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A Day In the Life Of... a Mother of Two

1:27 a.m.: The baby's up. It's six minutes later than last night, but four minutes earlier than the night before. I'm not sure what time my husband gave Nate a bottle, since I passed out at 9:30 p.m., but I suspect it was around 10 p.m. Three and a half hours between night feedings for a 13-pound baby seems a bit short, but I'll take what I can get. I nurse him with one boob, change his diaper, nurse him with my other boob, and put him back in the swing.
I realize that I really need to begin transitioning him to sleep in a crib, but I'm too scared to try. I worry about that for a few more minutes.

2:03 a.m.: Should I read to stave off racing thoughts that could lead to insomnia? I decide to finish the chapter, but fall asleep after reading just one page.

2:38 a.m.: "Where's my Binky?" Toby's wailing wakes me up instantly. The new deal is that Mama is not going into Toby's room anymore until "the clock says 6." Only Dada is allowed to go in  -- hopefully being a disappointing enough presence to discourage these new twice-a-night wakings since baby Nate came home from the hospital two months ago. I remind my husband of this policy with a polite but firm shove. He grunts and goes into Toby's room. I listen to the negotiations in the other room and decide from the tones of voice that there is a 6 percent chance Toby will go back to sleep without insisting on seeing me. I am relieved when my husband returns to bed without a word and a beautiful silence is all that comes out of Toby's room.

4:12 a.m.: Nate's up again. Is it worth giving him a Binky to see if he'll go back to sleep without a feeding? I debate the pros and cons and decide to feed him anyway. I nudge my husband to warn him that the baby is almost done with the second boob. He grunts and gets up to put Nate back down. I drift into blissful sleep knowing my husband is officially responsible for this shift.

6:47 a.m.: Toby is awake and screaming for me. I help him take off his Pull-Ups, use the bathroom, and put on underwear. I snuggle back into bed with Toby but realize that Nate is now awake. Again. I take him out of the swing and bring him back into the bed.

8:21 a.m.: Breakfast. Toby wants four kinds of cereal mixed together. I silently curse myself for being the sort of person who has (literally) nine kinds of cereal on top of the fridge. I wish I weren't such an inspiration to my son in the cereal-obsession department.

The day goes on

10:12 a.m.: I nurse Nate while my husband gets Toby ready to go with me to the daycare center at my gym. I calculate how long I'll have there so I can get back in time to nurse, shower, and eat before my husband leaves for work at 1 p.m. The numbers are not adding up.

10:57 a.m.: Toby has a fit at gym daycare when I drop him off because he doesn't want to stay.

11:07 a.m.: Treadmill. People magazine. Total bliss.

11:48 a.m.: Toby has a fit at gym daycare because he doesn't want to leave.

12:14 p.m.: I arrive home in a frenzy and notice that my husband is giving Nate the precious bottle of breast milk I pumped last night. I say in a fake calm voice, "Why did you give him the bottle? I was going to nurse him now." I feel like I want to murder him, then remind myself that it is not an option because I really need his help. He says he can stay an extra hour since he doesn't have to see any clients until 2 p.m. I decide that he's a prince.

1:12 p.m.: My husband leaves for work. I hug him extra long and say, "Please don't leave me." He leaves anyway.

1:53 p.m.: Nate has been napping for more than an hour. I am completely amazed, yet wonder why I didn't use this as "quiet time" for Toby so I could have napped, too. I feel a disproportionate amount of remorse.

2:25 p.m.: "Quiet time" for Toby, and we're all piled in bed. Nate is now wide awake and extra squirmy. I find myself falling asleep for 30-second intervals while both boys stare at me. I consider how much money I would be willing to pay someone at this moment to whisk the boys away right now so I could sleep for just ten minutes. I decide $1,000 is not unreasonable.

4:02 p.m.: Snack time. Banana for Toby. Big bowl of cereal for me. Boobs for Nate.

4:38 p.m.: The children's room at the library is amazingly peaceful. Toby is having the time of his life playing with old and broken toys, and Nate is resting quietly in my lap without squirming. I take a deep breath and think how lovely my boys are.

5:39 p.m.: Back from the library, I place Toby in front of the TV with as little guilt as possible so I can put Nate to bed with my patented "boob, bath, boob" routine: I nurse Nate with one boob, give him a quick bath, and then nurse him with the second boob.

6:24 p.m.: I'm enjoying the relative peace of dinner with Toby and no baby to jiggle. I laugh extra hard at his jokes, hoping to butter him up for our bedtime routine.

7:49 p.m.: Much screaming ensues when Toby loses special second-book privileges, which he'd earned by not insisting I come into his room last night at his 2:38 a.m. waking. Tragically, the bonus is lost when he persists in counting how many old toothbrushes are in the cup in the bathroom despite my pointing out that it is time to get into pj's and that it is too late to count toothbrushes tonight. My previous buttering-up seems to have had little impact.

8:26 p.m.: I'm in bed drinking hot tea and eating a Double Chocolate Milano cookie. I've gotten both boys off to bed all by myself and feel as if I've just climbed Mount Everest and deserve praise and admiration from others. I remember particularly cute things each of my boys did that day  -- extra-good smiles from Nate and extra-good Muppets imitations from Toby. Having children may actually have been a pretty good plan.

9:03 p.m.: I jerk awake as I hear my husband coming upstairs. I realize I still have to pump or my boobs will wake me up all on their own in a few hours. I can't think of anything I'd like to do less, but I pump anyway.

10:44 p.m.: I wake up briefly to noises of my husband giving Nate a late-night bottle. I am enormously happy that I am not involved in any way. I'm even happier that because I did pump, I can now turn over and snuggle onto my stomach to sleep. I decide that stomach sleeping is one of the greatest pleasures in life. I wonder for a moment what the night ahead will be like. I wonder if I will ever be able to fall asleep without worrying about when I will have to wake up next. I fall asleep seven seconds later.