Some days you have planned out so well for maximum productivity you almost want to pat yourself on the back. You’re going to drop the oldest child off at school, then take the youngest to childcare at your gym. But instead of working up a sweat, you’ll set up your labtop in the cafe and work on a project for the two hours allowed. Then a lunch at home plus some reading will lead to a lengthy nap for your son where you’ll get even more work done. Yes, you are a logistical genius.
So when your five year-old comes down the stairs in the morning and holds her stomach while declaring that she doesn’t want to eat anything for breakfast, you are sure you just haven’t offered the right food to get her going.
“No. Mommy, I don’t feel good.”
It is then that you start to feel a crack in your plan. But it’s only going to be temporary, you just have to give her the right motivation to go along with your schedule.
Dear Lord, it’s serious.
A temperature is taken with no high fever detected. You pace back and forth, wondering how you can convince her that she’ll likely feel better as soon as she sees her teacher and friends at school when…holy, that sound isn’t…no! Get to the toilet! The Toilet!!
But it’s too late. Her dinner from last night has made an appearance and she is not going to school.
So your schedule is a little off. No school or childcare at the gym and precious time is spent giving a bath and restoring your carpet to its natural off-white color and smell.
The solution is clear. The Little Mermaid is put into the DVD player, liquid is filled into containers and two children are placed on the couch along with a barf bag.
You go to the living room to set up your computer and start working. About ten productive minutes fly by when you hear your name being called over and over again in two increasingly distraught voices.
Upon entering the television room you catch your children’s conversation.
“It’s my bag to barf in! Mommy said so!”
Of all the toys and items in all your house you never expected them to fight over a barf bag. At least it’s an empty one.
You take your youngest child upstairs with you to play with his train table. About five minutes of productivity fly by when your son decides the trains don’t want to stay on the tracks but instead need to travel over your legs, up to your shoulders and then down onto your labtop. Which looks like fun. Which looks like it should be his toy in his lap.
And so the labtop gets put away and you get to play trains for an hour or so.
But this day is still salvageable. Because there is still the part of the day known as naptime where you can get work done.
And when naptime approaches you go through your son’s normal routine. Books, diaper change, and into bed. Except his legs start to buckle and his head starts to shake.
“What do you mean, no? It’s naptime.”
“No.” And he wiggles out of your arms down the stairs to where his sister is playing with her sticker book.
Try as you might, it seems the presence of his sister home from school is too much of a distraction to have naptime today. At all. Even an hour later. Even two hours, three crackers, four pages colored and five books later.
By the time your children are finally in bed for the night, you realize that you have gotten work done. It’s just the kind of work that’s measured more in books read and trains pushed and jello made than in words written.
So you feel accomplished. Sort of. And you hope that the doctor’s office in correct in assuming your daughter just has a twenty-four hour bug so that the next day you can be productive again. And maybe you can work in some book reading as well.