Autonomous Source

March 12, 2005

A Day in the Life, part VI

It's been four months since I wrote a Day in the Life, so here's a new one. I write these mostly for myself to help me remember what things were like raising two toddlers. They're pretty narcissistic, so be forewarned. This is what happened yesterday. Previous days in the life can be found here: part I, part II, part III, part IV, and part V. (Use those links, and not the links from the links, if you know what I mean.)

6:30 I wake up. Mama has been up for 15 minutes already doing her yoga. Then she starts making breakfast. I better get moving or I risk getting a serious case of the guilts.

6:45 The kids are up, and Mama changes and dresses them while I have my shower. Funny how things work out sometimes.

7:15 We're eating breakfast. Mama made very nice biscuits, which we cut in two and lather with jam -- so Max and Talia have a nice soft surface from which to lick off the jam. They eventually get around to eating the biscuits.

7:40 Mama leaves to do some errands. The kids are still eating, and making quite a mess.

8:00 I put on Sway by the Blue Hawaiians for the breakfast clean-up period. It's nice, mellow surf music that fits the mood perfectly.

8:10 Well, it did, until the kids start fighting. Talia starts playing with the digger. But it's Max's digger (according to Max). Hell threatens to break loose. I pull out the top and start spinning it, and Talia forgets all about the digger and grabs the top, giggling.

8:15 Max is unhappy again, whining in that way toddlers seem to be programmed for. I give him the cloth to wipe the dinner table. Talia flips out and demands to wipe too.

8:20 The wiping has lost it's appeal. Max resumes whining. I think he's still a little sick from his cold, but his endless poor, poor me routine is getting pretty draining. To distract him (again) we give Musette her arthritis pill. She's getting pretty creaky in the legs so she's getting glucosamine sulfate pills twice a day. When she gets a pill, the kids get to give her a cookie, which is a brief break from the unbearable tedium and frustration that apparently makes up the rest of their lives.

8:30 Now Max is going absolutely bananas, walking backwards while crying, pushing Talia whenever she comes into range. Time to take them upstairs to brush their teeth, and perform one of their favourite shows, shaving and trimming my beard.

8:50 I get them in their coats in preparation for an exciting excursion in the car.

9:30 It's Kindermusik time! Mama has enrolled them in a music class held at a Loblaws in Aylmer. She usually takes them, but it falls to me to do it today, because of Mama's tasks. Funny how things work out sometimes. It's supposedly to help young children develop an appreciation for music, but it seems to me to be just a cruel torture for parents. Music is played, and the parents (well, mothers actually -- I'm the only father foolish enough to be tricked into attending) attempt to get their dependents to sing, dance or clap along. The kids pay little attention, of course, so you have the absurd spectacle of seven mothers sitting in a circle slowly standing up and stretching out like a tree -- each while holding their kid's hand to prevent him/her from running around and playing with the other kids. I have a powerful aversion to these types of organized activities -- I remain seated with my arms crossed if a 'wave' washes across the stands where I'm sitting -- so naturally this class makes me uncomfortable. Luckily I have two kids to manage, so I can arrange to have one that needs corraling during these episodes and don't have to participate too much.

10:30 It's over. Whew. We're at Loblaws, so I decide to do a bit of grocery shopping. It starts badly. They need a snack and I'm very thirsty for some reason (all that mumbly singing I did, I guess), so I buy an 'all-natural' root beer and some Smarties for the kids (don't tell Mama). Right away, I spill half the box of Smarties on the floor, then, minutes later, half the root beer spills after falling over in the shopping cart. (Why don't they come with drink holders?) But after that, I get my groove back and execute an efficient campaign to load up my cart with healthy food -- plus two Winnie-the-Pooh toothbrushes (C$3.69 each! Aargh!) and a box of generic Corn Pops.


I told them to smile.

It's just water in those cups, honest!Efficiency ends at the checkout, however. Only two cashiers are open, and they both have four absolutely loaded carts lined up in front of them. After cursing for a moment (under my breath, of course), I make a tactical error. I decide to use one of their 'self-serve' checkouts. Big mistake!

