Apr 6, 2012  •  In Aerin, Baby, Claire, Home, Motherhood, Personal

A Day in the Life… (Part Two)

Welcome to the second half of my “Day in the Life” with a 18-month-old and a 5-month-old. You can go here to read the first half. When we left off, the girls were both napping while I was enjoying some alone time…

1:45pm: Both girls wake up from their nap at the same time! (This is very unusual.) However, I must note that Aerin did not sleep the whole way through — she woke up a couple of times, but I could tell that she would be able to sleep more if I let her, so I just popped the pacifier back into her mouth, turned on the mobile, and left the room. And both times, she had fallen back asleep after a few minutes of fussing.

(I would also like to say that Claire’s nap usually lasts 1.5 hours. Everyone told me that when your child transitions from 2 to 1 nap per day, he/she will sleep 2.5-3 hours…yeah, that did NOT happen with us. She’s always been a crappy napper, so I can’t say that I didn’t expect it.)

When both girls wake up at the same time, I usually go tend to the one that is crying first. (If both are crying? I go to Claire first, because they say that you should always go to the older child first in cases like these.) This time, Aerin is full-on crying while Claire is just babbling, so I go to the littler one first. I change her diaper and lay her on the playmat while I go to Claire. I change Claire and bring her out to the playmat too. Aerin doesn’t seem that hungry yet, so I leave her on the mat so that she can continue playing with her feet while I start feeding Claire. She finishes half a bowl of the seaweed porridge and a third of the sweet potato.

2:00pm: I sit with Aerin on my lap, encouraging Claire while she plays with some toys. Claire has recently started to show an interest in wooden puzzles (and is starting to get pretty good at them!). We have received many as gifts since she was born, and this one makes the corresponding animal sound when the correct piece is placed into its hole. The sounds are pretty annoying and drive me and J bonkers, but Claire loves it.

2:30pm: Claire suddenly seems to realize that I’ve been holding Aerin this entire time. She makes a devastated face, and comes toward me with her arms out — obviously asking me to hold her instead. I can’t resist. I quickly put Aerin in the Bumbo and place Claire on my lap. I read to both girls. (And because I don’t want Aerin to feel left out, I hold her hand.)

2:45pm: Both girls are starting to get fussy. It is time for our daily walk. I try to go out with them at least once a day so that they can get some fresh air as well as a change of scenery. (This is why I hate rainy and/or extremely cold days.) I am a complete hermit who loves being home — I would be perfectly happy staying in for weeks at a time — so this is a big sacrifice for me. But my girls’ happiness is worth it…and besides, it’s good exercise.

When we go out and it’s just me at the helm, I usually strap Aerin to my chest and push Claire in the stroller. There is a small park a few blocks from our house, but it’s only some grass, benches, and a nice view of Manhattan — nothing too interesting to little kids unless there are lots of people out. (And with 2 little ones, it is difficult for me to physically play with them at this park by myself because it is right beside a busy street.) Since the weather is a bit chilly, I am guessing that there won’t be too many people out at the park so I decide to go to the pharmacy instead (8 blocks away) to pick up a new bottle of St Ives Apricot Scrub. Here is a shot I took of us from a poor reflection off an office building:

We leave Walgreens and although it’s a little cold, the air is crisp and fresh and the girls seem to be enjoying their time outside, so I decide to walk 10 blocks in the direction we came from, passing our street on the way, to our local Dunkin Donuts. I get my favorite drink of the moment — Vanilla Chai Latte — and hang out a bit, chatting with the cashier who knows us well.

On our way back home we pass a construction site and I point it out to Claire as I always do…it is an urban water park, slated to open this summer and only two blocks from our place!!

3:50pm: Our walk has lasted a little over an hour and it is now time for Aerin’s last nap of the day. I give Claire some diluted apple juice and hand her her new Ni Hao Kai-Lan sound book to keep her busy while I put her little sister down to sleep.

4:30pm: Aerin wakes up after only 30 minutes. Normally if this happens I will try to get her to sleep more, but I can see by her eyes that she is wide awake.

…..

The next two hours are pure pandemonium. Okay, so it isn’t that bad. But there is a reason I don’t have any pictures from this time period. I’m not sure what it is, but babies and toddlers always seem to hit their breaking points between the hours of 5 and 7pm (at least mine do). Both girls are fussy and whiny and DEMAND my attention. There are a few tears, but this is expected.

…..

6:30pm: Daddy is home!!!

6:40pm: After J is settled in, we discuss our “divide and conquer” plans for the girls’ nighttime routine. That night, J takes Claire and I get Aerin. I manage to get this shot of Claire, happily in her bubble bath (her new favorite word is “bubble!”), before going off to prepare Aerin’s bath:

6:50pm: Aerin is especially smiley during her bath. I notice that she’s really starting to resemble her father.

7:30pm: Both girls are bathed, fed, and sleeping!

J almost immediately goes back to work. (The only way that he is able to come home from work so early is because he finishes his work at home. Sometimes he’ll even work until 1 or 2 in the morning.) Since the office has an issue that needs to be taken care of asap, and because I am starving, we decide that it will be better if we eat separately that night. J will eat leftovers from the fridge when he gets a break from work, and I decide to have some jjambbong (Korean noodles and seafood in spicy sauce).

I eat my jjambbong straight from the pot. There is no need to add to the dishes when I am eating alone.

8:30pm: I load, and start the dishwasher. Remember when I said that I don’t trust the dishwasher to properly wash baby bottles? Well, my fatigue and lack of time won over. We use the Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket for our Dr. Brown bottles and it rocks. Almost the entire top rack of the dishwasher is filled with baby stuff, while the bottom rack — although you can’t tell from this picture — is only about half full. Claire and Aerin’s laundry is always quadruple the size of mine and J’s too. How do two tiny humans create so much work?

