My eyes stay closed every morning (the wee hours, the ones only designed for throwing up) when my daughter and/or son call out from their beds for me. “Mama! Mooooom! Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! Mama?!” I know if I stir and peek through heavy eyelids that I am committing to the start of my day. So I let them scream a little.
Eventually my, apparently, far more loving and devoted husband rolls out of bed to collect the screaming child and drag her/him into our bed. Again, we’re in the wee hours. It’s cold and I can feel the last wishes of sleep slipping from my grasp as tiny feet burrow down beside me – then into me. A knee to the rib, a foot to the shoulder. We pretend to sleep.
The other one stirs. It’s probably only been 10 minutes, but it seems as if my anticipation for the inevitable four-to-the-bed scenario has drug it out to be the longest 10 minutes ever. Two children. Four feet. Four hands. A million pushes, nudges and whines. Now we hold out for the miracle — will they sleep?
The outcome is certain – we will get up. We will start our day and find ourselves preparing for bedtime again – almost in the blink of an eye. But the catalyst for rousing out of our pretended and willed slumber varies day to day. A leaky diaper? A fight over a pillow? The phone alarm going off at the intended hour of awakening (ha ha ha ha)? An epic story of a five-year-old reaching a dramatic climax and ensuring no sleep for the weary?
We’re up. Does it matter how?
I check the clock on my phone. Is. There. Time? Time = Shower = Self Esteem = A decent (if tired) start to the day. No time = Quick wash = Blah = Starting with a fail. I can just make it! I jump in the shower and listen to the water pour over me. I don’t drink coffee so this is my only chance at shocking the system into awake mode. I use the sound of the water to drown out the whining in the kitchen too; stealthy being managed by that saintly husband I referenced earlier – the one that pulled the screamer out of bed in the wee hours. I let the shampoo stay in a moment longer. I need that moment longer.
I emerge – showered and ready(ish). The kids are covered in something. Always something, but never their clothing. No, clothing needs a battle – a battle of the wills. My will barely squeaks out a win as my children stand disgruntled and dressed – wiped down – almost ready. It’s time to roll.
But we’re not totally ready. We need to get out the door. Coats, shoes, hats, gloves, toys, books, cups, costumes, lights, teeth brushing, making a bed — any and all of these things can be the ONE thing that holds us up from leaving on time. The request to leave through the door is like the first offer in a serious negotiation. The players know what they want at the end … and they have studied their opponents wisely.
“Get into the car and you can take FOUR Lego men!”
“NO, I waaaannnnaaaa take FIVE Lego men!”
“Fine! Who cares! Take FIVE Lego men!!!! Just get in the car! WE ARE LATE.”
“Why are you crying, now?
“No shoes! No shoes! Princeeeeessssss!”
“Princesses wear shoes. Those are lovely shoes. GET IN THE CAR!”
“I don’t have my backpack.”
“I put your backpack in the car – the car you are supposed to be getting in. Now GO!”
We shuffle/push/shove our way out the door and into the car. As if that was our end goal….
The child safety seats of today were built by male engineers who clearly never considered actually repeatedly putting multiple children into these seats. Wiggling, crying, “Tooo tight! Tooooooo tight!”, questioning (Is the chest clip in the right place? Should the strap hole be above or below her shoulders? UUUUUUGH, did somebody MOVE this seat and now I have to RE-INSTALL it!?!?!?!. I close all the doors and plop into my own seat. Seat warmer gets a flick into the “on” position. Seat Warmer – Take me away!
I glance at the clock. How did I do so very little in such a huge amount of time? We woke up in the wee hours, did we not? Well at least that is when “we” began to stir.
The truth is, we’re getting it done. Some days just provide a more exhausting start than others.