Some days in this life seem to go so smoothly. Others make me wish I’d stayed in bed until the sun came up 24 hours later. With a 21-month-old and a 2-month-old at my side, they are days of extremes.
A little while ago, when I was pregnant with Jasmin, I wrote a piece on what my ideal day would look like. Here’s another look at life in this way now that she is here. Take a read, it’s my dream day – versus the reality of 24 hours with Milin and Jasmin.
6.30am – 7am on dream day:
After an uninterrupted night’s sleep, I wake gradually to the sound of Milin playing happily in his cot. We go through our routine of getting dressed and brushing our teeth before he eats all his porridge while I read him some books. Once Milin is fed, changed, and entertaining himself with his Lego, Jasmin wakes for a feed. She has been asleep since 10pm, and greets me with a gummy smile.
6.30am – 7am on most days:
I’ve been up since 5am when Jasmin woke for a feed. As soon as she went back down, Milin woke up and wanted to play. Now. He doesn’t let me brush his teeth, doesn’t eat his porridge, and complains when I turn off CBeebies. When Jasmin wakes again, she is sick in my hair and on her clean clothes at about the same time as Milin’s suddenly intense need for cheese crackers.
10am on dream day:
If it’s one of the two days when Milin’s at nursery, Jasmin sleeps for much of the morning while I get some work done and file all my copy on deadline. If it’s not a nursery day, we head to playgroup. Milin plays contentedly with the toys, eats all his snack, I have a cup of tea, and Jasmin sleeps through the session in her buggy. I wonder why I ever worried about the logistics of getting out and about with two children.
10am on a less than perfect day:
On nursery days, Jasmin doesn’t sleep all morning, I get no work done, and I miss a deadline. I also don’t eat, don’t fold laundry and don’t prepare an afternoon activity for Milin – I’m too busy wiping baby sick off the carpet and the sofa and my clothes. On non-nursery days, getting out of the house to go to playgroup feels more challenging than completing a triathlon. After 30 minutes of negotiating with Milin to get dressed, put his shoes on, and sit in the buggy, I put Jasmin in it too. She is sick. A full change wakes her up, she demands a feed, Milin loses the plot because he’s now desperate to get to playgroup, and we arrive one hour late. The big kids steal Milin’s toys.
12.30pm on dream day:
After a well-balanced, home-made lunch, Milin drifts off to sleep while singing to himself in his cot. I feed Jasmin and put her down for a nap too. With both of my babies asleep, I wash my hair, have some lunch, and get the laundry done. I prepare an afternoon snack for Milin and spend the next hour reading the newspaper.
12.30pm in real life:
Milin refuses to eat anything but plain pasta, which I give him while seating him in front of Cbeebies. Jasmin wakes up while I’m trying to convince him to have more than three mouthfuls, so I feed her while feeding him. He tries to jump out of his high chair in protest. I put him down for his nap late because I’ve been feeding Jasmin, so he only sleeps for an hour instead of two. Jasmin is awake the whole time and I don’t get a chance to put away the laundry, have a shower, or eat anything with more nutritional value than cheese on toast.
3.30pm on dream day:
The sun shines, and we head off to the park. Jasmin dozes in her buggy, Milin impresses me with his ball skills, and I take a million cute photographs. When we get home, we make a crafty autumn leaf painting like the one I found on Pintrest. Jasmin wakes up and feeds while Milin reads books to himself and eats a bowl of fruit. Jasmin then lies on her play mat and watches Milin and I play with his train set. When Tony walks through the door, we all eat dinner together – which is a balanced meal featuring vegetables and protein as well as carbs.
3.30pm on a not-so-perfect day:
Milin kicks off his wellies on the way to the park and I don’t notice. We get there without one of them. This is after the double buggy gets stuck in the porch on the way out and Jasmin wakes up screaming while I try to untangle its metal frame from the door hinges. Milin refuses to leave the park and I bribe him with a packet of biscuits. At home, I get no time to hide in the kitchen and eat chocolate. Milin doesn’t eat dinner and his father comes home late.
7pm on dream day:
The children are asleep and Tony and I talk to each other about our respective days. We have a glass of wine each, a bit of chocolate, and I catch up on some reading. I go to bed after giving myself a face mask. The house, by the way, is spotless.
8pm on a not-so-dreamy day:
The children are still awake. By the time they are down and I’ve finished my work, it’s midnight. I never got round to doing the laundry.