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Friday, March 14, 2014

The Morning Rush Hour(s)


It is the longest part of my day.  Each morning I awake with the false sense of strength that I believe I posses the fortitude and wherewithal to get through the next three hours until the Commander gets dropped at Preschool. I give myself a pep talk in my head. “You can do this.  It’s not that hard.  This is easy.  People have 6 kids and can get out of the house and to a job. You can do this.  You can make it through!” I feel high on life for a few minutes.  I feel like I can champion this day, that today is the day that I can get two kids dressed, fed and out the front door and to their respective activities. Quickly though, reality sinks in and by 9 am I have given in and given up.

Each morning I wake up before the sun. Each morning I wake up to a naked man in my bed. He’s 4 and he has decided to disrobe entirely before getting in bed with us somewhere in the darkest hours of the night. I usually can sleep through the Commander’s advances as he barrels into our room, strips naked and curls up on top of our pillows horizontally like a cat.  I am usually so tired, so self medicated with Tylenol PM and Shiraz that I sleep like a contortionist for the better part of the night. My husband has managed to train himself the same way and so we both sleep on 2 square inches of the bed while the Commander splays out in the rapture of pissed-stained 1000 TC designer sheets.

Before 6 am, I stumble into the kitchen hoping that the Commander will stay put in bed with daddy just long enough that I can make a cup of coffee and guzzle it down.  Obviously, I am fighting the hangover of the Shiraz and the Tylenol PM, but without those two I wouldn’t have slept at all, so I accept this is as the lesser of two evils. 

The Commander hears the clinking of the coffee cup and comes sprinting into the kitchen.  “Mommy, do you know Luke Skywalker? Mommy where is the pork side? Why are the birds good but the pigs are bad? Have you been on Glactica before?  How do I go there? Mommy, Mommy, Mommy where is my Princess Leia telepod. I want to give it to Noa.  Mommy, Mommy. Mommy. Mommy, Mommy. Mom. I am talking to you.”

My eyes aren’t fully opened and the caffeine has yet to enter my veins.  I cannot answer any of his questions.  I stand there, staring at my naked toddler looking as if I just got smacked in the face with a light saber (Which does happen for real 5 minutes later). “Max, honey, I cannot answer these questions until mommy has had a really huge, huge coffee.”

I know that he can hear me. And I know that he does actually understand what I am asking him to do, he just doesn’t give a fuck. “Mommy, if I went on the Galactica how would I get there? What do they eat on the Galactica? Who makes them breakfast? Mommy, how I get to go on the Galatica? If I eat my fruit can I go?”  I am being thrown questions at a million miles an hour and the coffee is slow dripping into the pot. I am staring at it, wishing I had remembered to set the timer the night before. I am pretty happy that I wiped down the counters, made lunch and put the dirty dishes from dinner in the dishwasher.  I give myself props for that.  Finally the coffee is ready and I suck down a cup in under 5 seconds.

I know that I need to have the Commander dressed before TIT wakes up.  There is military precision to this getting out of the house thing.  So I gather up some clothing in the Commander’s room and bring it to him in the living room where he is actually playing with the iPad nicely and quietly.  “Max, you need to get dressed,” I say handing him an outfit.  I am grateful in the morning that I have two boys, that the fight for getting dressed isn’t as bad as it could be, but still, the sun is barely up and the Battle of the Shirt has begun.  “I hate jeans. I am not wearing jeans.  I need soft pants.”  I don’t argue. I go and get sweatpants and accept the fact that my kid will always look like an extra on the Sopranos in his Russian mobster sweat suit outfit. 

“I hate Spiderman. I am an Angry Bird. I am not wearing that shirt.” So back I go again to retrieve an appropriate shirt.  He quickly moved on from Spiderman to Angry Birds and I didn’t update his wardrobe accordingly and unbeknownst to me, he will no longer wear anything with superheroes on it because that is so last year. I assume this is akin to me not wanting to wear my over-the-knee boots, that fashion has moved forward, but he's 4 and I was hoping a t-shirt is still a t-shirt. I dig through the drawer and locate an Angry Bird pajama top.  I don’t care if he wears pajamas to school, I just care that he will put the fucking shirt on and we get to school.  

“How about this one?” I ask the Commander who puts his iPad down long enough to glance at the shirt.  “No, I don’t want that one. I want the one with the red angry bird, the one who looks like Luke Skywalker.” Truthfully, I have no idea which one he is talking about, which thing looks like Luke Skywalker or where this said shirt could even be.” So I lie. I lie and I lie and I don’t feel remotely bad about it.  “Oh shucks! I think it’s dirty, but guess what?” I say with fake excitement. The Commander pokes his head up and looks excited too. 

I pounce.  “Oh, Mommy was talking to Luke Skywalker yesterday and he sent over a shirt. He said only Jedi Knights could wear it.” Now I have the Commander wrapped around my finger, he is staring at me like I mentioned a 50 % off coupon to Lululemon at a new mom’s class. “I don’t think you can wear that one yet, because you aren’t a Jedi.”  Undeterred, the Commander is calculating his response. “I am a Jedi.  I can wear that shirt.  I can wear it? Please mommy! I’ll eat a piece of fruit like a Jedi. I’ll do it right now.” 

