Saturday, January 14, 2017

Getting out the door - sort of

Before I had children I was rarely late. I would take my coat out of the closet, put on my shoes that were neatly by the back door, grab my bag from the hook and step out, carefully locking the door behind me. I would get in my car, put on my seat belt, turn the key in the ignition and I was on my way. I had all of my belongings, 5-10 minutes to spare, and was ensconced in a quiet, peaceful drive to wherever I was going.

Leap ahead to today.

Leaving home with three young boys is similar to an act of Congress (and takes about as long). I start the process about 30 minutes before we need to be out the door. I still don't like to be late but it seems to be inevitable at times. Who can relate?

The first task is to make sure that everyone is suitably dressed for the temperature. We live in Connecticut and although it has been pretty mild, it is still winter. Baby J is almost never in pants at home in order to allow him to scoot around on the wood floors without face planting. I carry him up to his room to put pants on him. Next, my middle guy (M) detests all articles of clothing with any sort of coverage. Jeans result in the inability for him to bend his knees which of course means he amazingly loses the ability to walk temporarily, zippers must be just at the right level of up/down, long sleeves are absolutely not acceptable, socks "hurt", and just recently has he agreed to a sweatshirt. Putting these items on with him is about a 10 minute process, down from the WWF-like 40 minute take downs 6 months ago. (Has anyone ever steer-wrestled? Same difference.) He is three and because he doesn't want to wear them, doesn't put them on himself. I set down the 12 month old to wrestle M into his pants and the next thing I know, J has dumped out the dog's water dish. I grab J, sop up the water that is spreading across the kitchen floor and run up to change his wet clothes. Meanwhile, M is crying loudly because his jeans are too "over his feet" and they are covering his knees so he can't walk. I get J changed, run back downstairs, put the empty water dish on the counter, put the baby on the floor, and finish dressing with the three year old. The entire time, coaxing him to try and help, crazily thinking that if he learns how to do it, this whole process might be easier? He, of course, objects loudly, and wails that "I can not do it!" I end up dressing him because now we have 8 minutes before we have to be out the door.

Next monumental task - shoes and socks. As if donning three little pairs of shoes and socks weren't enough, first we have to find them. Of course, they are all in 12 different places, because why would you put socks and shoes together. Wait, even crazier, why would both socks be in the same room? Now, one would think that finding said shoes and socks shouldn't take much time at all. A true statement, unless you are 12 months, 3 years, and/or 6 years old. All things suddenly become interesting, including the dust bunnies under the couch, the spoon that fell on the floor at breakfast, and the hot wheel that was thought to be lost but discovered under the fridge. I have decided to change the text alert tone on my phone to the word, "FOCUS" in hopes that every time it goes off it will be a reminder to my boys. 12 minutes later we have collected all items. The big boys are sitting on the floor putting on their socks and shoes. E (6 year old) needs his socks "fixed" because the heel is "wrong" and as soon as I set J down to make the necessary adjustments, he makes a beeline for the back stairs. I jump up to body block the door. Catastrophe averted. M gets his socks and shoes on but is screaming and crying because "they don't feel good". I adjust the socks, tongues, and velcro and then I do it 2.75 more times before he deems them wearable, maybe. All this while the baby is trying to Kamikaze over me in order to play on the top landing of the stairs to the back door.

And then one day... Hallelujah, the six year old learns to tie his shoes. The only trouble is that it takes him 15 minutes to tie them and now that he can, the wise parenting move is to encourage him to do it himself. I'm telling you, that the patience it takes to watch that is monumental, especially since it took 12 1/2 minutes to find the damn things in the first place. "I got it mom" has been uttered 132 times. Finally, he gets them tied, but could I double knot them? Sure, why not. Meanwhile, J has tired of trying to break through my human wall and has crawled away and is pulling all items off the coffee table in the living room. I chase him down, tug his socks on, give up, and shove his shoes in my bag.

We are in the homestretch. I ask the big boys to grab their jackets.


E can't reach his, M doesn't like the one I handed him because "it bothers me" and he is now laying on the ground (his legs are trapped in his jeans). The one I grabbed for J is too small although I swear it fit yesterday. I run down and hand E his, I tell M that he can wear the one I handed him or grab a sweatshirt and I run back upstairs with J in my arms to find something that will fit him. Who needs the stair stepper at the gym? We are now 10 minutes behind schedule.

I set J down in order to tie my own shoes but as soon as I set him down, he falls over and bumps his face on the floor. I scoop him up, assess the damage, calm him down and run back upstairs to grab his blankie. I finally shuffle everyone out the door grabbing my bag and sliding into a pair of shoes that do not need to be tied because putting J down to do so is risking another crisis/injury.

We get out to the van and I still have to get everyone loaded. By this time, I am tired and we are late, is it even worth leaving home? I open the van doors and E crawls in the back, takes off his coat (he can't wear the thick coat in his seat for safety reasons), and buckles his own seat belt. One child in...

I put J in his seat and before I get him buckled, he has taken off one of his socks and thrown it out the door. I pull off the other one and toss them in my bag so that at least they are together. I tuck his blanket around him and close the door. Two children in...

I run around to the passenger side and lift M into the van and into his seat. I remind him to start putting his arms in the straps like a backpack and he somehow manages to end up all twisted up, resulting in crying. Again. Remind me when the crying about everything ends?! I untangle him, remind him for the one millionth time to scoot his bum back and to the middle and show him, again, how to buckle the chest clip, hoping that eventually he will be able to help, like maybe when he is 18. Seat belt cinched up. Three children in... Victory is so close I can taste it. Or maybe that is the cold cup of coffee I left in the microwave... Oops.

I run back around to the drivers side and fall into the drivers seat. Three, two, one... "Mom! I need my pillow! M has his Baa Baa and J has his blanket but I don't have my pillow!" Too late, meanest mom ever is ready to go and the pillow is just going to have to spend a quiet morning at home... alone... sometimes I am jealous of that pillow.

As we pull away, I hear J fill up his diaper. We are only 16 minutes late, a new record.

Good thing we only have to do this two more times today.