Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Beautiful Chaos

Many of my friends and family members are child-free — some by choice, some not. So I thought I’d share what a typical quiet morning is like in our house, so they can see the joy they are missing out on. [Note that only one parent seems to be engulfed in chaos, I might add... ahem...]

SCENE: INT, Kitchen.
[I put my phone on the speaker and set up a Christmas station.]
My husband (Rob): Oh no, not again. I hate Christmas music. 
Me: I know you do. That’s why I put it on.
Ella Fitzgerald: “Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’, ring-ting-tinglin’ too...”
Son (Liam): What are you making us for lunch?? 
Me: Chicken nuggets.
Daughter (Sydney): Oh good! I didn't like what you made yesterday. Or the day before. 
Me: :/
[From the living room: BANG!BANG!BANG!... We’re having a reno done and two guys are banging and drilling and sanding in the other room...]
Rob: Let's pretend that we're a 1950s house, listening to our oldies music and having lovely well-behaved children eating their breakfast.
Liam: Cool! I get to wear settler clothes.
Me: HAHA! People weren't settlers in the 1950s!! Your grandparents were kids in the 1950s.
Liam: And they weren't settlers? 
Me: Sigh... 
Syd: Where did the Santa and elf hats go that we were wearing last week? We need to wear them at school today and make a $1 donation for... something. I can’t remember what it’s for.
Liam: Yeah! I need the elf hat. 
Me: I think they’re in your rooms. Syd, run up and grab them and we’ll put them in your bags now.
[Syd rushes out and reappears a moment later with hats in hand.]
Me [cleaning out the Thermoses from yesterday]: Did you put those pizza forms in your bag? They’re due tomorrow so make sure you hand them in. Liam, get eating. 
Liam: I AM. 
Syd: I think it’s in there. OH! You have to sign my progress report and write out something about how you’re going to help me next term.
Me: I can do that after school today.
Syd: NO I think it’s due today!!
Me [grabbing bananas and sticking them in lunch bags]: Your teacher’s website says it’s due Thursday so we’re good.
Syd: NO MOMMEEEEEEEEE, I really want to get it in today.
Me: Liam, EAT. OK, fine, grab your progress report.
Syd: I don’t know where it is!!
Nat King Cole: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...”
Rob [calmly eating his breakfast]: Who uses an open fire to roast chestnuts? That just sounds dangerous.
Me: [popping chicken nuggets into the oven] It’s over in the homework pile on the counter. [point]
[From the living room: “This box only contains full boards! Shouldn’t there be some half boards in here?”]
Syd: Oh here it is. OH! And my buddy report is here, too. You need to sign it.
Me: [taking off oven mitts] OK, sign sign sign... “I will help my daughter next term by making sure she doesn’t leave everything until the morning of...”
Syd: Mommeeeeeee. :/
Rob [mockingly]: “They know that SAAAAAANTA’s on his way...”
Me: STOP. Liam, EAT.
Liam: I AM. I have to read from my book today, you know.
Me: Ugh, I forgot about that. OK, get eating because we still have to read and [look at clock] you have to leave in 10 minutes but have to read for 15.
Syd: Oh, I have a permission form, too.
Me: ??!! What?? For what?
Syd: They added a last-minute field trip on Friday. Oh, but I told them I don’t want to go. Besides, you already said we don’t have to go to school on Friday.
Me: Well, yeah. We’re watching the Star Wars trilogy on Friday.
Liam: WOOHOO!!
Syd: But our class is having a party and I kinda wanted to go to that.
Me: Of course you can go. But if any kid in your class goes to see it on Thursday evening, tell them you DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
Syd: Nah, I think I’ll just stay home.
Dean Martin: “But baby it’s cold outside...”
Me: You know, I have to say this is the one Christmas song I don’t like. It sounds like a poor young desperate woman trying to leave and this older skeezy guy trapping her in the corner and refusing to take no for an answer.
Girl: “The neighbors might think...”
Me: “But baby I’ve locked and barred the door...”
Girl: “Say what’s in this drink?”
Me: Seriously. He roofied her drink and it’s considered charming.
Liam: What’s a roofie?
Me: EAT.
Liam: We have to bring canned goods to school today.
