6:00 am: Wake up, wash face, wear running clothes, take a deep breath. Start getting the kids ready, with the help of the maid (may the lord bless her).
6:30 am: Twins have finished their milk. General ablutions are in due process. But older one needs to be woken up – didn’t sleep on time at night (don’t ask). Gently goad her out of bed, while remembering the resolution to be more calm and patient. She stirs and falls back to sleep. Count to ten, while holding back on the lecture on the merits of sleeping on time.
6:40 am: Try not to burst a nerve as two of the three remain ensconced on the pot with books.
6:41 am: Husband enters after Yoga. Asks me to chant “serenity now”. I give him the look. He smiles, gives me the what-else-can-you-do look in return. He’s charming even at this hour. I don’t tell him that, of course – there are three kids to get out the house by 7:10.
6:43 am: One twin bathed – comb her hair, as she protests, while husband feeds her fried egg (mama can’t feed, it’s a fine art only dad knows best. Mama only too happy not to learn the art. Is willing to give up others, for the record). Other twin out. Repeat combing and feeding process. She too has strong objections to the manner in which the combing is carried out. She curls up her nose and declares that it hurts. Refuses to eat more till the problem is resolved.
6:44 am: Give her the hair brush and exit the room. Dad can deal with this on his own. Check on the older one. She’s still on the pot. Needs two more minutes. We don’t have two more minutes, I tell her. She sighs, rolls her eyes. I give her one more minute by the clock and leave with my signature, don’t-make-me-come-in-there look.
6:46 am: Twins ready, but there’s been a fight over the ownership of a pen. Dad is smack in the middle of it, trying to reason with two seven- year olds.
6:58 am: Last one out of the bathroom. Countdown to departure begins.
7:08 am: Everyone ready. Breakfast halfway. But now have to feed them almonds, and the tonic. It’ll have to be had in the car. Pick up spoon and tonic. And oh, the immunity sachet – older one’s been falling ill a lot, so needs this in the mornings, along with figs, raisins and dates. Doctors really need to go more ground-level studies before scribbling out undo-able prescriptions.
7:10 am: Breakfast over. We’re almost at the door, with tonics, almonds et all. Twin two declares she needs a winter flower for show and tell. Starts to cry, it has to be taken today. I give her the you’re-kidding look. She cries more. Husband intervenes, asks me to calm down. I tell him to get the winter flower. He tries to reason with her, she cries even louder.
7:11 am: Cook runs to the neighbour’s house, comes back triumphant with a Hibiscus. She informs him that it can be anything but Hibiscus. I laugh, there’s nothing else to be done.
7:12 am: We get into the car. Twin two has curled up her nose and continues to wail. I step on the gas, then I stop, run out of the car. I have spotted a Petunia. I retrieve it the alacrity of a cat having caught a bird. I hand it to her and get behind the wheel. There’s cheering in the back. Mommy steps on the gas again.
7:17 am: Reach the bus stop. Phew!
7:20: am: Wave to them as the bus pulls away. I can’t believe the day has only just begun. I feel tired already.
7:30 am: Go for a run. Make a note to remember the Vitamin D sachets, as the knee starts to creak again. Will have to reset reminders, because now I don’t know how many have been consumed.
9:45 am: Drive to work with a gazillion thoughts about things to do. Some urgent, some important – not the same thing. In attending to the former, the latter get ignored. Urgent – pipe in the bathroom is on its last legs, is leaking, will give way anytime. Plumber must be summoned. He’s on speed dial. Pull over, call him. He doesn’t pick up. Important – mammogram. No time for it, despite the lumps I can feel. It’s ok I tell myself.
10:15 Get into the office. Pour a glass of water, gulp a headache medicine. Ask office boy for a strong cup of tea.
11 am: Am at work. Cook and general Man Friday calls to remind me about the leaking pipe. Plumber needs to be called. And also, the electrician too needs some determined chasing, the AC is making sputtering noises and is out of gas – the coil has holes in it and needs fixing. These are urgent. I think about the air we are breathing, if metal gets corroded then it’s scary to think about what the pollution does to our lungs. This is important, but I’ll attend to the urgent.