I mentioned my aversion to joining in to group activities. Accompanying this is a dislike of being told what to do -- especially if what I'm told is senseless and arbitrary. "Please place the item in the bag", the friendly woman's voice intones. "Please take the last item out of the bag." "Please enter the produce code." "Please select the type of produce." "Please scan the item again." "Please stand on one foot and pretend you're a tree." Slowly but surely, I become irritated. The produce help menus lack the codes for basic fruits. Green grapes? Clementines? "Please wait for the cashier." Oh, the one who's gabbing with her friend and aggressively ignoring me? Grrr.

11:40 We finally leave Loblaws, me in a grumpy mood and the kids kind of squirrely. More than an hour in there, fifteen minutes of it at the checkout. I play Audio by the Blue Man Group for the ride home. And now some old lady moving extremely slowly drives in front of me just as I'm leaving the parking lot. I need to make a left turn and the traffic light ahead is favourable -- but at her pace we'll never make it. I turn right instead, cursing (mostly under my breath), intending to take a shortcut I know of. Another mistake. Ahead some city workers have blocked the turn-off I need to take and narrowed Aylmer road to one lane. There's traffic; I have to make what I call an 'idiot or asshole' decision. (Excuse the language, but no other word works.) Am I an idiot (get into the lane that's not blocked and slowly move past the congestion point) or an asshole (go into the blocked lane that's mostly clear and cut off one of the idiots at the congestion point)? Well, I decided to be an idiot. But I wasn't as much of one as the guy in front of me, who kindly let numerous assholes cut him off while I fumed behind him. What is it with people who drive outside rush-hour?

11:55 Finally free, and after much backtracking we're on our way home. The kids conk out in the car. Not even the polyrhythmic sound of the Blue Man Group could keep them awake.

12:20 We're finally home. We need a quick lunch and then some nap time. I heat up a can of beans. Max takes the spoons to the table and hands one to Talia, who's already in her booster seat. She says, "Thank you, Max!"

12:30 They're eating their beans. Max eats well, but Talia uses her hands to put beans on the spoon. Mama calls with the message that she's going to be late. She's had to take her Father to the hospital for some tests and is now waiting in the emergency room.

12:50 Lunch is finished. Talia says, "I get down by self. I big, big girl!"

1:10 I stuff them into bed and heat up leftovers from supper yesterday for my lunch. Then some light cleaning, mild web surfing, and a cup of coffee. The kids aren't going to sleep, but they're not screaming either. They're just chatting away to each other, which is fine.

2:30 The chatting turns to demands for me. "Papa, wheh ah you? Paaaapaaaa!" I better go get them. I'm shocked to see that they're both naked from the waist down and have removed their (now poopy) diapers. Oh, I hope they haven't got poop all over everything...

Funny how things work out sometimes.

3:00 All cleaned up. After much sniffing of everything in their cribs, I determine that poop did not escape their diapers. They just took them off and put them aside. They've already done the 'just what is this poop stuff, anyways?' explorations months ago; I'm glad they didn't feel the need to repeat their research.

3:20 We head to the basement for some kidvid. I give them some generic Corn Pops in bowls as a snack. Mama calls from the hospital. They're still waiting and she's bored. I suggest the waiting rooms should have entertainment that could be an extra source of revenue. Maybe some pinball machines. Or how about a Dance Dance Revolution Machine? While I'm talking to her, the sounds of fighting are heard from the other room. I break it up by letting them speak to their mother on the phone. Max tells her, "Ta-ya pushed me!"

Later, Max plays a round of Lie on the cat with Samba. The old favourites never go out of style.

3:30 Blue's Clues is on! Unfortunately it's one with Joe. The show really jumped the shark when he replaced Steve. But I let them watch it anyway, I've got to start dinner. I set up my new toy in the kitchen so I can watch a video while I cook. I crave constant stimulation, just like some other people I know, so this will help keep me content while I perform the menial tasks. I'm still in a Blue Man mood, so I play their concert show The Complex.

