Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Morning Musings

Here we are Baby and I... it's 9:08 AM.

She's watching Dora the Explorer... because it's never too early to start learning a second language.
And I'm writing to you... because it is, in fact, too late for me.
This is not a typical morning routine but I thought I'd own up to it and take advantage of a few minutes of quiet to pound out a post.

Lately I've had all sorts of thoughts.

I've been thinking about marriage. I've been thinking about this time... in my life... with young children.

I've been mourning the loss of time I can't seem to stop up.

I've been struggling. I've been succeeding. I've been anxious. I've been optimistic.

I've wept with gratitude... and... from the unbearable longing for a freedom I can almost taste... but fear... may not materialize.

I've... been... alive.

Maybe one day I'll have the time and space to sit and write it all down. Maybe one day I'll write a book. I do have something to say.

But, for now, I'll ask you to share the most mundane of the mundane.

I can't help it.

For the last two days I have been wondering what everyone does in the morning.

You know... how you get out the door. Or get others out the door.

Last year, in our house, the morning went terribly. It was the worst time of the day and tears were quite frequent.
Getting up for school was hard on everyone. We are not morning people! We are not early risers! For the first semester I got up and woke up Kid and Mr F. But, there was a learning curve... and it was our first year of school. Mr F has ADD (as I've mentioned) and it is hard enough for him to get to work on time... alone... let alone having to swing by Kid's school (literally on his route to work) and drop her off. They were late... A LOT. It was stressful for me and I let that trickle down. It was hard.

Then I broke myself and the mornings became Mr F's responsibility. He didn't mind. It was a necessity. I needed to sleep and rest and I needed to keep Baby sleeping so that I'd have less time being up and active before Mr F came home to help at night. (Do not ever break yourself... it was a very hard time... that we survived but certainly paid the price for) While I didn't get up I could hear nagging and occasional shouts from my bed. I worried about her getting started each morning on the wrong foot. I worried that it was just too much to ask Mr F to get himself and Kid ready (maybe it was?... of course he never tried getting up earlier). And I missed Kid. It didn't seem like a huge amount of time to give up... but not getting up meant I wouldn't see her from one night until the next afternoon. It felt wrong and it made me sad. I felt a real difference in our relationship and felt she was pulling away from me. It was hard.

Because Mr F loves me and is a kind hearted person he would be willing to get Kid off to school this year too. And while that is certainly tempting... I think we all paid too high a price for that. He was barely getting them out the door on time and because he was getting himself ready too Kid spent her morning either alone or being rushed. When I'm up I'm focused 100% on her. I guide her through her routine and I'm with her. It makes me sad to think back to all those mornings when she didn't have that. Mr F was awake but he was showering and walking the dog while she sat in the kitchen by herself.

So this is how we do it:

The night before I prep some of Kid's lunch.
I also get her glasses and her brush and set them out on the table where we'll be able to find them!

In the morning I get up 50 minutes before Kid & Mr F have to leave for school/work.
I check my email and the weather.
I brush my teeth.
I make coffee.
I fill Kid's water bottle and milk thermos for school.
I get out her lunch box and food containers.

40 minutes before they need to leave I wake Mr F and Kid up.
I snuggle Kid for a couple of minutes and sing her a song and rub her back.
I yell at Mr F to "Get Up!"

35 minutes before departure M F gets up and showers.
Kid and I pick out her clothes.

I ask her if she wants cereal or yogurt for breakfast and tell her to go potty & brush her teeth.
I prepare her breakfast and start on her lunch.

I go back in the bathroom to find her doing something weird and reminder her to "Brush your teeth!"

25 minutes before departure Kid emerges and gets dressed.
I ask Kid what kind of sandwich she wants for lunch.
Mr F walks the dog.

20 minutes before departure Kid eats breakfast and I finish up her lunch.

10 minutes before departure I brush Kid's hair while she eats (no she can't do it herself... it's about 3 feet long!)
Mr F makes his breakfast and lunch.

If Kid doesn't dilly dally she might be done with her breakfast with 10-15 minutes to spare. That happens maybe once a week. On those rare mornings she is allowed to watch a few minutes of TV before school. It's a pretty good incentive. She just has to put her shoes on while she watches.

