Life Lesson # 319: Don’t believe everything you read
The scene: My house. Weekday morning. Characters: 2 small children and a working mom. Working mom…that’s redundant. Mornings at our house resemble Grand Central Station at the height of the rush hour after someone yells BOMB. Chaos. Pure chaos.
The scene opens at 6:30am. We’ve already been up for a while. The scene starts in the middle of the weekday morning ritual. Trying not to trip over the cereal bowl left in the middle of my bedroom floor, I lunge after my 16 month old who thinks “chase” is the coolest game ever invented. Naked chase is even cooler. My cries of, “Mommy said STOP” are drowned out by the blaring TV thanks to my 4 year olds ability to adjust the volume. In a sudden burst of speed I overtake by naked daughter, scooping her up in my arm like a football and make a mad dash into her room. Over my shoulder I yell to my son, “We are LATE! Can you get dressed please?” I swear he’s going to believe his name is “Wearelate” by the time he’s a teen. Every sentence from 6:30a-8p starts with, “Wearelate” followed by a plea for him to do something
In my daughter’s room I attempt to get her dressed. Wait. What is this? My squirming daughter has flipped and flopped enough so that her diaper is now taped to her belly button and her knee. What is this tape made of?? I waste another 3 minutes and .45 cents trying to correct the mangled diaper. Finally, I admit defeat and trash the whole thing. Another minute to re-corral a wriggling infant, re-tape and re-do the impossibly tiny little outfit. Done. Only by now the wriggling, squirming wrestling match has left me undone. Down goes the infant who toddles off at a much faster gait then I would have thought possible. I struggle to re-tuck, re-do and re-pair myself as I walk back to my bedroom.
Screams erupt. I sprint into the bedroom. The toddler is eating the 4 year olds breakfast. The 4 year old, STILL IN PAJAMA’S, doesn’t like this, hence the screaming. She’s meaner then he is so he yells while she eats. Referee mom to the rescue. I distract her with a bracelet while taking the cereal bowl and sliding it around my back onto the dresser where it is out of her reach. Then I turn back to my son. Did I mention that he is still in his pajama’s? With my toe (my hands are busy reassembling) I turn off the TV. Evidently the turning off of cartoons can cause seizures in small children. Who knew? As he stamps and cries and flails I grunt and groan and do my best to capture arms and legs and get them into the proper place in his clothes. Whew. He’s dressed. Of course by now I am back to my ragged, stressed out state. With a battle cry of “We Are Late!” I begin the process of re-assembling myself.
Recap. 2 dressed children. One is pouting, the other is priming up for another game of chase. I scoop up the track champion and warn my little guy to dry it up as I grab his hand and lead him to the door. With my mouth (I need more hands) I grab the car keys. Into the garage. I plop my daughter into her car seat and begin the horrendously complicated process of securing a squirming, twisting infant who doesn’t like to be confined into a confining seat. Drenched in sweat and close to tears I am finally rewarded by a firm SNAP. I look to make sure my son is in place. He’s not. He is in the driveway playing with the dogs, which are covered in mud. Deep breath and here I go. Shoo away the dogs, scoop up the child and brush off the mud…in one efficient movement. Back to the car. My son begs to “climb over”. Too exhausted to argue, I agree. I plop him in the front and tap my foot impatiently as he scoots over the seat and into his car seat. In a move that any aerobic instructor would be proud of I stretch, turn and bend. I can’t touch my toes anymore but I can reach maneuver myself to reach the backseat from the front seat. It’s amazing. Snap. 2 dressed children secured in car seats. I feel like “WAHOOING” but there is no time. Besides my cry of triumph couldn’t be heard over the cries coming from the backseat. Why is she crying? I frantically reach for her blankie to see if that calms her but the beloved blankie is nowhere to be found. That solves the crying question. Out of the car and back into the house. Her room, den, his room, I search them all. Nope. Boarding on hysterics I finally find it in my room by the soggy bowl of cereal on my dresser. Grab the blankie, pick up the bowl and head back out. Fling the bowl into the sink, grab my purse (which I had forgotten) and exit.
Back to the garage. Hurl myself into the front seat. Toss the blankie to the infant. Cries stop. Car starts. For those of you paying attention you will remember that I allowed my son to “climb over” just moments before. Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten. I obviously did since I am now sitting in a seat covered with muddy footprints; a fact that I won’t notice until I am at work. Probably a good thing since I am now officially behind schedule. The dashboard clock tells me I am 11 minutes behind schedule. I read the articles. I know to get as much done the night before as possible. I know how to organize my time. Really. But no matter how early I get up, how much I do to prepare we always end up 11 minutes behind. The parenting books make this sound easy. Don’t believe everything you read. Life lesson learned.
No time to dwell. Slam the car into reverse. Press the gas. Press the remote for the garage door happy that I remembered to put it up this time. Problem. The garage lights flash and the garage door goes up and down and up and down. Ah ha…remember the dogs? I didn’t. They think the garage door in a toy. The door goes down they run in which causes the door to go back up. I drop my head to the steering wheel and swear. Realize my mistake. Turn and tell my son NOT to say what he just heard me say, knowing that he will. Vault out of the car. Call the dogs. Trick them into the fenced back yard. How did they get out in the first place? No time to figure that out. Back into the car. Press the button, put car in reverse and squeal out of the driveway.
Now we are 14 minutes late which means I will have to hand off my daughter to her teacher then make a made dash for the door before she realizes I am leaving. Being 14 minutes late also means I’ll have to hug my son as we take off his coat instead of giving him a real hug…a fact that will haunt me all the way to work.
Mission complete. Kids secured. Now I face the difficulty of getting to work on time. Tires squeal as I leave the parking lot. I reach maximum speed for all of 2 blocks before I hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. I swear that I will get up even earlier tomorrow as I lurch thru an orange light. (I prefer to think of it as a deep yellow. A policeman might refer to it as red.) I try not to think of my unhugged son or my abandoned daughter. Side street. 15 seconds off my travel time. Dart into traffic. Race other cars through the light. Skip over a lane. I drive with the skill and purpose of someone with a checkered flag and a million dollar check waiting on them at the finish line. One last turn made on 2 wheels. Moment of panic! There are people in the crosswalk. I didn’t plan for people in the crosswalk. MOVE PEOPLE. Enter deck. Up. Up. Fumble with my purse, sliding the strap over my shoulder, digging out the keys. Up. Up. Spy and spot and turn. Slam the car into park, turn off the ignition and open the door in one movement. The car is still slightly rocking as I hit the stairwell. I haven’t quite mastered sliding down the railing yet but I am close. Down 4 flights. Burst out of the door. Slam into the building. Hurdle the desk. Hit the on button. Password, password, ENTER. Double click, password. Yes! I am in. 8:30 on the dot. Now I can start working.