My three-year-old daughter's bedtime routine is pretty standard: bath, pyjamas, brush teeth, story. And another story. And please mommy, just one more story?
After that, I tuck her under the covers and she whispers, right on cue, "Let's talk about our day."
"Well …" I begin. "We woke up, had breakfast, played, ate lunch, played some more, had dinner and went to bed."
"Tell me more!" she says, demanding details – in part, I suspect, so she can stay up a little later. I scan my xmind for anything significant and quickly realize … we didn't really DO anything today.
But I start rambling anyway. Maybe she'll doze off during my recap:
1) You woke up at 5:45 a.m. (roughly two hours before the sun), proclaiming, "Mommy, it's daytime!" I persuaded you to crawl into bed beside me and watch that episode of Dog With a Blog I downloaded on my phone in case of emergency. I dozed off for another 20 minutes until your baby sister woke up.
2) Breakfast was pretty standard. You ate half your toast while your baby sister threw fruit all over the floor. I had two cups of coffee and your crust.
3) I wrote my daily to-do list, knowing most of it would remain untouched. "Sweep floor" was written in bold, several times (See No. 2), and "Shower" was checked off, just to humour myself.
4) We watched shows called Super Why! and The Adventures of Napkin Man as the sun came up, then read and reread your sister's new favourite book, All Aboard the Ninky Nonk!, as I mentally added to my "Things I never thought I'd say" file.
5) We successfully folded a basket of clean laundry together before your sister treated the pile of clothes like a ball pit while I went to the bathroom. Of course, you weren't there to stop her because your new "thing" is watching Mommy go pee.
6) Daddy called from work and asked if anything was planned for dinner. Oh crap. "Can you pick up a pizza?"
7) All Aboard the Ninky Nonk! Poo explosion. Diaper change. Outfit change. Repeat.
8) We ate grilled cheese and broccoli for lunch but neither of us ate the broccoli. Your sister threw hers on the floor, naturally.
9) Swept floor.
10) Watched Mommy go pee.
11) Your little sister went down for a nap, officially launching "Play-with-toys-she-always-tries-to-eat" hour. Playdough, crayons, dollhouse, other small objects.
12) You wanted to watch Bob the Train, which is actually Thomas the Train, but you prefer to call him Bob, and I've stopped correcting you. You fell asleep so I tucked you into bed for a short nap.
13) I called Daddy to tell him I actually had TWO KIDS NAPPING AT ONCE, which, you may learn some day, is worthy of a medal.
14) I wanted to change the channel to a grown-up show but remembered that your sister threw the remote in the toilet earlier. Dog with a Blog, it is.
15) I tried to sit down and get some writing done, but as soon as I opened the laptop the phone rang, subsequently waking up your sister. Telemarketer. Because, obviously.
16) Poo explosion. Outfit change (for me). Ninky Nonk.
17) You woke up and we made a fort out of blankets, pillows and dining room chairs, followed by snack time and a meltdown because your sister had more cheesy puffs in her bowl.
18) The Ellen DeGeneres Show came on. We danced in the living room and I sobbed uncontrollably as she gave a $10,000 cheque to a good Samaritan.
19) Daddy came home with pizza and you only ate the cheese and toppings. I had a glass of wine and your crust. Your sister – well, you know where this is going.
20) Swept floor. Watched Mommy pee. Ninky Nonk. Poo explosion. (Seriously, it's that often.)
21) Daddy hosted bathtime while I cleaned up our fort. I crossed a couple more household things off my list. Thought about showering, but poured another glass of wine instead.
"And now, here we are," I say, wrapping up my bedtime yarn. "That's pretty much it."
This is our day – the adventures of raising a three-year-old and a one-year-old at stay-at-home-mom-ville. Some days we get out of our jammies and out of the house, and others we don't. Some days I get things done around here. Others I don't. I'll always wonder – did we eat enough vegetables or read enough books today? Did they learn anything new? Should we have done more?
It's difficult to explain when people ask, "So what did you do today?" Where do I begin? It's a work in progress, but I'm learning to embrace my unchecked to-do lists and crumb-covered floors. There's a part of me that goes to bed at night thinking, "We did it!" without really having done anything at all.
My daughter looks up at me with bright eyes, as if she'd just heard a magical fairy tale. For a moment, I'm confused.
"Can we do it all again tomorrow?" she asks excitedly.
"Yes," I say with a smile. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Tara Jeffrey lives in Sarnia, Ont.