129. An Ordinary Day.


After a few days of complete chaos, I said to myself enough is enough. I need some kind of order, a predictable timetable. I need to know if it’s morning or night. When will I find the time to think and plan? I am either looking after the baby or in a lethargic stupor until the next wail, which is two seconds away. If a plan is miraculously in place, will I be able to follow it? “Stop!” I chide myself- I must have a positive attitude. I am determined. I am going to make a timetable today. I just fed Marc. I march over to where Sam is lounging in the family room and hand him the baby.
“Look after him. I have something very important to do.”

First I make myself a cup of tea, my personal panacea for any stressful situation. Then I sit in front of my desk. I take a sip of the fragrant tea and my brain starts functioning. I am going to put all the information I have gathered to good use. I get a sheet of paper and starts:

5 a.m. Baby wakes up; feed baby, burp him and change diaper.

6 a.m. Naptime.

8 a.m. Baby wakes up; feed baby, burp him and change diaper.

9 a.m. Playtime.

10 a.m. Naptime.

11 a.m. Baby wakes up; feed baby, burp him and change diaper.

12 a.m. Playtime.

1 p.m. Feed baby; burp him and change diaper.

1:30 p.m. Naptime.

Make lunch, eat, cleanup and rest.

3 p.m. Baby wakes up; feed him, burp him and change diaper.

4 p.m. Playtime,

5 p.m. Bath time.

6.p.m. Playtime with Sam (father and child bonding).

7 p.m. Feed baby and burp him.

8 p.m. Put baby to bed for the night.

I stop and admire my impeccable timetable. I hear Marc fussing and Sam pokes his head in the room: “Are you done? Marc is hungry.”

I look up. They both have the same flustered expression. It is so comical.

The neatly written timetable is taped to the wall in Marc’s room. It’s 5 a.m. Marc is crying. Day one to implement the timetable! I check the list. Marc just woke up so he’s hungry. I pick him up from the crib. He stops crying.

“You’re such a good boy!” I coo. I feed him and change his diaper, then put him down for his nap. What an angel! He is already sleeping and looks like a sweet cherub. It’s still early; I am going back to bed. My head barely touches the pillow, I hear Marc cry. I open one eye. He is supposed to take a nap for another hour and a half. That’s what my list says. Let me wait a bit, he’ll go back to sleep. A few minutes pass, the crying is turning to downright screaming. I have to see what is wrong. I pick him up, he is fussy but the wailing stopped. He’s probably thirsty. I give him some water. He sucks for a few seconds then spits everything out and starts crying again. I check his diaper. It’s dry. He can’t be hungry. He just ate. It is too soon. The crying continues. I pace the floor, sit in the rocking chair, nothing works. I decide to feed him. He sucks greedily. He was hungry! That was not in the timetable. I’ll make an exception. It is after all the first day. He’ll take a longer nap and we’ll be back on track.

“Now, IT IS TIME FOR YOUR NAP. There you go in your crib. Have a nice nap.”

I tiptoe out of the room. I stop and listen; no noise. I wait for a few seconds; still no noise. He is sleeping at last. I on the other hand, am wide-awake. I probably should do the housework and get it out of the way. I pick up the hamper. It’s heavy! It is incredible that such a small person can generate so much laundry. I reach the washing machine, open the lid… I hear a noise coming from the baby monitor. I stop, hold my breath and listen… silence. False alarm! I sort the laundry and start the machine. I am humming gently. Another noise comes from the baby monitor. This time the noise intensifies, turns into a cry and then into a loud wail. He’s awake. I look at the clock. Only ten minutes has passed since I was last in his room. He is supposed to take a nap for at least an hour. I rush to his room. His face is red. His eyes are squeezed tight and tears are streaming down his cheeks. I pick him up. He stops crying. I walk around the room and gently stroke his back in a circular movement. After a few minutes I put him down in the crib. The crying starts again. I simply can’t let him cry. So I pick him up again. He is wide awake and looking around curiously. Let’s have the playtime now. I check the list, it should be at 9 a.m. and it is only 8 a.m. I have to be flexible. I pencil down the change on the timetable. From now on playtime will be at 8 a.m. This is a rough draft; I’ll have to adjust it a bit. This is by far the most enjoyable time of the day. Every expression on his face, every movement of his arms and legs, every wave of his hands are sources of fascination for me. After a full hour of dancing, singing and playing, I think he is ready for his nap. I put him in his crib, tiptoe out of the room and breathlessly wait outside the door. I hear a few sniffling noise and then silence. I let out a deep breath. He is finally asleep. The laundry can wait. I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes. The sniffling noise coming from the baby monitor wakes me up. He can’t be awake yet; I open my eyes and look at the time. It’s 12 p.m. we both have been asleep for three hours!

