Sit down to write. Get a few sentences on the screen.
“MAMA! MAMAMAMAMAMAMA! COME HERE QUICK!” Run to other room/upstairs/outside in a panic. “Look, Mama! I can blow bubbles through the (holes in the grating on the patio) table!”
Breathe deeply and hope heart rate returns to normal. Remind kids to not call for me unless it’s important. Go sit down again.
Try to remember where I was going with that. Write another sentence.
“MAMA, PEANUT FELL DOWN!”
Find child who sat down a little too hard and is not even crying. Resist urge to scold older child. Go back to computer.
Completely forget what I was trying to say. Erase sentence fragment. Frown at the screen. Wonder if I’ve showered today already, and if I can manage a fourth cup of coffee without taking an antacid. Plunk down a few forced, disjointed sentences.
Eye the child wandering muddily inside. Have the conversation whereby I deny her candy for the sixth time that day. Offer healthy snack. Optional tantrum. Banish children from kitchen.
Make coffee and pray to the gastrointestinal gods for mercy and harmony. Remember where I was going earlier while coffee is brewing, and hover over computer to type out as much as I can remember before coffee is finished. Happily pour boiling water into drip cone, go to fridge and realize there is only that almond/coconut milk blend, which is weak as a creamer and tends to separate on contact with hot, acidic liquids into a slurry of weird curdles. Pour it in anyway and eye my mug, which resembles a heavily-polluted snow globe. Coffee suddenly does not taste that great.
Hear sobbing from outside, hurry out there to find Peanut banging on the door with dirt smudged all over her cheek and Podling nonchalantly gliding up and down the driveway on the scooter. Decipher 3-year-old sobs to discover that she wants her heavy, metal tricycle carried down the treacherously narrow porch steps to the driveway. Oblige, sighing. Realize I’m not wearing shoes when my sock feet hit the wet dirt at the bottom of the steps. Sigh.
Go back inside and sit down, realize coffee is across the room, get coffee, sit back down. Wake computer back up. Look at screen.
Receive lap full of awkward, sausage-shaped cat who badly needs her claws trimmed. Manage to not scream. Dislodge cat. Finish the sentence and write two more. Pat self on the back. Write three more. It’s almost looking like a paragraph. Skim paragraph, realize I shifted tenses twice between beginning and end. Swear quietly, but not quietly enough.
Podling asks what a bitch is. Resist urge to point to self and snap at him. Deny his request to go see a friend who is not yet home from school. Argue about what time his friend gets home from school, then argue about what time it actually is. Refuse to entertain the possibility that his friend did not, in fact, go to school today. Refute “evidence” that friend’s family car sitting in the driveway means his friend is actually at home. Confiscate shovelful of mud from Peanut walking through the living room. Order both of them out of the house again.
Sit down. Pick up coffee. Breathe.
Children bang on the door and cry with hunger, despite the sandwiches, brownies, fizzy water, and apple slices they ate less than an hour ago. Offer more apples and more peanut butter. Refuse to substitute candy hearts for apples and chocolate frosting for the peanut butter, because I am a mean. Refuse to let them eat green bananas, because I am not falling for that again. Order them into the backyard, with their bubbles, sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, spades, wheeled toys, and plenty of dirt and rocks. Consider locking the doors.
Sit down. Realize it’s been two hours since I started trying to write. Look at calendar. Rub face and try to concentrate. Write at least two sentences.
Break up a fight over whose turn it is on the pink tricycle.
Make a peanut butter sandwich, sans frosting or candy hearts. Watch it turn stale as two noses turn up in its direction.
Eat the sandwich myself.
Take an antacid.
Refuse to take children to park. Offer to get out crayons and markers. Spend the next fifteen minutes opening markers for the Peanut and trying to find lost caps.
Check Tumblr, Facebook, and Plurk. Check them again. Feel faintly queasy from too much coffee and not enough water. Wonder if maybe I can get some writing time in when partner is home to run interference. Consider flopping onto the couch with British mysteries and sock knitting.
Partner texts to let me know he’ll be late, and not to hold up dinner for him. Try not to cry. Cry a lot. Have another brownie and go back to the computer.
(How long did it take to write this? Let’s just say…I started writing it yesterday.)