They have made it to school on time EVERYDAY! Horray! And there have not been any morning fights! I've got our timing down so that it allows us enough time to get everything done without rushing... but doesn't cut into our sleep any more than necessary. Mr F is only responsible for himself and as long as he and I stay out of each other's way... our mornings are mostly peaceful.

After they leave the door I finally get that cup of coffee and then start my day over again with Baby... on a good day.

Most days Baby does sleep until right around the time they are leaving. If she gets up before that she has the potential to throw a serious wrench in our morning routine. We try our best to get out of the bedrooms quietly... but... our house is only one floor and our bedrooms are right off the kitchen. It's hard to keep all the hustle and bustle down while getting everyone out of the house. If she wakes up... she will not be happy. Baby wakes up slowly and wants to be held. That just can't happen for more than a second. I really need to have both hands free and I also want to be able to focus my attention on Kid so she leaves for her day having had a good morning. So on mornings when she does wake up before I'm done with Kid she watches TV until I can focus on her. It allows her to wake up slowly and stay out from underfoot. It's an unfortunate necessity.

That's how we do it.

Sometimes Baby sleeps for a good half hour after they leave for the day. Those days are golden. Today was not one of those days...


Marie said...

Our mornings are slow, then rushed. My 2yo wakes up at 6. We sleepwalk downstairs, get her milk, get coffee going and cuddle on the couch and watch cartoons. I check email, etc. on computer. About 7 the older two start wandering down. Repeat milk and cuddling to finish waking up. Start cooking breakfast (eggs or cereal..occasinally muffins or yogurts). Hop in shower while they clean up dishes. By 8:30 its time to get going. Grab girls clothes and assist as needed w/ dressing. Now start convincing 2yo to KEEP clothes on. Set up everyone to brush teeth. Check baby's. Remind older two to brush for more than 30seconds. Start fight for doing hair. Get everyone unknotted and looking (mostly) decent. Blowdry my hair (curse blowdryer for being so slow). Socks/shoes and out the door by 9:20 to go to prek at 9:30.

Return home. Pack snack. Figure out lunch. Pickup for 12pm. Back home, eat QUICK, back in car for Kindergarden dropoff at 12:50. Home and baby naps. Back to school for 3:30 pickup. Back home at 4 (due to crazy pickup), homework/talk about school. Start dinner for about 5 or 5:30. Eat. Baths. Baby in bed at 7. Read to older two. Bed at 7:30.

Rinse, repeat.

Oh, and on Mondays after pickup at 3:30 we immediately go to dance class at 4...for two hours. First hour is 4yo, second hour is 5yo. I entertain 2yo in small waiting room. Home, eat, bathe, sleep.

Staci said...

After many years at the school routine we have one that works...for us. :)

My boys have always had responsibilities that HAVE to be done before ANY TV time. Here's how we roll...

6:50-55am (this is our first year with the earlier school start time) :P
Boys get up...my goal for this year is to be up with my husband at 5:50am...get in a short workout while he is showering then shower myself while he heads out the door.

(PS~He gets ready all on his own...lunch is all him too. He packs it in the evening...he's NOT a morning person either)

What the boys are doing from 6:50-7:30ish...

Eat breakfast (one meal is picked when we grocery shop & that's the breakfast of choice for the whole week)
Make your bed/room picked up
Get dressed (clothes picked out the night before)
Brush teeth, hair
Deodorant (yes...we are at this stage in life. :P)
Clean glasses (both boys have them)

After all that they are home free. Any free time they have before we leave is theirs. Sometimes I even let them play the Wii or PS2.

A few things that keep the order & sanity every day...

Showers are done before bed the night before.
Lunches are packed except for the sandwiches. There is no asking what kind because my boys are BEYOND picky & will only eat one kind. :P I even fill their water bottles the night before & set them in the fridge. They are nice & cold for the lunch box. :)
Clothes are picked out the night before & we only change if the weather happens to. Which is often, as you know. :P

Backpacks & homework are all put away & ready to go for the next day as soon as homework is done the night before. So, that is grab & go...the less thinking for everyone that early...the better. :P

We are playing with bedtimes this year. One is in 7th & the other in 5th grade this year & they say 8pm is too early. :P We are trying 9pm. They don't like to be tired so they are good about adjusting to what they need to feel good. (THANK GOD! This is a big burdon off of Mom)

Mrs Furious said...

