Sometimes people ask me why I am so cheerful at work. They think I am some kind of weird robot with a ridiculous work ethic because I almost always have a good attitude and a smile on my face. I would like to take them through my typical morning.
4:26a – I wake up. (Not sure why I set the alarm to 4:26a, but I do.) I get dressed and go for a run.
6:00a – I get home and putter around the house, make coffee, prepare for the day, watch the news. It’s quiet and pleasant.
7:00a – I mentally prepare myself to wake up the herd.
7:03a – I call up the stairs to get everyone up. No one responds.
7:11a – I come upstairs. Brandon is in the boys’ room, poking at them. He is just as sleepy as they are, but at least he is vertical. I start on Aili. She is snuggled up and completely unwilling to move.
7:13a – I dress her mostly lifeless form. If you’ve ever tried to put leggings on a sack of potatoes, you will understand.
7:14a – She starts jumping on my bed. She goes from dead to ball of energy instantly sometimes. Weird.
7:15a – The boys roll out of their beds. They drag their quilts out in to the hall and lay on them there. They look like sleepy caterpillars. Robert is already grumbling that he doesn’t want to go to school.
7:17a – I tell them I will make waffles when Robert complains there is nothing to eat. (Point of interest: He hasn’t even gone downstairs yet. Also, My breakfast bar is stocked with 2 kinds of instant oatmeal, 2 kinds of cereal, bananas, grapefruit, bagels and cream cheese. Nothing to eat, indeed.)
7:18a – “WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS.” That gets the kids downstairs. I can tell we are going to be running late today, so I tell the kids they can have waffles after they get dressed. That should buy me time to get the waffle iron hot and the batter made. Robert starts to whine about not wanting to get dressed before breakfast. It’s a minute change in his routine.
7:25a – MELTDOWN. The first batch of waffles are done and Robert isn’t dressed. The others are so they are eating. Robert starts to howl. He sees there is more, but that is irrelevant. In his eyes, his siblings just ate ALL the waffles and Robert will now starve to death.
7:28a – Brandon retrieves clothing for Robert and tells him to put it on. Robert shouts that he is not going to school today and runs upstairs. I continue making waffles as Brandon chases him down.
7:31a – Robert is now in pants, but refuses to put on a shirt.
7:39a – Robert is still howling. His voice is hoarse. He still won’t put on a shirt to get a waffle.
7:40a – Brandon corners Robert and puts a shirt on him because, really, this has gone on too long and we all know that Robert will calm down once he feeds. He is the definition of “hangry”. Robert runs upstairs and removes the shirt. I finish making waffles.
7:41a – Maybe it’s the shirt? I get a different shirt for Robert and coax him downstairs. He hates it.
7:45a – Brandon tackles Robert and puts the new shirt on him. Robert grumps away with his waffle. Victory?
7:48a – Robert is now sitting next to me without a shirt on. With his waffle. Brandon is struggling to put a shirt back on him. Robert is howling and struggling. I am pretty sure I am going to be covered in chocolate chips.
7:52a – I hold Robert’s arms, Brandon holds his feet, and we get the shirt on Robert. He is now being held to prevent him removing his shirt. He’s trying to hit me and we’re both crying. The waffle has been forgotten. (Peter and Aili are playing a video game and are completely oblivious to the epic struggle happening 3 feet away.)
7:53a – The shirt is off.
7:54a – Robert mysteriously decided to put a different shirt on. He just did it without being asked. There is NOTHING more frustrating. He’s eating his waffle.
7:55a – Robert won’t put on socks. Part of me is willing to let him have cold feet all day to avoid a fight.
7:58a – Brandon tells the boys it is time to go. Robert whines. He is only halfway through his waffle.
8:04a – The car has been started. Peter doesn’t want to stop playing his game. Robert has decided now is a good time to get a drink of water. No one is ready to go. Not even close.
8:05a – Robert begins rifling through his backpack and pulls out a piece of paper. He apparently had to conduct an interview this last weekend and he “forgot”. He is looking at me like we can do it right now. I scribble a note to the teacher that it will be returned tomorrow.
8:08a – It’s Peter’s turn to dawdle. He is meticulously putting away Legos in a carrying case. Really, dude? Brandon is losing patience and pacing around the house chanting, “Let’s go!”
8:09a – Aili has decided to remind everyone that we didn’t eat the chocolates from our Advent calanders yet. I could shoot her because that has effectively derailed Robert’s progress putting on his snowsuit.
8:10a – The boys are mostly out the door. Aili is eating a chocolate.
8:15a – Brandon drives off with the boys. I throw Aili’s boots and coat on her and whisk her out to the truck.
8:23a – Aili is dropped off at school. She tells her teacher she had sugar for breakfast. I pretend to not notice the horrified look on her teacher’s face. Aili is ready for school, but is school ready for Aili?
8:35a – I get to work and breathe a sigh of relief. My sanctuary!
Rinse and repeat. Every day. Sometimes the item of clothing is pants or shoes. Sometimes the object of contention is a snack or a paper from school. But, literally every morning. Now you know why I get to work and immediately relax. It’s my mini-vacation.