Please tell me it’s not just us.
Are we the only people whose house looks like some sort of insane asylum from 6 -7:15 a.m., as we try to get just two kids ages 4 and 7 to school every weekday morning? I can’t even fathom how parents of three or more kids accomplish this feat.
Though our two little angels get up ever so chipper at 6 or some times even 5:30 on Saturday and Sunday mornings, dragging them out of bed Monday through Friday is like getting large, barely breathing but still somewhat hostile boulders up and moving.
The oldest boulder does manage to get himself up using his own two legs most mornings, but this resolve only comes from his crippling fear that his younger sister will make it to the computer before he does, all while complaining the light from said machine is hurting his eyes. First World problems, Anders. First World problems.
Though his sister is never going to rise on her own, we happily let him get on up to get “blinded by the light” because she is with great certainty going to stay in bed “wrapped up like a deuce” (whatever that means) until we physically pick her up and relocate her to the couch, where she will continue to slumber like “a dead person in the night.” (Some lyrics may have been slightly changed.)
The only thing that will wake her up is putting a plate of mini-pancakes — plain, no butter, no syrup — under her nose and then she will start to slowly return to the world of the living.
This whole process of “awakening” takes 10 to 20 minutes. The morning feeding ritual takes at least another 10 to complete.
Then comes the dreaded dressing.
Anders can handle his own as long as you can get him to focus (“wax on, wax off, kid”), but then there’s Ellen. Oh sweet Ellen.
Putting clothes on her is usually like dressing a drunk octopus, as she flails around in protest most mornings. She has strong opinions about her personal fashion (and everything else in her life) and her opinion of her uniform is generally that it is “yuck.” I guess that is understandable because if she were allowed to dress herself she would look more like she was ready to take the stage as the youngest dancer at the Moulin Rouge rather than head to preschool.
Frank and I often look at each other and just shake our heads as we simultaneously envision what this same fight is going to look like in 10 years. One of us always says before the other, “We are so screwed.”
Now not every morning is like this. They aren’t always so “challenging.”
And I thought we were getting one of those perfect mornings last week.
On Friday, Frank and I jumped out of bed after the alarm clock only sounded once. It was a “no snooze button needed” kind of morning. We were happy to get up and get the week finished, so the weekend could begin. Frank went and roused the kids with his usual Friday morning shtick, going to each of the kids rooms and screaming, “It’s Friiiiiiiiiii-daaaaaaaay!”
Both of the boulders popped up out of bed, light as feathers. Frank cranked up some tunes and they were dancing along to “Uptown Funk You Up” and “Shake it Off.” There were giggles. There were no complaints about breakfast. There was brushing of hair and teeth without tears.
I felt like a princess in a Disney movie. Little animated birds and creatures were dressing my kids as I whistled songs with a kerchief on my head and chatted with a bunny who was sweeping my kitchen floor.
All was right with the morning, until one of the birds flew back to tell me the last pair of socks in Ellen’s drawer that I thought were school logo uniform socks were actually just plain ol’ regular white socks.
The music stopped. The woodland creatures all instantly fell dead to the floor. It was panic time, as there was only about 30 minutes total to remedy the Great Sock Situation of 2016.
I went to her book bag first — maybe there was a back-up pair in her extra clothes bag I could steal.
Strike One! No such luck!
Then I went to the dirty clothes hamper. Maybe just maybe there was a pair that weren’t too disgusting that we could get by with.
She somehow manages to coat her socks (and whole body) in dirt each day. We always say especially dirty days are a sign of a fun day. (They probably say that at the Moulin Rouge as well.)
I tossed every filthy sock I could find in the short cycle in the washing machine. If I could get them out quickly, I might be able to “Power Dry” them in time.
As they laundered, I lumbered back into her room to see if maybe — just maybe — I could find a stray pair hiding in the wrong drawer. How could this be? The numbers just weren’t adding up. I know I bought like 12 pairs of these suckers before school started and that was just over a month ago. How could we be down to the four remaining in the washing machine?
Strike Three! They were all just plain white socks. Frank was like, just put those on her — it doesn’t matter.
Noooooooooo, I cried. It’s Chapel Day. We can’t send her to school and then church in some, un-school-logo-monogrammed, heathenish plain white socks. What’s next, Frank? We stop using silverware to eat? No forking way was she going to school like this. The horror!
While I was hating myself as well as all of those perfect mothers who smartly get all of this stuff together and laid out the night before, the socks had all made their way to the dryer.
But they only had eight minutes before it was time to go. Come on sweet Maytag! Let’s see just how powerful your dry is exactly.
Frank was getting restless, saying if they didn’t leave soon, they were going to be late.
I walked as slowly as I could to the laundry room, trying to give them just a few more seconds.
I got them out and they were still pretty damp. I tossed them back in — just give me two more minutes, I pleaded, and I think they will be OK.
Frank relented but reminded me the whole two minutes that they were going to be late.
One hundred and twenty seconds later, they were better. But not dry.
I put them on her little feet and she didn’t notice at first because they were still warm. But as they cooled, she said, “I can’t wear these, Mommy. They’re wet!”
“No, sweetie it’s fine. They are just a touch damp. They’ll be dry by the time you get to school,” I flat out lied to my child. It would probably be more like lunch. And this would probably give her athlete’s foot or something. I hate myself.
Frank continued with the “encouragement.”
“They are totally fine, Ellen. They feel just like they do when you are outside running around on the playground, sweating and having so much fun!” This is why he is in sales.
She decided to believe us and I kissed her soon to be swamp-footed self and her brother who was proudly sporting dry socks goodbye.
At least he would have a good day! Or maybe not.
When I walked back in the kitchen I noticed that the Wet Sock Disaster had distracted me so that I hadn’t put his homework folder in his backpack.
This is just fabulous, I thought. Why is this parenting thing so hard?
I turned the music back on and Taylor Swift suggested I just “Shake it off.”
So I did. And then a few days later, I went and picked up two more bags of socks.