By Leslie Lindsay
Like most harried parents, I hate the morning routine. I didn’t think I would be in that group. I used to think, “Oh, what’s the big deal? Plan ahead, manage your kids, stay organized…how hard can it be, really?” But that was B.K. (“before kids”). And now…well, let’s just say, “Me no like.”
Here’s how it works at our house: I hear my darling cherubs wake at the butt-crack-of-dawn (well, usually it’s Kid #1 who has ADHD and apraxia). She heads downstairs for her early-morning cartoon time, yogurt, and general goof-off time. Stools scoot across the kitchen floor with a lovely schreech and clunk (looking for any peanut butter cups or Oreos she can get her hands on). Awhile later, Kid #2 rolls out of bed and takes care of her Pull-Up situation (she’s the resposible one) and is completely mouse-like in her movements.
I lay in bed thinking, “Oh man…here we go. Another day in paradise.” Meanwhile, I am hoping that the girls remembered the talk we had last night–the talk we have nearly every night: “Put your clothes on right away.” (We set them out the night before). “Only yogurt if you must have a pre-breakfast snack…” …”No eating in the family room. You can see the television from the kitchen table.” “When mommy gets to the kitchen, it’s all about business. No more goofing around. It’s time to get ready for school.” They nod and smile like they know what I am talking about. But they don’t.
Every morning, it’s the same: toys are strewen about the family room, at least 2 empty yogurt containers litter the coffee table (so much for just eating at the kitchen table), Oreo crumbs are found on the counter top, Cartoon Network is blaring (not the PBSKids I strongly encourage), and my children are NOT dressed, “We forgot, mommy.” Ugh. I hate the morning routine.
So, I fake a smile and nuzzle my kids in a hug. Then I give them “the look,” and suggest mega clean-up while I start breakfast. Only they don’t. They just look at me like I have three heads.
I run about the kitchen preparing three different breakfasts, despite my effort to make it uniform. Kid #1 only wants pancakes with chocolate chips and lots of butter. Kid #2 only wants to eat waffles. I don’t really care what I eat, I just want to set an example that mommies eat breakfast, too. I make a conscious effort to sit down with them and do a mini “circle time,”–the day of the week, the date, and the upcoming events of the day…but they don’t care because they are complaining about the breakfast I prepared (not enough chocolate chips), or watching some junky cartoon. Or just sitting there staring off into space.
This morning, I flipped off the TV. “I’m sick of this! Pay attention. Breakfast is for eating. Eat!” Then I run to find the vitamins and Juice Plus+ and most definitetly the ADHD medication. Yes, the ADHD medicine!
But the kids are still not dressed. Two lunches still to pack. “Go upstairs and get naked!” I bark to Kid #1. I pack two healthy lunches with notes and stickers. I shove them in backpacks (because who knows if they will). When I get upstairs, she’s still not naked. She blames it on her little sister. Eye roll.
I have to physically dress my 6-year old because she hops from thing to thing in her room–naked. Meanwhile, I am breaking out into a sweat and watching the clock. Kid #2 is nearly dressed–all on her own. She just needs help with a snap.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Look at this! I can stand on my head.” Great. And I can juggle two kids and get out the door. Maybe. It’s all the same. It’s a physical feat. I hate the morning routine.
And that is what is in my brain today, September 15th 2011.