I received a few requests for an updated “day in the life” post when I solicited my last round of Magpie Mail questions and I kept wanting to write one and then thinking, “Nah, today is too weird — I’ll record a more normal day later this week.” Then it dawned on me that my day-to-day right now boasts a lot of irregularities and so I decided to just pick a day and write. The head picture in this post gave me a bit of a laugh as I was looking for a good depiction of what my life looks like and the aforementioned couldn’t be further from the truth. I never wear heels during the day, the bag contains about 1/20th of what I’m toting, and that woman appears to be walking at a leisurely gait whereas mine is permanently closer to an awkward sprint. But it made me pause and think, “wouldn’t it be nice…”
5:49 a.m. Hill wakes. I lay with my eyes closed willing him to go back to sleep but knowing he will not. I woke myself about twenty times last night with coughing spells and I am tired. I am getting over what I presume to be the flu, but the cough has distressed me enough that I have made an appointment later today at the doctor. I wait a minute too long in that nether-world between awake and asleep, as he has begun to properly fuss as I fumble out of bed.
5:54 a.m. I turn on the lights in the kitchen and living room with my iPhone (almost all of the lights in our home are Hue bulbs) as I walk to the kitchen to make him a bottle.
5:55 a.m. I greet Hill, who is at this point not interested in my sing-song. Just feed me, mama! I change his diaper and bring him with me to the living room, where he feeds himself his bottle (aha! turning point in motherhood!) and I check my emails and skim Instagram. I cough a lot and then Purell my hands.
6:03 a.m. Hill is now in a fantastic mood. I set out his RR quilt with some (quiet-ish) toys — these are currently and rather curiously a big hit with him — and sit down on the ground as he rolls and slobbers and kicks his legs violently, something he does when happy. I read him Peek-A-Who, which both of my children have gone gaga over.
6:13 a.m. Every morning, Hill spends a good parcel of time putting the balls into and out of this and marveling over the engineering of the drawstring attached to the front of the truck. (Sound switched off at this hour…) These two activities never bore him. Once he’s engaged, I respond to a few emails, add one or two items to my STP (Shoop Talking Points) roster, evaluate the route I will take to get Emory to her doctor’s appointment and then to her school this morning, and hunt for this damned Proper Peony birthday candle dress that appears to be sold out everywhere in her size but that I am dying to purchase for mini’s third birthday in a month.
6:41 a.m. I place Hill in his crib with a few toys and then switch on the TV in the kitchen to turn on CBS news. Hill’s bedroom is just off the kitchen (the “maid’s room” in a classic Manhattan 6-style apartment), so it’s easy for me to keep an eye/ear out when I’m buzzing around. I empty the dishwasher while making oatmeal on the stovetop. I prefer overnight oats but Instacart delivered the wrong kind of oats so here we are. I slice bananas and walnuts and then rinse and halve some berries. I top three bowls of oatmeal with milk, brown sugar, raisins, bananas, walnuts, and a little cinnamon sugar on top. Then I assemble a large tray with everyone’s food and drinks (orange juice for Mr. Magpie, milk for mini) and carry it out to the living room. One day we will migrate breakfast to the dining table…
7:06 a.m. At this point, Hill is bored and fussy and I can hear Emory calling my name from her room. I place Hill in his “office” with a loud, flashy toy and run into Emory’s room.
7:07 a.m. “Good morning, ladybug!” I announce as I enter her room. “Go away,” she replies. Ah, typical toddler cheer. After some cajoling, I retrieve her from her crib, change her into underwear, and sit her down at the living room coffee table (she has a small stool she likes to sit on). We let her watch an episode of Daniel the Tiger or Sesame Street in the morning while she eats breakfast. This morning, it’s Sesame Street.
7:09 a.m. I brush and tie Emory’s hair and then place Hill in his Ingenuity seat on the floor. I feed him a Once Upon a Farm smoothie and some berries in a pulp feeder in between bites of oatmeal for myself. I can hear Mr. Magpie finishing up his shower and dress routine in the other room.
7:13 a.m. “Good morning, lovebug!” Mr. Magpie greets mini. “S is the letter of the day,” she replies. A noticeable improvement on the greeting I received. He sits on the couch and eats his breakfast while we exchange conversation about why Hill insists on waking at 5:45 a.m. (we need black out shades, we decide) and the schedule for the day.