Thanks for indulging me ladies! :)
I find this stuff strangely riveting.

2 hours in a waiting room... nightmare! I bow to you.

deodorant... yeah... we're approaching that ;)

BsOnlyToots said...

ooo this is fun! I LOVE reading everyone's strategies!! Ok this year school starts an HOUR LATER than last year! Lucky us, I know!! LOVE IT!

Anyways, we have a Kindergartner, a first grader and a 5th grader this year, all at the same school.

We get up at 6:45, my kids are not morning people, so we do showers in the morning to help wake them up. The 3 big kids rotate as to who gets to go first each day, they each get 10 mins, and don't turn off the shower between (makes it a bit quicker lol) So yea, as they come out of the shower they get dressed. After the last is out of the shower (around 7:15) the first out (who is now dressed) collects diapers/wipes, hair brushes & hair doodads while I wake up the 2 babies. THEN its like an assembly line in our living room. I diaper the babies, then the girls come one by one to me while I fix hair, the older girls have short hair so it's just a simple "brush it the right way" kinda thing lol. Then they head to the bathroom for brushing teeth while I get myself dressed, then they do shoes, and grab backpacks while I put the babies in the car. Then its off to school just in time to eat breakfast and for the oldest to make it to her safety patrol post!

P.S. I LOVE that they eat breakfast & lunch at school, it saves me a TON of hassle. And Mr. Toots gets himself ready, and I insist he is GONE before we wake up, he is ANNOYING in the mornings! lol

Smitty said...

5:00 a.m.; hit snooze once.
5:09 grump out of bed and into gym clothes
5:15 grump to the gym
5:30 grump through a workout
(I'm not a morning person)
7:30 pull back into driveway at home. Climb stairs. Help Mrs. Smitty cram wiggling, struggling Wonder Twins into clothes. Remind Smitty Jr. for the 4,000th time since 7:15 to go potty and put his clothes on.
7:45 Cram wiggling, struggling Wonder Twins into shoes, or sometimes just give up, pack the shoes, and tie them to their carseats with barbed wire. Throw red meat at them, and use cattle prods to keep them seated.
7:50 Ask Smitty Jr., much LOUDER this time, exactly why his shoes are not on his feet, why there are not socks on his feet, and no you CANNOT go to school in your Spiderman underwear..you need PANTS.
7:55 Remind Smitty Jr, every 4 steps, that his ultimate goal is his seat in the van. Yes, we can fly to Mars today. Yes, I can be a race car too. No, I won't get pulled over and arrested for driving too fast, now PLEASE get IN YOUR SEAT. THANK you.
7:59 Cattle prods or horse tranquilizers for the Wonder Twins again. Repetition of commands to Smitty Jr at least 5 times.
8:00 Smitty Jr. back indoors to go potty despite having JUST BEEN ASKED to go potty BEFORE we got into the car.
8:05 On the road. Tranquility. Trip involves singing songs loudly, or animal noises (including the rude ones, thanks Smitty Jr, now your brothers think a cow only goes PBPBPBPBTHTHTHT, instead of MOO).
8:10 Using a series of lassos and bullwhips, herd the Smitty Herd into daycare/school. Hugs, kisses, off to solitude and NPR.

That's just a weekDAY. Weekend feedings for breakfast are akin to throwing chum to sharks. Last week, there was scrambled egg on the ceiling. Don't ask.

Marie said...

Oh I can't even tell you how much I hate Mondays..I get a lump of vomit in the back of my throat just thinking about it..ugh. But I don't want to NOT go because my girls love it and its not fair to them to not go because of the baby.

Marie said...

smitty--lol. I want to FRAME that. It kinda sums up life.

Especially the eggs on the ceiling.

Nutmeg said...

We have just one 2.5 year old and he goes to daycare. They serve a hot breakfast and a hot lunch so that simplifies things.

Husband wakes up at whatever ungodly time he decides and is dressed and gone by the time we are up (every day but thursday).

E and I wake up at whatever time he wakes up OR 7 am whichever is earlier. This amounts to 45 minutes before we leave the house.

