When my twins were 1 year old toddlers, our mornings were regularly quite, ehm, hectic. On the upside: my learning curve was not so much a curve as it was a 75 % incline. Here’s how I learnt nine valuable lessons in one morning, before 9 am.
3.10 am: Mosquito in the bedroom. Got stung in five different places: eyelid, upper lip, right pinky, left arm and big toe. Toddler 1 starts bawling. Reach for the pacifier in the dark. Pacifier turns out to be firmly in mouth. Bummer. Attempt to console toddler.
3.21 am: Toddler 1 takes bawling to the next level. Toddler 2 starts crying along from the other room. Ignore. Dad gets up to fix a bottle (not for himself).
3.35 am: Toddler 1 refuses bottle. Instead she sits in bed, wide awake, giggling.says “mommy” for the first time. Seven times in a row. Wake up dad to share momentous occasion. Toddler beams with pride and calls dad mommy. Dad attempts to get toddler to say ‘daddy’.
3.47am: Put toddler back in bed. Fail. Toddler wedged in-between mommy and daddy. Success. Lessons 1 and 2: buy mosquito nets and stop teaching toddlers new words at half past ohmygod.
4 am: Sleep with one eye open to make sure toddler is not suffocated by our duvet.
5.55 am: Toddler 2 is awake.
6.02 am: Surround sleeping toddler 1 with pillows to minimise rolling-out-of-bed-scenario. Take toddler 2 downstairs to fix a bottle, while dad jumps in shower.
6.03 am: Cat has barfed on the wooden floor. On the to-do list for later.
6.05 am: Toddler 2 drinks from bottle.
6.06 am: Toddler 1 wakes up. Toddler 2 in play pen while collecting toddler 1. Cries so hard the windows contemplate shattering collectively.
6.15 am: Bottle-feeding both toddlers simultaneously while toddler 1 attempts a break for the TV’s remote control and toddler 2 has a go at walking. Grab both by their respective scruffs, position toddler 1 between legs while toddler 2 resumes drinking, standing up. Lesson 3: Simultaneous bottle-feeding is no longer a timesaver.
6.30 am: Each toddler in own play pen. Shower and get dressed while dad keeps eye on toddlers 1 and 2.
6.44 am: Change diapers on toddler 1 and 2. Carefully placing two diapers filled to brim on floor while singing hilarious improv songs to prevent 1 and 2 taking off with said diapers. Clean up toddlers with wet wipes. Run upstairs for two clean onesies, having disposed of the diapers carefully, while kids are playing sweetly on the rug.
7.02 am: Make it downstairs. Forgot to clean up cat vomit! Luckily kids have not spotted the vomit and are still playing on the rug.
7.03 am: Dressing toddler 1 and 2.
7.10 am: Dad heads off to work, we wave and say goodbye.
7.12 am: Rinse and clean bottles while toddlers return to playing. Scratch ‘clean up cat barf' from to-do list - cat has beaten me to it.
7.14 am: Toddlers manage to pull out all wet wipes from box and shredded a clean diaper. New item for to-do list.
7.15 am: Toddlers in their seats. Feed them bits of bread. Bread is drooled on and exchanged among toddler 1 and 2 then thrown on floor. Cats eat the bread from the floor.
7.16 am: Forgot to feed cats! Fill their bowls with cat food.
7.18 am: Kids have pulled off their socks, exchanged them and start sucking them like lollypops.
7.20 am: Manage to put dry socks on both kids - and shoes to stop them pulling off their socks again.
7.27 am: Turn on Babybum channel so I can have breakfast while toddler 1 and 2 devour two cookies and watch youtube channel. Lesson 4: buy healthier cookies.
7.48 am: Let both toddlers crawl around while I run upstairs to collect cuddly toys and pacifiers and put the lot in a bag.
7.49 am: Come downstairs. Toddler 1 is covered in something gooey. Cat vomit? Nope..gross: toddler poo.
7.50 am: Find out that a small pile of poo was left on the floor where I had carefully placed the changed diapers. Toddler 1 crawled through it, creating a veritable trail of poo through the whole living room. Les 5: set priorities: change diapers first thing in the morning from now on.
7.51 am: Put toddler 1 in play pen. Climbs out. Hand her the remote control as a toy. Lesson: buy toys that fascinate as much as the remote.
7.52 am: Change poo-covered toddler 1. Remove poo from suede shows with wet wipes and put them back on. Attract, and keep, toddler 1’s attention to avoid her crawling back through trail of poo. Lesson 7: do not buy suede shoes again.
8.05 am: Clean up poo, wet wipes, shredded diaper, bread crumbs and bits of cookie and mop the floor.
8.12 am: Toddler 1 turns bowl of cat food upside down and proceeds to eat bits of it. Toddler 2 has fun with a bottle of abrasive cleaner. Lesson 8: put biggest child lock on kitchen cabinet.
8.30 am: Put both toddlers in stroller, fresh as daisies, except the shoes that still faintly smell of poo.
8.35 am: En route to day care. Forget bag with pacifiers, cuddly toys and sleeping bags. Turn around.
8.50 am: Deliver toddlers and bag at day care.
9.07 am: Back home. Still smells of vomit and poo. Mop again. Make coffee. Eat remaining cookies.
9.15 am: Start my work day. Lesson 9: buy stronger coffee.
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Janneke is the face behind My Little Dutch Diary. She's a writer and a mother of twins.