I get out of bed. I take my pills which sit on my nightstand with a glass of water at the ready. I brush my teeth, my hair, use the bathroom, put in my contacts & pull on pants.
I wake up the girls with kisses, one, two, three. Lazy summer mornings gone, harder to wake up. They move slowly. I move fast, it’s my job. Morning time flies. We can’t be late.
I get the baby up, change her wet, bulging diaper. She cries, rubs her eyes, reaches for her paci and her crib as I get her dressed. Like her sisters, she is tired, dragging. Not back in the swing of early school mornings.
I carry her down the hall where the big girls remain motionless in beds. With an edge in my voice this time, I remind them they have to get up or we’ll be late for school. I take baby downstairs, put her in her booster seat, pour her cereal. Crunching sounds, cuteness. She is happy with Cheerios and milk.
I start making cinnamon toast. I take the dog out, grab the newspaper, scoop the dog’s poop. When I get back inside, baby’s crying, alone at the kitchen table. Sunlight streams in on her head and I realize I haven’t fixed her hair. I brush her blond wavy locks and she whines, but keeps stuffing cereal into her hungry mouth.
I look at the clock & yell for the twins again. I feel tense. Piper’s toast is ready. I cut it into bites, put it in front of her, wiping cinnamon on my pants. The light is too bright. I close the shades a bit. Finally the girls come downstairs.
The big sisters slowly scrounge for cereal. One hasn’t brushed her hair yet. I hand her a brush, set out bowls, spoons and cups for them. They stand sleepily in the pantry, just staring at the boxes. I feel frustrated.
I look at the clock. I set the timer so they need to know when to go upstairs to brush teeth, potty, etc. before we leave. They stall. They take their time.
I get more tense.
I grab the dog’s dishes, give him fresh water and food, hide his medicine in a ball of bread. He eats the bread first, then hides under baby’s booster waiting for her to start throwing.
The twins pour cereal, a lot lands on the counter, some scatters on the floor. Paws come, clickety-clack. Doggie crunching and snarfing sounds. I clip him to a leash tied to the oven door handle. Mini poodle has stomach issues.
The twins sit and finally start eating. I look at my trio and as they giggle and make faces at each other, laughing…and I’m happy. But it hardly seems to last because…
Then fighting starts. About something the night before that I don’t want to dredge up again. The timer goes off. I ask for plates and bowls, watching chubby baby legs kick under the table. Baby teeth crunching. Sticky baby hands clutching a cup of milk. Gulping sounds, she can’t get enough.
Plates clatter into the sink. Feet stomp upstairs, pausing at the landing to look out the window. I look at the clock. I breathe, try not to yell, and tell her she has GOT TO GO BRUSH HER TEETH. NOW.
Somehow shoes are on. Lunch boxes, umbrellas, notes to teachers, backpacks, kids, and mom get into the car by 8:00.
And I heave a sigh of relief that on this morning?
We are not late.