Saturday, June 24, 2006


(Thanks to Lynn at Sprigs for the idea.)

5:15 a.m.
Ella (a.k.a. the human alarm clock) wakes me up.

5:16 a.m.
I start breastfeeding.

5:21 a.m.
I switch sides, think about how glad I am that I don’t have to make the two-hour, roundtrip commute today. Mark Cox’s poem The Angelfish pops into my head.

The Angelfish

Every day at five, the beautiful angelfish stops
at this corner of the tank. He is patient
and knows the bartender will come
with his salt shaker of food.

Every so often he glances around to see
if a certain female angelfish has come in.

He thinks about how if I stare at a woman long enough,
she will either blush or not and I will either blush
or not. It strikes him that fish don’t have much weather
to talk about and he wonders if I know my mouth
is opening and closing all the time.

Does he love her? Does she prefer another angelfish
in another section of the huge tank? Will he ever
be happier than this? The bartender sees him now
and smiles and puts his big face up to the glass.

Something dry, the angelfish says, something very dry.

~Mark Cox, from Leaning House Poetry Volume One: A Compact Disc Anthology

5:30 a.m.
Ella’s not going back to sleep so we play in bed for a while. She likes to wiggle herself between us horizontally so her head is in Tim’s back and her feet are a little too close to my face. This wakes Tim up and I let her. Why should I have all the fun?

6:20 a.m.
Diaper check. Ella’s got a bad case of diaper rash. After a change, we go downstairs to the kitchen. Give Tim a few more minutes of rest.

6:55 a.m.
Alex, or as Tim refers to him—Sir Sleep A Lot—wakes up. Yells, “I wanna get out” from his crib.

6:57 a.m.
Ella grabs the spoon as I feed her. Today she’s having yogurt. I try to tell her yogurt is not a finger food but she doesn’t believe me. We move on to toast. Mommy has yogurt.

Meanwhile, Alex sits in bed with Tim while he reads Curious George, a classic that’s terribly dated. If you haven’t read the story in a while, let me refresh your memory. George is a monkey taken from his African home to live with a man in a big yellow hat. (Hmmmm.) Later, there are illustrations of George smoking a pipe, and one in which the beloved protagonist is thrown in jail. How do you explain jail to a two-year old? I told him jail is like Time Out.

7:09 a.m.
Realize mother-in-law is coming over to help watch the kids today. We begin desperate attempt to clean kitchen, living room, and bathroom. The rest, I can live with.

7:24 a.m.
Out of apple and orange juices, I make Kool Aid for the first time in 20 years. I think to myself, does this mean I’m a Kool Aid mom? Too much to deal with before morning tea. I give my happy child fruit punch.

7:44 a.m.
Tim comes out of the bedroom to ask about Nicole Kidman’s upcoming nuptials. Random, but I play along. Apparently Nicole’s getting married in a Catholic church. Apparently, she had her 9 ½-year marriage to Tom Cruise annulled. Apparently, the length of time in the marriage is not a hindrance to annulment. Well, maybe Tom and Nicole never consummated.

7:52 a.m.
Alex likes to fold clothes. To him, it’s not a chore. Personally, I hate folding clothes—the cotton makes my hands dry. But it’s been fun watching him. I explain that shirts are like squares, which we fold into smaller squares. I demonstrate and he follows along. He folds squares into triangles, so proud of his crumpled effort. I’m proud, too. Refold shirt after he spots Wiggles dolls.

8:30 a.m.
Mother-in-law arrives and I feel my spirits take flight. Alex’s greets his “Nona” (Italian for grandmother) at the door.

Nona’s the best. Raised six kids and is in regular rotation to babysit any number of 14 grandkids in the family. Nona’s here on Fridays. I feel weird having someone else take care of my kids on my off day. But after I write out my to-do list, I appreciate the help. She understands because she’s been there.

8:40 a.m.
Tim takes off for work. Since Tim’s the owner/operator of his entrepreneurial venture, he spends Fridays prospecting for new business. This week, he has two promising leads we hope will shake out in his favor.