I gather his clothes while he goes to the bathroom, we go downstairs, he lets the dog out while I make coffee and get him a morning snack (he usually gets some bread with butter and some milk to tide him over to his hot breakfast at school). He sits and eats his snack while I dunk my head under the sink and get dressed.

By 7:30 I am getting him dressed and packing anything he needs for school that day (an extra pair of training pants).

We are out the door at 7:45.

If he gets up much before 7:00, there is some quiet TV and I check email etc.

Usually I have lots of stuff to pack for myself for the day (Depending on what school/work requires for me that day) and I try to do that the night before, but sometimes I end up packing stuff into my car in the morning which causes all sorts of chaos.

Ms. Flusterate said...

OK, I have to say that I am over indulgent for 2 reasons (and I am tired of feeling bad about it because it works for me): I feel guilt over the Divorce and that they aren't going to be home much longer. (My oldest is already in college so I know how fast it goes!)

I make the girls' lunches at night and make them shower at night as well. I also get the coffee ready (timer) and get out breakfast cereal and vitamins.

FIrst off, no one in my family is a morning person except my daughter that is away at college. We do not talk to each other in the morning. We grunt a bit, but in a loving way. It works out well for all involved.

I get up at 6:20, throw on either T shirt/shorts in warm weather or sweats in cold. I look scary but no one notices.

I wake my oldest daughter at 6:25 a.m. (Yes, she is 16 and knows how to use an alarm clock but I like going in her room when she is asleep and just looking at her for a minute and then I rub her leg/foot/whatever is sticking out until she moves)

Next, I wake up her sister (12) the same way.

Neither girl is a diva so getting ready takes maybe 5 minutes. (clothes, hair)

They come downstairs to eat while I sip coffee from a travel mug. They head back upstairs to brush teeth and pack up backpacks, etc.

We are out the door at 6:50 a.m. where I drop off my high schooler and then my middle schooler (she's early for class but is fine with that).

It's not bad but the fact that it's early is painful.

Mrs Furious said...

I'm still stuck on the going to the gym at 5:15 for TWO HOURS.
I'm impressed.

getting 5 kids ready... seriously... I do bow to you. And I wish we could avoid the whole packing a lunch thing.

E is potty trained?!! Wow! Baby has ZERO interest... well she has mock interest with ZERO follow through. She does like flushing toilet paper though...

Mrs Furious said...

Ms Flusterate,
I don't think that sounds over indulgent. I think it sounds loving. It does go by fast. You'll never look back and wish you hadn't spent those few extra minutes with them in the morning.

Smitty said...

going to the gym at 5:15 for TWO HOURS

Well, part of that is travel and shower. I come home showered and ready to dive into herding carnivorous dinosaurs. The workout part is a little over an hour. And it's either 5:15...or be 287 pounds.

Mrs Furious said...

"And it's either 5:15...or be 287 pounds."

Yes I fight a similar battle... on a much smaller scale ;)

Ms. Flusterate said...

I guess it's because I make their lunch in the evenings and have the cereal and vitamins laid out and then I wake them up and drive them to school....
I'm torn between wanting to take care of them for just a little while longer and thinking they should be doing this themselves like I did!
Well, like I said, I do what feels right to me.
So, thanks :-)

julie said...

I am really committed to making sure that the boys get off to school in a good way. I don't want anyone to go to school upset. If I could always be like how I am in the morning, I would be the best mom in the world. I go into a zone to have an incredible amount of patience with my kids...very necessary when dealing with a 7 year old who won't dress himself and does not ever want to go to school and a 9 year old who loves to make comments to rile the 7 year old.

In the beginning of the year, I start out getting up about 1 1/2 hours before we have to leave. By the end of the year, I am dragging my ass out of bed with about 45 minutes to get us out the door. I think I must move slowly in the morning because I need all of that time. Though I have been known to get us out the door dressed, fed and relatively happy within a half hour. Probably no teeth got brushed though:)

Like others have stated, I do all of the lunch prep work the night before...except the sandwich or whatever might need to be done that morning.

