Last night, after a lovely dinner that included all of the food groups (and side dishes!), my four and six-year-old children helped clear the table without complaint. My daughter pushed one of the tiny, little-person chairs, the ones that we keep in the kitchen for them to reach the knives and for me to trip over, up to the sink to rinse her plate. She then handed it to her brother, who was waiting to load it in the dishwasher.
All of this happened while we continued discussing the book my son is currently reading, because the only way to get him to stop reading long enough to eat is to talk about the book while we eat. As a human who prefers books to conversation myself, I can appreciate his driving need to wedge his nose in between the pages, but his face is too cute to hide all the live long day. I grew him in my very own belly, and I have the right to look at him now and again if I want.
The evening was damn near perfect, and if I were reading this right now instead of writing it, I would be busting a cornea with my aggressive eye-rolling. Can you bust a cornea from rolling your eyes? I’m not a doctor.
Wait, there’s more.
After the dishwasher was loaded and the leftovers put away, my first grader set to packing his lunch for school the next day. He made himself a sandwich, and washed his apple. He placed the sandwich neatly in the refrigerator, and tucked the apple and his granola bar into his overpriced Star Wars lunch box next to his equally overpriced Star Wars water bottle.
I puttered around the house smugly, doing other things because my children are productive members of our family, and are capable of managing some of their own tasks. It’s not that hard, I thought to myself, as I poured a cup of tea. Parenting isn’t overwhelming if you do it right. I spied a fresh magazine, and gave it a wink. We’d be together soon.
Proud of myself and my sitcom-worthy offspring, we all enjoyed a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie before the pre-bed activities commenced. You know, pajamas, tooth brushing, raucous tickling from Dad, and books.
Cut to the next morning. Still riding high on the previous evening’s perfection, I whipped up some green smoothies for breakfast, and was wondering what kind of Pinterest-worthy craft we could do that afternoon that I could blog about later.
Coffee in hand, I walked upstairs to wake my slumbering children, and lovingly ease them into their day.
On the third step, I slopped hot, molten coffee on my foot. I screamed SONOFABITCH! in the quietest voice possible, and bit back tears as my foot melted into the steps. I attempted, heart pounding and foot throbbing, to continue on my quest to rouse my babies tenderly, but the spell had been broken. My kids must have used up all of their perfection the day before, and now they had nothing left but cantankerousness. Despite my sweet tones, gentle kisses, and even a few rounds of “Good morning to you,” they wouldn’t get up until I ripped the blankets off their beds, allowing the chilly morning air hit their warm, snuggly bodies.
With 15 minutes till the bus, my boy finally wandered downstairs, book in hand, and set up shop next to the radiator, because when I say “You need to come eat now,” I really mean, “How about one more chapter of Captain Underpants?”
After getting him to the table, I hollered at his sister who was still upstairs, and who also needed to get her hiney ready for school. Why is parenting so hard? I wondered to myself as I yelled for her to “Seriously get up right now!” I thought, showing my crazy a little bit, that it really is better when she sneaks into our bed in the middle of the night, because at least then she gets up when I do and I’m not bellowing at the foot of the stairs like Miss Hannigan, minus the booze and orphans.
Sure, everyone got to school on time, and sure, I was actually wearing pants for my morning appointment, but I had a piece of spinach from my smoothie stuck in my teeth all day, and my shirt was on inside out. My son forgot his lunch, and my husband, who works two towns away and gets a ride to work from me in our only car, forgot his entire backpack, full of important work-type things.
So next time I’m high from the fumes of freshly baked cookies and responsible children, remind me that my foot will likely be burned off the next morning and not to drink a green smoothie after brushing my teeth. Tell me to make sure the car is gassed up because I’ll be driving all over the county to deliver lunches and backpacks, and for a fun surprise the dog will probably puke on the carpet.
Stay tuned for the craft we still haven’t done.