Monday, July 20, 2009

The Daily Do Do List

I always knew I wanted children or, at least, always assumed that I would have them. Up until the time when hubby and I started thinking and talking about starting a family, I wouldn't go so far as to say I romanticized parenthood, more that I just did not really think about the kind of skills and qualities I would need nor about the kinds of daily tasks that would be required of me. Yes, I knew it would be challenging, exhausting, and sometimes lonely. I even knew that I would likely experience some crises of identity and purpose. I didn't underestimate parenthood, I just did not know what my daily life as a mom would look like.

Here is just a glimpse of the things I did not know about before I was a mom to our boys Bub (3.5) and Little Bit (13 months) . . . some of the items that consistently pop up on my Daily Do Do List:

*Check every single piece of baby/preschooler clothing for stains before washing and end up having to stain treat almost every single piece (minus pajamas and bibs and non-fashion onesies).

*Give a bath almost every single night. In the winter we can sometimes skip, but each evening these days, Bub is some combination of dirty/stinky and Little Bit is covered with parts of his last meal.

*Clean bathtub every night before bath can begin as sand from the sandbox in our yard and the one at the park ends up in our tub to the extent that you would think we lived on the beach.

*Find the other shoe or the other sock. Stretch a 0-6 sock to fit one or three year old. Use 4T sock as knee high for baby.

*Match sippy cups with lids and inserts. Find all the components necessary to make a bottle.

*Keep two different kinds of cow's milk in stock at all times. Ditto fruit, chicken nuggets, and ketchup.

*Keep track of shifting fruit preferences. Right now, it's strawberries, grapes, raspberries, or blackberries for Bub; watermelon, blueberries, bananas, and sometimes strawberries/raspberries for Little Bit. I am constantly buying,washing, and cutting up fruit.

*Deal with abandoned and then rediscovered cups and bottles of curdled milk.

*Bend over to pick up toys and put in bins while wistfully thinking of the big toy purge/organization I have been meaning to initiate.

*Stack children's books or kick under Bub's bed so that no one slips on one in the middle of the night.

*Close doors. The one to the bathroom so Little Bit cannot get to his favorite spot in the whole world: Bub's kiddy potty, most loved when full. The one to the basement to keep LB from attempting to go down steps and to try to deter Bub from making a break for it.

*Put up gate between kitchen and family room. The main purpose is to keep Little Bit from playing with the garbage can (pinches fingers in the lid) or the recycling bin so I don't have to say things to my baby like, "Put that beer can down, Little Bit."

*Wipe off the high chair tray and remove stray bits of food from seat.

*Find the package of wipes.

*Find my car keys (not that tough because they resemble a custodian's set) and then place my leather key fob between my teeth so I can free up hands to do something else, such as . . .

*Put __________ into ziploc bags. Fill in the blank with baby wipes, goldfish crackers, or lidless bottles I don't want to spill in my purse.

*Do __________ with one hand while other is around baby on hip. Fill in with any of the above.

There's more on my daily do do list, of course. The daily do do list is long and many of its tasks are performed multiple times each day. I didn't make it to complain or to brag because plenty of moms do all this kind of stuff and way more to boot. I just felt like reflecting on some dimensions of my days that I would not have been able to envision twenty, ten, or even five years ago. I also left out all the good stuff I didn't really envision--wet kisses, grubby little hands reaching out for mine, laughter, games of hide and seek and peek a boo, clean and sweet boys in jammies, reading books together, getting hugged--because, blessedly that list is even longer.

What are some items on your daily do do list?


Anonymous said...

While not all of the mentioned items are on my own personal to-do list, many are and there are a few others that came to mind that I have noticed lately...flush the toilet, find a burp cloth that is not already coeverd in puke and then walk upstairs to grab a stack of them to bring downstairs. Undo the components of the bottles to be washed and try to fit as many as possible into the dishwasher. Add_____________ to the dipaer bag before walking out the door.
The other observation that amazes me is that I still write some of these things on my "to do list", as if I will forget to feed my baby so I must write wash bottles on a to do list?? L

Anonymous said...

I am endlessly folding the throw blankets in the family room and picking up the throw pillows and putting them back on the couch and chairs. Laundry, laundry, laundry...definitely underestimated that. Cleaning out the car. Cleaning out my purse and every other bag that I use to transport the "stuff" of motherhood. Defending the dog from boys who like to pretend that they are "bad guys" and they need to "get" the dog. Worry....about their happiness, health, future education, my ability to protect and provide for them. Love more deeply than I ever thought possible. Rita

Sue and Randy said...

I would give almost anything for some sort of disposable high chair and tray. Cleaning that nasty thing is my least favorite task! I look back just a few months and can't believe that 4 days a week I would prepare two kids for daycare (including bottles) and my pump for work--which was then my least favorite task. These days, no bottles, just diapers on one...yet where is the free time I thought I'd have by now?

SET said...

Recently - reassemble the foam puzzle books b/c I really need them for church, re-dry the sippy cups b/c for some reason the dish washer never gets them dry and I have tried stacking them wet (stinky mildewy disaster), gather sidewalk chalk into the container it came in the prevent water logged chalk in case of rain - some of the more random and recent

E... said...

Some of the ones that surprise me daily: put all the cushions back on the couch, sort all the plastic animals by size and ecosystem, match up pajama tops and bottoms, and track down little hairbows and bands, pick the toddler up, put the toddler down.

LAP said...

I could go one for hours about what I never realized about parenting, but as for daily tasks, here's what comes to mind: remind children to go potty, lift them, wipe them; negotiate daily attire and hairstyle; scan floor for choking hazards (Little Pet Shop is close to getting pitched); clear enough space on the kitchen table to eat (involves moving craft du jour); wipe spitup off myself, floor, couch, etc (wookie is a spitter); distribute bandaids (needed or not); field snack requests; oh how the list could go on...

msh said...

yes, the list is long, and i'm too tired right now to even think about it. but i do have a comment. i am so used to this list, that it seems normal. so when i found myself spending the night at our friend's house who do not yet have children, i was perplexed in the morning, when trying to feed my children breakfast, to discover that they did not have any fresh fruit (not even an apple!), milk, frozen pancakes or waffles, or even cereal in their refrigerator or pantry. there was wine, beer, fancy cheese, a bit of basil, and a box of crackers. did our refrigerator really used to look like that? i just needed some berries!

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