Friday, May 2, 2008

Hurry - we're going to be Late - otherwise known as My Morning Mantra

Does anyone out there who has kids that they have to get ready for school actually have smooth, easy, no argument, no negotiation, no rushing mornings? If that person is you, not only do I want to know you and know what your secret is, but YOU ARE MY HERO!

As most of you know by now, my daughter Allie is 5 1/2 and finishing Kindergarten and in most aspects of her life she moves quickly and is compliant and generally a good-natured kid who I love to be around.

School Mornings make me cringe. I feel it when I begin to drift asleep at night - what is tomorrow morning going to bring? Sometimes if I turn over in the middle of the night and glance at the clock - I realize how many hours I have until our morning begins and I shudder (unless its a Friday night and then I go back to sleep with a smile on my face because I realize tomorrow is Saturday and she can have what she refers to as her "slowpoke" mornings where she doesn't have to move fast).

Allie likes to get to school early in the morning to play with her friends and she likes it when her Daddy takes her - so ideally in their perfect world, they like to be out the door by 8:40am. Most mornings they are. But there are those ugly few that they aren't and we were blessed with 2 of those morning this week - Thursday and Friday.

Both mornings started out fine and innocent enough - and while Friday ended up okay, Thursday was pretty yucky.

Thursday's crisis was simply sneakers. On days that she has PE, Allie has to wear sneakers and in a matter of a few days she outgrew 2 of her favorite sneakers. So that left 3 others to choose from (and as some of my friends point out - perhaps that is the problem - if she only had one pair there wouldn't be choices which is what created the problem). Her pink sparkly converse are her favorite - but they come untied numerous times throughout the day and while she knows how to tie her shoes, she doesn't tie them too tight and so I think she isn't overly happy in them. Then she has 2 High School Musical sneakers and while she likes them, she doesn't love them and thinks they are kinda stiff (and yes, when we bought them she swore they were the most comfy shoes in the world and she would wear them all the time - need I say more?). So, the more I kept asking/telling her to pick her shoes because we needed to hurry up, the more she stood staring at her shoes and not making a move.

So, then I said I was not going to ask her again - she is almost in 1st grade - she needed to pick her shoes and come out and eat breakfast. Ok - but here is the problem - I kept going back into her to hurry her along. And the more I went in and the more I saw her sitting there doing nothing, the more frustrated I got and guess what that lead to - TEARS!

So - it now 8:40 and she is all dressed - no shoes on and no breakfast - oh yes, did I mention that my neighbor had to drop their kids off for me to take to school, so we had 2 extra girls as well - all of them watching the clock saying "we have to leave or we are going to be late" numerous times over and over again.

My husband appears at 8:41 ready to go and asks where Allie is and then he hears her tears. He went into her room - I heard some hushed conversations and while I don't know what magic he did, she was out of the room and in her sneakers and ready to eat breakfast by 8:45. By the time she finished breakfast and he loaded all the kids in his car and took them to school - they got there at 8:54 - one minute before the bell rings.

So - when Allie went to bed on Thursday night, we rehash the morning a bit and both say sorry for whatever we did and talk about how we don't like mornings to happen that way and how no way, no how will tomorrow morning be "yucky" again.

Guess what???? Friday wasn't much better!! We woke up very happy and in a great mood - but very chit chatty and very slow. So - I felt most of the morning was spent with me saying "hurry up" "ok, tell me that after you (brush your teeth, brush your hair, get dressed, etc)", "hurry, Daddy is going to want to leave soon" - get the picture? I look at the clock and its 8:20 - and we are doing pretty good - she only has to brush her hair and eat breakfast and there is more then enough time to do that in 20 minutes - right?

Well - I got busy doing laundry and I realize that I haven't seen Allie yet for breakfast - last I left her at 8:20, she was in the bathroom brushing her hair and it was now 8:35. Where did she get lost to? She is only 5 1/2 - she can't be in the bathroom that long! Well, I hear a grunt and sigh from the bathroom and then "Mooooooooooooooooom, my hair isn't cooperating this morning". I go in and she looks as cute as a button to me - but she is distraught over her hair. I try and plead and say she looks cute and its fine and she tells me its not. Finally, after playing with it some more, it is apparently presentable to her and she is ready to eat breakfast at 8:39. I tell her to hurry because Daddy is going to want to leave soon and she is eating her breakfast as though she has all the time in the world. My husband says to her if she wants to leave she had to hurry and finish - we are both trying to get her to hurry and the more we say hurry, the more she looks at us as though we are speaking a foreign language to her.

At 8:45 he says, Allie I'm walking out the door - so either please come with me, or Mommy will take you. He walks out - he starts the car and THE TEARS come. She looks at me like - OMIGOSH - he is really leaving???? She says "fine" - and grabs her backpack and runs out to the car - tears and all.

Well - I hate mornings that end this way - I just feel all sad when she goes off to school and I know she isn't happy. I end up stressing about it all day - how could I have handled it different, etc.

So - as she gets herself in the car, I run out w/ the rest of her breakfast in a bowl (I think 4 bites of bananas at that point) and hand it to her - she doesn't look at me and says "no, forget it, I'm fine" - I tell her "the bananas were calling your name - they were so sad not to be finished". I accomplished my goal - she burst out laughing and took the bananas and off she went with Daddy with a smile on her face.

And no, it doesn't matter if she is up at 6am or 7:30am - just as sure as the sun rises every day, we can be just as sure if we have to be somewhere in the morning there is some sort of negotiation and prodding that takes place - its just a question of whether its a simple, harmless amount of negotiating and prodding or not. . .

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