A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

A Day in the Life
by Melissa Neely (Feb 2008)


“They” say these are the best years of our lives.  I say it’s from the first day your kids start kindergarten until they’re in the fifth grade, and fifth grade is marginal.  Some get lucky and manage to avoid too much sass and eye rolling in fifth grade, but even at its worst you only have to put up with it from 4pm when they get off the bus until 9 pm when you demand they get in bed and stay there! I think any parent who lets their kids stay up after 9 pm is CRAZY. After all, my bedtime is 9:30, at which point I turn into psycho-mom, shrieking like a banshee and passing out “Paddy whacks” to anyone in sight.

But I digress . . . My name is Bronwyn. I have five children (I have changed their names to protect the guilty). Grace is 16 and Lilly 13 - they are, as a general rule, not a problem, Zoe 4 and self appointed queen of the house, Tucker 3 and a boy, and McKayde 4 months. Did I mention Tucker is a BOY? 

            As I speak, it is 3 am.  My husband is snoring and taking up more then his fair share of the bed. Mckayde is marathon nursing and snorting to breathe. Tucker has climbed into his usual spot, between our feet and dead center at the end of the bed; he intermittently mumbles and yells out – if we don’t respond the yelling continues.  Zoe then joins him at the foot of the bed. Her spot however is at/in my feet with her foot permanently planted in my rear-end (no matter how many times I remove it and not nicely). As if five people were not enough, throw in two cats. Betty-boop is as long as Zoe and takes up just as much space. If I’m lucky she’ll decide to sleep on our heads, and Bronco-baby will try to perch on my hip or curl into a small crock in my legs so I can’t roll over. Thank heaven the big girls don’t want to join us.

            Tucker begins his day pleasantly enough, talking sweetly to Betty-boop.  Of course, it won’t last; within 5 minutes he is yelling in his whiniest voice, “I want oatmeal,” over and over and over again.  So begins the oatmeal ritual. Maple and brown sugar oatmeal with hot chocolate is the mainstay of Tuckers existence, supplemented only by cheese and all things sugar (especially chocolate).  Tucker must of course pick the bowl and the cup and the spoon. The spoon is always the same, the “baby spoon” which is in fact, NOT a baby spoon but a toy ice cream scoop. We have only one of these spoons, and it is a full time job to keep track of it. So after whining about his bowl, cup, and spoon he sits in his chair and does the whiny chant until the bowl and his hot chocolate are in front of him. Then all is quiet and happy.

McKayde swings and talks to his toys for a short time, Tucker eats and then goes off to play nicely by himself and then . . . Her Highness staggers out. Just to keep us guessing, she occasionally comes out and talks and plays with McKayde. This morning however, is more typical with crabby demands for a bagel. When she is told we are out, the throw-down begins. She throws herself on the floor and writhes around screaming and crying, “I want a bagel”- as if that will make them magically appear. Finally, she is done with that fit and decides on French toast. When she is informed that, “No, I will not make French toast for one,” the throw-down begins again. After much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth the fit is over, and she decides on cereal with milk and a princess spoon, oh, and hot chocolate in a glass cup.

About this time McKayde decides he has had enough swinging and needs to nurse again.  This is the signal for the “dynamic duo” to get into mischief: trash their room, jump on my bed and throw all the bedding on the floor, or get into candy.  Tossing the laundry and tearing apart the couch are saved for when I go to the bathroom for half a second.

My new favorite activity is scraping gum off their bedroom floor – 10 huge wads yesterday.  Gum is a BIG  no-no for Tucker because he won’t quit swallowing it; I guess that’s no longer an issue. The rest of the day is filled with Zoe teasing, Tucker shrieking like a girl, Tucker running through the house with his gun behind his head so he can hit his sister, her smacking him., he biting her, and the two of them plotting naughty’s in the corner.

All day it’s:

“Stop pushing the phone buttons. Hang it up! Hang it up! HANG IT UP!”

“I’m calling the Easter Bunny!” (Santa is too far away to work.)

Cat in, cat out, cat in, cat out, cat in, chase cat, squawk in cats face. (Cats like that you know.)

Stick a blue bead up your nose.

Change your underwear for the sixth time and leave them all over the bathroom and living room.

“I poop.”

“I want to wear a dress; where are my ballet shoes?” Clop, Clop, Clop, Clop, Clop. (Tap shoes are great on tile.

“I want a soda,” throw a fit.

Feed the cat 12 scoops of food.

Jump on the baby while he sleeps.

Roll around on me while I try to nurse.

“Make cookies; I want all my friends over.”

“What’s for lunch?”

“I want grill cheese on a snow flake plate/”

“I hate grill cheese. I want peely eggs in water.”

“Noooo!”                     “Yes!”             “NOOO!”

“Who wants to take a shower?”            “Yaah!”

Aaah! 20-30 minutes of peace and quiet! Hallelujah!

But no, it’s time for McKayde’s weekly blow out. This seems to be a true gift for him. One week’s worth of poop everywhere but in the diaper – how does he do it?  Now I have to get all his clothes off (two layers worth) without getting poop on my furniture, me, or his head and face, and when that’s all done he still stinks like poop and needs a bath. So, it’s a quick bath, lotion, new clothes and a happy, happy baby, and the dynamic duo is done with their shower. So much for my 20-30 minutes of quiet – I need a Dr Pepper!

“Sit down and eat your grill cheese”

“No, I want a doggie?” (Translation: Hot Dog)

“Then get it yourself.”

