I’m the quintessential reformed Tardy Mom, Parenting Magazine’s poster child on the subject, and it’s true–our mornings, while not particularly resembling clockwork in any way, are now calmer, cooler and vastly more timely. Â Setting a load time and sticking to it, of refusing to serve breakfast to any child not already dressed, of setting up an actual alarm clock to ring when breakfast is over and tooth-brushing time has arrived–those have worked wonders (thanks, Mary Caroline Walker! I’d link to you, but your blog is busted.)
I have to say, though, that it would all be so much easier if their weren’t so many kids involved. Unpredictable little beasts. They simply refuse to march in lockstep from bedroom to bathroom to breakfast to toothbrushes, and sometimes, as today, their creative ideas for what constitutes appropriate morning fun make me crazy. A fully dressed Wyatt and Rory went upstairs to brush teeth this morning at 7:30. Lock and load time is 7:40–but just as I went to the foot of the stairs to start the gently hollering (Shoes! Shoes! Shoes and COATS!) that foretells departure, Lily arrived with a report that Rory and Wyatt were “playing in the sink.”
I did what I always do, based on such reports. I yelled “Don’t play in the sink!” Then, for good measure, I added “Shoes! SHOES AND COOAAATS!”
Oh, right, like that was going to work. Rob went up to deal, and a few minutes later Rory and Wyatt re-emerged, both wearing entirely different clothes. (Because the one thing I do not have is enough laundry.) Apparently they were giving a balloon a bath.
Unbelievably, we still left the house on time (something of this sort happens every morning–if it’s not a dirty balloon, it’s poopy pants, or spilled cereal, or a missing lid to the very most important marker). Â And because of that, no one’s day had to be ruined by the amount of shouting that would once have resulted from this. Â It was just one of those things. (Of course, I haven’t gone up to look at the bathroom yet.)
Anyway, it got me thinking about mornings, and the way we get kids out of the house and onto their days. My current secret weapon is vitamins. I keep them in the car, and when it’s time to go, I yell “Gummy bears or lemon drop?! They’re in the car!” and three small figures race for the door. Â It works brilliantly, but I worry that the novelty is about to wear off–in fact, I constantly feel like our system is on the verge of collapse. I’m open to suggestions!
Thus: a contest. I feel a little dopey doing this, but you all know I review kids’ books, which means we have more in the house than I can handle, so I thought I’d send a free copy of Oscar and the Bird to the best get out of the house tip. If I add it to our repetoire, the book is yours–comment away!