Friday, October 15, 2010

Dada's morning off

I'm two months in to being back at work, and am still trying to figure out the best way to wake up: do I set the alarm for a crazy early hour which will ensure me plenty of time to get ready in peace (but also taking an enormous gamble, since it's quite possible that the buzzing of the alarm will travel through our paper thin walls and wake the baby dragon in the next room); or do I allow the baby dragon to actually BE my alarm (which ensures that at least HE'S waking up on his own terms, but then I chance him trying to crawl back in to the womb as I scramble to piece together a decent outfit and brush my hair)?

My loving husband, who had been letting me get up and get ready at a leisurely pace, finally decided that if I wasn't taking my lazy a** to go work out before work (as had been the original plan), I could start sharing some of the morning duty with him. Begrudgingly, I agreed. I even took it a step farther and told him to sleep in the next day, as I (Supermom) would get both myself AND the boys ready for our days. After all, every morning the boys are so quiet. They just sit there and eat their breakfast and watch their shows. How hard could it be?


On this particular day, I opted for Alarm Option #1, but defaulted to Alarm Option #2 when the dragon started breathing fire before the alarm clock had the chance to. Thinking that maybe Sleeping Husband would have some sympathy, I laid still and listened to the rhythmic beating on the side of the crib. When I realized that he was in fact NOT moving, I quickly rehearsed the "no-fail" morning routine that was already being used every other morning, and wished myself luck.

I tip-toed in to get the little one just in time to discover that he had successfully waken up his big brother. Both boys climbed into their little chairs which are placed strategically in front of the TV and waited anxiously for me to turn on Handy Manny. So far, so good. Literally the second I stepped foot on to the cold kitchen floor I heard padded footprints following me. "bup, bup, bup." I looked behind me to find two little outstretched hands reaching up to me. What? Why did he want me to pick him "bup"? Dada never carries him around. "No, go sit and watch your show so I can make your breakfast" was definitely the wrong answer. Drama King instantly started crying (loudly), and out of fear that Husband would wake up and deem me a morning-routine-failure, I picked him up and continued buttering some toast one-handed.

If my memory serves correctly, it was approximately at this time that the requests for water, a different show, a quick round of Candy Land, and everything shy of the moon began. I had finally convinced the little one that on-the-floor was cooler than on-the-hip just in time for him to spill his brother's Cheerios all over the floor. As I walked over to politely tell him to stop yelling at his brother because we use nice words in this house, I caught a whiff of something so gross, and yet so familiar. Ah yes, another night-time accident. "Blank" (the inappropriately big security blanket that replaced the little stuffed green elephant that I lost) was saturated, as were the pajamas he was sitting happily in. Oh good, I was hoping I was going to have to do laundry before sunrise.

A little while later, the breakfast grabbing and toy snatching seemed to be at a momentarily lull so I decided to sneak upstairs to take a quick shower. Before I even had the chance to lather my hair, I heard a little voice innocently cry out, "Hi Mama! I see your goobies!" Oh well. Showering before work is over-rated anyway.

I quickly covered up and walked in to my room, only to find I already had company. "Ba-pup", the little one exclaimed as he held up a tube of my too-expensive makeup. He had the lipstick up as far as it could be out of the tube, and was smearing it on his face. "Preeety."

The rest of the morning is a blur. I think I pulled something off of the unmade guest bed and ran an iron over it as the boys thought it was funny to knock every single pair of my shoes off the shoe rack. I managed to remember to change the wet sheets, wash the dishes that were left in the sink from the night before, change two poopy diapers from the same kid, and stumble in to work 20 minutes later than normal. Also known as: a series of events that NEVER happen on Dada's mornings.

Why my children save all of their drama and bodily functions for ME and me alone I'll never know. But there is one thing I DO know: I am about to become the morning workout QUEEN.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mama Tears

When I was about 10 my mother took my sister, my cousin and me out to eat. We were standing in line being reminded to hurry up and make up our minds so that we wouldn't leave anyone waiting. When it was our turn, my sister and I spit out our choices as fast as we could, as my cousin stood staring at the menu. After being told to hurry up about three times, she finally opened up her mouth to speak. "What kind of cheese is on the cheeseburger?" she asked. With the quickness, my mother grabbed her hand, yanked all of us out of line, and hauled us to the car saying, "if you can't make up your mind in a crowded restaurant, you gotta go. You can take all the time in the world at home." And this was the story of our lives. When a poor, impatient mother gives you the opportunity to make a choice in a restaurant, you don't give her any time to think about whether or not she really has the money to be buying you that lunch in the first place. You make a choice and you enjoy it.

Why then, after an entire childhood of quick decisions, am I constantly second-guessing myself as an adult?

Where I came up with the notion that my 3-year-old MUST go to preschool I'll never really know. It's not exactly like my kid is shy or anything (he'll talk to anyone and everyone who will listen), nor was he falling behind academically (he did spend 10 hours a week with his teacher-certified nanny), but I didn't want to hear it. My kid was going to school and that was the end of the conversation. After months of research, consideration, reconsideration, site visits, and getting my anti-preschool-for-three-year-olds husband to agree that he actually would benefit from going, I finally decided on the perfect place to send my son. My son who's never been left ANYWHERE except the daycare at the gym, and well, let's face it- that just doesn't count. (After all, I was only a hallway away- I could easily drop in early to spy.)

As the summer flew by, we started talking up school more and more. Everyone was getting excited, and my former preschool teacher neighbor advised me to not worry about the first day of school tears. Don't worry, she said. They're normal, even for the most social kids. He'll probably cry for the first couple of weeks and then he'll settle in. They all do. Dada took him out to buy a new pair of sneakers, and when he showed me how fast they made him run, I was the one crying. He's too little to go to school, I sobbed to my husband. Call them back and say we're not coming. He's not ready. What if he gets picked on? What if he hates it? What if he cries for me and they don't tell me? We need to wait till next year...

But it was too late. I had made my decision, and I had to stick with it. He would start school, and he would learn to love it. And then it was here- September 18, 2010. The Big Day.

With his Nikes tied tight, and his Buzz Lightyear backpack strapped on, my baby, my buddy, my little man, let go of my hand to walk up the school steps all by himself. There he goes, I thought. The kid who still thinks guns are called space ships, who sucks his thumb when he's nervous, who still calls me Mama, and who innocently told his little brother last night that "you're my best friend". There he goes.

After agreeing that I wouldn't start crying in order to prevent him from freaking out, I followed closely behind as I snapped about 8 thousand pictures. When we reached the classroom door, I walked him in and crouched down. "I gotta go, Buddy. You are gonna have so much fun here." Bracing myself for a major meltdown, I opened my arms and leaned in.

What I got instead was the back of a button-down shirt, and a little hand that raised up just past his shoulder height. "ok, bye" he said as he continued to keep his back to me and wave at the same time.

Wait, that couldn't be it. Where were the crocodile tears, the "Mama don't leave me-s?" Instead I barely got a "see ya"???

With my own tear-filled eyes, I proceeded back down the stairs and back to my car. And I realized that now, much like when I was 10, my first choice was a good one. At least for now. (And I can always pull him out, right? Or maybe I should keep him in... Or maybe I should drop a day... Or... I know- or maybe I should just stop second guessing myself. Yeah, I'll start there.)