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The Grind

Both boys awake at 5:45 am. Why.

While I nurse him in the dark, the sound machine whooooooooshing, the baby coos at me like isn’t this the best? And I guess maybe for him it is.

Coffee.

I manage to get everyone out the door on time for Stroller Strides, double stroller shoved in the back of my C-RV (it barely fits), and a bag of snacks packed for my 4-year-old who insists he will not need any toys to play with during class.

I wind my way though morning traffic and just as I am about to get on the highway, my husband calls. The Nest camera has alerted him that the dogs have breached the baby gate and are eating cat food. What a time to be alive. I take a sharp right and head back to the house.

At the park, I unload and reload children plus gear in 347 easy steps. Work out, more for the endorphins than whatever it could possibly do for my abs, which appear to still be on their pregnancy-induced hiatus. My children behave perfectly for this one hour and I think maybe the Monday morning Gods are smiling down on me.

The baby fusses and I nurse him sitting cross-legged in the middle of an open field. If someone sees my nipple, I honestly don’t care. Not because #breastisbest or whatever, I just don’t care.

We go to to the coffee shop and while I wait in line, the 4-year-old runs up to the front to check out the donut selection, runs back to me, runs back to the donuts, repeat until we are at the front of the line and he very politely tells the barista “thank you” for his pink sprinkled donut and for that tiny second I think I am obviously doing this motherhood thing right. I guzzle a latte while the baby sits in my lap and tries to dump it on himself.

At the playground, the 4-year-old goes up and down the slide, up and down the slide. The baby starts fussing again, ready for a nap. We walk back around the lake, back to the car. Repeat the unload and reload process in reverse.

Drive home.

Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the oldest. Baby in crib. Shower. Turkey burger. Baby awake. Feed, diaper. Load everyone into the car and drive to the public library.

I put the four-year-old in charge of the library bag and he lets everyone we pass in the parking lot know. His need to talk to strangers is new and puzzling. Sometimes he won’t even greet his grandparents (who he sees on a regular basis), but he has no trouble talking to randos. I make a mental note to Google “stranger danger.”

Inside, I renew our cards and pay $15 in fines (I obviously do not have my life together). We select books arbitrarily and after I pull Curious George Goes to the Zoo off the shelf, the 4-year-old runs to show a random dad in the children’s section the book. “I like rhinos!!!” he announces, with the enthusiasm only a preschooler could muster.

Home. Feed and diaper baby, put him down. Read books. Start dinner. Baby awake. Feed him pureed avocado mixed with breast milk.

(I feel compelled to mention that the avocado puree is homemade but not organic; a few weeks ago I spent an afternoon puree-ing various fruits and vegetables, spooning them into a silicone ice cube tray and freezing them, per the instructions in The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book.)

Tacos for me and the preschooler, served family style to empower him to make his own Healthy Choices. He wants to only eat shredded cheddar cheese but after much discussion, adds a few forkfuls of taco meat and a tortilla to his plate.

At 6 pm I put the baby to bed: overnight diaper, Owlet monitor, organic cotton pajamas. Lights out. Nurse. Sleepsack. Sing my standard three lullabies while he looks up at me with a gummy smile and giggles. Sound machine. Close the door. One down, one to go.

Tidy kitchen. Help 4-year-old put away toys in the living room.

Upstairs. Pick up 5 million Legos while making possibly empty threats about the cleaning ladies sucking up the Legos with the vacuum tomorrow if they aren’t put away. Works every time.

Tidy the playroom. Potty, teeth, and books (we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; my sympathies lie with the mom who has to listen to her kid complain incessantly). Two down. It’s now 8 pm.

Husband home. Have a snack, because breastfeeding. Shower (again), wonder why I didn’t just wash my hair earlier. Journal. Read. Pass out and hope I don’t get woken up until 6 am (never gonna happen).