7:18 a.m. I run into the bedroom to wash and moisturize my face, brush my hair and teeth, and dress, popping in and out to monitor whether mini is eating her breakfast (she is) and whether Hill can hang on for another minute (he can, just barely). He’s not into being restrained in things anymore — he wants to be rolling around on the floor, free to explore. It’s a devastating shift. Meanwhile, I use Tata Harper’s regenerating facial cleanser, then follow with Vintner’s Daughter serum, Laroche-Posay sunscreen, Ole Henriksen eye cream, and Avene moisturizer (which I am loving). Then I apply my daily makeup. Today, I wear an Everlane cashmere crewneck in pale blue, distressed J. Brand jeans, Nicola Bathie earrings, and a pair of Tod’s. I eavesdrop on Mr. Magpie’s conversation with the children — something about an astronaut?
7:34 a.m. I cross paths with Mr. Magpie in the bathroom as he brushes his teeth and I finish with a spritz of perfume. We talk about something but in all honesty I can’t recall what.
7:35 a.m. I transfer Hill to his 4Moms swing, which he has basically outgrown. These mornings are like musical chairs for him, as I stow him somewhere safe for as long as I can until he needs me because there is so much to do. I sprint into the kitchen to assemble mini’s lunch, grumbling that I wish I’d done this last night. I make her a sunbutter and Bonne Maman jam sandwich (her favorite), slice an apple, and add some freeze-dried fruit and mini pretzels, then fill her water bottle and pack it all in her lunchbox, which in turn goes into her backpack, which I then hang on the back of her umbrella stroller. She’s just gotten over the flu and so for a week she ate virtually nothing — accordingly, I’ve been giving her all her favorites until she’s fully bounced back.
7:43 a.m. I anxiously text our nanny to confirm she’s remembered that she needs to come in early today, as I am taking Emory to a doctor appointment. For an agonizing sixty seconds, I begin to mentally configure how to get everything done if she can’t arrive — I guess I’ll just put Hill in the carrier, and…She confirms. Phew.
7:44 a.m. Sesame Street has ended and mini has surreptitiously availed herself of HBO’s habit of starting the following episode immediately without alerting me. I turn it off, much to her displeasure, and give her a warning that we are getting dressed “in two minutes.” (Everything is two minutes away in this house.) I run into her room, quickly “make” her crib (fold her quilt and treasured shabby receiving blanket at the foot of her bed, fluff her pillow, arrange her two favorite stuffed animals. I then idle in her dresser and check the weather (Siri informs me it’s going to be 56 degrees today?!) before picking out a Sal e Pimenta plaid kilt jumper and a coordinating ric-rac trim peter pan collar blouse with white tights. Mr. Magpie leaves to walk the dog.
7:55 a.m. I black out while attempting to dress my writhing toddler. It is so, so exhausting. About half of the mornings each week, she puts up a huge fight. The other half, she’s highly amenable. During those amenable mornings, I’m always tiptoeing around on eggshells with my eyes wide as saucers, reminding myself: “Be cool, be cool, pretend this is totally normal.” This morning, I’m not sure what is said or done, but at the end of that ten minute period, she is dressed, though her hair is now wildly askew.
8 a.m. Normally, this is when Mr. Magpie is leaving to take mini to school; today things are wonky because I am taking her to the doctor, and so he’s now returning with Tilly. He pours her food and then disappears to make my coffee. I follow him in ferrying a tray of dirty dishes. We exchange knowing glances over The Incident of Dressing the Toddler.
8:04 a.m. Hill has HAD.IT. with the 4moms, but I am putting together my Goyard bag — adding mini’s pouch to it, putting her backpack in it, adding a sticker book in case the doctor’s office runs long. I sprint around assembling it all and then put it in the stroller.
8:08 a.m. I retrieve Hill and sit down on the couch with him. Mr. Magpie deposits my coffee on the side table — blessed nectar — and waves goodbye to everyone.
8:10 a.m. Mini emerges from her room as if nothing transpired ten minutes ago, holding an alphabet puzzle. We do it together — or rather, I comment and encourage from the couch.
