to them tell each other which snack or book or item in the car belongs to whom (ownership is a VERY big deal with twins). If the girls are in particularly good moods and have napped well, I might attempt an errand (harder than you’d think with two 2-year-olds. Or, just as hard as it sounds). On this particular day, there will be no such errand nor stop at a playground nor library trip. We are headed straight home based on the decibel of yelling in the car.
4:25 p.m.: We are home. Neither girl napped well at school, and so emotions are, um, fragile. That said, we manage to spend an hour in the backyard playing happily on the swing set until someone pushes someone and we need to change the venue.
5:00 p.m.: We are in the basement playroom. We have a half hour to kill until dinner. I have begun checking my phone incessantly, waiting to get a text from Jon about when he’ll be home. Friends doing the similar dinner rush text me funny messages which helps. These early evening hours are the hardest. The girls are tired but it’s not time for bed, our tub is out of commission, and we’ve been showering them and that’s not easy so I’m rationalizing skipping the shower…again. I realize in my Facebook escape I have missed a moment where Avi put a blob of playdough in her mouth. I put the phone down and retrieve the blob.
5:15 p.m.: Maya is losing it. I need to make dinner. The girls aren’t old enough to play by themselves, so they follow me back upstairs to the kitchen. I give them a few tasks to help keep them occupied while I reheat spaghetti from last night (they are “organizing” the Tupperware cabinet). Then, hands washed, girls in highchairs, dinner becomes a repeat of breakfast, except this time it’s avocado and grapes that hit the floor.
5:45 p.m.: Jon texts that he won’t be home in time for bath (shower). I consider pouring a glass of wine now, but decide instead to grab a handful of chocolate chips from the freezer. I throw plates in the sink, leave the avocado on the floor, and grab the girls to head upstairs.
6:15 p.m.: The girls have been showered and I have survived though someone got soap in her eyes and someone else had to make a poopy and did it on the shower floor. Easy clean up, you think? Not so much. I leave girls in their room (babygate locked at top of stairs) to go downstairs and get milk/bottles ready (they are 2, and still drink a nighttime bottle. Have no plans to change this right now, though I think I probably should). Girls climb on to step stools to watch for Daddy’s car.
6:30 p.m.: Girls are holding hands, drinking bottles. I fall in love with them again. Everything is quiet. I hear Jon enter the house downstairs. My body relaxes.
6:45 p.m.: Jon is upstairs with us; any semblance of calm that the bottles/bath/bed routine had offered has been destroyed, because girls are playing “Jump on daddy.” This game makes me smile wide, so I don’t care. I sit back and watch. I love my family/we are almost at bedtime.
7:00 p.m.: Time for books. Lately, they are less interested in us reading, and more interested in reading to us, which involves making up a lot of words and being particularly cute (currently favorites are Clarabella’s Teeth, a book about the solar system, and Where is Baby’s Dreidel, for the lift-the-flaps appeal).
7:20-7:30 p.m.: BEST CASE SCENARIO: Girls go into their cribs. A Broadway-Revue-worthy rendition of “C is for Cookie” begins until someone gets too tired and drops off. We head downstairs to the couch and listen to the singing, talk about our days and how tired we are, discuss dinner options, look at pictures of the girls on our iPhones, check email, watch an episode of something on our computers (see: no TV, above) and clutch our novels until we give in and fall asleep around 11 p.m.
(WORST CASE SCENARIO needs no explanation. You’ve been there.)