I let the kids eat their breakfast while watching tv. It used to be a "special thing" that has morphed into a every morning thing. It keeps them occupied and not fighting. I care more about getting them off to school happy than I care whether they watch an extra half hour of tv a day. They have to be dressed and have teeth brushed before they come downstairs. Showers/baths take place the night before. I usually put out clothes for the kids, but I have been slowly backing off of that with my 4th grader because I think he should start to do stuff like that independently.

While they eat, I finish making lunches and get whatever else ready to go. I always make sure shoes, back packs, etc are all set and ready to go the night before.

Ms. Flusterate, I will do the same thing as my kids get older. It feels right to me, too:)

Mrs F, I absolutely LOVE the photo of the two of you on the couch. Baby looks so cute and cuddly staring at the camera. Love the line about learning a second language with Dora. All of those shows are great learning shows. No harm done if Baby watches tv for a bit while you wake up in the morning. I think it is great that you have taken over getting Kid ready for school.

I like getting one last look in my boys' blue eyes before I drop them off to school. The time passes by so quickly. Marie, I completely remember the mayhem of the schedules with preschool and kindergarten. It won't always be that crazy!

katieo said...

Luke pops up between 6:30 and 7 EVERY morning no matter how late he goes to bed. During the summer it's annoying, during the school year, it's awesome.

Our morning routine includes family prayer. 10 minutes before Luke catches the bus -no matter how crazy it's been beforehand- we all gather round and pray together. Besides requesting divine guidance throughout our days, it's nice to hear the boys have concern for each other before we all split up. It's a great way to focus some positive energy before we really start our day. Like Julie, I think it makes a HUGE difference when they can leave the house feeling happy. We also read a little scripture and sing a little song together. I know it probably seems beyond cheesy (but in an Amish/Mormon/notTHATweird way, right?), but it's one of my favorite times of day. I grew up doing it so it was easy to just carry on that tradition.

and Dora with the 2nd language? That made me laugh. I have such fond memories of my French-Canadian Sesame Street...

Mrs Furious said...

LOL... totally Amish... or maybe old school Quaker. I dig it.

I can't start the new book yet. I tried... but I'm still mourning the end of my last one. This week!

Kid can't watch TV and eat. She is one of those kids that get all slack jawed and comatose when she's watching. She wouldn't eat. She doesn't even hear us when we're talking to her. That's why I have to have it be LAST. Or nothing would happen and she'd still be nude when it was time to leave.
"very necessary when dealing with a 7 year old who won't dress himself and does not ever want to go to school"
Um... YES. That is why I had to take back over. Mr F's patience for that stuff is sometimes non existent.

Ms Flusterate,
Yes but putting that stuff out just shows you care and buys them extra time to sleep... the ultimate gift! I'd do just about anything to let the girls sleep in as long as possible. I'd even homeschool ;)

katieo said...

"I can't start the new book yet. I tried... but I'm still mourning the end of my last one. "

oh that's ok! As long as you have it, take your time, mourn away!

fyi, it'll gather more momentum as you get into it. I started it and thought, "meh, ok." and by the middlish-end was completely ignoring my kids.

Mrs Furious said...

I'm primed for it. The last two things I have read have been set in the West in the last 1800s. So it's perfectly timed.
I just finished Stegner's (you know I love that man!) Angle of Repose (Pulitzer Prize winner). Fascinating. 1880s Edith Wharton-esque woman marries a mining Engineer. Very interesting life. It documents the first 15 or so years of their marriage. Not my favorite of his but it was excellent... and none of the violence of Big Rock Candy Mountain. Coming off of These is My Words it could be an interesting dichotomy of the difference that wealth and privilege made in the West. It's based on a true story.

Torey said...

I'm spoiled. Gup is 2.5 (and also no where near potty trained) and Beta is 5 months old. So no school, and no daycare.

N gets up with Gup (usually around 7:30/8) and they shower, brush teeth, take care of the animals and eat breakfast. Somtimes I join them for breakfast, sometimes I shuffle out and dump Beta and head back to bed. Sometimes we ladies sleep through the whole thing.

At 9 I get up, N goes to work while Gup watches some TV. I nurse the baby, check email etc. Around 10 (eek, that's a lot of TV!) I get us all dressed, wash a load of laundry and we usually head out to work or whatever activity we have.

