5:50 a.m. Time to wake up, little Mack is ready to start the day. Ten minutes later, Troy comes down the stairs. I convince him to go back to bed for a few more minutes. By 6:30, Tina's up to get ready for work. She makes pancakes for Troy and is out the door by 8:00. Mack is already tired because getting up at 5:50 doesn't agree with him, but he does it every morning anyway. I put him down for a nap by 8:30. Troy and I make scrambled eggs, eat, then read a few books and do a few puzzles together. A little after 9:00, some guy shows up about a few home improvement projects we need completed. I thought he was coming tomorrow. No problem, Troy likes when anyone comes over, so he starts chatting up the contractor about camping and umbrellas. I'm still in my pajamas. The guy probably thinks I'm a real jerk. After he leaves, Troy watches a little TV and plays Angry Birds on the Kindle.
Mack's up around 10:30. Hmmm, what to do with a 1-year-old and 4-year-old on a 30 degree day? Yesterday we went to the library, the day before to the supermarket, what's left? The play area at the mall? Well, we did that Sunday, but I'm out of ideas. I put together a diaper bag (meaning I toss a diaper, wipes, and bottle of milk into a plastic grocery store bag) and we take off for the mall. They play for a bit and enjoy themselves. I take a picture on my cell phone. Troy looks like he's slapping Mack, but he's actually being gentle with his little brother. When they finish up, we eat lunch at the food court--Subway, lunch of champions. After our quick eats, we stroll through the mall, then head home.
I play peek-a-boo with Mack while Troy watches TV. I wash dishes, play with Mack, turn off the TV, then make sure the boys play nice together. "Be careful" I say, first to Mack, then to Troy, and realize I constantly warn them to be careful. I wonder if this will influence them to avoid risks in their adult lives, or throw caution to the wind instead. By 2:00 it's time for Mack's afternoon nap, so I put him down, then finish washing dishes, and take a Tylenol to stop the headache that's approaching. Troy and I color some pictures together. I color inside the lines, so does he. Is conformity genetic?
Mack wakes up after an hour. I microwave some peas and carrots and put him in his high chair. He throws the peas off his tray, which Troy runs over with his Batmobile. Good job, everyone. We have to leave soon because Troy has a medical appointment (another story for another time). I get ready, meaning I throw on a baseball cap. In getting the boys ready, a comedy of errors ensues. If this were a reality TV show, you'd only see the next ten minutes, with me starring in the role of the stumbling bumbling father. I get us back on track and we head out the door to meet Tina, who's meeting us directly from work.
The appointment goes well. Tina is with Troy during the appointment, while I hang out with Mack in the waiting room. Sociable Mack charms everyone for the next twenty minutes. When the appointment's done, it's dinner time. We're a parking lot away from the Anchor Bar, where chicken wings were born. Tina and I haven't been there in at least five years, so we figure what the hell, why not? Dinner is unhealthy and uneventful. Check please! Mack is ready to roll, so I take off with him while Tina settles the bill. We all meet home and get the boys ready for bed. Around 7:00, Tina puts Mack to bed while I wash bottles (a 1-year-old goes through quite a few bottles of milk in a day). Next is snack time for Troy, and the three of us relax until his 8:00 bedtime.
While Tina takes Troy upstairs and covers the bedtime routine, I work on this blog. The day is coming to a close. It's been a good day, as measured by the lack of bumps and bruises. No tantrums, no drama--I could use more days like this one! When Tina comes back downstairs, we watch a little TV and I finish up this blog. The clock strikes 9:00, and we're exhausted. Time for bed.
Author's note: this is a work of non-fiction.