It's been a long day. It started, as they all will from here on out for a bit, at 4:00 am. Aaron has been waking up between 4 and 5 for a feeding, and that's not far from when I like to wake up in the morning. So we decided that instead of this being a middle-of-the-night feeding, I'd just start my day at 4 and get that feeding, allowing Amy to get a sliver more uninterrupted sleep.
Sure enough, Aaron woke up a tick before 5, and after a diaper change and a bottle, the two of us went down to the basement - me to run on the treadmill, and him to watch and chew on things. But watching and chewing seemed to bore Aaron pretty quick, so we went back upstairs, and eventually he went back to sleep. Leaving me to get myself and Jada ready for the day.
Aaron woke up barely an hour later, and so I watched the two of them until 8:45 am, when I had to blaze to work on bike. It's a slog to begin the work day feeling like you've already pulled a half-day shift at a different, equally taxing job. Which, in fact, I had, of course.
I can't begin to tell you how much work I'm juggling there. So 5 pm hit and I knew I needed to get home, yet I still had several piles of work to get through. I hate leaving stuff til the morn, but by 5:20 I realized it would be a necessity today. So off with the work hat and the parenting hat goes back on.
After blazing home on bike, Amy left shortly thereafter for a doctor's appointment. Jada had already had dinner and Aaron had already had a bath, so I was looking forward to a relatively calm evening. Good thing, too, because that pulse in my head that had started off tiny at 4 in the morning was now pulsing a bit more by 6 in the evening.
Except that my kids have a sick sense of humor. Jada got up from the sofa, leaving a trail of crumbs, so I wiped where she sat - and felt wetness. I checked her pants and sure enough they were soaked through. So now I've got a soiled couch cushion and a toddler needing a bath. Meanwhile, Aaron was so clingy that when I would put him down for five seconds to blow my nose, he would cry.
I got Jada situated in the tub and washed her with one hand - not ideal, but better than hearing the Aaron siren in the next room over. Once scrubbed, Jada can stay in the tub and play by herself for several minutes, so I used the opportunity to tend to Aaron. At first, I saw him rubbing his eyes, so I was hoping to just put him down for a sleep, but the longer I waited, the more high-pitched his cry, signaling to me he was hungry.
So I warmed him up a bottle, enduring his increasingly piercing cry as the microwave ticked down the seconds. Only I did not realize the bottle I had put in the microwave had been out on the counter. Warm up a bottle that's been in the fridge all day for 45 seconds, and it's the perfect temperature; punch in the same time for a bottle that's starting at room temp, and you've got yourself a problem.
And in fact, Aaron instinctively pushed the bottle away, howling. I tried three times before testing it and realizing it was a tad scalding. With Jada in the tub, I didn't want to stray far, so I dumped some formula out of the bottle, poured in some cold water, and tried again. Still too hot for Aaron. By the time I had bailed enough out, he was terrified of the bottle, and howled even louder.
It's times like those when I have to go to my peaceful place lest I totally lose it. Thankfully, Jada waited patiently in the tub. Finally, I had to put Aaron in his crib to howl it out, while I got Jada out and her pajamas on. The thought occurred to me that, just like the hot bottle, he might make a bad association with his crib, after which I'd really be in trouble: a screaming boy who's afraid to eat or sleep!
Finally, finally, finally Aaron settled down. Of course, with all the flailing and bathroom water, his formula didn't go down too well: he ended up spitting up about half of it on the living room floor.
Somehow, I got them both down to sleep, right before Amy returned home. "How'd they do?" was the innocent question. I rolled my eyes. "Where do I start?"
Never mind that for all the theatrics, the kids had still been on my watch for far less time than Amy's typical day, and that Aaron has been known to be much, much worse for much, much longer while I'm at work. In other words, that this blip of an evening was the status quo for Amy almost every day of the week except for Saturday and Sunday. Still, for me it was a long day.