“Lets fight!” Whack, whack, whack “Zoe! Lets fight!” Whack, whack.

“Get out of my room and off my bed! If you wake that baby again I will be forced to eat you!”

“I want Scooby Doo.”               “Nooo!”

“You have to agree on a show. And put on underwear, or you won’t watch anything!” (The hope is that one or both will fall asleep).

            I never thought at 16 or 18 or even 25 that such strange phrases would come from my mouth, like; Don’t lick the cat, Why would you put a raisin up your nose?  We don’t pick gum off shopping carts and eat it. Get your teeth off my table. Eggs are not for throwing. Get that out of your underwear; it is not a pocket. Stop peeing on my car tires. Who knew? No, really, who knew and didn’t tell me?

            It’s 1:45 pm, tick tock, tick tock. 3:15 will never get here. The second that bus pulls up I’m making a break for the shower. Did I brush my teeth today or was that yesterday? Oh well, I’ll do it again in the shower just to make sure.

            3:15 pm, here comes Lilly.  Shower here I come! “Mom, Sherry said my notebook was stupid so I need a new one and John called me the B word cause I told him to stop saying the F word around me and people are always calling me that because I don’t like them to swear around me. They’re not suppose to anyway – but I don’t tell on them so they shouldn’t call me a B and they should just stop it! And I have to go to WalMart right now cause this one is ugly.” At this point a breathe is required, and I catch myself not listening for a moment as I look up and see make-up all over Tuckers belly and he proudly and stupidly announces “Look Mom, make-up”. Lilly’s face puckers up, and I know she is going to blow - it is her make-up.

Myself, I currently own one eyeliner, one mascara, and some blush; everything else has been confiscated into teenage land and is apparently no longer mine. I again, remind Lilly that she is supposed to lock her bedroom door before leaving for school, and “You didn’t do your dishes last night - so get on it!”

20 minutes later, ”Why aren’t you doing dishes?” “I’m starving. I have to eat a snack” (Translation: meal with the TV on). My response, “Get your dishes done NOW!”

Grace comes through the door. “I thought you were going to do laundry- I need my work shirt and did you sew that seam on my skirt? I want to wear it tomorrow.” I announce loudly, “That’s it -I’m taking a shower – by myself! Don’t bother me unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding from their eyeballs! Got it!? As I walk out, I hear “Geez, what’s her problem? It’s not like she’s done anything today.” I contemplate her demise, but then who would drive Lilly to WalMart to buy her new notebook.  So instead I yell back, “And when I get out, that kitchen better be spotless – that means pots, pans, counters and stove, and you miss smarty-pants can pick up and vacuum the living room. And don’t sigh at me.”

I crawl out of the bathroom 45 minutes later. I drug it out as long as I could. I even shaved my legs and washed the shower walls (It’s a sickness. I can’t even stand under the water and do nothing.) Eventually the water turns cold, and you have to return to reality.

So I dry my hair and dress. Grace and Lilly run to WalMart and are forced to take one little kid with them. If you can divide them, you can conquer them!

Eventually my husband returns home and starts dinner. Yes, it’s true! Can you believe I scored a cook! It’s a good thing because I hate to do it and pretty much suck at it. Oh, I can do it if I have to, but I don’t have to very often. I can bake! And even better, he is teaching the kids to cook.

This is my down time. I vegetate with the baby or set the table or kick a path through the house. Today, I kick toys with my feet from one room to another while bouncing McKayde on one hip to keep him happy.

Dinner is fairly uneventful: we put food on Tucker’s plate, he cries because it’s there and throws it on the table, then cries some more. My husband then excuses him from the table until he is ready to act civilized. This involves two or three trips back to his room before he can stay.

Homework, crying, and roughhousing all ensue until the magic hour of 8:45 pm when I declare, “Get PJ’s” This is a major activity often involving several dress rehearsals ‘til we find the perfect PJ’s for the night. Then it’s off to bed. This includes begging, “Can I sleep with you?” “NO!” “I want to sleep on the couch.” “NO!” “I need my sleeping bag.” “Fine, get in!”

Sometimes we read short board books – no Dr.-last-forever-Seuss. Sometimes we sing, but, whatever we do, it’s in pairs - one for Zoe and one for Tucker! Tonight we sing “I’m So Glad When Oma Comes Home’ and “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree.”

It is now 9:15 pm, and McKayde is getting crankier by the minute. The big girls have gone right to bed and are grateful to go. Lilly makes her nightly rounds to kiss good-night - she will probably have to come back home on her wedding night just to kiss me good-night, it’s nice to have one!

            I put the PJ’s on that I had on most of the day and head to bed. I put McKayde in the middle of the bed and nurse him to sleep. Just as I start to drift off I hear “Thump, Thump, Thump” coming through the house, and then I feel someone staring at me. Finally, a little voice says, “I firsty.” We get him a drink, he climbs back into the sleeping bag, and I warn him, “Not again.”

I climb back into bed and sleep until 1:30 am. As I lay here nursing and reflecting on my day (I do this because I have had just enough sleep to not sleep), I realize how ridiculous it would sound if I read it in a book. I would think they exaggerated or, at the very least, crammed a week’s worth of shenanigans into one day -  if only that were true! Alas, it’s time for the whole cycle to start all over again!

Site Map

HOME           ShortStories           Essays           Poems         Websites      

Meetings         Comments         ContactUs         Members

This is the website of the Red Dirt Writers Society.
Revised February 2008.