The Chaos That is Mornings With Kids

You know those blissful Monday mornings? The ones where you wake up early, get a head start at the gym, make the kids their organic lunches, and drop them off to school five minutes early, putting you at work early?

Me neither.

Mondays in our house usually start with me dragging myself out of bed around 7AM. That probably sounds pretty good, except it generally comes on the heels of our 10 month-old yelling at the ceiling, or talking to her hand, or whatever else she does besides sleep.

Then it’s out of bed, turning up the heat, and turning on the espresso machine, I pour myself a cup of Keurig. I don’t drink the espresso usually, but I figure it’s the least I can do for my wife, who spent the night being treated with all the dignity of a dairy cow by a demanding infant.

Also, I live in Portland, where Keurig is a swear word. I would love to have an hour every day to measure beans on my japanese scale and brew coffee with my locally sourced, free-range, conflict-free tea kettle and Chemex, but I think we all know that ain’t happening.

After a quick shower, it’s time to wake the two older girls for school. It’s at this point that I’m convinced that the oldest has been placed in a medically induced coma overnight. This is the only explanation for how hard she sleeps. Did she get into the stash of Tylenol PM? Is she breathing? Okay her finger just moved, she’s alive. It’s at this point I have to get right up next to her face and say her name loudly before her eyes will open. Meanwhile, the middle child heard a hummingbird in the neighboring town, so of course she’s awake and ready for the day.

This is the point where I tell the girls that I’m going to go get dressed and that they need to get dressed in appropriate clothing for the weather. It rains in Portland. A lot. If left to their own devices, they will both choose a short sleeved dress, shorts, a tank top, or some combination of all of the above.

Now that I’ve put on whatever pants are the least dirty (notice I didn’t say clean) and whatever t-shirt is the least wrinkly (notice I didn’t say ironed), it’s time to check in on the girls and make sure that they’re dressed.

Neither is dressed, but instead are fighting over who gets to sit on the toilet, or they’re sitting at their desk with a coloring book, still in their underwear. Yesterday’s underwear. Somewhere in between going to the bathroom and walking past the closet where all their clothes are, something more important came up, and that thing is coloring a picture of Elsa, or drawing Darth Vader eating pizza.

Finally, we all have clothes on, so this day is already off to a great start. I will spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince them to eat whatever is easiest for me to make for breakfast. I’m super good at toast, Cheerios, or bagels, but they will decide they want fried eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, macaroni & cheese, or leftover birthday cake.

Each kid now has breakfast, and all the bowls and plates are the same color. Do Cheerios taste different if you eat them from a blue bowl than they do if you eat them from a pink bowl? Some university somewhere should do a study on this. My own research so far has proven inconclusive.

Last, we come to the oldest child’s lunchbox, which is still in her backpack from Friday. Who knew that a weekend was plenty of time for a half-eaten pear to turn into something that is growing other things? Lunchboxes are like petri dishes on steroids, only way less sanitary.

Does anybody else stress out about making their kid’s lunches? I like to cook, but I’m pretty sure the staff at our local elementary school think that the only food items in our home are bread, peanut butter, jelly, cucumbers, grapes, and maybe the occasional toaster waffle and sausage patty.

Though the espresso machine has been on for almost an hour, I’m just now getting to making coffee for Rachel. Meanwhile, she’s already gotten up, showered, changed a poopy diaper, and is dressed for the day.

This is the point, every morning, that I tell the girls I’m leaving for work, and every morning, they bolt from their chairs to hug me goodbye. I’m slowly realizing that these mornings are going to end. There will come a day when they don’t care that I’m leaving for work. There will come a time when instead of arguing over who gets to hug me first, they will be slamming doors in my face. There will come a day when I will long for these mornings.

As I pull out of the driveway and head to work, I know that this is all worth it. Watching my kids blowing kisses from the front window as I pull out of the driveway, I can’t help but think about the fact that in just a few years, I will long for fights over plates, flip flops in December, and kids that take a half an hour to eat a piece of toast. In the grand scheme of things, I only have a few short years with these girls, so I plan on making the best of every one of them.