You know, some days I feel like I’m a hamster in a wheel. I get up and run about, trying to get my 7 year old, also known as the Taz (like the Tazmanian devil on Bugs Bunny, leaving chaos in his wake). I sit with my cup of coffee in my hand and my bowl of bran cereal, hoping I will be able to eat the cereal peacefully before he leaves for the day. Most of the time, though, I sit nervously while he dawdles about the house, spends half an hour in the bathroom (on a good day), and acts terribly surprised
each morning, when I start yelling about three minutes before the carpool pulls up. It’s a tired act, but like most things I don’t like–but can’t win—I own it. I just try to yell a little less each day, give him a little more room to succeed and fail, and keep my blood pressure low.
For anyone who has a child who suffers from short attention span, and I know there are plenty of you—a 30 second task can literally take an hour if you do not supervise and prod and circle back thirteen times. After so many years, though, it has become a honed skill. I set him up as he leaves the breakfast table–where we sit calmly together, talking about our day–that he will have 30 minutes to brush his hair, teeth, put on his shoes, pack his bag, go to the bathroom and run out the door. The reality is that he has 40 minutes, and we still barely make it. But I still love this child who is terribly brilliant, creative and always wanting to stop and make me a gift or write a note to his friend or look up his favorite prepositions on the computer—at any moment that is inconvenient. This is not going to change soon, so I have given up doing stressful things like finishing homework or getting ready myself while he is home. Instead, I breathe deep breaths and try to play back-up to the things he cannot find. I point out the shoe that is halfway hiding under that book or comb his hair while he runs back to put old clothes in the dryer for the third time—one damn piece at a time…. VERY inefficient. But still, it is him… And most importantly, we must love each other, support each other and grow a little every day. There is no need to fix the world in one fell swoop.
So I did the same thing this morning that I always do. Only this morning I had a friend sitting with me during coffee and nagging hour. There was a large object attached to my forehead that my 4 year old calls my other nose. (That’s why he’s tied up in the basement.) And there is no make-up in the world strong enough to cover this baby up. I have a pimple the size of my nose on my forehead. I am in my polka dot pajamas and a Namaste (huge irony) tank top. My hair is matted slightly because it was a little wet before I went to bed. It saves me time to shower at night, right? And after I pack my son’s backpack and follow him around for the last three minutes, trying to finish things up so that he is ready to walk out the door—-my son starts yelling at me that it’s my fault he’s late! Cause this is the first time??? All I would have to do to make him late is wake up in the morning or go to sleep or, well, there’s nothing and anything I could do to make him late… And I woke up at the regular time… However, my son was in a panic because the sun was up before he was, and he thought I had woken up late… 6:30 is not late… I assured him.
We walk out to the carpool amidst our usual chaotic cloud, his coat and shoes in hand because there would be no time to put them on…. And he tells the nice man in the car that he is late because I got up late. I wanted to kick him. Not only had I not screamed at him this morning… I had packed his backpack and untied his shoelaces in order to buy him 5 more minutes of chatting in the car on the way to school. And I look like some former version of myself, swathed in mismatching old pajamas, an old jacket, crumply hair and a pimple that really took the attention away from my fashion faux pas. This was the day he was gonna try to sell me out?!
This dad must be horrified that not only do I look like an add for Andy Capp—AGAIN, but I sleep in and make my kids look late. I laugh slightly and say, “no, I don’t think so… hehe”. And my son, never to back down from any position he has taken, gets in the car and as the door is closing (so as to keep me from any other defensive comments) repeats with great conviction, “My mom DID sleep in.”
That’s it. He’s washing the windows tonight… I’m taking the day off—to wash my hair and have surgery on my new appendage… and I’m taking a damn nap! If I’m going to get blamed by that little guy after I work my ass off to get him out the door with all this amenities… I should definitely look more rested than this. So here’s to those little people we raise and love and want to beat periodically. And if you’re looking for a carpool… hey, I might be looking soon too. Oy!!! Another glamorous day.