Often times, I feel like a drill sergeant when parenting my three children – thus the origin of my blog logo. This is especially true almost every morning before school.
Getting the kids ready and to school on time requires focus. We all have jobs to do. We all know what those jobs are. Those jobs never change from morning to morning to morning.
However…things pop up that you don’t expect. A forgotten homework assignment that needs to be completed. A shoe that’s been hidden by the family dog. A cereal spill that requires an unexpected change of clothes. Et cetera. Et cetera.
In order to keep all three kids on task at the same time, it requires great strength in leadership from me – the drill sergeant.
Today Taylor was off in La La Land.
First, she was distracted by student email on her school issued ipad.
“Taylor, put that ipad away right now or I’m not going to let you take it to school.”
Begrudgingly, she closed the case and walked towards her backpack. On her way, she was distracted by the lego car sitting on the counter. She stopped to make some improvements.
“Taylor, if you don’t put that lego thing down, I’m gonna break it into a million little pieces,” I threatened with seriousness.
“Momma! I worked so hard on this!” she was appalled.
“I’m sure you did. But now is not the time to mess with it,” I scolded her as I nudged her in the direction of her backpack.
“Momma!” she yelled from the mud room. “I need help! The zipper on my backpack is stuck!”
Of course it is, I thought. I went to fix her backpack. She stood there and watched me.
“Put your shoes on,” I commanded to keep her moving.
She obeyed with a grunt. She was as unimpressed with me this morning as I was with her.
Finally I got her out of the house and into the garage. As I followed behind, I noticed her lunchbox sitting on the counter. I took a deep breath and grabbed it – thankful that I noticed, and annoyed that she didn’t.
Just then, Gabe came bursting through the door.
“What are you doing?” I seethed. The only thing more frustrating than getting three kids in the car at the same time is convincing them to stay there.
“There’s a frog in the garage!” he exclaimed with excitement.
“A frog?” I asked.
“I mean a toad,” he corrected himself. “And it’s big!”
“Well, it’s just gonna have to stay there for the time being because we have to get to school! Now go get in the car!” I shooed him out as I dreaded the thought of coming home to a toad in my garage. I hate toads.
I reached for the knob to pull the door shut. When I turned around I collided with Sydney, who was beaming with excitement. I didn’t care.
“What are you DOING?” I snarled through clenched teeth.
“Look, Momma!!!” she squealed, ignoring my frustration. “I found a toad!”
She was holding the toad in an upside down costume fedora. When I looked to see, the toad hopped in my direction attempting to escape the wall of the hat. I jumped back three feet.
“Sydney! Get that OUT OF MY HOUSE!” I shrieked with panic.
She giggled, “Okay, Momma. But what do I do with it?”
“Take it outside!!!” I hollered.
The kids laughed at me. By now all three of them were back in the house. I shook my head in disbelief. I was failing miserably.
“Sydney, how did you get the toad inside the hat?” I had to know.
“I picked it up, Momma,” she answered.
“With your hands?” I shrilled.
She laughed again. “Yes, Momma! You know I’m an animal lover!!” she pointed out the obvious.
“Here Sydney! Let me hold it!” Taylor begged. “I love animals too, Mommy!” she tried to convince me, even though she had gone to the trouble of putting on her pink fleece North Face gloves. She wasn’t touching that warty beast with her bare hands any more than I was.
“Go put it outside, Taylor!” I commanded.
She snatched the toad from her twin sister and ran to the garage – where she began to set it down.
“OUTSIDE, TAYLOR!” I yelled at her.
“Oops!” she giggled as she picked it back up and ran to the bushes. As we sat and waited on her, I was thankful that we were finally going to get to leave.
We were half-way out of our sub when I heard Taylor’s voice from the backseat. “Mommy! Wait! I forgot my notebook!”
I shuddered with fury. “Do you need it?” I asked with quiet venom in my tone.
“Yes, Mommy! I do! It’s really important!” she promised.
I turned the car around, conceding to the fact that we were going to be late. My patience was fried. I no longer cared. I didn’t feel like putting up with the panic attack that would have ensued from Taylor had I said no. This decision was about preserving my own sanity.
When we finally arrived to school with only two minutes to spare, Taylor was the first to hop out of the van.
“CAR!!!!” I heard Mr. Greg, our school janitor/traffic guard, shout. Taylor had failed to look before crossing the on-coming line of traffic. Mr. Chow-wah had to brake suddenly to avoid hitting her.
“Taylor, you have to be careful when crossing!” I heard Mr. Greg reprimand her. “I don’t want to have to mop your brains off the cement. That wouldn’t be fun!”
I rolled my eyes with disgust. “First a brain would have to be present before you could mop one up. I’m not so sure that’s the case this morning,” I muttered so only he could hear as I passed him.
I followed my bouncy little girl into school. She didn’t have a care in the world. I leaned down to kiss her smiley face. I shook my head and smiled back at her. I was happy to say goodbye for a little while too.