8:50 a.m.
To-Do List
*Grocery shop
*Clean office
*Help Tim with business marketing plan
*Clean kids’ room

8:52 a.m.
Find myself getting sucked into the Today Show. Phil Collins is the guest. Realize how lame Phil Collins is and resolve to get moving. Turn station to Good Morning America. Mary J. Blige sings her hit Family Affair. Okay, now I’m ready.

Also watch Ford truck commercial with latest American Idol winner, the one voted sexiest bachelor, I think. He’s singing the jingle. Wonder when this Cinderella will turn into a pumpkin and go away.

9:13 a.m.
Shower, brush teeth, curl hair. Make a mental list of poems I have in progress but haven’t completed:
*Being black
*Raising interracial kids
*My name
*My hometown
*The Boston Red Sox

Plan to get to favorite coffee shop this weekend and write.

9:26 a.m.
Get dressed. Notice that I’ve been much happier with the way my clothes are fitting. I think about movie trailer for Beauty Shop. (Paraphrasing.) Queen Latifah looks in the mirror and asks the young girl she’s with, “Does this outfit make my butt look big?” And the young girl says something like, “Yes, it does.” And Latifah answers, “Great. Thanks! That's what I wanted to hear.”

9:30 a.m.
Alex and I take off for the grocery store. Listen to Hoop-De-Do (The Wiggles) on my iPod.

Hoop-De-Do! Hoop-De-Do! I hear a polka and my troubles are through!

Think I’ll make it my theme song today.

10:47 a.m.
Back from store. I drop the orange juice container on the floor and it breaks. Orange mess everywhere. Ella stayed at home and took a nap. She wakes up when I return. How does she know I just got back?

11:10 a.m.
Lunch for Alex and Ella—Spaghetti O’s. Never thought I would feed my kids canned pasta products, but he gets it at day care so I relent. Besides, they like it.

I’m a Beef-a-roni fan.

11:27 a.m.
Realize I didn’t eat breakfast so I decide on an adult lunch: ham and cheese sandwich or leftover shrimp scampi pizza. I go for pizza and salad. Will have sandwich in an hour.

11:28 a.m.
Alex sits down with Nona to read Curious George.

11:40 a.m.
Call my parents in Virginia. We talk often. Today, Dad and I discuss recent terrorist news and political stuff. Mom says they’re going out for lunch this weekend, which makes me smile. I like to think that my parents still go out on dates.

12:06 p.m.
Go outside with kids and Nona. Take pictures. Watch Nona play baseball. Alex pretends he’s Jason Varitek from the Red Sox.

12:30 p.m.
Alex goes down for a nap.

12:31 p.m.
Must not get sucked into soap operas…getting weaker…must resist…must do to-do’s…

2:56 p.m.
Coming out of soap opera haze. Love The Young and the Restless and As the World Turns. Did manage to get laundry and office cleaning off my list.

3:04 p.m.
Meet postman at door. Ask him to mail my Netflix selection You and Me and Everyone We Know. Tim and I watched it last night. His comment “This is like Napoleon Dynamite without interesting characters.” I agreed.

Looking forward to watching the first season of Entourage. I haven’t seen the show yet, but I’m dying to use the phrase, “Let’s hug it out, bitch!” on Tim. Maybe after our next disagreement.

3:25 p.m.
Alex wakes up from nap; within 10 minutes Ella’s down. These kids are on total opposite schedules. Nona and Alex read Curious George.

4:05 p.m.
I realize that Nona will need to leave soon. Looks like rain outside. Sit down to start typing this journal entry. I think about me thinking about writing this blog post. Does that make sense? And what it is really? Is it a time map? A time budget where every moment is accounted for? As my friend, Joseph, would say, this is my life in increments.

Man, this is a lot of work! Documenting my day.