Bruce's improvised Curried Chicken

6 trimmed and deboned chicken thighs
1 can tomatoes
1 onion, chopped fine
4 cloves minced garlic
ghee
3 tbsp Patak's Mild Curry Paste
Vegetables (I used carrots and sweet potato)
1 can black beans
1/2 cup thick yogurt

Sauté the onions in the ghee until soft. Add the garlic, the curry paste, then the chicken. Brown the outsides of the chicken at medium heat then add the can of tomatos. Mash up the tomatoes with a potato masher (or a tomato masher if you have one). Lower temperature and simmer for ten minutes. Add the vegetables, chopped into pieces sized for toddlers. Simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionaly. Add the beans in the last 10 minutes and mix in the yogurt right before serving. Serve over rice.

During this process I take a few trips to the basement to check on them, and they make a couple trips upstairs to check on me. But the hour is free of conflict and we all get to watch our shows. Mama calls and says she can't make dinner becuase she's got to take her father home.

5:00 Suppertime. They like it, but don't eat too much. They possibly had too many generic Corn Pops. I think it turned out great and have seconds. I wash it down with a St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout.

5:30 Dinner's done and I start to clean up. They're always much calmer after they've eaten, and are happily playing with each other. Talia starts making a train, and Max joins in.

6:00 I take them upstairs in preparation for bed. It's about this time of day that they get totally wound-up and commence running from room to room, turning lights on and off. Today is no exception.

6:30 Bathtime. Squeak is really taking a chance here. But somehow he manages to avoid being pulled into the tub.

7:00 Bedtime. I manage to use my camera's timer to stage a photo of us reading together happily before I put them in their cribs. But Talia still feels she has some running around that she wanted to finish today, so I let her go. Once she winds down (about ten minutes) it's time for bed. Goodnight Max! Goodnight Talia!

8:00 Mama gets home. I'm too tired to write, and Mama is pretty exhausted too, so we settle in and watch a couple of episodes of Buffy. We're on the 5th season now, and things are pretty interesting. How are they ever going to defeat Glory?

10:30 Bedtime. I have a lot of stuff to write up tomorrow.

Posted by Bruce Gottfred at March 12, 2005 01:18 PM | TrackBack
Comments

What a nice way way to spend afternnon...cup of tea and day in the life of Bruce....thanks...

Posted by: Andrew at March 13, 2005 01:24 PM

As a general rule, I avoid the self serve aisle unless I have roughly 10 or less items. If it's more than that I find the cashiers are more knowledgeable of scan codes and other problems. By the time you have to wait for help at your self serve aisle, you'll notice those 3 grocery carts full of stuff are through the aisle and will be left in front of your car when you get to the parking lot...

I bet if you got yourself another spill-proof cup, and join the twins, that spilt rootbeer and ensuing crying would be a thing of the past...

Talia is a grin-wielding she-devil ;-)

Posted by: René at March 14, 2005 12:17 PM

Since when have you started to go to the grocery story...in fact, since when have you started to cook for yourself Rene? Give me a break.

Posted by: Andrew at March 14, 2005 01:33 PM

You're very right. By the time I'd finished dusting the piano, cleaning up the dishes from your desayuno, almuerzo and then making cena for when you get home...I didn't have much time to cook for myself. Boy I miss those days. Atleast the wine was plentiful.

I gave you a break, one year, apparently you need my help again. The rates have gone up, notify Gregario and Elvira that things will be in (dis)order again.

Bruce appears to have some sous-chef like skills in him, perhaps we can offer him some sort of trial period as long as doesn't mind living in "Meat's room".

Posted by: Andrew's House Cleaner at March 14, 2005 01:56 PM

Cool. Let's hear it for Patak's!

Posted by: Smug Canadian at March 14, 2005 10:22 PM
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