Becky Shillington enjoys each crazy day with 4-year-old twins Will and Ben (who are now potty trained, she is happy to report!). When she is not chasing her sons, Becky enjoys writing for children. She and her husband Shawn reside in North Texas.
6:45am The alarm wakes me up, and I reach out my hand to slap it off. It’s time to get up already?
6:48am I drag myself out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth and put on my gym clothes.
7am “It’s time to wake up,” I whisper to my 4-year-old twins, Ben and Will. After sleepy hugs and kisses, we pick out their clothes — Thomas the Tank Engine shirts today — and I help them get dressed.
7:10am Ben runs into the kitchen, dragging his beloved “Ki-Ki” (his blanket) behind him. “I’m the leader,” Will wails, hot on his brother’s heels. Together they open the pantry door and then deliberate on which cereal they will have this morning.
7:13am I pour the cereal and milk, and then the boys carry their bowls very carefully to the table. I fix Ben’s chocolate milk and Will’s chocolate and strawberry milk, feed the dogs and let them outside, then pour myself a bowl of cereal and join the boys for breakfast.
7:28am We clear our bowls, and I wipe down the boys’ faces and hands. Then it’s teeth-brushing, hair-brushing and shoe-putting-on time.
7:40am I grab Ben’s backpack, my purse and keys, and round up the boys. “It’s time for school, Bennie,” I say to Ben, who is hunkered down with his trains on the living room floor. “Five minutes, Mom,” Will says, holding up one hand, fingers spread in the air. Nice try, Buddy, I think.
7:43am I load the boys into the car and head to Ben’s school (he’s in a special preschool program for speech). In the car we sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Jesus Loves Me,” and a new rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus.” My boys are so creative!
7:55am Will and I walk Ben into school and hug him goodbye. When Ben clings to me a little longer than usual, I hug him again and remind him that we’ll be back soon.
8am I strap Will into his car seat and head to our next stop — a final fitting for a bridesmaid dress I’ll be wearing in a friend’s wedding.
8:15am Will and I arrive at my seamstress’s house, and he sits in a chair and colors while I try on the dress. “You’re pretty, Mommy,” he says. That makes me smile — oh, to always be seen through a child’s eyes!
8:45am After lugging my lima-bean green dress to the car, Will and I head for home. All the way home, Will hugs Ben’s Ki-Ki close. He doesn’t say it today, but I look at his face and know what he is thinking; I miss my brother.
8:55am At home, I unload Will and hang up my dress, then clean up the kitchen from breakfast while Will plays with his trains and watches Franklin on TV. After the kitchen is somewhat presentable, Will helps me gather the laundry and we get a load started.
9:15am Will decides that it is time for art, so we get out the colored paper, crayons, glue, and scissors (even though he cut off a chunk of his hair yesterday).
9:45am Will and I head back to school to pick up Ben.
9:58am When Will sees Ben he shrieks in delight and wraps his arms around him super tight. Ben is happy to see Will, too — you’d think it had been two weeks since we dropped him off, not two hours!
10:03am I decide to skip the gym today and head for Target instead to pick up items for an upcoming trip, the boys chattering happily the whole way. “Boys, you are being too loud,” I say. “Are you happy, Mommy?” Ben asks. Feeling guilty, I smile into the rearview mirror. “Of course I’m happy, sweetie,” I answer. “But can you please be a little quieter?”
10:23am We get to Target. Because the boys say they are “very, very hungry,” I relent and boy them a special treat — an Icee and popcorn. This just makes their day!
10:50am We leave Target. In the car, they spill Icee on their shirts. Bright blue Icee …
11:11am We get home and I unload the bags and the boys. After changing from their Thomas shirts into some old T-shirts, Ben and Will head straight for their trains again.
12pm It’s lunchtime, and today the boys and I feast on spaghetti and green beans, with a popsicle for dessert. Yummy!
12:20pm Of course, the spaghetti is now all over everything, and (of course) we have to change the boys’ clothes again.
12:30pm I shift the wet clothes to the dryer and start another load of laundry — spaghetti sauce will never come off if you let it sit.
12:40pm Ben, Will, and I sit down on the couch to read books and snuggle, one of our favorite things to do.
1pm “I’m not feeling well, Mommy,” says Will. (Translation: “I have to poop!”) “Well go get on the pot,” I say.
1:02pm I hear Will’s little voice call out, “Mommy, I didn’t make it in time!” In the bathroom, I find him stepping out of his dirty underwear, tears in his eyes. I grab the underwear and swish it around in the toilet bowl. “It’s O.K.,” I say, scooping Will up and setting him down in the bathtub. He’s almost clean when I hear a flush. I make it to the toilet just in time to see Will’s underwear disappearing down the hole. “Sorry, Mommy,” Ben says, frowning at the toilet.
