Do you ever have crazy, chaotic mornings? You are so not alone, Mama!
It was a blast back to the past–a past that went from present to past when I wasn’t even looking.
On the tail end of two solid weeks of snow days, my two littlest girls–age 2 and 4–had been battling respiratory and ear infections.
It had been nearly three weeks of a mixed-up routine–or, rather, no routine at all–and many sleepless nights (with little feet and elbows in Mommy and Daddy’s eyes) thrown into the mix.
But the girls were better now, and I was determined to get everyone to school on time and back into the swing of things.
My little girls weren’t having it. At least my 6-year-old (who used to fight me on everything) did get herself dressed, but my 4-year-old threw herself on the floor and screamed that she did NOT want to go back to preschool.
My 2-year-old took one look at her breakfast plate filled with sausage and toast and shook her head “no.” She wanted a chocolate and nothing else.
I looked at the clock and knew if we didn’t pull out of the driveway in ten minutes we would not make it to my kindergartener’s school on time. I didn’t care if we were late to preschool, but my 6-year-old is in “real” school now, and tardies matter there. (Or, at least, there, I have the fear of the threatened late fee!)
I ran a brush through my 6-year-old’s hair, threw some rolled-up deli meat in her lunch sack, and instructed her to stand by the door.
Miraculously, my 4-year-old had put on her jumper and cardigan that I had lain out the night before, but she cried that her tights were uncomfortable. Instead, she had picked out some black leggings–and brown maryjane shoes.
This get-up didn’t match.
I didn’t care.
I had already decided I wouldn’t be taking the two littles to preschool. Honestly, I resigned myself to driving to the kindergarten drop-off with my youngest in her PJs and just making it a home day.
After all, I was still in my pajamas, too.
Right as I was about to scoop up my 2-year-old, I noticed that her footie pajamas were down to her ankles.
When I had asked her to put on her coat, she had stood in front of the door and stripped down to her diaper.
At this point, we had absolutely no time to spare. I did not want to show up late to kindergarten.
So I wrapped her in her coat, yelled for the other girls to get in their carseats, and I strapped my naked toddler into her carseat. I draped the coat over her like a blanket.
Miraculously, I didn’t even feel my blood pressure rising. (This hadn’t always been the case.)
En route to the school, I called my mentor on speaker phone. We were supposed to be meeting this morning to work on some videos for an upcoming project, and I needed to either cancel or bring the girls with me.
“Preschool isn’t going to work out today,” I told her. “I can’t figure out if they are just not wanting to go since they’ve been out of school for nearly three weeks or if they are just being fussy because they still don’t feel well. But the baby is in the back, naked, and my 4-year-old is throwing a fit not to go.”
As soon as I hung up the phone, my 4-year-old’s screams escalated.
“Mommy! I DO want to go to preschool! I DO! I want to go to preschool! Please take me to preschool.”
“Ok, honey,” I tried to calm her, while waiting for the light to turn green.
“Mommy!” my 2-year-old began chiming in. “Go, Mommy, go!”
Within the past few weeks, my youngest child has become a backseat driver. “Honey, Mommy cannot go. Mommy cannot run over the truck in front of us!”
Turning onto the road that houses my kindergartener’s school, I met my 4-year-old’s eyes in the rearview mirror.
“Honey, do you even have your shoes on?”
“No, but I can get them on, Mommy!”
“Girls, are there any snacks in the car at all? Anything? Because I can’t send her to preschool without a snack.”
“We have pretzels, Mommy!”
“OK,” I decided. “If the carline is still going after we drop off Sissy, you can go to preschool today.”
The sweet carline teacher always talks to the littles when we drop Little Girl off at school. This day, her eyes slightly widened when she noticed my naked toddler.
I shook my head.
“It’s been one of those mornings,” I explained. “She stripped down in front of the door, and I didn’t have time to put her clothes on.”
The lady just laughed.
The preschool is super close to the school–with just two stoplights in between. At the first one, I dug through my purse to find a hairbrush and threw it back at my 4-year-old: “Brush your hair, sweetheart!”
We entered the preschool carline just in time. When it was our turn, I rolled down my window and let the teachers know that only my 4-year-old was coming this day. They looked at my 2-year-old. She smiled and waved.
I looked back. She had knocked the coat off of her, and it was hanging halfway on her feet and halfway on the floor.
Clearly, she was naked. Did the teachers notice that I hadn’t clothed her? I wondered.
They didn’t say anything, so I just said: “She’s still a little sick, so I’m keeping her home with me today.”
Perhaps they thought the nakedness was part of some kind of weird, crunchy mama respiratory therapy. Maybe the cold air would be good for her lungs?
As we drove away, I reached back and positioned the coat back over her.
And instead of getting frustrated at the craziness of this morning, I chose to laugh and reflect on how this day would be just a tiny blip in hundreds of normal, stable days–when the girls are dressed, fed, and out the door with time to spare.
It wasn’t always this way. In fact, a few years ago the crazy days dominated my life. I was tired, frazzled, and overwhelmed–more days than I was not.
A Take-Away for You
Are you in a crazy season where this day seems normal for you? (Please say I’m not the only one who has ever had days like this!)
Know that this, too, Mama, shall pass. It really will. There will come a day when the crazy, routine-less mess of mornings will be rare. The house will be quiet. They will get themselves dressed and will eat their breakfast and even buckle themselves in their own carseats.
And this blast back to the past of a morning showed me just that.