A Mom’s Life Before 9 AM

We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day.  A few years back (ok, maybe 25 or so) that’s what the Army proudly announced on their commercial, showing rugged paratroopers jumping from an airplane as the sun rises.  For some reason, that phrase always stuck in my head.  That catchy slogan didn’t ever inspire me to join the Army, but sometimes I wonder if maybe they borrowed that line from a mom.

I don’t jump from airplanes before breakfast (or after), but as a mom, I do perform all sorts of amazing maneuvers all day long.  So often a day goes by and I can’t hardly remember where it went.  All we did was eat breakfast, and it’s already 9 AM…where did the time go and why can’t I get anything done?  I didn’t sit on the couch all day, but why didn’t that laundry get folded?  Or just plain washed?

This morning I decided to take stock a little bit and document just where that time goes.

Today, my day started at 6:30 AM (not counting my sleep being disturbed 3 times by restless babies).  When I peel my eyes open, my first thought is that it looks like a beautiful blue sky day in the making.  With the windows open it feels refreshingly cool after last week’s horrid heat.  Then I notice that we apparently forgot to close the blinds last night.  I roll over and I’m completely blinded by the sun, which rises in line with our east bedroom window this time of year.  It sends a welding torch beam of sunlight directly into my retinas to greet me first thing in the morning.

I then realize I woke up because I hear the new kitten hungrily meowing, the chicks peeping downstairs, and the rustling of one of our kids up, no doubt holding the new kitten. I climb out of bed, over our almost three-year-old boy who likes to sleep next to me in the morning.  My less-than-graceful bed dismount wakes him up, so he starts crying.

One door over, my daughter comforts the noisy kitten, and tells me our baby is awake and wants to get picked up. My little boy then stumbles out of our bedroom into the hall, and rubbing his eyes, asks if he can hold the kitten.  I pick up our baby girl, and we all head downstairs.

The insistent kitten gets the first attention.  She (he?) showed up just yesterday evening at our house.  As our neighbors were moving their sheep into our newly fenced-off windbreak, they heard a loud screechy yowl that scared the sheep.  And there she was, a little kitten in the windbreak.  I couldn’t find the mother or the rest of the batch of kittens, so we decided to keep her.

Anyway, after a night in her new luxurious little bed of doll blankets and old towels, it is time to feed her again.  A few droppers of milk later, she is happy. That means our little human baby gets next priority, and I sit down and nurse her on the couch.  Meanwhile, I notice the sagging nighttime diaper on her older brother, and I give him a hand taking it off, and send him upstairs for some daytime underwear.

As I nurse my baby girl and my big girl snuggles the kitten to sleep, I see two chicks wandering into our dining room.  We’ve got six laying hen chicks that are just big enough now to be bored with their cardboard box near the kitchen, and they wandered in just to see if maybe we had some delicious bugs in need of consumption.  At this point, we decide that the little feathered girls are ready to graduate to the chicken house outside.

By the time I finish nursing our baby, the chicks left several presents on the floor and the kids began fighting over the kitten.  Time for breakfast!

I get my baby girl in a new diaper, give her high chair tray a wipe, and pop her in with a few Cheerios to tide her over while breakfast cooks.  My husband, Jarred, already mixed up the eggs and milk for French toast, so I slice up the leftover French bread while he hunts up a chick transfer box.  By the time I dip the bread in the batter and lay it on the lefse griddle to cook, we have half a dozen chicks in an old diaper box, chirping noisily and ready for transfer outside.

Dressed in his favorite uniform and ready to take off across the yard with a diaper box full of chicks. Little farmers are busy before breakfast.

Now clad in some underwear, our little boy is ready and willing to take on the chick hauling task before breakfast.  He hoists the box, and begins trekking across the yard to the chicken house.  After crossing the driveway, he decides the box is too heavy, so I haul it the rest of the way.  I hoped to just turn the chicks free in their fenced chicken yard to frolic (or whatever chicks do) on this beautiful morning, but a hole in the fence, roughly the size of, oh…maybe lets say a sheep, perhaps, makes the fence not quite ready for chicks just yet.  We take the chicks out of their carrying box and place them inside their new chicken house digs, with plans to spruce up the place with a little new bedding after breakfast.

Just about this time we realize that nobody flipped the French toast yet, so we head back to the house hoping that breakfast isn’t burned.  A few flurried minutes later, the table is set, and kids circle around like sharks ready to strike.  They settle into seats and begin some sort of kid bellering, obviously very hungry.  Jarred comments on the noise level, and I jokingly respond with a Moooo!!!” like a hungry cow waiting for some hay.  Of course the kids pick up on this, and all begin mooing.

Within a minute or so, they’ve all got fresh, hot French toast on their plates.  Next follows a flurry of frenzied requests:  Can I have more milk? More French toast, please!  Can you cut it?  I need more syrup.  Hey, stop that.  You already got syrup.  It’s my turn, and it’s almost gone.

I produce another bottle of syrup from on top of the fridge, and appreciative murmurs of Mom’s amazing powers follow. Then, in the middle of mouthfuls of French toast, they blast out a song from one of their favorite kid shows on PBS:  “Dinosaur traaaaaain….gonna riiiiiide…the dinosaur train.”

With the kids taken care of, I fill up my plate and eat a few warm pieces of French toast.  Right before I’m done, our baby girl makes it known that she’s had quite enough high chair time.  I take her out and wash the syrup out of her hands and hair.  The older kids put their plates in the sink, and wander off to play a little before chores.

Right about then is when our potty training almost three-year-old calls from the toy room, “Mom…I pooped…and I peed on the carpet, too.”  I come in and see the characteristic bow-legged walk of someone carrying a bit of a load in their pants.  Off to the bathroom to clean up the mess we go.  As we finish up the strike two on potty training for the morning, a tired baby girl wanders into the bathroom, fussing and dragging her blanket behind her.  Obviously, it’s time for a nap.

I send her brother upstairs for his second pair of underwear for the day, and get her a fresh diaper again.  I loudly announce that I’m putting the baby to bed, which often, but not always, eliminates other kids wandering into her bedroom looking for me just as she’s falling asleep.  Then I carry her upstairs and help her brother slip on his underwear.  At 8:45, I lay down with our baby to nurse her, and just before 9:00, after 15 whole minutes of quiet to ourselves, I tuck my sleeping baby in her crib and I head downstairs.

A napping baby: one of the simple joys of motherhood.

At 9 AM, there is a temporary quiet in the house and I take stock.  Four kids fed, two girls dressed, two boys semi-clothed in underwear, a baby girl napping.  Ahhh….success.  With those things completed, I can finally “start” my day.

Now, where to start?  The kids are getting antsy, there is an article to write due by noon, kids need direction on chore time, the house needs attention, the kitten needs another feeding, and the chickens need more feed and bedding.

I think I’ll be begin by making some some coffee.  This Momma’s gonna need it.

© 2012

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