8:25 a.m. I take mini to use the toilet and then let her know we will be leaving “in two minutes.”
8:30 a.m. Our nanny arrives and I pass Hill off to her, along with a couple of verbal notes about when and what he ate, when he’ll need to sleep, and the like.
8:31 a.m. I lay out mini’s coat and shoes and she puts them on. Occasionally this can be another battleground, but she complies, likely because I am telling her “just mommy and Emu today.” I slip into my Barbour coat (mild weather today), fold up the stroller, and sling it over my shoulder.
8:34 a.m. We leave the apartment and call an Uber over to the Eastside, where mini’s appointment is. This doctor runs notoriously late but at our last visit, I managed to sweet-talk the front desk coordinator into giving me her cellphone number and seemed to have unlocked the gate to Narnia, as she also let me know the doctor had a secret uptown location where things tended to run more on schedule. I am still highly leery, because I have waited up to two hours (!) for this doctor in visits past. Mini is exceptionally sweet and curious in the Uber. She loves the two tunnels we go under on the 86th street transverse — “woah,” she comments both times, with a slow smile crossing her face.
9:02 a.m. As we cross the street, mini tells me she sees ducks in the road. I look around but have no idea what she’s talking about. “Oh, ducks?” is all I say. It’s only hours later, as I am writing this post, that I realize she is talking about Make Way for Ducklings, when the police officer escorts the ducks across the crosswalk, which does — to be fair — kind of look like the one we crossed this morning.
9:03 a.m. I check mini in for her 9:15 a.m. appointment. If you’re not on time, you’re late in the Shoop world. Etc.
9:17 a.m. I am so astounded to discover we are leaving the doctor two minutes after the appointment started (the doctor took us early!) that I call Mr. Magpie to brag as I place mini in her stroller to walk to the six train. It’s drizzling and I scowl at myself for only attending to the temperature in the forecast.
9:26 a.m. We jump on a 6 train downtown. Mini is preoccupied with the firefighter figurines she took as “prizes” in the doctor’s office and a kind woman offers up her seat so the trek down is surprisingly pleasant save for all of the face masks, which remind me constantly of the potential lurking presence of the coronavirus. I bathe in sanitizer.
9:51 a.m. Though I often have mini climb the subway steps herself, today I carry her, along with the stroller over my shoulder. I feel a strange pang of guilt for my frustration with her while trying to get her dressed this morning and remember, with a lurch in my stomach, when she was crying, “I am scared of the doctor!” She was not scared of the doctor for a long time; this is a new development and I am half-inclined to blame Daniel the Tiger, who has an entire episode dedicated to “not being afraid of the doctor.” I begin to wonder whether her refusal to get dressed has something to do with not wanting to do something later in the day. I kiss her and tell her I love her and insist (internally) that I can and will be better and gentler with her tomorrow morning. I drop mini off at school, which does not go particularly well — I think she is thrown off by the change in routine today. But I kiss her and the teacher peels her off of me nonetheless.
9:52 a.m. I apply more sanitizer thanks to a large sign on the front of mini’s school’s door: There is a nasty stomach virus going around. Just what we need…
9:54 a.m. I make a last minute decision to run into Eataly to pick up dinner for tonight. We are usually good about planning ahead but with all the sickness in our household the past week, meal planning went out the window. I walk in thinking salmon, but they’re out of wild salmon, and we stay away from the farmed stuff. I pick (wild) red snapper after quickly googling an Ina Recipe for fish with mustard sauce. The haricots verts look good even though it’s not really their season, so I pick up some of those, some fingerling potatoes (so I can make J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s outrageously good garlic and parmesan potato dish), and two small heads of romaine along with the creme freche and shallot called for in the Ina recipe. Oh, and a comice pear for Hill. In the checkout line, I text my sister for a few minutes.
10:06 a.m. I jump on the 1 train home, posting a picture to Instagram for my blog post and responding to a few emails and texts when I have intermittent service.
10:31 a.m. I catch up with our nanny on what Hill has been up to — he’s asleep now. I empty the groceries, leaving the beans and salad to soak in cold water on the counter. I make myself tea.
10:35 a.m. I call my mom, who has been texting to see how I’m feeling as I make the bed. Normally, making the bed is a must do before I leave the house but it was too crazy today. We shoot the breeze and I tell her how much I like mini’s doctor.
