Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mornings (a.k.a The Hour That Crushes My Soul)

First off, I am not a morning person. I never have been, even back in the Before Kids days when I got plenty of sleep. Growing up my dad had this thing where he believed if we laid in the bed until noon we would maybe get enough sleep or become lazy slackers or enjoy it or something ridiculous like that, so he never let us sleep in past 8:30 am. At that magic hour Dad would come in our rooms, flip the light switch on and off at the speed of light and holler "FIRE!" I swear, if there ever is a fire I will burn right up in it because I will not believe it.

So that was pretty much always a crappy start to the day.

My mom tried to be a bit nicer. She would come in and gently tap my shoulder, causing me to bury further into the blankets, until one time I told her not to touch me when she woke me up. I was so mean about it I made her cry. I still remember that. Oh, for a do-over.

I am still not a morning person, but I can't really sleep in late because Dad ruined my internal body clock or Circadian rhythms or whatever. So maybe instead of not a morning person, I am not a "get out of bed and be ready to see other people" person. I just need a minute before I can speak. Or be coherent. Or nice. In any way.

Even though I always struggled with mornings, I never drank coffee until I had kids. My parents never let us as children, buying into the lie that it could stunt our growth. I can confidently tell you that is a lie because my husband and his siblings were allowed to drink coffee at their grandmother's house everyday growing up, and they all turned out to be waaaaay above average tall. Like, pro basketball player tall. Moral of the story - keep coffee from your kids for the caffeinated crazy behavior factor but any other reason is bull.

But then along came the babies. One time my brother asked the question, "Why is it not possible to get kids on an adult schedule?" That's so cute. He thinks kids do what you want them to. He doesn't have any. (But he is a fabulous realtor if you need to buy/sell/trade/rent a house/property locally/anywhere in the country. I'll hook you up.)

It did not matter if we put our firstborn baby to bed at 4 in the afternoon or midnight, she was still going to wake up at 6 am or even a few minutes before. We kept her up really late hoping that would do the trick, but that only created Monster Fussy Baby. So we just put her down at 8 when I had reached my baby limit for the day.

This era is when my need for a cup pot of coffee immediately upon my arising first began. I remember a friend who had kids telling me how she drank an entire 10 cup pot of coffee everyday. I worried she was going to give herself a caffeine induced heart attack. Then I had kids. And we had to get a new coffee maker that would make 12 cups because 10 wasn't cutting it.

So those days were hard, but the good thing was other than one day a week of Bible study, no one expected us anywhere at any certain time so I could just turn on Curious George and drink my pot of coffee and then start the day.

Now, we must get places. Like school. Preston has to get to his school before students arrive so he always leaves before any of his own children are up. I loathe this and am jealous as I watch his taillights disappear. Mornings are solely my responsibility. They generally go like this:

(mom arises early and drinks coffee, gets dressed and prepares to awaken brood)

(mom, entering room all girls share) "G-O-O-D M-O-R-N-I-N-G Good morning! Hey, hey, good morning!" 

(children ignore cheering crazy lady)

(mom, sing-song voice) "Girls? It's a beautiful day! Aren't you glad God gave you breath this morning? It's going to be an amazing day!"

(children emit slight moans but make no visible movement)

(mom, still sweet, but less sing-songy) "Sweethearts, it really is time to get up. We will be late if you don't get up right now."

(girl #3) Whimper softly

(girl #1, sitting up)  "Mom, did you know this totally random fact I heard eight months ago and want to tell you today? It's really important, and I need to tell it to you right now and then I'll tell you a knock-knock joke and reenact the Garfield comic strip I read last night. I won't stop talking until the second I fall asleep tonight, ok?"

Gotta block out the night light.

(girl #2, stumbling out of bed - she almost always trips within her first several steps, probably because she is still wearing the sleep mask she likes to wear, which is weird since she also insists on a night light) "I didn't sleep at all. Not at all. I am so tired. And my throat hurts and my neck and my pinky toe. I know I felt fine last night when we were too wound up to stop chit-chatting and go to sleep like you yelled at us to do a million and a half times, but now this morning I really am so sick I am right on the verge of needing to be hospitalized."

(mom, beginning to show irritation and lifting the now openly sobbing girl #3 down from the top bunk, hurting her back and groaning in pain) "Girls, I want you to remember how tired you feel right now. Because tonight you are going to beg to stay up and keep giggling until dawn, but for the love, can't you see how hard it makes it to get out of bed?!"

(mass proceeds downstairs, while girl #1 tells inane tale from a story time she attended four years ago)

(all girls at once) "Mommy, when are you going to the store? I don't like any of these twelve boxes of cereal, nor am I interested in your kind offer of pancakes, eggs cooked any way my little heart desires, French toast, porridge, or anything delicious like that. I don't really know what I'd like for breakfast but I know we don't have it."

