Sunday, October 6, 2013

Morning Routine: 2001

 Three a.m

I wake up spontaneously. Stare at the clock. When I'm writing the first draft of something, I leap up, but this week I'm on an edit, so I roll over and go back to sleep. 

Five a.m.

Something nudges me testing the receptiveness of an early morning probe. I slap it down. Any minute a teenager will poke his head in asking for gas money. 


Two-year-old Jonathan calls from his bedroom. "Mommmmeee. Mommmmeee.." 

I get up. Bang on the bathroom door. One of the teenage boys is in there counting zits or applying toilet paper to tiny nicks. I try to see through the half inch hole made by the broom handle when they tried that Bruce Lee trick. It just looks dark in there. "Do you have the light off?" I ask.

"Mom, there are laws against peeping." he says.  

"You're gonna think peeping when I remove the door so I can get INTHEREWHENIWANTTO!" 

I rescue the toddler from the crib. Never mind he could scale his way out with a bottle in one hand at ten months. When you're two, you have to be lifted up...but only when you ask to be. Never in busy parking lots, on fast escalators, or in clothing stores that have lots of low-hanging racks on which to swing.

I start coffee.


The three high school boys head out the door. They holler afternoon schedules over their shoulders. I remind them not to say "pissed off" even if they are. Their expressions remind me I'm so lame.

Four middle-sized kids crunch through bowls of cereal. 

I pour the two-year-old a cup of juice. Put on Lion King. Throw in a load of laundry. Go back to the bathroom. Occupied. In my nicest shrill-evil-mother voice I demand she vacate.

"I'm washing my hair," she hollers back.

"Mommmeeee...  Go-go." The two-year old wants to watch Inspector Gadget.

"Earth to ADHD warriors. Come in please."  For some reason, taking medicine and doing chores is more palatable when children are permitted to be warriors, monsters or ninjas with nineteen syllable names they can pronounce perfectly, despite not being able to utter "please” at the dinner table. 

I dole out Concerta and Wellbutrin to ensure two children will make it through the school day. Sign my daughter's behavior sheet for Special Ed. Brush hair out her beautiful eyes. She shakes it back.

I race to the bathroom. Vacancy! I pee. The two-year-old bangs on the door.

"Mommmeee...  Ayee."

Alice in Wonderland. Not the cartoon, the one with Whoopee Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat. Two-year-olds have trouble deciding which movie to open their day with and hey, if he wants some delusional, drug-induced fairy tale, far be it from me to stand in his way.

I run upstairs (not upstairs at all, but a mobile home adjacent to our home) and make sure my mother-in-law's schedule is in order.  Set her pills out in plain sight so she won't forget to take them.   


Hubby gives me the one-eyebrow waggle.  He thinks it's sexy in a Jack-Nicholson-when-he-was-young-and-virile kinda way. 

"That thing gets any bushier, "I say, "you're gonna need a license for it." 

Seven fifteen.

Eat, children, eat. A child's appetite is inversely proportionate to the amount of food a parent thinks they might consume. Buy three large deep dish pizzas...nobody's hungry. Buy one...everyone's starved. My middle-sizers purposely eat slow so they can slurp the milk from the bowl at the last minute. This despite years of nagging that drinking from bowls will cause your tongue to lap backward like a dog's.   


I lock one dog in the kennel and two in the back hall. I kick the four middle-sized kids out the door in time for them to run up the ¾ mile hill to catch the bus. They have time if nobody starts an argument. It's a little known fact that the hip bone is connected to the jaw bone. If the jaw bone gets going, the hip bone is paralyzed. Some break dancers accommodate for this by wearing baggy pants that appear to move when they shuffle their feet.

I turn on the computer. 

Seven forty-five.

Supervise the two-year-old making his own toast, so he doesn't dip the knife back in the peanut butter after licking it. Or electrocute himself.

I let the dogs out of their respective holding cells. Feed them. Throw in another load of laundry. Stare at the mound of unfolded laundry from the day before. Pray for a vision of the Virgin on my sofa. I'm pretty sure if the vision was there, the laundry would auto-fold.

The phone rings. A salesman wants to sell me a new windshield. 

I tell him he doesn't sell the the kind of shield I need. He can't find the response to that on his super-duper-cold-call-sales-teleprompter card they gave him, and hangs up on me.

"Mommmmeeeeee. Me-ow."  Cats. Yes! God Bless Andrew Lloyd Webber. I can grab a quick shower.  I've got my lather and rinse down to a few seconds less than the "Jellicle Cats".   

Unless it needs a rewind.


  1. I loved reading this. I only have one child, I can only imagne.

  2. Considering my pee schedule ran about 3 am I do recall you are awake and the computer has been on... But still just knowing you juggled our craziness and with a baby/ toddler makes me smile:)

    1. It was work, but it was work I loved, kiddo.

  3. This is hilarious. Has Hollywood called and optioned your life rights yet? ;) It sounds like every day's an adventure.

  4. Oh boy the life of a mum, right? It's a neverending adventure.

  5. That's fun. A great sense of energy. And a bit exhausting!

  6. A great read...I was tired by the end, so your message came across! :)

  7. Oh my gosh! All this by 8 am? I'm not even awake by 8 am! But I was when my kids were young - thanks for reminding me never to wish those days back!

  8. Love your retelling of your morning hours. So much work that is so invisible, as all good work is, when it is done well.


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