Me [filling water bottles]: I sent the canned goods last week.
Syd: Yeah, but our class has canned-good bingo and the more we bring in the more chances we have to win.
Me: Oh... yeah. I think I read something about that on your teacher’s website. [grumble grumble something about how my parents didn’t have to do this much work to have a kid in school...] OK, you get tomato soup today and you can have canned pears, Liam.
Liam: Ooh, I love pears. OK, I’m finished. Where’s my book?
Me: Clean your hands first, and... seriously, how do you get peanut butter all over your shirt?
Liam: Get it off! What if someone in the school has a peanut allergy??
Me: That’s why you don’t wear your breakfast. [grabs wet cloth, wipes off shirt]
Rob: OK, I’m off.
Me: ????
Rob: I put it in the shared calendar. I’m heading out of town today.
Me: Sigh.
Syd: Did you put the dollars in our bags?
Me: Yes, they’re in your lunch bags so you don’t lose them.
Syd: Can you French braid my hair?
Me: ?? You have to leave for school in five minutes!
Syd: You can do it quickly!! I believe in you, Mommy.
Me: Ugh, get the bru—
Syd [magically produces hairbrushes and elastics from out of nowhere] Already got them.
[Charlie Brown Christmas dance song starts]
Me: AAAAHHHH! [begins the Snoopy dance. Kids both leap up from the table and each do their own Snoopy dance. Rob stands there for one second before slipping out the door with a befuddled look on his face. Oven timer goes off]
Me [taking out nuggets]: OK, Liam, go brush your teeth and grab your book. Syd, hand me the brush. [proceeds to do fastest French braid ever]
Liam: Here’s the book. I brushed my teeth.
Syd: I’ll go brush mine, thanks for doing my hair.
Me [shoving the nuggets in tinfoil and sticking them into the Thermos]: Start reading, Liam.
Radio: “You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch!”
Me: [turn off radio so the boy isn’t distracted]
Liam: “Sir Lancelot pulled Jack and Annie up on his horse...”
Syd [wearing boots, pulling on her coat]: I can’t find my mittens.
Me [shoving Tupperware containers of pretzels into their lunch bags]: In the front hall bench. [Putting her lunch bag into the knapsack]
Liam: Wait, is she going without me??
Me: I’ll drive you there as soon as you’re done reading.
Syd [grabs knapsack] Bye Mommy! Did you put my progress report in there?
Me: Yes, it’s there.
Syd: And the pizza money?
Me: Yes, and the buddy report, and your canned good, and your dollar, and your Santa hat.
Syd: Thanks, Mommy. Bye! [races out]
Liam: “He urgh’d... urgh’d?”
Me [glancing over his shoulder as I zip up his lunch bag]: Urged.
Liam: What does urged mean?
Me [closing knapsack] It’s when you’re encouraging someone, but also pushing them a little. The way I urge you to eat your breakfast every morning.
Liam: Oh! Did you put my bag of candy in there? Remember, you had to get the bag of candy last night for our classroom gingerbread house? 
Me: Right, good remembering. [grab bag of candy out of my purse, shove it into knapsack under the canned pears and elf hat] OK, are you finished? Get your boots on.
[run upstairs and try to find my glasses] Did you brush your teeth??
Liam: Yes!
Me: OK, get your coat! [run back downstairs]
[From the living room: “What if we put this board this way, do you think that would work?”]
Liam: Wait, isn’t their truck in the way in our driveway?
Me: No, I rushed out at 7 this morning and moved our van out into the road.
Liam: If we hurry we can meet them on the road before we get to the school!
Me: [leaping into the van] OK, let’s hurry.
Liam: It’s weird seeing Christmas lights during the day. When they’re not turned on they just all look like wires.
Me: It’s true. And this year we’re seeing them with no snow, which is weird, too. I don’t mind not having to shovel the driveway every morning, though. [apparently Syd and her friends walk like mad because we find them at the school already. Liam hops out.]
Liam: Bye Mommy!
Me: Bye, Liam. [Drive away, drop a letter in the mailbox on the way, and grab a quick tea as I rush through the kitchen that I’ll drink at my desk as I begin working for the day. Flip on radio.]
Radio: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”