Except Thursdays. Oh, Thursdays, how I hate thee. Gup goes to my mom's on Thursdays. So, the night before I pack 2 diaper bags (Beta goes with me to work) including spare outfits, snacks, toys.

Thursday morning I get up at 6:50 which is torture. Hopefully both children stay asleep, as well as N, he just complicates things. I make tea in my travel mug. Get dressed, pack breakfast for me and Gup (in reality, I'm usually getting the diapers out of the dryer in the morning and getting the bags packed) We have to leave at 8, no exceptions. At 7:35 I get Beta up, change her diaper, get her dressed and put her in her carseat in the house. At 7:45 I was Gup up, change his diaper and get him dressed.

At this point Gup will NOT be set down post getting dressed. So I carry him, shoeless, out to the car and buckle him in. It is CRUCIAL that N stay in bed during this because if Gup sees him, it's all over. Then I dash inside to grab Beta and stick her seat in the car. Then I dash in and grab 2 diaper bags. Then I remember that my tea is on the counter. Dash back in. Gup announces he needs sunglasses. Back inside. 8:10 we're off. ugh

Arrive at my moms around 8:30-8:45 unpack both children from car. Nurse Beta. Say goodbye to Gup. sometimes I have to reinstall Gup's carseat for my mom, etc.) I leave my mom's around 9.

Beta and I head to Smalltown Bakery. I carry her in, we make polite small talk with locals (hopefully avoiding anyone I went to high school with) get pretzels and an iced tea. Head to work.

Be at work by 9:30 (err. . .9:45) to open the store.

So yes I get up 3 hours before I get to work. And I'm usually running late. How does that work?

At the end of the day (4:30/5) I have to reverse this and usually don't get home until after 6. LONG DAY!

Thankfully it's once a week!

Nutmeg said...

RE Potty training. E went from ZERO interest to peeing on the potty when he was home (and he wasn't wearing anything on his butt) in about two days. (that was this June-ish) We basically swept him up when he was peeing on the floor and stuck him on the potty once and the next time he went to the potty himself. There was about two straight days of watching him like a hawk and intervening when the peeing occurred on the floor.

Because he goes to daycare, that doesn't really work that well long term because they need waterproof type undies. When they started taking him to the bathroom with all the other kids every 1.5 hours he was peeing every time and coming home without having any accidents within two weeks. And he is pretty reliable and can usually tell me he has to pee and hold it for about 5 minutes (at the beach for instance he was able to hold it long enough to walk up the beach and a block back to the house)

Pooping is another story. We had a break through two days ago where he was finally enticed to even TRY to poop on the toilet and he actually DID (and I subsequently had to run all over the world looking for the Magenta stuffed toy I had promised him)

I was honestly surprised by how quickly he went from no interest at all (despite lots of incentives and talking about it and reading about it and practicing it for about 8 months) to peeing almost all the time on the potty. Just proves the point that they do it when they are ready and very little you can do to make them do it sooner. Which of course you know because you have R.

Missives From Suburbia said...

Mundane, but interesting nonetheless. My big guy starts preschool on Friday, and I've been thinking hard about how to handle mornings. I feel lucky I don't have to deal with packing lunch yet.

michelline said...

Now that my cousin (who has 3 children) lives with us, we have 4 kids to get ready for school every morning. My two plus two of hers.
If they're taking lunch, we make it the night before. Including their drinks and sandwiches. The lunch boxes are loaded into the fridge.
The 13 year old has to catch the bus at 6:38 AM. She gets herself up every morning at 5, showers, etc. She's VERY good about this. We're lucky.
The other three kids (10, 9 and 7) are a bit different. Chris goes and wakes them up about 6:15. He makes sure they're awake and getting dressed (they wear uniforms so there isn't any problem with finding matching clothing or worrying about what to wear) and then he drives the 13 year old to her bus stop. She can walk, but it's dark and humid outside. (Florida...).
The 3 elementary kids get themselves dressed and get their own cereal. After the 10 year old eats, she comes into me and I do her hair in some sort of ponytail.
The kids have been pretty good for the most part in being ready to go by the time I come barreling out of my room at 7:15. I herd them into the car and drive them to school.

So it's not bad for us at all. I do remember the old days of having to fight to get the girls out of bed and trying to get them dressed, fed, their teeth and hair brushed...

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