With 2 school going kiddos under 6 years of age, mornings have to spell utter madness. Along this mayhem, we- the parents of these adorable monkeys, have picked up a few ‘Notes To Self’ (NTS) to keep the morning momentum.
NTS- As soon as you wake up, rush to your children’s room, draw open the curtains noisily, switch on the lights and generally start talking loudly. While generally we are not loud monsters, mornings can be the fair exception.
On a weekend they are sitting on our heads at 6am. But on a weekday their biological clock stops working!! So yes, there is a lot of ‘switch off the lights’, ‘close the door’ etc. but they are awake! Mission accomplished. ;). They can whine and all that in bed but they are awake. yippee. Then by the time you are ready to take them head on, they would be in a little better state to take in the morning and take in the parents.
NTS – Allow the children to have ‘their ‘5-10 minutes while pretending to not be happy with this. No, you are not letting go. Infact you now have an upper hand in negotiations – something like, ‘See I gave you your 10 minutes’.
Peanut wakes up and after a quick dash to the bathroom, characteristically walks over to his toys and sits himself on the floor with a few toys. Hubby has probably attempted many a times to intercept this walk and get him to the bathroom for brushing his teeth but with no luck. Sneaky Peanut is already lost in his toys before we can pounce on him to start the daily routine. He demands 10 minutes and it’s given to him.
NTS – Start negotiations early. Make no mistake it is a ‘cat and mouse chase’ in the morning and the cat HAS to triumph. Just to be clear the parents are the cats. 🙂 That way when its time to really give that ultimatum you still have time to get the child ready and make peace with the child.
Hubby pleads and begs with Peanut to get to the bathroom. Peanut rants over ‘I just woke up’, ‘10 minutes more’ (even though its already been 10 minutes).
NTS – There is no pride associated with coming first, atleast not in the morning. So do not go down that path of ‘ooh you will be first, come lets get ready’ etc. It’s a booby trap designed by the children to get you embroiled into further discussion.
Somewhere along the way Buttercup saunters in and then Peanut says ‘ first Buttercup then me’. Buttercup will gauge the situation and depending on her Highness’s mood she will decide to either oblige her dad and merrily walk to the bathroom; or will stubbornly sit on the floor with her brother!
NTS – When all else fails (or even earlier depending on how much time you have) use your parent wand and swoosh the ‘Ultimatum’.
Time is ticking away and negotiations are at a deadlock. Tempers start rising and finally ultimatums are given and sulky children are led to the bathroom. EVERYDAY.
NTS – A bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush. Yes, the mice are now birds. Let 1 fly if he/she wants to. Getting two flighty birds ready simultaneously is only for the brave hearted.
So in between all the morning dramas, one kid gets free and starts to roam around the home. Some days accidentally entering the kitchen and then dashing out just as fast before mom gets to talk / lecture about breakfast.
NTS- It’s important to keep the peace when time is short – easier to handle a calm child than a wailing one. Spend those extra 2 minutes to be patient (much against your will) and you may be rewarded with extra 5 minutes headway in the morning chaos.
Today morning Peanut was looking for a vase of flowers (a rather large vase with BIG flowers, I might add) and though he was staring in the exact direction of the vase, he couldn’t see it and he was beginning to get shrieky upset over this. As calmly as hubby could, he told Peanut to look AGAIN and lo behold the flowers that were under his nose, could now be seen. Rest assured Peanut now walked to the bathroom.
NTS – To ensure YOU get your work done, be prepared to swing from being ‘kid deaf ‘to ‘refereeing’.
In the morning ‘kid deaf’ is turned on auto mode. This is till, either there is complete silence in the house or decibels have risen to the extent that neighbors may come calling. In which case the referee mode kicks in. It amazes me every time as to how parents have an ability to monitor through thick walls and from different rooms. Hubby and self will be either shouting or cajoling one or both kids while being in an entirely different room and successfully navigating the situation till the next issue arises. Nerves are being soothed from a different room, while tears are being wiped after a sibling duel by either hubby or self in some kind of a crazy synchronized fashion. Its working and thank God for that.