8:45pm: I take a bath. I manage to catch up on Draw Something while lying in the tub.

Once I am out of the bath, I finish up, and schedule my blog post for the next day. 

11:00pm: I unload the bottles from the dishwasher and place them on the bottle rack to dry. Although we love our Dr. Brown bottles, they are quite skinny so they do not dry properly in the dishwasher. (Don’t you love these pink Dr. Brown bottles? It’s a BRU-exclusive color.)

This is also when I tend to our home a bit: tidying up all the scattered toys, wiping down the table and countertops, sweep the floors (if needed), take out the garbage, and so forth. I also pre-prepare the girls’ bottles for the night and the next morning (two for Aerin and one for Claire) — filling the bottles with water, assembling the necessary pieces, and measuring out the powdered formula so that all we need to do is pour and mix and not have to worry about these things when we are at our sleepiest and klutziest.

Normally, I would also be preparing Claire’s meals for the next day at this time too. But my mother is supposed to come over the next day to help out, and she has offered to bring us some food, so I am in the clear for the night.

11:30pm: I kiss J goodnight and head to bed. I know that I should sleep, but I can’t resist…I watch the previous night’s episode of Mad Men (Betty got fat!).

12:15am: J comes to bed. We fall asleep sometime between 12:30 and 1:00am.

Aerin gets up twice that night, at around 2am and 5am. I take the first feeding while J gets the second. Our day starts all over at 7:30am, when Aerin wakes up for the day.

#  #  #

Although I had stated at the beginning of the Part 1 of this two-parter post that this was a “typical” day, it was not. This day was a very good one, meaning that it was a fairly easy one for me. I had actually been planning to write a “Day in the Life” post for a while now, but every time that I had started to plan one in the past, things got too hectic and I wasn’t able to continue taking pictures and/or jot down quick notes.

Do I have easier days than this? Yes. But they are rare, and typically my days are a bit more difficult than the one chronicled here.

Sometimes I am so exhausted that when Aerin is down for a nap, I turn on the TV and lie down, while holding Claire tightly (so she can’t cause mischief elsewhere) and take a 5-minute power nap. Sometimes, when both girls are screaming their lungs out, I just cry along with them. And sometimes, I call J at work and beg him to come back home.

But we do have our good days like the one recorded here. And even on the tough days, there are moments that make everything better, even if temporarily. (For instance, when I say “saranghae” — Korean for “I love you” — to Claire, she comes over and gives me a big hug. She only does this to a couple of people in her life, so I know that she knows it should be saved for those she cares about, and makes me feel all speshurr for being one of the privileged few. :-))

13 Responses to “A Day in the Life… (Part Two)”

  1. Mina:

    sounds like a full day for everyone. love that shot of claire reaching for her dad. and hooray for go-go-mah (i don’t know how to write the phonetic version of sweet potatoes)–such a good snack!

  2. Sounds like a very full day! I love seeing photos of Claire and Aerin together – they are so, so cute!

  3. I forgot if I mentioned this, but I did notice Claire looks more like you and Aerin looks more like J. Aerin’s smile is adorable!

    • It’s funny, because neither of us think that they look that much like us (and our own parents agree), but everyone agrees that Claire looks more Korean and Aerin more Chinese…so I think that’s where a lot of people seem to get the Claire=me Aerin=J comparison. :-)

  4. I showed this post to my husband and we agreed that if we’re ever in a similar situation he’d be the one to stay at home. I have no idea how you two have the energy and patience to do this day in and day out. That’s a true testament to the love of Christ in your lives.

  5. Austyn:

    Woah. Thank you for sharing your day with us Jenny. You are a busy lady, and J has his hands full too. You’re doing a great job. I am impressed.

  6. Kate:

    Wow. You do a lot. Why do they say to tend to the older child first? Thanks for doing these posts!

    • Supposedly, it’s because they are more likely to remember it — whether a few hours from that moment or years down the road. This, of course, does not mean that you should ignore your second child. It should only happen when both children are at about the same level of distress.

  7. Molly P:

    I give my kids such different foods and snacks. Yours look so good. That seaweed/rice porridge looks delicious to me- and so healthy. Do you ever do “spaghetti and meatball” kinds of dinners? I serve my kids the exact same meal I eat, but sometimes that does include kid classics….Lately, my 3 year old will eat ANYTHING (Pho soup, brussel sprouts, salad, fish, whatever) but my 20 month old has become so picky and sometimes only eats one item from the menu. I use the method of: I cook one dinner, they’ll eat if they’re hungry, but still its frustrating.

    Oh, and my kids have never napped that theoretical 3 hours. But I think it’s because they sleep 12 hours at night (7:30 to 7:30). So if an 18 month to 2 year old “should” sleep on average 12-14 hours a day, that puts you right on average. My nephew takes a 3 hr nap, but he only sleeps 9 hours at night. So the math makes sense.

  8. it seems like all your planning and strategizing really helps things go as smoothly as they can with 2 young kiddos. you truly have a mother’s heart! your relationship with your babes is really beautiful to see. but boy, i’m exhausted just reading about your day. i will be waiting at least another year before i even think about trying for a second child.

  9. Wendy:

    This might sound crazy to you but this post is actually encouraging to me, even though it is a good day and sounds completely exhausting! Thanks for telling it like it is…I can kinda imagine having 2 kiddos better. Could you do more posts on why having 2 kiddos are awesome (would love some more encouragment…hehe) and I also would like to know how you get dinner done with the both of them?

  10. Wendy:

    P.S. My kiddo gets crazy between 5-7pm. I’ve tried putting her to bed earlier, feeding her snacks but nothing has worked. It’s just a terrible time of the day and I don’t blame her. I’m exhausted by then too.

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