I am not a morning person. I am also not a night owl. That pretty much leaves nine hours in the day that I am not sleeping or dragging my ass through routine tasks. The worst time has to be the morning, when I am trying to herd my tiny cats, I mean children, toward the door and get them to school.
The sage words I’ve heard on the topic are that I should should get everything ready the night before, and that will allow me to sail through my morning, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. Yeah. No. I could pack lunches, lay out clothes, and have backpacks waiting by the door, and it would still take twice as long as I think, because I have children. Children that move as slow as turtles tromping through peanut butter.
Complicating this is the fact that I am prone to speaking at a high volume. Okay, I yell. A lot. My mother says I inherited it from her, and she inherited the gift from her mother, and so on and so forth all the way up my family tree to Eve, the first yeller. She probably had to yell at Adam to pick his damn fig leaf up and get a fresh one. My mother very optimistically says that since she yells less that her mom and I yell less than her, that one day we’ll eliminate the horrible gene. I am not convinced of this quite yet.
My morning usually goes a little something like this… Alarm goes off, hit snooze two times, drag myself unwillingly into the bathroom, pee and then go downstairs to release the dogs from their crate. Unleash the krakens in the backyard, let them in, feed them breakfast, and then let them back out so they don’t take a dump in my living room. Because, seriously, I hate poop. And when I have a crapton of things to do (see what I did there?), the last thing I want to do is clean up dog poop. Next, comes coffee prep because if I am not caffeinated, I might have to shiv someone. The world is a cold and scary place without caffeine.
By this time, the kids are awake. In theory, they are supposed to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and be prepped for school transportation. What REALLY happens is the kids stay in their pajamas, and play with their toys. Or, worse, they get into my purse, knock over laundry I need to put away, and generally wreak havoc on EVERYTHING. I threaten my daughter with jeans, and since she hates them with every fiber of her being, that spurs her along to put on her usual uniform of leggings and a t-shirt. Yes, even in winter. Occasionally, I’ll find my son buck naked and playing with Legos. Or DS. Or reading a book. I throw his clothes at him and check on his sister. This usually results in me finding her dressed, but with a used pull-up lying in her room. I throw that out and go back to my son, who has returned to Legos.
Then, the yelling begins. “Holy Mary, mother of God, why are you not dressed?” The boy then leaps up, cattle prodded by the shouts and proceeds to throw his underwear in the air, shrieking about about how I am the bad mommy there to hurt him. Seriously? I have never hurt him physically. Emotionally, yes. That’s why I’m saving up for therapy. Physically? No. I grab the clothes and help him into them. “Why do I have to get you dressed? You are seven. I should be able to trust that you are getting ready on your own!” My voice rises in pitch and anger. There are more shrieks, accompanied by my son’s monkey-like hold around my neck as I wrestle him into his navy pants. Every couple of weeks, I notice that the pants are way too short on him. I let him wear them, because there is no way I can find a new pair with the amount of time left in the morning and vow to pick up a new pair on the way home. That never happens. Poor kid always looks like he’s waiting for a flood.
Finally, I get the kids downstairs. They race around grabbing the iPad, iPhone or anything else that lights up and rots their brain. I argue with them, vainly snatching at the electronic devices and telling them they need to get ready before they can play anything. The next five minutes is taken up by me trying to pry what they want for breakfast out of them. Cereal? No response. Oatmeal? No response. Eggs and toast? Nothing. Then, a request from my daughter for Doritos. Well, I’d like Cadbury creme eggs for breakfast, but that isn’t going to happen either.
As I feed my tiny beasts, I work on making lunches. I struggle with this. I try to be thoughtful and keep all of the peanut kids in mind and not make PB&J too often because no one wants to be banished to the peanut table like a biblical pariah. Poor peanut pariahs, eating their sad turkey sandwiches, wishing for some insensitive mother to stop sending peanut products to school. That leaves me with the option of sending my own sad turkey sandwich or having my son buy lunch. Luckily, my daughter is in daycare and they have a perma-peanut table for the peanut pariahs. Since I’m usually throwing together vegetables, fruit and whatever else looks edible into my daughter’s lunch before someone needs something, like for me to take a banana peel, I make a split-second decision that I cannot deal with this lunch crap anymore and he’s buying. I don’t care if it is the orange chicken he hates.
Now that the kids are not naked, have food in their bodies and will not starve by mid-day, I move on to the dreaded tasks of combing hair and brushing teeth. When my son brushes his teeth, he stops every few seconds to ask if he’s done yet. My daughter looks at the toothbrush and says she’s done. Then she breathes her brontosaurus breath on me to confirm how clean her mouth is. When I insist on taking my turn brushing, she cries, whines and tries to hide behind the toilet. I am about to lose the cheese on my cracker. I just want to be done with the teeth. I know that next, I have to try and brush her hair. She has very fine hair, which is prone to tangling. I went through four different brushes (including a “detangling” brush – my ass) before I found one she would tolerate. I still manage to rip out wads of blonde hair as she sobs. In the end, she looks more like a mismatched hobo than anything else, but I can’t complain. I am really just too tired to do so.
You’d think that I should be done with the insanity now, right? No. There are socks, shoes, and backpacks to pull together. I can’t count how many times I thought I was ready to walk out the door, and I realized that my daughter was missing her socks. Honestly, by the time I get to the dropoff, I am ready to shove those kids out the door and throw their backpacks right at their heads. I am toast.
I love my kids. Between the hours of 9 and 8.