NTS – Be very ready for ‘Parent deaf’. Its not personal.
Then comes the call for breakfast. If I say ANYTHING other than maybe chocolate / chips, those sounds will just bounce off the wall and come right back to me. Life and conversations just carry on! Its almost like they wait till that voice becomes a loud booming ‘come on hither you little fellows or else….’.
Buttercup usually rushes to sit at the table while Peanut will do his slow deliberate walk contrary to the fast ticking of the clock.
Peanut will then stand by the table and after seeing what’s on the table (keep in mind the vase story) will ask sulkily ‘what is for breakfast?’. In between running amidst the kitchen and myself getting ready, I will be shouting off the very evident menu.
NTS – Prepare a night before just like when you used to go to school. Clothes – check. Books – check. Breakfast menu discussed and agreed upon with children – check.
I’m not in a habit of deciding the menu with the kids but if that means I get 2 extra minutes of less morning sulkiness then I do that too. ‘Peanut you wanted paranthas for breakfast, it’s now on the table’. Peanut can sulk about almost anything but he’s very particular about his word. As ‘smart’ parents we have caught on to that 😉 and so he agrees to eat it ONLY because he okayed it the previous night. So much easier to negotiate at night when there is no dearth of time.
Buttercup picks up most of her clues from her brother. So if Peanut has agreed to the breakfast then she is game too.
We are now dangerously close to the time to head out of the house and even though Peanut and Buttercup understand that, there is slow action on their parts. Buttercup who is otherwise very independent and can very nicely eat a bowl of ice-cream by herself, will decide that breakfast is the time to be fed by none other than her father who is himself bending backwards to get out of the house on time! Hubby and I pray that neither drops / spills anything on their clothes, lest we have to change them.
NTS – Try and keep your ‘outwardly calm’ handy for the last mile. It’s all you would probably have at this stage. That storm brewing within you can be soothed with a hot cuppa after dropping the kids to school. Breathe. That calm will be tested the most now and you will need to muster up some deep inner strength to get by. Grit your teeth and show it too if it helps. Keep the little ones confused with a calm look and gritted teeth. And then look at your crazy self in the mirror. SMILE. 🙂
Quickly we gobble down our breakfast whilst chiding the kids to eat theirs. Between ‘hurry ups’ and ‘wow, you are so quick’ motivators, food is munched. IF there is time, I neatly comb Buttercup’s hair but most days its just tied back in a ponytail. I figure full stomach trumps neat hairstyle. 🙂
With our eyes on the clock now, I start heading out and simultaneously calling the kids to pick up their bags and move along. Suddenly I will notice Buttercup has worn her shoes in the wrong feet. Why! Oh Why did I have to notice it now? I could pull my hair out at this stage but they are already falling! …Breathe…. So I refrain from this self-destructive action and get involved in the mad scramble to get Buttercup to switch her shoes to the right feet. Being the independent little girl she absolutely will not allow us to help, all the while struggling and testing our patience. Peanut not to be left behind (in testing our patience that is) will want to take away the very toy that Buttercup has kept with her at the exact same time that she has to wear her shoes. So there is the long shriek ‘noooooo’ from buttercup and she will attempt to wear her shoes with the toy in her hand. I will plead to please let go of the toy and then stand guard to ensure Peanut doesn’t touch the toy, all the while glaring at Peanut.
Finally we are all ready with bags in tow and hair patted down with creamy hands and after looong hugs and big kisses to hubby, by the kids not me, (I’m already at the elevator) we are off to school…
…with promises to wake up even earlier the next day (not kids, but us the parents).
Final Note To Self –Keep in mind that you will forget one or two or more of the above or you will reverse the order (maybe starting with the ultimatum) BUT life will carry on just as well. To another morning and many more!