A Mother’s Instructions

I’m leaving my kids for a few days. I’m leaving Coraline for pretty much the first time ever. I’m flying out to the East Coast. I haven’t been on a plane in over seven years. My job’s covering all expenses, and it’s blowing my mind a little.

Tonight, past the time I said I should be in bed, I drafted these instructions for their caretakers:

“Cora has a cold. She’s got the sniffles at night. You might have to take her in the bathroom and turn on the shower at its hottest to clear out her nose. Mia’s been coughing. There’s some medicine in the cabinet in the bathroom if she needs it.

Cora gets rashes easily. There’s a bunch of lotions and creams in the bin next to the kitchen table with her wipes.

Mia’s kind of good at regulating herself and her schedule, but she might need help with reminders to get to bed. Bedtime is 8 o’clock. She knows what to do. I turn off the TV at 7.30, and the kitchen is “closed” at that time as well. Don’t let her drink a bunch of juice before bed. She’s usually asleep by 9, but comes out to the couch in the middle of the night. It’s not okay for her to watch TV.

DSCN2272Cora’s clothes are on a shelf in my closet. Her socks are in the top drawer of the pink dresser in my room. For daycare, she needs what’s in the black bag in the bin next to the kitchen table. They go outside, so she needs a warm coat and boots.

There’s a ton of food and coffee. Feel free to help yourself. Non-drip coffee supplies are in the far right cabinet.

Mia will want to pack a lunch, and she’s pretty good at it. She needs help getting up in the morning, and staying on task in getting to the bus, which leaves at 8.10. She comes home at 3.20 or thereabouts. Make sure the back door is open.

Mia can sleep with “magic monkey” if she wants. Try not to let her take any toys/dolls to school.

Cora eats and poops constantly. Best of luck. There are crackers in the middle cabinet. She loves bananas, oranges, and apple slices with the peels removed. Mia is a picky eater, but I bought her some of her favorite junk foods (crackers). Try to get her to eat some protein (cheese, meat, etc.) before letting her pig out on cheese crackers.

I don’t let Mia have her laptop currently, but I’ll leave it on her desk so she can chat with me if she needs. You’ll need to close it at bedtime so she doesn’t wait for messages from me or her dad.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any reason.

I don’t know how Cora’s going to react to me being gone. Just remember: putting her in the Ergo and bouncing to Pearl Jam played loud will get her to sleep. She usually naps in the afternoon, and is asleep by 9. She wakes up every couple of hours. I don’t know how that’ll go, given there’s no boob to offer. You might just have to wrestle her back in the Ergo and bounce again.

Thank you, all, for your willingness to care for my children while I’m gone. It’s a huge trip, and a huge opportunity for me to leave. Thank you so much for this.”

I guess these are quirks only a mother knows, or maybe they’re common sense. I’ll post about my trip, I’m sure. I don’t think I realize the magnitude of it yet: a chance to learn how to write op-eds from some of the best.

But all I can think of are the dozen pieces I’m working on, and how wonderful it’ll be to get some time on the plane to write. No kids pulling at me. No toddler nursing all night. Just me, and a focus so strong. It’s like that speech they gave the pilots at the beginning of the first flights in the movie Top Gun. This is what I’ve been trained to do. Now go out and kick some ass.

Which is exactly what I intend to do. Even if I’m wearing unfashionable Carhartt pants.

 

-step.

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11 thoughts on “A Mother’s Instructions

  1. East Coast, you say? Of course now the wheels in the macaroni are starting to turn (even though it’s only 7 am and they aren’t supposed to til 9 at the earliest) where about on the coast? DC, perhaps? If so, coffee is a must. When I first started reading this, I thought and was hoping it’d be a book tour or something of that sort… ah well, maybe next time… Excited for you an your opportunity. Best of luck and feel free to share the interesting (and not so interesting) tidbits!
    -Kim-

  2. Stephanie, no one deserves this more than you. The (adorable) kids will survive and however hard it is to hear, they will be stronger for it. Go ahead and kick some ass, but don’t forget to play. Eat, drink, and be merry. Nap, take baths, order room service. I don’t think there’s much for you learn but don’t be intimidated. You’re already a star.

  3. Go nail it. I had a similar opportunity a year ago when my youngest was 1 and never looked back. My two girls got over i my absence, I am completely different as a result of those 3 days on my own. Make the most of it. You deserve it.

  4. We worry how our kids will manage without us as they are habituated to us…but sometimes we just have to learn to LET GO!!!they will eventually learn to be independent and will welcome you back with their smiling faces…all the best

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  6. My gift is working with kids of all ages, I have Volunteered over eight years, at different Churches, watching kids of all ages. Early Jan. of 2011 at Sagebrush Church I helped in the Babies room for a little over 2 1/2 years. When New Babies were left with us, after missing the first 15 minutes Checking kids in, when I would Open the gate and walk into the Room, saying good afternoon to the other Volunteers, a Baby would here my voice and crawl over toys around other Caregivers, stop right in front of me get up on their knees and reach up their little hands for me to pick them up. I was used to it happening, my wife and other Caregivers would be amazed, when the Babies would make a beeline for me, most of the time I would be holding two Babies on my lap. My nose would always smell and find the one or more stinky diaper. I enjoy teaching all kids new things, and feeling so much Joy, when you can see they figured it out, their excitement, made every effort well worth it. God bless everyone who reads this, I am a Pastor, so if any who see this need Prayer or have questions, please message me. Dan Mckim

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