In a lot of ways, the new school year has been a breeze for me and my girls. My fourth grader, Patti, who usually takes weeks to adapt to her new class and teacher, proclaimed the first week, "It was so easy this year. I already love my class!"
Of course we have the challenges, too. My husband is back to traveling again and Q.T. the puppy needs to be walked BEFORE the girls get up in the morning (lest he tinkle during breakfast-time). Both of these things contribute to my morning-time insanity – my husband’s not here to help, and the dog is here to get in the way.
It seems that no matter how early I get up, we’re still rushing around at the last minute.
And I know: I’ve heard about you smart moms out there who have your kids’ clothes and shoes standing at attention and ready to go the night before. And I bet you’ve packed their backpacks, too. Well, I don’t roll that way. And when I have tried getting prepared the night before, I’ve always managed to forget something anyway. No, it’s the adrenaline of the morning of that makes me do what must be done.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
And while missing shoes and unpacked backpacks are part of the problem, there are some things that cannot be done the night before.
One is waking Patti. Patti is a night person. Always has been. Always will be. This means getting her up in the morning is a formidable task. Suzi was up merrily playing with Barbies this morning when I staggered out of bed at 6:30. When I returned home after Q.T.’s walk (during which he went a couple rounds with a sprinkler), Patti was still sawing wood like an old farmhand. Q.T. actually made himself useful for a change, jumping all over Patti with his stringy wet paws, succeeding in waking her up quickly, if not happily.
Suzi is mostly a dream in the morning, but there is one little thing that turns her into my mortal enemy: Brushing her hair. She doesn’t really understand that unless we’re going for a Rastafarian look for second grade, we really DO have to get all those tangles out. So we wrestle around the bathroom for a good five minutes each morning with Suzi screaming and me just trying to keep from shaving her head and resorting to wigs (which I would be able to prepare the night before, thank you very much).
And through all the waking, dressing, eating, chasing the sock-stealing dog and brushing of hair each morning, it’s all I can do not to switch from Folgers to Irish coffee as my preferred morning beverage.
Yet somehow we survive it.
The girls give me a hug and stumble out the door to the neighbor’s, who are probably having all the good times we are, and then head off to school.
As I enjoy those first few moments of peace with my Irish – er – Folgers, still wearing pajamas or a sloppy sweat suit, I sometimes marvel at the working moms who manage to get themselves ready at the same time as their kids each morning, then fight the traffic and mind the boss all day.
At least I have a few hours of silence and selfish mommy-time before all manner of crazy starts again at 3:30.