10:41 a.m. I’ve moved myself so much in my conversation with my mom, I sit down and write the doctor a thank you note. It’s not everyday you find a doctor with such an exceptional bedside manner. Then I dig into my STP action items from last night and my to dos on my planner — RSVP to a few events, order a birthday gift, change a doctor’s appointment, request dental records for mini’s new uptown dentist, call a random boutique that seems to have that Proper Peony dress online but won’t let me purchase it online, etc.
11:02 a.m. I dial in to write a post on my blog.
11:13 a.m. Our nanny is leaving to take Hill to a story time, so I run out to see him off. On the way back to my desk, I add a few items to a pending Instacart order.
11:45 a.m. I order a Sweetgreen salad for lunch. I normally make lunch at home but I had burgers for dinner the last two nights (!) because Mr. Magpie made the burger mix HIMSELF following Sean Brock’s recipe and they were outrageous — and I need something green, and fast. I order the kale caesar.
12:15 p.m. Lunch arrives. I continue to write while eating.
1:15 p.m. Done with the post. I take Tilly for a walk while talking to my Dad on the phone. While I’m out, our nanny brings Hill back. I coo over him for a few minutes in the living room and chat with our nanny.
1:36 p.m. I make the mustard sauce for the fish and parboil the potatoes while drinking a second cup of tea.
2:01 p.m. This is going to sound weird, but my babysitter arrives. I am supposed to go to the doctor to get this cough checked out and our nanny needs to leave at 2:15 to pick up Emory from school. Normally I stay home with Hill, but today I’d need to take him to the doctor with me smack dab in the middle of his afternoon nap, so — I arranged to have our sitter come instead. I make introductions and explain the situation and they do a hand-off.
2:05 p.m. I retreat to my room to answer comments and emails and get distracted by writing a second post, which is never a good idea when I have a hard stop looming.
2:37 p.m. I pry myself away from the computer to leave for the doctor, checking in with our sitter on the way out.
2:55 p.m. I make it to the doctor attempting to touch nothing in the office. Coronavirus signs abound.
3:00 p.m. My nanny texts me to let me know mini is refusing to leave the classroom today. I know this is because she is totally out of her regular routine — she was home all of last week sick; I took her to a doctor appointment today; etc. She is a creature of habit and all of these edits are throwing her for a loop. We exchange a few texts; she manages to get Emory into her stroller and on the way home. I daydream for a minute and then start drafting a snippet of a potential future blog post on my iPhone.
3:19 p.m. As expected, the cough is nothing and I am a huge hypochondriac. I had worked myself up into a tizzy thinking I had pneumonia. To be fair, it is a brutal and nasty cough and I’m sure I terrified half my car on the six train this morning. The doctor confirms I’ve been battling the flu and tells me to rest.
3:41 p.m. I text Mr. Magpie and my sister to let them know I don’t have pneumonia and call my mother to let her know the same.
3:42 p.m. To celebrate, I buy myself an iced oat latte from Joe’s coffee.
3:56 p.m. I walk into a boisterous scene. Emory has just returned home and has flung her coat and shoes around the living room and is gaily chatting with the sitter. Our nanny is preparing to leave (she works for another family in the evenings — such a hard worker, my God!), so I catch up briefly with her. I immediately tuck into mom mode, picking up mini’s discarded clothes and putting them away, unpacking her lunchbox and placing the items in the dishwasher while mentally applauding her for finishing most of it, refilling her water, then coming out to remind her to use the toilet. I refill Tilly’s water.
4:00 p.m. I am preparing to relieve the sitter when it dawns on me that maybe it would be nice to have an extra set of hands so I can finish getting dinner ready in relative peace. She agrees to stick around. I turn music on in the kitchen and get to work. The following two hours are a blur I couldn’t possibly narrate that involve a lot of clipped conversations with mini, cooing over Hill, poking my head out to reinforce what the sitter has said to mini, disciplining of the dog (who managed to eviscerate one of mini’s precious Maileg mice tonight), cooking, tidying, and cleaning, all while attempting to have a text conversation with my other sister, whose children are also sick. Ugh!