Because of my impromptu nap, the house chores were left for later. And now is later. I put Marc in his carrier seat. He has a look of perpetual curiosity. In his very intelligent brain, he is storing all the images and sounds around him. I pick up the carrier seat and we first go to the laundry room to sort out his clothes. I place the carrier seat on the counter and explain to him the intricate details of separating the whites from the colors, the cottons from the delicates. He gurgles and waves his arms and legs. He definitely understands what I am telling him. Next stop: the family room. Lesson number two is about tidying the room. I place him securely on the sofa and explain that a clean and neat room is a comfortable and soothing place. He waves his arms. He’s agreeing with me. Now the kitchen! But I am pushing my luck. He has had enough of housework for one day and so have I for that matter. He fusses in his seat. I pick him up. We waltz to his room to check the list. I pencil in the new changes. I notice that at this rate, I’ll have to rewrite the whole page. We glide out of the room, the telephone rings.

“It’s Daddy! He wants to talk to you.” I his phone near his tiny ear and watch his expression. He is listening attentively. It’s as if he recognizes his father’s voice. I move the phone and place it near my ear.

“Hi, Sam!” I say cheerfully. “We’re fine. Yes we’ll wait for you for his bath. Don’t be late.” I hang up and turn to Marc and say, “now let’s change your dirty diaper so you’ll be clean and dry.”

This time the sequence is somewhat reversed. First I change his diaper and then feed him. He’s ready for a nap. I check the time and realize that I should start preparing dinner. I stop for a moment. Did I have lunch or even breakfast? I don’t think so. I don’t remember. Well for now, let me concentrate on dinner. Soon after, Sam returns home. He tiptoes into Marc’s room and stands by the crib and watches him sleep. We sit down to eat. I raise my fork. I hear Marc’s cry coming from the baby monitor. We both spring up and rush to his room. He is of course hungry. Our dinner is on hold. I go through the routine one more time. I am really getting good at it by now, very efficient. Sam is impressed. It’s a small achievement I suppose. Who am I kidding? IT IS A BIG ONE.

Marc is now perched on the dinette table snuggly strapped in his carrier seat. Although he had stayed quietly in his chair earlier in the day, he is now fussing. I guess what works in the morning doesn’t work in the afternoon. So we end up eating in turn. I hold the baby until Sam finishes his dinner. Then he takes him and I gulp down a few mouthfuls. That is not what I imagined our tete-a-tete dinner to be like.

Bath time is such fun! It is the most relaxing moment of the day. Marc is waving his arms and kicking his legs. He loves the water. Sam and I are drenched. I can’t stop laughing. The happiest of all is of course the yellow rubber ducky. Marc is clean and sweetly smelling of baby powder. It’s bedtime. We sing to him: “Good night, sweet dreams.” He falls asleep. I glance at the timetable. It is a mess. I’ll rewrite it tomorrow and incorporate the changes I made today. I am determined-tomorrow I’ll stick to it faithfully. Today was the trial run. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’ll have an early night.

It’s 5 a.m. I wake up with a start. Marc is crying. HERE WE GO AGAIN!


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2 thoughts on “129. An Ordinary Day.

  1. Wow. I’m exhausted for you! I will be honest. I scrolled past the picture on the reader and thought, instantly, of Bruno Kirby saying, “Baby Fishmouth.” (From When Harry Met Sally…)

    You totally hooked me once you started writing down the schedule…

    Thanks. Now I am ready for bedtime. Cheers!


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