I hear my name. It’s early and I shudder.
I look at the clock and instantly regret the decision to stay up late writing.
The yells get louder as I scramble to haul on a top.
(See, whenever I rush into his room topless, I have to field about 800 questions about boobies, which inevitably lead to another 800 questions about vaginas, which inevitably leads to a three year old telling me that penises are “just better than vaginas” and it’s way too early for that noise, so I grab a top I used to actually wear out of the house back in 2005 and I smirk at the things this old rag has borne witness to.)
My summon gets so loud I fear the baby will wake and I burst into his room where I’m greeted with a smile and an exclamation that “IT’S A NICE OUT TODAY” and he suggests we go downstairs because Mr. Elephant wants peanuts “and I want milk.”
We tip-toe past the baby’s door because these morning moments are stolen ones and if we wake the sleeping guard then the gig is up and chaos is sure to ensue.
So we creep down the stairs and flop on the couch. We snuggle and we talk about how sweet it was to see each other in our dreams last night. We giggle and imagine our dog being able to talk and join in on our conversations and then eventually I get up to make a coffee and put the dishes away and he empties a bin of motorbikes onto the (all black) playmats that lay where a rug and coffee table lived once upon a time.
We chill amidst the silence – separately but together – and although I look around and see remnants of sporting equipment and toy cars strewn across the house, I know for sure that (for better or worse) this child is all his mother.
I hear a small voice from the living room say, “Can you make me french toast please, Mommy?” and I acquiesce immediately. Making food for him gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment that I would have never imagined could stem from something as dumb as making food for someone, and yet, here we are.
I think of how much I love him and it temporarily sets my face on fire and makes my ears ring.
Ah, finally. The coffee’s brewed. I say a silent prayer *THANK GOD FOR COFFEE* and I pour it in the biggest mug I can find. Honey in. Cream in. Stir.
Before it makes it to my lips I hear a noise from upstairs.
Baby’s up. It’s go time.
I look over at the 3ft-tall stringbean on the couch and smile and say “Did you hear that? Guess who’s awake!”
He looks at me, thoroughly annoyed already and declares that he doesn’t like his brother. “And I don’t like my toys or my house or my dog NEITHER.”
I remind him that we’re a family and we love each other.
I love him and his brother and our house and the dog and I even love his toys and now I’m going to go get his brother and we’re going to have a great morning together because he was right and it IS nice outside and after we finish our French Toast we’re going to get out there and enjoy it.
On the way up the stairs, I envision the 800 toddler-vs-baby-fights I’m going to have to referee today and I secretly wish I could teleport to Mykonos where all my childless friends have been relaxing in the sun all summer.
I open the nursery door and I’m greeted with the loudest “HI!” that’s ever come out of a one-year-old. I scoop him up and relish in the fact that this baby gives the best fucking hugs ever. He is freakishly strong and he koalas like he means it.
We get downstairs and I set him in his highchair and hand him a bottle.
His big brother laments the fact that he can’t have bottles anymore. With each sip the baby takes, he gets more and more upset until it bubbles over and before I know it, a full blown tantrum has ensued on the kitchen floor and I haven’t even finished whisking the eggs, milk and cinnamon together.
My jaw tenses and I step over him as I remind him that bottles are for babies and that he’s welcome to have a cup of milk. “Our teeth are really important things and we have to make sure we take care of them… Excuse me please, I need to get the bread to finish making you French Toast for you. Do you think you can help me dip the bread into the eggs?”
My head is pounding.
Suddenly the tears begin to taper off and he takes his position on the counter, dangerously close to the stove. “See Rocco? You’re a baby and I’m a big boy. I can sit on the counter. See, my baby?”
“Yep. You are a big boy and you’re SUCH a great helper.”
I take out the monkey plate and the lion plate, lay a piece of bread on each and begin to cut each piece in horizontal lines and then vertical ones.
The baby yells. He’s starving. (He’s always starving)
I turn to get the strawberries from the fridge and trip over the dog who is his own worst enemy and cannot resist the urge to be at our feet at all times – even if it means narrowly escaping being crushed under the weight of fully grown humans 800 times a day.
I look up and catch a glimpse of my bright red laptop, begging to be opened – emails to read, books to write, submissions to field, pitches to formulate, ideas to explore.
It’ll have to wait. It always has to wait. Torture for a creative mind.
“I love you, Mommy… I’m still your baby, right?”
“You’re still my baby, Boogie”
“You make good French Toast, Mommy.”
“Thanks. Let’s try to have a good day today, ok?”
“Ok Mommy, we can try.”
The clock strikes 8.
Featured Image via Gigi Hadid on Instagram