11: 10 am: Step out of the office to speak to the plumber and electrician. Plumber finally picks up. He has fever, but will come. Electrician too promises to attend to the issues promptly. Make a note to call them back in an hour.
12:00p.m. to 3:30 pm: All’s quiet on most fronts. Chip away at that presentation. Boss needs to see it at the end of the day.
12:15 pm: Mom calls. Can’t talk. Will call her back.
4pm: Call from home. Kids are back from school, have many tales to tell. I whisper and tell them I’ll back.
4:10 pm: Call from home. There has been a fight. Mommy’s expert opinion on whodunit is urgently needed. Hang up.
4:40 pm: Call home, remind kids about respective instrument practice. They are watching Master Chef.
Try not to blow my lid. Reiterate will-take-away-benefits rule that kicks in when work is not done.
5pm: Call from Plumber. Pipe is fixed. Needs money. He’ll have to wait, or come back. He mutters and hangs up. Am afraid he won’t take my calls the next time.
6pm: Boss wants the update on the presentation. Send it to him.
6:20 pm: Start wrapping up work. Call from home. Barrage of questions about time of return.The fight is still not resolved. Also, there’s some project work that needs mommy’s superior cognitive skills. Homework is for kids, I say. Not this one, comes the reply. Wonder why schools subject parents to torture. Why do projects involve cut and paste, is it me, or is it not obvious that nothing is learned in the process, except how to cut in a straight line, colour and search Google.
6:30 pm: Call from home. Further inquiries about exact arrival time
6:40 pm: Leave work. Call from home again about update on ETA. Now I can yell, I am in the car. Inform them that I am on my way, have not acquired the ability to fly yet.
7:00 pm: Walk into the house. They run towards mommy. Feel blessed. Kiss them and ask about their day – they talk in unison. I get the gist. They ask me if I need tea. I do. It’s been a long day.
7:10 pm: Check on homework. Check, approve and disapprove and ask for some of it to be redone. Ignore the
7:15 pm: Mom calls. Can’t talk. Will call her back.
7:20: Dinner time for the kids. No they can’t watch Master Chef while eating.
7:45 pm: Dinner over. Time for race-to-bed-time drills.
8:00 pm: Fight over who will change last.
8:05 pm: Older daughter remembers she needs glue. I tell her we have glue. She tells me we have the other one. Glue is Glue I say. Seems not. And oh we need an A3 sheet as well, in cream (not white)
8:10 pm: Tears, apologies, more tears, and then a dash to the market.
9:00pm: Back home after getting the glue and the sheet. Twins have slept. Race against time to bedtime for older one.
9:30 pm: Announce the last and final call for bedtime – after this “it ain’t going to be pretty” (it’s a daily thing)
10:00 pm: All three asleep. Day over – all’s quiet.
10:10 pm: Guilt sets in. Go into kids’ room. Kiss them – they look angelic in their sleep. Apologize for yelling. Make promises about being more patient.
10:20 pm: Day over. Too tired to read. Watch Shark Tank with the husband while drinking Chinese Tea and eating dark chocolate. Feel the fatigue draining from my bones. Laugh, talk, indulge in uplifting conjugal banter. It’s the best part of my day.
11:00 pm: Ready for bed. It’s late. No time to read.
11:45 pm: Lights off. Wonder how it got this late? Really need to sleep on time.
11:50 pm: Think about mom, forgot to call her back. Damn. Too late to call now, she must’ve waited. Will do it tomorrow..
12:00 am: Slip into sleep as a million thoughts flood the mind – mobile bill is due, presentation is due by eod tomorrow, have to call the pest control fellow, the upholstery guy.. and yes, haven’t got sis a birthday present yet. Must call her tomorrow too…
And Ma, must call ma in the morning..
Tomorrow is another day.