(mom, unable to be faux cheery anymore) "We are so blessed to have all this food! There are some children who won't even be offered a meal today!" (this line should flow like butter because mom says it at every meal, everyday)

(girls, grumbling under their breath, settle on yogurt and cereal)

(girl #1 continues talking about who won the Olympic gold in 1968, whom she will invite to come to her birthday party in 11 months, devotions from the first day of school, and any other thought that comes into her head; girl #3 whimpers softly every three seconds or so; girl #2 is doubled over in"pain", but manages to eat two bowls of fruity pebbles)

(mom) "It is now 7:09; You have exactly two minutes to finish breakfast and Girl #1, I'm sorry you weren't able to eat all you wanted in between magic tricks, but it is time to move on."

(girl #1) "Well, what do you mean? What should I do next? I can't possibly be expected to remember the routine we have been doing everyday for four years." 

(mom, speaking through clenched teeth) "You should get ready for school. You should brush your teeth, put on your school clothes, fix your hair. Check your chart!"

Girls get a sticker for each day all items are checked off. At the end of the week they get a quarter for each sticker. It sounds great but doesn't work. Don't waste your time.

(girls proceed upstairs while mom remains behind to tuck final things into lunchboxes and pray this will be the first time ever she doesn't have to go up and hurry the children along)

(noises of foot stomping, screaming, giggling, water running - no, gushing - can be heard from upstairs)

(mom, pounding up the stairs) "If you don't at least have your pajamas off by the time I get up there you will be sent to bed EARLY upstairs in the DARK with all the scary MONSTERS by YOURSELF!'

(girl #3 pokes her head around the corner; pajamas are wrapped around her head like a nun's habit) "We are almost ready! We just aren't sure what we should be doing."

(mom, yelling) "You should be putting on clothes! Focus! CHECK YOUR CHART!!" (mom is desperate to justify the time spent making the charts)

(girl #2) "I don't know what their problem is. They never obey. Even though I am in excruciating pain from my head to my feet, I am ready. In fact I am going to go downstairs and practice piano before school and perfect the opus I am writing." (rolls eyes and leaves room)

(mom wrangles remaining girls into clothes, down the stairs, and out to the van, grabbing the lunchbox girl #1 left behind and a fresh cup of coffee for the drive)

(girl #3, upon entering van) "I don't want to sit back there by myself! They never conclude me!"

(girl #1, giggling) "You mean 'include' me." 

(girl #3) "You are not the boss of me!" 

(mom, yelling again) "If you are not all seated and buckled by the time I get on the road I am calling Uncle Anthony to come arrest you and take you to jail!" (get out phone and pretend to call police sergeant brother-in-law)

(girl #2) "Could everyone please keep it down? I am almost finished with War and Peace, and this part is so exciting! Also when you are so loud it makes my earache hurt worse."

(girl #1) "Mommy, I've decided what I want for Christmas next year. Can you go ahead and write it down while you drive? And also sign my reading log? And guess what? On this show I watched three years ago I heard this interesting thing, and I need to tell everyone about it right this instant because it popped into my head, and I have to say it right now, and lots of other things, and I will only stop talking when I need to take a breath!"

(girl #3) "Can I take my shoes off? I know I can't tie them which means you'll have to tie them again when we get to school, and we had to look for 20 minutes before we found them in the loft of the treehouse, but they are already hurting my feet because I've had them on for five whole minutes. Also, my feet are so, so hot so I'm going to take off the socks you just helped me put on, too."

(mom) "I'm so sorry girls, but I just can't hear you over the heater." (smiles secretive smile and sips coffee; she's almost free)

End Scene

Alternate Ending

(girls screaming, shouting, throwing things, causing general chaos in the back of the van)

(mom, yanking steering wheel and careening van to the side of the road, hitting the brakes and causing everyone to lurch forward, turns around and yells) "Do you want me to have a wreck? I could really hurt someone because you people are distracting me!"

(older girls are a bit sheepish and settle down)

(youngest looks right at mom, making eye contact and defiantly jerks the cover off the car seat, revealing the foam underneath and bites a chunk out of it)


***I stole this alternate ending from a fellow mom. It happened. For real. I'm going to do a whole post on "things you never thought you'd have to say."***

Alternate alternate ending

Dad brings coffee and breakfast to mom in bed and handles the morning routine. (Preston? Are you reading this?)

Grace for the morning (especially Mondays),


  1. Altough I don't have any children, I can imagine every scene! I have heard the same stories from too many friends. I completely understand needing a cup (or pot) of coffee before you wake them or speak to anyone. I always need a few minutes or an hour to get the cobwebs out of my head every morning.

    Hang in there and keep writing - you are hilarious!

    Linda Hurst Almas

    P.S. Your deadbeat brother suggested reading your blog. He was an intern years ago when I worked at City Hall. ;)

    1. Linda, I definitely remember your name! Thanks for reading and keeping up with the "Deadbeat" 😉 I wish you a full pot of coffee on this cold January day!


Share your own craziness here. We are all in this together. Let's laugh about it.