4:55 p.m.
Mother-in-law leaves as a torrential downpour begins. I still feel weird about the day, but thankful I had help. I think about what it must have been like raising six kids, eventually going back to work full time. It if were me, I would have spent most of my downtime crying in the bathroom.

5:07 p.m.
Alex and I read Curious George. Alex seems like he’s bouncing off the walls now that he’s had some rest. We talk about toning it down just a bit. Mommy’s tired and needs to think about dinner.

5:43 p.m.
Time to wake up Ella. Hope this afternoon nap doesn’t screw up her sleep pattern tonight.

6:05 p.m.
Time to start dinner. Take kids into the kitchen, lay out some pots and pans and let them have at it. I take out ingredients for Beef Stroganoff.

6:08 p.m.
Next door neighbor comes over to borrow ketchup. My first question: “do you need mustard, too?” Neighbor’s daughter is having a cookout and they’re out of the condiment. Wacky, cool neighbors.

6:50 p.m.
Tim returns home. Needs a few minutes before dinner to close out accounts for the day. Alex greets Tim. Says, “Daddy, I love you so, so much!” Tim reciprocates. Ella leans over from the high chair with a big, open-mouthed kiss. I think she slipped him the tongue! *smile*

7:05 p.m.
Dinner is served. Alex doesn’t want Beef Stroganoff. Won’t touch my green beans. I’m not surprised because he’s been a picky eater the last few weeks. Recently, things have been better so tonight I keep the trend going. I offer a peanut butter sandwich. Problem solved.

7:12 p.m.
Red Sox game delayed because of rain. 7:40 start.

7:30 p.m.
Tim takes Alex and Ella up for a bath. He’s a great father. I mean, he really pitches in. He cooks, he cleans, he changes diapers. He chops. He slices. He juliennes.

I do a 10-minute quick clean in the kitchen and living room.

7:43 p.m.
Red Sox game starts. Sox go for win #7. Wonder if Sox can win the World Series this year but quickly put thoughts of victory out of my mind. Don’t want to jinx our chances (as if I have anything to do with it).

7:50 p.m.
Alex and Ella play rambunctiously on the bed before we settle down to read Curious George. Really, I have other books but this is the one he wants to read. I’m hoping Ella chooses something else for a favorite book.

8:30 p.m.
Alex goes down for the night.

9 p.m.
Ella’s out. My official mommy duties are done for the evening. I picture myself punching a time clock.

Tim and I talk make plans for tomorrow: looking at energy-saving refrigerators, and a new bed for Alex. Tim comments that we’re right back where we started—in bed with our daughter.

The Sox are up 6-0. They’re on autopilot tonight. The Sox have been 6-0 since Gabe Kapler returned to the team. And Alex has been eating dinners over the last 6 nights. Coincidence or just good baseball?

9:27 p.m.
Kiss Tim goodnight. Start typing this post—looks like I’ll be awake long enough to see Al Gore on David Letterman’s The Late Show. Forgot to finish to-do list.

11:41 p.m.
Proof this post.

11:54 p.m.
Post this post.

I *heart* Al Gore.


deirdre said...

Thank God for Curious George! :) The favorites in my house (nieces and nephews) are "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" and "The Paperbag Princess". With voices and faces and wild arm gestures. Exhausting.

chiefbiscuit said...

Curious George was a favourite of my sons too - in the 80s. Have you heard of Jack Johnson's Curious George cd? (From the motion picture I think ... ) Whatever - Jack Johnson rocks. CG rocks. So do you! Loved reading about your day. What a lovely family you are.

January said...

Yes, I love Jack Johnson. I have "Never Know" on regular rotation on my iPod.

Thanks for reading such a long post. I still can't believe Alex read Curious George five times in one day!

Dani said...

Just to confirm: I'm raising four kids and I had to go back to work full time. Yes, I spent most of the first several months crying in bathrooms.

Lynn said...

You seem to do so much more than me in one day. Hmmm.

January said...

Dani--I don't know how you do it but I admire you so much. I can barely make it with two :)

Lynn--when I grow up, I want to be just like you!


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