So I am claiming victory because my kid is now sitting eating an organic apple and I can pick any adorable shirt I want, put an Angry Bird sticker on it and the Commander will wear it happily thinking it was a gift from Luke Skywalker.  Now, it’s 7:15 and we need to leave for school in T-minus 1 hour and 10 minutes.  The Commander has been dressed. I contemplate brushing his teeth but not sure I have that battle in me until I have another cup of coffee and now I hear the TIT stirring. 


As soon as the TIT wakes up, he is ready to join the party.  Fearing that he overslept and missed all the good stuff, TIT dashes into the living room to find his brother.  “Max, say good morning to Zac,” I say as I chase down TIT trying to change his loaded diaper as he makes a run for it. “I hate my brother. I don’t want to say hi. I don’t want to say good morning.” I decide it’s not worth the fight and that one day, in the distant future, the two of them will be friends when the Commander needs the TIT to take a geometry test for him.  But the only thing TIT wants is his brother to pay attention to him.  He doesn’t’ care that he is going to get clocked in the face. It’s Pavlovian at this point. TIT steals an angry bird telepod from his brother and the Commander turns around and slugs him side armed.  TIT doesn’t cry.  In fact I think he enjoys the punishment.  He giggles and the Commander does it again. I sip more coffee.

I have managed to get the old diaper off TIT but yet to get the new on when TIT decides to pee on the floor.  I actually don’t even get upset because pee is easy to clean. At this point, I am grateful for this mess which requires only two squares of VIVA paper towels and some spray Lysol. I manage to wrestle TIT to the ground and get him in a new dry diaper. He's pissed and he makes it known that he's not into this WWF diaper change and throws a bucket of crayons on the ground.

 The goal is to get TIT in the high chair and lock him down so I am free to move about the apartment without any major calamities. But TIT knows this trick and he’s gotten smart to my ways.  He squirms as I try to strap him in. “Look at what a yummy breakfast I made you,” I singsong to TIT.  I have a plate of cut waffles with jelly and cream cheese and some cut fresh melon.  We have a stare down for a minute.  TIT looks carefully at the plate, deciding if it meets his standards and I stare at him wondering how long I have until this plate of food becomes a projectile.  I feed him naked because what’s the point in getting him dressed when I know breakfast will be covering him soon. 

There had been silence from the Commander for a while and I look over and he is drinking my husband’s iced coffee.  My husband who has gotten out of bed, poured an iced coffee and left for the gym in under 10 minutes is no where to be found in the morning. I begin to think, and realize that since we have had two kids, he’s been going to the gym a lot more in the morning. Hmmm, wonder why?  “Why are you drinking coffee?” I ask him, grabbing it out of his hands. How it’s possible for a 4 year old to like nearly black, semi-sweetened iced coffee is beyond my realm of understanding.   But the Commander loves coffee and he most certainly doesn’t need it.

As I take the cup away, I see that TIT has taken the waffles covered in jelly and cream cheese and rubbed it all over his face and hair.  There definitely isn’t time to bathe him so I opt to use these materials as styling product giving him a faux hawk and just wipe him down so he doesn’t smell like a bakery in class. He ate nothing but is covered in everything. So I grab the first shirt and first pants I can find in his drawer and then go to finish getting the Commander dressed.  He doesn’t match. I don’t care.

I find the Commander in the bathroom making the water spray from the faucet. He’s naked.  Totally buck-naked again. And we are back to square one!

He his taken off all of his clothing because he “needed to make pee pee” and while I have no idea why one would need to be completely naked to do this, I don’t have time to argue. I need to get him back into his clothing and out the door.  But now his soft pants are wet and the Luke Skywalker Jedi shirt is wet too.  I have no time for a series of negotiations and lies so I grab anything from his room and try to distract him using cookies as I get him re-dressed. 

Miraculously, I get shoes and coats on everyone without any major issues.  The Commander is eating a giant cookie and carrying his Darth Vader mask as we get out of the elevator in the lobby of our building.  People are staring. He makes a dash to the front door, which is open, and I start to run after him nearly leaving TIT in the elevator as the doors close. Thankfully, TIT made it out of the elevator and didn’t go on a joy ride around the building.  “Everyone needs to stop moving,” I say as I scoop up TIT and rein the Commander back. At this point he is wearing the Vader mask and jumping off the lobby furniture humming the Star Wars song. I am pretty sure everyone in our building is praying that we move to the suburbs or that I have my tubes tied. 

I am carrying the Commander’s lunch box, backpack and jacket which he threw on the ground in the elevator, all while holding my 20lb purse and a 30lb toddler.  I nearly topple over squeezing everyone into the car, but when everyone is strapped into their seats and I am only 17 traffic lights from dropping the Commander off at school, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  I look in the backseat and the Commander is dressed as Darth Vader and TIT’s hair gelled back with cream cheese, but they are dressed and semi-fed and semi-clean. I have survived the morning rush…but it’s only Monday.   

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