Half Day in the Life

by: Brandi Scraper

It’s 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday. I’ve been up for at least two hours because I am a morning person–a morning person who needs at least two hours of quiet before facing the chaos of the day.

At promptly 7:01 a.m., the thumping of tiny, heavy-footed feet reaches me on the couch where I lie nestled, absorbed in a book. Should I be cleaning? Yes. Should I be working out? Definitely. However, I’m enjoying my life instead. I hear three pairs of feet shamble into the living room.  One brown and two dark brown heads of hair emerge from three different angles of the couch. I am surrounded. The day officially begins with breakfast requests. Marigold wants waffles. Poppy wants pancakes. They are served cereal, unless the cereal happens to be a type that does not come with those compressed bits of pure sugar labeled as “marshmallows,” in which case they are given toast. Today, they are given toast.

At 7:22 a.m., Marigold wanders to the room she shares with Poppy, her twin, and their older sister, Pearl. She begins to rummage through the dress-up clothes looking for the “perfe-t” clothes to wear. Poppy begins with the already timeworn question, “Can I play video games?” It’s a Saturday. It’s a Saturday and I’m tired from meeting the week’s demands, so I consent to video games “…for a little while.”

At 8:30 a.m., Marigold has taken every single piece of clothing, every item of jewelry, every pair of shoes, and every hair accessory out of the dress-up drawers. Poppy has not moved from her perch in front of the TV.

At 8:45 a.m., Marigold decides it’s “pwobably wunch time” and begins to pilfer through the cabinets. I tell her to remove herself from the kitchen, as it is a good two and a half hours until lunch, so she asks for a “wittle snack.” She takes an orange from the counter and skulks back to the bedroom, where she peels the orange and tosses the orange peels helter-skelter. Poppy is putting the finishing touches on a fortress in Minecraft.

At 9:00 a.m., Marigold decides it’s her turn to play video games. Poppy disagrees. Marigold lunges for the controller and a tug-of-war on a level not seen since the 1920 Olympics ensues. I am forced to referee.

At 9:02 a.m., Marigold happily destroys Poppy’s fortress. Poppy wails.

At 9:10 a.m., Marigold is building her own fortress while I hold Poppy in my lap, unable to do any of the 636-ish things that are on my to-do list.

At 9:30 a.m., Marigold concedes the controller to Poppy, who leaves my lap and rests herself atop her perch in front of the TV. Marigold goes to the bookshelf, takes out approximately 35 books and scatters them onto the floor. She chooses five and takes them into my bedroom where she plops down to read.

At 10:00 a.m., Marigold decides to paint pictures. This lures Poppy away from the video games. They take every color of acrylic, non-washable paint from my craft box. They look through the bins full of old notebooks and notepads, but instead they choose a new ream of computer paper. I have just finished picking up the dress-up clothes that would rival Mariah Carey’s closet and the orange peels, and have started picking up the 35 books. “Don’t spill the paint,” I warn. “Be careful!” I say. Why am I wasting these words? The paint will be spilled. No care will be taken.

By 10:32 a.m., I am now the proud owner of an art collection. I have 240 drying paintings arranged on every flat surface in my home. I also have newly designed curtains. They’re an 80’s paint-splatter motif.

At 10:50 a.m., I go into the kitchen to prepare lunch for my starving artists. Since breakfast was toast (because the cereal had no marshmallows), lunch cannot be peanut butter and jelly because the jelly was used for the toast (because the cereal had no marshmallows.) The chaos theory is scientific law in my home.

At 10:56 a.m., I look in the sink, where I have two bags of apples soaking in a vinegar and baking soda concoction to remove the pesticides–firstly, because these precious children who drink creek water when I’m not looking cannot eat a pesticide-covered apple, and also, I cannot afford organic apples–and I see, lo and behold, that someone has taken precisely one bite out of every apple and placed each apple back into the soaking solution.

At 11:00, I lovingly yell that lunch is ready. I give Marigold the ham sandwich (“No cheese!”) and Poppy the cheese sandwich (“No ham!”) each has requested.

At 11:15, I see that there are only 45 minutes until nap time. I smile, rubbing my hands together like a joyful cricket.

At 11:25, the twins are fed and full just after refilling their glasses with milk. They run off to play, Poppy finishing the fortress while Marigold meanders over to the Barbie bin.

At 11:32, Odessa, the family cat, has discovered the cups full of milk that I, the family mom, have forgotten to clear off the table. She tips both cups over. I am angry at Odessa, the family cat, for doing normal cat things instead of being angry at myself, the family mom, for neglecting mom duties and for not teaching the twins, the family monsters, to clear the table themselves.

At 11:51, I bellow the words the twins dread the most, “Nap time!” Cries of protest from the twins. Orders to use the bathroom from me. I follow Poppy to the bedroom where she must spend the next nine minutes looking for her Spider-Man lovey. I see that there has been an explosion in the room. A nuclear Barbie bomb has been detonated. I demand that Marigold help me. Instead, she spends the next nine minutes using the bathroom that she had just insisted she didn’t need to use.

At 12:00 p.m., I herd the twins into my bedroom and dive toward my three-inch slice of the mattress. I pull the blankets up around my head. Marigold lies horizontally across the top of the bed, holding one of my hands. Poppy lies at the bottom of the bed, her head resting on my buttocks, which make for a great pillow, she has told me.

At 12:08 p.m., after telling “Handsome and Gretel” for the 436th naptime, I drift off to sleep. Marigold and Poppy have positioned themselves in the bed so that they can have a kick fight without robbing me of my three-inch slice of the bed.

At 12:19 p.m., awakened from my doze by the absence of noise, the only sound I hear is the whirring of the fan. I push Poppy off my legs and settle in for a deep sleep, a sleep that I hope will strengthen me for the rest of the day.

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