The other day I was trying to get out of the house....with the kids... just to get some groceries. I had a plan, a timeline if you will, to get out of the house and to the store and back before lunch. I was optimistic. I was overly optimistic. I wanted to be walking out the door at a goal time.
Then this scenario began to unfold:
The baby was eating breakfast. The 2 year old was eating breakfast. Well, sampling breakfast. "I want to do it myself" to pour the cereal and then the milk "myself". A few bites of cereal. I want oatmeal. Baby cries due to neglect, throws spoon with cereal on floor. (How does baby food have that kind of trajectory anyway?) Pour the oatmeal "myself". Add the water "myself". Baby still fussing. Put oatmeal in microwave "myself". Push buttons "myself". BEEP. Oatmeal is done. "I get it myself". "I stir it myself." "It's a bit-a-bit hot. Mommy blow on it." For some reason that is something she does not feel compelled to do "herself". A few bites of oatmeal, run down to play (insert Mom voice "come sit down and eat your breakfast"). Repeat this a few more times.
Sufficient amount of food is consumed that I don't feel like SRS will be knocking on my door due to mal-nutirtion concerns. Now to clean up the mess created. Drops of milk on the table. Oatmeal spilled on the counter from "myself" moments. Baby cereal on EVERYTHING! How does it get EVERYWHERE? On the floor, on the wall, the table, the chair, the high chair tray, the high chair buckle and straps, the high chair legs...seriously. EVERYWHERE.
Ok, now on to step two. Getting everyone dressed and diapers changed! The baby just wriggles around like a pig rolling around in mud, so getting him dressed is like... well wrestling a greased pig. Basically it is a one-hand maneuver because I have to use one hand to pin him down which only leaves one hand free for changing and dressing. After much screaming and my forehead beginning to glisten the little one is freshly clothed. (Notice I did not try to dress him before breakfast because remember how the cereal goes EVERYWHERE? No point in having to try to do this twice!)
Sadly, the easy part is over. Now comes the 2-year-old. A child who has two clothing preferences: jammies or sans clothing. I thought the answer to independent 2-year-olds was to give them choices, options they could pick from to make them feel empowered. Humph. Not this two year old. "Do you want to wear this or this today?" "No. I wanna wear my jammies!" "No, we have to hurry and get dressed so we can go to the store. You want to help me at the store, right." "No, I wanna wear my jammies!" "Ok, I will pick for you. Let's wear this." "No wanna wear that. Wanna wear mine jammies." Let the wrestling begin. In mid-change of diaper: "No wanna wear clothes. Wanna run naked!" And she wriggles away and does. Usually in circles around a chair.
Enter the pleading and begging and convincing that clothes are a good thing, that going to the store is fun and that wearing clothes to the store is a requirement. Usually this involves a chase, some tickling and finally with some creative maneuvers, despite many protests of suffering, clothes are on. Whew! Checking the clock. Ok, later than I hoped, but we can still do this.
Now to tackle that hair!
My daughter is blessed with beautiful curly hair. Pull one of those darling curls down and ask her "what is this?" She will answer "that's my winglet". (ringlet) Yep, it melts my heart. I love those curls. She did not get them from me. Unfortunately, I know she will grow up hating them, while her mama will adore them with a twinge of jealousy her whole life.
However, after a wild night of sleeping, those darling "winglets" look more like the head of Medusa.
Honestly, this is tame compared to many days.
This requires some serious taming with a squirt bottle of water and a big brush. If you were a betting person, would you bet she enjoys this process, or not so much? The answer is: not so much. Enter more screaming, another power struggle and me begging her to let mama find her "ringlets".
At this point I am thinking, eh, if we have lunch a little late today, no big deal.
After this, I realize, I forgot shoes. Now we have to search for the shoes. If it's winter, she will want to wear sandals. If it is summer, she will want to wear her "boot shoes". It is inevitable. Sigh. Convince 2 year old that wearing the appropriate shoes for the weather is a good idea.
But it is winter now, which means coats. Groan. Put one in arm. Now the other arm. Zipper. Baby down. Now for the 2 year old. "I no wanna wear a coat." "I no wanna wear that coat, want dis coat. No, go away. I do it myself. (2 seconds later) Mama I need help." Sigh.
Ten minutes later:
Ok, we are ready to load up. Diaper bag, check. Purse, check. Two-year-olds babies, check. Load baby in car. Baby screams and screams because he hates the car seat. Realize I forgot to make the bottle I had planned to have at this point to pacify this predicted scenario. Run in house to make bottle while baby screams in car and 2 year old begs "hold me, mommy, HOLD ME"!
At this point I debate on whether it is worth even trying to go to the store at all...but we have one kid locked and loaded so I sort of feel committed and at a point of no return.
Bottle complete, baby quiet for a minute. Two year old screaming "HOLD ME"! Realize I forgot the keys. Go back into house for car keys. "Oh no mommy! I forgot my keys. I need my keys! Oh no, I forgot my bag. I need my bag, too!"
Alright, ready to load one more child in the car. As we pull out of the driveway, I look at the clock in the car. AN HOUR AND A HALF! IT TOOK US AN HOUR AND A HALF! In a twisted way, I can see the humor in this, but mostly I just keep thinking there are other mothers out there with twice as many kids and I know they can get their kids out the door in less than 30. What is my problem?
As we pull out of the driveway and my daughter begins to comment on Christmas lights and decorations in my neighborhood, I realize there is a guy out there that seems to manage hundreds of little people and not only gets out the door, but travels the entire world in one night!!
Thus, I have concluded I need to do an internship with Santa, on how to manage little people, because my elves are taking over and I am starting to look like Mrs. Claus with all of the white hair!