5:45 p.m. I had hoped we’d all eat dinner together tonight, but Mr. Magpie’s not yet home, so I flake some of the fish for micro (we’ve just started finger foods!) and puree the green beans and potatoes with a little water using my new Vitamix for him. I supplement mini’s dinner plate with some white rice leftover from the other day. I sit down to feed the children. Again, I intend to relieve the sitter, but mini is thoroughly distracted and I ask whether the sitter would mind giving her a bath as I finish feeding Hill.
6:00 p.m. Mr. Magpie comes home and the crowd goes wild.
6:11 p.m. I attempt to peek in on the bath situation and realize it needs to be expedited. I urge mini to let the sitter wash her hair and then get out of the way. Mr. Magpie hangs with Hill in the living room and I just love the way he talks to him. I pick up the dining room, which has amassed an odd collection of items — burp cloth, crayons and paper, two little figurines from mini’s doctor visit, mini’s socks, Tilly’s chew toy, an empty baggy? I clean fish flakes out of Hill’s high chair. I tidy the kitchen a bit.
6:30 p.m. I return to supervise mini’s bath, which is taking a very long time. This is normally mini’s bedtime but things are all haywire today. I pass the baton to Mr. Magpie and put Hill down — change him into jammies, say his prayers, read him his book, and give him his bottle.
6:41 p.m. I relieve the sitter and tap in. Mini is exhausted and the entire process is taking a very long time. We brush teeth, say prayers, read a book, and say good night while Mr. Magpie walks Tilly.
6:51 p.m. I prepare plates for Mr. Magpie and I, and we reconvene in the living room. I would love a glass of wine but am still getting over the flu, so he enjoys one on my behalf. We go through the STPs for the day and generally commiserate over what a weird day it’s been. We often watch something during this hour, but tonight, we just sit and talk, idling over our plates.
7:40 p.m. I clear the plates and clean the kitchen while listening to the news and then bring Mr. Magpie an ice cream sandwich and a glass of water.
8:03 p.m. I shower. I want to wash all the germs of the day off.
8:21 p.m. I change into my Weezie robe, apply Prep Rally to my hair, and go through my nightly skincare routine — remove makeup with Bioderma micellar water and this facial cotton (the best), apply a glycolic wipe, and slather on moisturizer (I like this before bed) on my face and neck and 8 Hour Cream on my lips.
8:37 p.m. Hill is awake…! This is earlier than usual. He often wakes for one final feed at 10 p.m. I am aware that he probably does not need this last bottle and that my pediatrician has encouraged me to let him “cry it out” for this one, but I’ve never used that method and prefer it this way. I change his diaper and soothe him but it is obvious he’s expecting his nightcap. I feed him, saying Hail Mary into the dark of his room. I often find myself praying the Rosary while feeding him. Tonight, I pray that I am a more patient mother tomorrow.
8:50 p.m. I reward myself with an ice cream sandwich.
8:51 p.m. I sit down to finish some work on my blog and answer some emails.
9:23 p.m. Mr. Magpie comes into the room to let me know he’s finished another episode of Succession and that he is enjoying it but hates the character Tom. We tumble in and out of conversation while I finish up at my desk and he prepares for bed.
9:31 p.m. I blow dry my hair with my magical Revlon one-step. I do not feel like doing this right now, but we have dinner plans tomorrow night and I want to look nice and it’s one of my new year’s resolutions to do my hair every day. I’ve not yet failed on that front — even while battling the flu this past week. While doing my hair, I make three mental edits to the post scheduled for tomorrow.
9:38 p.m. I brush my teeth, change into my pajamas, and make the edits to my blog post.
9:44 p.m. I climb into bed, Venmo the sitter, and text my sister one final time. Mr. Magpie has The Office on and it’s lights out for me.
+This denim set is absolutely adorable for a baby.
+I think I need this $50 Solid & Striped suit.
+This is so pretty in plain white!
+I can almost never say no to a classic wrap dress like this — they NEVER go out of style and I know I’ll be wearing it into my 80s. I love a bright red color like this one too!
+This $15 swimsuit looks like Marysia!!!
+This is the kind of dress that will get a lot of wear over the summer. Could be paired with espadrilles for a casual weekend adventure or with heels for a night out or leather sandals for Church.