Posted by: Michael Atkisson | June 17, 2011

A Precious Morning

June 17, 2011

Just had a precious morning with my twins, Peter and Greta, one of the last just with them. They are two-and-a-half and Kristen is going to have our new baby girl in a week or two. It’s Friday so I don’t go into work on my 30 hour per week schedule and if I do, it’s later and to work on my dissertation. Peter woke up at 6:30. He came into our room and started playing with his truck on top of Kristen’s nightstand, right by her open bottle of Tums. I heard his truck rattling around. Kirsten was already down stairs. So I rolled over, a little groggy from my earache and bad sleep, and snapped the bottle shut. At that point, Peter looked at me for a second and then turned and ran out of the room. I called for him but he kept on going. When I caught up to him he was half way down the stairs and watching Kristen open the door for her walk. Kristen picked him up at the bottom of the stairs and Peter said he wanted the car. We thought that he meant a toy, but when we turned to go into the living room he screamed no and said, “the car!” He wanted to go with Kristen. I pulled him away as he cried for mom, and Kristen went out the door. We went into the kitchen as I tried to sooth him (because I was worried that he was going to wake Greta, because she is always a grump when she gets woken up early). I poured milk into his green bottle (we usually use glass but they love these colored one when we use them) with one hand got the milk to him. We walked up stairs with him curled up in my arms as he drank the milk, binky in one hand and bottle in the other, and Eli (his blue night-night elephant) under his arm. I changed his diaper and we curled up in bed. After he finished his milk, I put it on my nightstand and he curled up in the pillows next to me, his little bottom against my stomach and his feet together, wedged between my thighs. We lay together there with soft morning light peeking through the blinds and Peter nuzzling around until 7:00.

Greta woke with her morning cry at 7:00. I got up and cracked her door. She was fumbling around on her bed trying to gather Baby and Draffy (here sleep animals). As I opened the door, she was dropping down out of her bed feet-first, making little moans and sniffles. I said good morning happily and leaned down and put my hands on her shoulders and said for her to go in to mom and dad’s room while I got her milk. I walked with her to Kristen’s side of the bed and lifted her up onto the pillows on her back and tucked her in. Peter was excited to see her and leaned in on the backside of her pillow and began talking to her. She rolled to her side and closed her eyes. When I came up with the yellow bottle she was still there and Peter was still leaned in towards her. When she saw me coming she looked up and then saw the little children’s paper book that I stuffed into the space between the base of the ceiling fan and the fan a couple of nights before so it would stop making noise when it spun. She really wanted the book and got upset. She wouldn’t drink her milk and tried to just lay down with it. I took it away until she finally agreed to start drinking it. I got out the Truckery Rhymes book and Greta made a fuss about me reading it. I knelt on the bed in front of them and started to sign through the book. Greta finally decided not to object anymore and I sat between them on the bed and finished the book. Just as I was getting out some more books, Kristen got home and said from downstairs as she always does when she gets home, “My babies!? My babies!?”” When she came in, Peter handed her the Popcorn book and she read that to them while they scooted up to her where she was sitting on the corner of the bed. I stayed where I was, but moved some pillows and put them on my legs so P&G could lean back while they listened. I started Tumble Me Tumbley and Kristen and I alternated lines while Greta listened and Peter began to play alone with a train engine where he was on the bed on the discarded books we had read. Next we got out the large book of children’s stories and read several stories, including their favorite in that book, “Mouse,” which is about a mouse that misses its family and helps them escape from peril and ends up with a new baby brother he wished for at the end.