1:10pm I call my husband, frantic. After he hears the story, my husband starts to laugh. Apparently, our septic system will withstand the underwear-flushing episode (I guess we’ll find out if it doesn’t …).
1:21pm Clean, dry and relatively calm, the boys and I head to their room for naptime. We read a great new book, Bear’s New Friend, by Karma Wilson, and then make up stories from their preschool scrapbooks about two little boys named Will and Ben.
1:40pm I tuck them into bed, turn on their Mozart CD and tiptoe out of the room to go clean up the spaghetti mess in the kitchen. After only three return trips to settle them down, they actually go to sleep.
2pm I fold a load of laundry, deep clean my bathroom, make up my bed, and then finally sit down at my computer to check my email and order my friend’s wedding gift online.
4pm I start making lots of noise in the kitchen — this nap is going on waaaay too long, and there’s no way the boys will go to bed tonight if they don’t wake up soon.
4:05pm Ben pads into the kitchen dragging his Ki-Ki behind him. I snuggle him onto the couch and go to check on his brother. Will stays in his bed sucking on his third and fourth fingers for a few more minutes before getting out of bed.
4:15pm I give the boys a snack, and then they head back to their trains.
4:30pm “Mommy, I went poopy,” Ben says, standing in the middle of the living room floor. Sighing, I lead him to the bathroom to clean him up, and then I give him a hug. “Next time, what do you need to do, Bennie?” I ask. “Go poopy in the potty, Mommy,” he answers solemnly. “Will my children ever be potty trained?” I wonder.
4:45pm I go to my closet to put away some clean clothes and see what looks like a scorpion scuttling into a pile of laundry. Remembering the nasty sting I got when I was pregnant with the boys, I immediately freak out. “Will, get me a trash bag from the kitchen,” I holler. Ben crowds around me to see. “What is it, Mommy?” he asks, stepping into the closet. “It’s a big, mean bug, Bennie, so stay back,” I answer sternly, envisioning my sweet baby stepping on a horrible, venomous insect. As the boys watch in fascination, I somehow manage to scoop the entire pile of laundry into a plastic garbage bag, then double-tie it and toss it into the tub. “Is it scary, Mommy?” Ben asks, peering at the bag of laundry in the tub. “Yes!” I answer, shepherding them out of the room.
5:02pm I corral the boys back into the living room, then go make their dinner. This time I pick something safe — ham, mashed potatoes and peas. Since my husband has a conference call scheduled at work tonight, I wait to have dinner with him.
5:30pm After dinner is over, the boys help me carry the dishes to the sink. While I tidy up the kitchen (again), Will and Ben play “Miss Amy” in the playroom. Miss Amy was their teacher at church school this summer, and the boys love taking turns being the “teacher.” It’s so cute.
6:19pm Shawn comes home. I tell him about the scorpion, so he goes into the bathroom, rips open the bag of laundry and looks carefully through it, searching for the scorpion. As Will, Ben, and I watch, we see something move on one of the shirts. Then Shawn smiles and takes the shirt outside. When he comes back inside, he tells me that it was, in fact, a harmless gecko that had me so terrified — not a big, nasty bug — and yes, he LAUGHS.
6:35pm Will, Ben and Daddy head outside to play and bathe the dogs while I sweep the floor, start the prep-work for our dinner, and fold yet another load of laundry. A little classical music and I start to feel better … boy, has today been crazy.
7:20pm I run the boys’ bath as Shawn, Will and Ben finish up bathing the dogs outside. When they come inside, dripping, I go behind them with a towel, mopping up the wet footprints and warning them to slow down on the hard, slippery tile.
7:23pm I give the boys a bath. “Don’t drink the bathwater,” I warn, as I do every night. Splashing each other, and me they are eventually clean enough to get out.
7:35pm After a quick shower, Shawn joins me and together we get the boys dressed for bed. It’s Scooby Doo P.J.s tonight.
7:40pm Back in the living room, Shawn plays with the boys and then reads them their bedtime stories while I start our dinner.
8:15pm We brush the boys’ teeth, do a final potty run, and then its time for bedtime prayers and lots of hugs and kisses. “See you in the morning, my sweet boys,” I say as I kiss them goodnight.
8:30pm We eat late tonight and I am starving. Luckily the boys went right to sleep, so Shawn and I get some quiet time.
9:00pm We wash the dishes, then Shawn finishes up some work and I hit the shower.
9:25pm I settle down to get some writing time in — a whole hour tonight, if I can stay awake. When the boys head off to kindergarten in two years I’ll have more time, I know. For now, though, an hour is a quiet reprieve at the end of each crazy, precious day.
10:45pm I slip into the boys’ room and plant a kiss on two warm, rosy cheeks. Then it’s time for lights out — tomorrow will be just as exciting, eventful and exhausting, I know!