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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Trouble with To-Do Lists

I'm beginning to think that the term "organized mom" is an oxymoron. And forget the search for Sasquatch, I'm need to find that other elusive mythic creature -- the working woman/wife/mother who has her life all together. Maybe we can arrange some kind of mommy/wife swap.

It's been one of those days.

It's 11:07 p.m., and I realize I've accomplished exactly one thing on my to-do list, and not for lack of trying. I had such high hopes for today, but that started falling apart before I'd even woken up.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke with a terrible headache. Allergies? Those two glasses of wine I had with dinner? Dry air? Stumbled to the bathroom, took a painkiller and stumbled back to bed. Sweated and tossed and turned like crazy for an hour or so, giving myself a killer charley horse in the process, then finally fell asleep only to be awoken at 7:30 by my husband startling out of bed to his alarm clock. (Let's just say that he's a sound sleeper and he literally jumps when the alarm starts ringing.) So much for sleeping in.

I snag a few more minutes of snooze time until my bladder can't take it any longer. Off to the bathroom -- where there's no toilet paper! -- and then to the kitchen for my morning coffee and my few minutes of solitude before the Lord of the Manor awakens. But before I can get my cup brewed, Jackson's shuffling into the living room, asking for juice and to watch Spider-Man.

The rest of the morning isn't bad as much as hectic. Jackson won't come out of his room to eat breakfast, so I decide we'll have a picnic in his room. He still refuses to eat, but he does down a dozen or more Tic Tacs that he somehow found while rummaging through a cabinet. Of course, that breakfast packed a whole 18 calories, more than he eats at many meals. Maybe Tic Tacs could be the new breakfast of champions. (Nah, not enough fiber, I later learn. Can you say constipation? No poopy diapers today.)

After we finish our breakfast and I've hidden the Tic Tacs, I try to lure Jackson downstairs so I can take my shower. I'm beginning to get that morning mommy funk. But the boy can't be lured, and I don't have the energy to fight with him, so I strip down and take a shower in his upstairs bathroom. Of course, I am interrupted and ordered out because I have temporarily moved some bath toys to clear a few inches to stand in the shower.

I follow the commander's orders and slip back into my funky pajamas until I can get downstairs to get dressed. When I do, I realize that the new T-shirt I want to wear is still in the car, along with my deodorant, which is in my gym bag. I throw something on that's not pajamas and dash to the car before anyone can see me and finally get dressed. My hair is a tangle and the house is a mess -- and becoming increasingly messier every minute we stay inside -- so I drag the boy and the dog outside to the front yard.

Of course, at this point, Jackson decides he's hungry, so I have to make him a monkey sandwich (that's peanut butter, for the uninitiated) with the crust trimmed. We take the sandwich outside, and while Jackson's snacking, I decide to tackle two things on my to-do list: gathering coupons for Harris Teeter's triple coupons promotion and loading my cash and cards into my new Vera Bradley wallet.

I'm clipping and snipping, sorting and organizing, multitasking like we mommies do. Jackson decides he's finished with his sandwich -- all three bites of it -- and wants to play with his sand and the waterhose. He turns the water on, and I dash over to shut it off before he can soak us both and the dog, who has run off because she's afraid of the water. Jackson turns his attention to my car -- the tires, in particular -- and comes away with black hands, which he smears all over his outfit. (Did I mention that we're going to lunch with Nana, so we have to look cute?)

He soon tires of that -- when we he develop that attention span that lets a man stare at a TV sporting event unblinking for three hours? -- and decides he wants his sandwich. The dog -- we've nicknamed her Swiper after the villianous fox on Dora the Explorer -- has long since snatched that sandwich out of the bowl while we were distracted with water, sand and tire grease. She's also apparently eaten the packet of silica gel that came in my new wallet.

"Enough," I say, not quite yelling so my neighbors don't report me to the ASPCA or Child Protective Services. I haul the brood inside -- Jackson with his blackened hands and McCoy with her silicon-implanted belly.

Should I take McCoy to the emergency vet, a visit that's sure to cost many, many dollar signs? That's what my husband would do, but my instincts are usually better. I dash to my computer and learn that silica gel isn't poisonous but it can cause diarrhea, vomiting or constipation. (Hey, maybe that's what Tic Tacs are made of?) I decide to watch the dog and take her to the vet if her symptons warrant it. I'm still not completely sure that she ate the silica gel. The packet could have miraculously torn itself asunder.

By this time, it's almost 11:30, and my mom will be here by noon. My hair has dried somewhat, it's hanging in my face and I don't have a bit of makeup on. I've got 30 minutes to go from beast to beauty, and I need to return a business phone call. (An afternoon research project beckons; so much for the laundry, cleaning and organizing I planned to do during naptime. Maybe Niecy Nash will show up on my doorstep to help.)

I leave Jackson in the hands of his "babysitters"(Thank God for the Wonder Pets!) and head to my bathroom to see what magic I can work in five minutes. I somehow managed to get my hair dried and coiffed, although my bangs are doing this weird flippy thing. But I'm still on the phone when my Mom arrives for our lunch date. As I'm grabbing a sippy cup to head out the door, I notice a colony of ants munching on a stray piece of kibble in the kitchen. I spray the suckers with the first toxic chemicals I can find, then realize that I need to wash the spot so the canine vaccuum cleaner doesn't decide to have a Raid chaser with her silica gel.

Lunch was fairly uneventful -- as uneventful as lunch with a picky, clumsy toddler can be. Some days, I'm thrilled when he insists on sitting with his mommy. But today, after being kicked in the side more times than I could count and having to retrieve lost napkins and other items dropped under the table, I'm wishing he'd chosen to snuggle with Nana.

By some miracle, Jackson falls asleep in the car on the way home from lunch, and he stays that way when Nana carries him inside to bed. I'm beginning to think the day is going to turn around...

But that was before the silica gel reappeared.

Without being too graphic, let's just say we found ourselves in deep doo-doo tonight.

McCoy has gone outside, on the carpet in our bedroom, on the hardwood floors in the living room, on the carpeted upstairs hallway, on the carpet in Jackson's room, on Jackson's comforter and on Jackson's blanket; and in a pile that Bruce (thankfully not me!) stepped in.

To be fair, my husband has handled most of the doo-doo cleanup. And I did get to do laundry after all tonight -- a soiled comforter and a soiled blanket. It just wasn't the pile of laundry I needed to do!

I hope the worst has passed -- for McCoy's sake and for my carpet's. However, I am contemplating sleeping in the garage tonight. My husband thinks it would be creul to make the dog sleep there since she's sick. But if I step in poop on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it's not going to be pretty. So, I may be camping out on the concrete tonight.

Given the bad days that others in my family have faced recently, I realize that my day wasn't even half-bad. But it's sure left me frazzled and feeling like I'm never going to wipe out that to-do list because I'm too busy with toddlers, ants and poop -- literal and figurative.

It's late now -- another day in fact -- and I have a to-do list to tackle.

Number one: Feed the dog Tic Tacs.

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