Kristen fell asleep (she is less than two weeks away from her due date after all) and I took the kids down to have some breakfast. Peter came first, and I fixed him some multigrain toast and got him started on that. I went back up and got Greta. I split a plumb from Costco and the skin was too sour so they didn’t eat that. Peter wanted some yogurt. So I split a peach and then a strawberry yogurt between them. I got them to put down their food and so we could say a prayer. They both folded their arms and bowed their heads (It went much better than last night’s dinner prayer where a lot of food and utensils started going around mid-prayer). I sat with them while they ate and munched on some toast. They were both working so hard at dipping their spoons in their little cups and getting it into their mouths. They would be concentrating and then would look up and smile. They were so sweet and innocent. I thought this must be heaven. An overwhelming sense of gratitude came over me as I looked and smiled at each one of them. Just as I was getting teary-eyed, Greta started bossing Peter around for pointing his hand at her spoon. She thought he was going to take it. They were covered with yogurt. When they finished, I cleaned up Peter while Greta ran and jumped on the couch and got some on it. I cleaned her up and wiped her mouth too hard as she exclaimed, “You hurt me!” I said I was sorry and announced, “Bath time!” They both hurried to follow me out of the kitchen but then got sidetracked by seeing their night animals on the floor and tried to grab them. I explained that we were going to have bath time. They put them down eventually and came upstairs. Peter took his usual little break, laying down on his back on the bottom stair so the rest of us had to step over him. I turned on the water and then Peter and Greta helped me put the bath toys into the tub. Greta got in right away. Peter didn’t want to all of the sudden, he just wanted to lean in over the tub wall and play with his red Fairlane matchbox car under the water. I finally lifted him in and he didn’t want to, he stomped one foot down into the water, pinning a toy down to the bottom, pushing up, trying to stay out of the water. Eventually he got in. They played for a minute while I sat on the toilet seat. Then I washed them. By the time I finished rinsing off Peter, Greta has gulped a few ounces of bath water. She loves it no matter how many times I tell her it’s gross and that we don’t drink bath water! When I washed Greta she got soap in her eyes and wasn’t too happy about it. I popped the drain plug out and Peter was ready to go. I pulled him out, dried off his head and the rest of his little body and wrapped him up as a waddling cocoon and sent him into the bedroom where Kristen was up and waiting with the hair dryer. Greta wanted to stay in the bath until every last drop of water went down the drain. I pulled her out and dried her off with her mermaid towel, and she was vary particular about making sure that the print was on the outside when I wrapped her up. I cleaned out her nose and then carried her to my spot on the bed where Shaun the Sheep season 1 was streaming on Netflix (their favorite show). I put Greta’s diaper on and tucked her in.

I took down the rolled up diapers to the trash and then wrote up instructions for David and Connie for the sleep over that they are having tonight over there while Kristen got the kids ready. I went back up and carried P&G, one in each arm, down stairs and we ran around the house playing monster chase. They went up stairs and then forgot the chase when they saw Kristen’s makeup bag on the counter and got into it. Kristen exclaimed something about, “Why do you have to always get into my stuff!” and “Can’t I just have five seconds!” I got Peter back down stairs to put his socks and shoes on. He cuddled up tight in my arms and giggled. We went back up stairs to get Greta. Kristen wanted me to put her purple fleece on, but Greta just look at me and ran. P&G ran into Greta’s room. Greta hid under the slide and Peter hid behind the book case shelves. We played peek-a-boo for a few minutes until it got closer for them to head out. Kristen called me in to our room to see if I thought the maternity pants that just put on were terrible. They weren’t, she looked great. She grabbed the keys off the dresser and said self-mockingly, “Why are my keys here? I always put my keys on the hook in the kitchen,” lampooning one of her rants from a couple of weeks ago when she called me at work not being able to find her keys. I headed down stairs and asked Greta if she wanted her pink flower sandals or her purple shoes. She wanted her shoes. So I went and got some white footie socks that had a red stripe at the top and put them on her. The red clashed with the purple in her pants shirt and shoes, but it didn’t matter, it was time for them to go. Greta lined up my shoes so I could put them on. I still wasn’t dressed and wasn’t going to be going with them to the park or to Costco (Today is the last day of the term for my last class before my dissertation starts officially and I am two weeks behind from over 80 hours of overtime at work, moving my 104-year-old grandma into her first assisted living facility, two weeks of being sick, my brother-in-law’s wedding and everything else that happened this term). Kristen came down ready to go and opened the door. I stood out of the way so I didn’t flash anyone in the hall and Kristen said, “What do you say?” and both P&G yelled out, “Thank you dad!” Kristen and I laughed. Greta bolted out the door. Peter stood still, turned, and then looked at me and said, “Bye dad.” Kristen took his hand, and with her diaper-full purse on her shoulder and the Costco list in her other hand, they stepped out, closing the door behind them.



  1. Great view into how things go at your house, Michael! Good luck with the new baby and life as a family of 5!

  2. They are such sweet little babies…and such a shame we don’t have that detailed list 🙂 Whatever will we do?? Thanks for sharing them with us! We are having a blast..luau..park…chinchillas..hamsters.. now jammies and Shaun the Sheep. Doesn’t get much better than that!!

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