Last night was one of those nights, in which one thing happens after another and I felt stretched a little thin. It was not a bad night per se. But the mommy job did not end. After a long day, I usually relish the two to three hours after the kids go to bed and I get to relax and do something I want to do—read, watch TV, check email, paint, knit, play a game with my husband.
Yesterday, I woke up and hit the ground running; started the laundry made breakfast for the kids; kept the laundry going; went to the grocery store; did home school lessons with Alex; more laundry; made dinner and so forth.
Annie was really keyed up all day. She has been a bit of a velcro baby lately. All the traveling has left her insecure. She did not nap all day. I was beginning to wonder how she was still awake. But, while I made dinner at 5:30 p.m., I set her in her high chair with a snack. She began to fuss and in mid exclamation she fell asleep. I scooped her up and wiped her off and lay her in bed. We decided to picnic our dinner in the playroom, because Annie was sleeping in the room right next to the dining area and we did not want to wake her.
Alex had a really bad attitude all day. He was really waering on us. He was talking back and growling and hurting his sisters. In short, he was plain ornery. We got so tired of his short temper that every time he lost it we took ten minutes off his bedtime. He ended up going to be an hour earlier. It’s funny though. He managed to stretch out the bedtime routine to his regular bedtime. (He was perfect today, because we played tough love the day before. Daddy told him that we had given him too many second chances and that was going to change.)
The house was a disaster and the dinner dishes were not cleaned up. We decided we did not want to wake the baby with the clanging of dishes and pans. The dishes can always be done in the morning. As soon as we had all the kids in bed and we sat down to watch The Closer. But, Annie woke up. She has not been able to sleep well by herself for the past month while we have been traveling. She cries and cries for hours, and rocks herself back and forth if I do not sleep with her. I am sure she will get over this as soon as she settles in. I decided to lay on the sofa, cradle my baby and watch my TV show. Then I went to bed.
An hour after I went to bed, Andrew came running into the bedroom. “Renee, Renee, wake up. It’s an emergency! Where is Alex’s inhaler? He can’t breathe.” It was an asthma attack. I told him where it was, but I knew that was not going to work. So I came rushing to the cupboard to pull out the nebulizer and medicine. He really could not breath. I picked him up, sat him on my lap and put my hand on his chest and told him to calm down and breath in the medicine. He was very panicked. I could really feel with my hand on his chest that his lungs were straining and he was not getting much air. But after only a few breaths of medicine I could feel him relax a bit and by the end of the treatment, he was breathing normally again and went back to bed. It was a scary moment. Then I went back to Annie, who was crying.
Yesterday, was a long day of Mommy on-call. From the moment, I wake up in the morning until the kids go to bed are night, I am on-call. I usually get a few hours off in the evening and then the baby wakes up and I am hers for the rest of the night with all the nursing, tossing and turning that goes with it. Last night, I was simply on-duty non-stop, which I guess did not end until now when I sat down to work on this blog.
Parenthood is a very beautiful thing. It is full of hope and wonder. Parenthood is my legacy in this world. I would not do it if it were not rewarding, if there were not love to bind us, if it did not give me the finest sense of purpose and the feeling that my work brings good to the world. The last few notions is a very romantic vision of parenthood. But these are the thoughts I hold in my heart as I scrub the feces from the bathtub toys after this evening’s bathtime pooping incident. I guess for tonight and always, I am Mommy On-call.