Friday, February 12, 2010

What Time is It?

Something about getting ready in the mornings has become somewhat of a a challenge for my children.  First, there's the whole getting out of bed thing.  Emma is fabulous about getting out of bed and getting ready.  She even makes sure hubby and I are up.  But she's the exception.

Keith and Amy would gladly roll around in bed until school was out.  Keith would eventually get up- if for nothing else than to watch some television and get something to eat.  Amy?  Amy lives to provoke me.  Therefore, if I want her to get out of bed, it is her life's mission to stay hunkered under the covers until I yank her out (literally) by her ankles.  Then she stomps her foot and says, "Mom!  I was getting out of bed!  What did you do that for?"

The next challenge is getting them dressed.  I bounce back and forth between Keith, Emma and Amy.  "Are you dressed?  Do you have your belt?  Is that dress code?"  And, while I'm nagging one child, the other two are playing with the cat, drawing pictures on a stray piece of paper, looking in the mirror and trying different hair styles, or various other things- none of which involve getting dressed.

Finally, after some begging, pleading, bribing and threatening, we make it downstairs.  This is where the real fun begins!  During our time downstairs, we need to accomplish a couple of things:  eat breakfast, get shoes on, make sure our backpacks/lunches/etc are ready, get coats on (when appropriate) and get out the door.

Emma usually stalls out at breakfast.  She's dressed, has on shoes and a coat.  But her backpack is in four different places and she roams around the kitchen trying to decide what she wants for breakfast.

"What's for breakfast?" she asks, while twirling in circles and singing Christmas carols.

"What do you want?" I ask, shoving Amy towards the breakfast table.

"I don't know..." she sings, poking her head in the pantry, in the refrigerator, then back in the pantry.

Keith is usually awake enough at this point to start talking.  He makes comments about what the girls are wearing, what will happen at school, his theories on mathematical equations- anything to avoid the tasks at hand.

Amy...  Amy chases the cat.  I remind her gently, "Amy, time to eat."

"I know," she says.

"So, let's get to it," I prompt.

"I'm doing it!" she says exasperated, as she continues clinging to the cat, who is scrambling to get away.

"No.  You're playing with the cat.  Now, come on.  Let's get our shoes on now," I say, getting more irritated.

"Hold on!" she whines.

And so it goes...  Until my sister-in-law honks her horn, and the kids play out some kind of elementary Chinese fire drill trying to get everything done in 30 seconds.

Except for the days when I drive.  Then they piddle around until we're late, and then whine about being late all the way to school.

I've offered rewards for being punctual.  I've taken away privileges for being late.  I have spoken kindly and cheerfully.  I have screamed like a drill sergeant.  I am out of ideas...

The only thing I have left up my sleeve is "The Parent's Curse," which I exercise on a regular basis in the mornings.  I wish upon my children that one day they will have children just like them.

Then I can listen to their stories, or read them online, and laugh.  And, I'll bet you, they will... finally... be able to get ready in the mornings...

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