The way I imagine a school morning should go:
5:00 a.m. I wake up (without even needing an alarm) and write 3,000 words that don’t need to be edited or rewritten ten times.
7:00 a.m. I start a homemade breakfast for the kids, hiding pureed vegetables and coconut oil in the eggs. Not only do they not complain about the taste, they ask for more green eggs, sharing a smile that they are eating something from a Dr. Seuss book and their mom is not only a) extremely happy in the morning but also b) outrageously creative and loves them so much that she cooks them a healthy breakfast they love. LOVE, I tell you.
7:15 a.m. Children finished their meals, bring plates to the sink, rinse, then load them in the dishwasher. Each scurries off to their room to get dressed in clothes they’ve picked out without argument the evening before when they were very agreeably going to bed at 7:00 p.m.
7:30 a.m. The kids get their lunches (packed the night before) out of the fridge and put them in their backpacks without being asked. Both also get jackets or sweatshirts ready and willingly putting them on simply because mom asked them to.
7:45 a.m. We do a quick pick up of the house.
8:00 a.m. We leave for school, exchange hugs at drop off (the children cling to mom lovingly, thanking her for the nutritious breakfast and lunch), and eventually we complete the goodbye with happy hearts.
A real school morning
7:10 a.m. The alarm blares next to me, and I slap at it. Have I already hit snooze?? NOOOO. Panic ensues. I turn on the hall light, open the kids doors and pray that by the time I’m done with a two minute shower, they will have woken up and be eating breakfast.
7:14 a.m. I find them both still asleep in their beds. I begin waking them sweetly, rubbing their feet and hair. They begin stirring. I race back to continue getting myself ready.
7:16 a.m. Neither child has moved except to flail an arm from under the covers at me and try to push me from their room.
7:17 a.m. I forced the children from their beds while they professionally grumble, act like they can’t see, (the squinting eyes helps with the drama) and then sit at the table and wait for their magical breakfast to appear. I shove whole grain waffles into the toaster (Hey, I make some effort!) and get their plates ready. Once put the food in front of them, child one starts complaining that they look different. Did I buy a new kind? Hide something in it? She begins to sniff her food, certain that I’m sending them to their doom by including a VITAMIN of some sort. I tell her I have not (ensue guilt that I have not) and they finally begin to eat.
7:40 a.m. Children finally finish eating. I rush everyone to their rooms to get dressed. Daughter starts the process of trying on outfits. Son sits on his bed and stares at the wall. No clothes are laid out for him, therefore he will play Legos instead of getting dressed.
7:50 a.m. I finish getting myself ready and go to check on children. Daughter is trying on her fifth outfit, analyzing whether shoes or boots go better. Please get dressed, I beg. She looks at me with confusion and shrugs.
Son has put on a shirt and pants I put out for him, and is now playing Legos again. I start to threaten what privilege he will lose if he doesn’t get socks and shoes on and find a jacket. Son looks at me with pity. He knows I cannot function yet, as I’m not a morning person, and that I have no idea what kind of privilege is at stake. He’s got this battle in the bag.
7:58 a.m. I start calling out the minutes until departure time.
8:02 a.m. Daughter shows me three outfits and asks my opinion. None of them are on her body. My voice drops to somewhere between do you see how calm I am even though I sound like I’m being strangled and I’m about to lose it.
I ask her VERY CALMLY to PLEASE GET DRESSED. She looks at me with hurt in her eyes, as I obviously do not love her one bit. But she does return to her room and gets dressed with Superman speed, returning only seconds later. I envision the clothes now strewn across her floor, but push away the thought.
8:03 I ask daughter if she’s brushed her hair. She responds yes. But when I begin to do the ponytails she’s requested (at the right height) I run into snarls. She begins crying tears of pain, acting as though this is her first experience with a hair brush. It’s at this point that my friend would tell me to give in and let the hair nest grow, but I tell her I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH JESUS in my life for that, and my daughter MUST brush her hair.
I do everything in my power to brush out the snarls carefully, but my daughter continues to throw a fit while I finish her hair, throwing dagger looks thrown at me in the mirror. Because, again, I OBVIOUSLY DO NOT LOVE HER ONE BIT.
8:05 Daughter begins putting in her contacts. I find my son, who still isn’t wearing shoes, and realize we haven’t packed lunches. I ask him to help, and while he begins the tedious two hour process of finding his lunchbox and backpack from the day before, I tear through the kitchen looking for lunch items. Three granola bars (of different flavors) go into each lunch, and then I fill in with whatever I can find, which is sparse. SOMEONE should really go shopping around here.
8:10 I tell the kids to grab their lunches, backpacks and a sweatshirt or jacket. It’s time to go. It takes us a few minutes to get down to the car, and once we’re in, I once again question if everyone has backpack, jacket, and lunch.
I hear a YES come from both children in the back seat, and we drive to school.
Once we get there, I hear an oh-oh. My son oh-so-casually mentions that he doesn’t have a backpack. A lunch. Or a coat.
He’s in short sleeves. It’s fifty degrees. We get out of the car so that they aren’t late, and each child runs to their class (which meet on the playground outside). My son is holding his bare arms, and the teachers are hugging him to protect him from the cutting wind. I see him point in my direction, and I read his lips. My mom didn’t tell me I needed a coat. The teacher looks at me with that look they reserve for the very worst of moms. The ones who OBVIOUSLY DON’T LOVE THEIR CHILDREN enough to tell them it’s cold out and they should wear a jacket.
My daughter is tugging on my sleeve, tears and upset mixed on her face. Mom, you didn’t tell me it was wear red and blue stripes day. I’m wearing yellow. How will I go on?
I look around the playground and see that it is, indeed, one of those days schools come up with in order to prove just how horrible of a parent I am. My daughter and I race back to the car, now about to be late, and I find blue painting tape in the back of my car. We try to come up with an addition to her shirt with the tape. It’s not pretty. She rushes off to join her class, and I slink into my car.
I lay my head on the steering wheel. I really do love them, I think.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better. I’m going to get up at five, and everything’s going to run smoothly. In the meantime, I will go home, drink coffee, and eat chocolate (which most certainly isn’t *cough-cough* from the Halloween candy I bought from my children and told them I would throw out.)