Monday, March 28, 2011

The first fifteen minutes

Disclaimer: Totally stealing this idea from Dooce.

For those of you still considering having children, allow me to tell you about my morning.

My wake-up call was the same pleasant one as usual, Miles bringing me a cup of coffee, giving me a kiss and telling me it was time to go on duty. As he headed into the shower, Claire climbed into the bed from the left side for a snuggle, Aeron burrowing under the covers from the right. Then she put her icy, cold feet on my butt. This eliminated the option of going back to sleep.

I plumped up the pillows, and began to drink my coffee while the girls nattered on about I don't know what. Their chatter kept me from understanding what the yelling was about downstairs. All I could really make out is Kayla seemed to be screeching at her brother. Not that I needed to wonder long; Kayla came racing upstairs, snarling about how Cameron isn't ready to leave for school and she gave him a 3-minute warning and she's tired of waiting around for him and being late, and Dad should not give him a ride to school and he needs to walk, etc...

"Leave him." I told her over the rim of mug. "Fine!" She flounced out the door and off to school.

Heaving my first sigh of the day, I shoo the girls off to the kitchen, with instructions to get some cereal, climbed out of my warm, comfortable bed and went to consult with my husband.

"I told Kayla to leave without him," I said to the shower curtain. "Shall I tell him to start walking?" I was then told Miles' story of how he couldn't get Cameron to get outta bed this morning. "I rubbed his back, pulled off all his covers, talked to him. He just lay there like a lump. After a while, I gave up. So, yeah. He needs to walk."

So I heaved my next sigh and went downstairs to be the bad guy. I found Cameron slowly putting on a jacket. "Dude. You need to get out the door and get to school," says I.  "Kayla couldn't wait for you anymore, so you'll need to walk."

If I had thwacked the child in the face with a dead fish, he couldn't have looked more surprised.


"Cameron. Kayla told you she was leaving in 3 minutes. You weren't ready to leave. So now you need to walk to school.".

"Jen! I didn't know what time it was!"

"Cameron. You need to leave for school now."

"I wanna talk to Dad!"

"Dad's in the shower. You need to leave for school now."

He glowered at me. I gazed calmly back at him. 

"Fine. Have a nice day." in a dark, flat tone of voice. The door slammed.

Back up stairs, I reported to Miles. We mutually pondered the mystery that is Cameron in the misty confines of the bathroom. Then came the banging on our bedroom door. I opened the door and saw Cameron, ready to kick the door again.

"Cameron. You need to go to school now."

"I wanna talk to DAD!"

"Dad's in the shower. You need to go to school."

"Jeeee-nnnn! I can't make it."

"I know. You'll be late. Go to school, Cameron!"

Well, you can see how it went. After a couple more rounds of call-and-response, some tears, and Miles telling the kid the same thing, Cam stomped off to the garage, got his bike and helmet, and went to school.  Note: the arguing and struggle took more time that it would have taken him to walk to school.

Update: No yelling this morning and Cam was ready to leave a 7:35am. Can I get a Hallelujah?!?


  1. I usually have 20 minute arguments about tying shoes, bringing toys, wearing/not wearing pants/coats/shirts, bringing/not bringing food in the car -- which results in me needing to leave 20 minutes of argument room before every morning departure. Completely exhausting.

  2. @ Maggie - I have found that if you stick to your guns, (i.e. make your rules and stick to 'em as if your life depended on it) eventually, children will comply. It's a long, weary road... but it does work.

  3. first, hallelujah!

    second, this makes me want to bust out more children. =P
    i dread getting up at 6:30 every morning. i'm still not used to it. and Cal's been in school for six years. this does not give me much hope. every night, i think, okay tomorrow will be the morning i fly out of bed and everyone is ready on time and i'll make a delish breakfast. not once has this happened. i would just like to repeat that Cal has been in school for six years.

    i'm still holding on to that one little sliver of hope. =)

  4. @ Elizabeth - may I suggest something? Pick out clothes, pack a lunch, set the box of cereal on the table with a bowl and spoon - all the night before. It takes some discipline to do it, but it makes the mornings oh so easier.