Tag Archives: morning madness

It’s Likely I’m an Ass

For whatever reason, I sometimes forget that I am an ass. Not to worry, subtle (and not-so-subtle) reminders abound. This morning was no exception.

Firstly, we missed the school bus…a not-so-ordinary occurence with my wily brood, although we seriously flirt with the possibility nearly every morning. Of course, we missed the bus because I am a sorry example of a mother (i.e. I failed to see to it that my children finish their homework the NIGHT BEFORE, so they were forced to complete it as they shoveled Lucky Charms into their faces and slurped orange juice ad nauseam). Ergo, my two dandies became “car riders” on this less-than-stellar morning which, apparently, was a good thing since “all the cool kids are car riders, Mom.”

Who knew.

Secondly, my ineptitude as a dropper-offer-of-kids-at-the-elementary-school is unrivaled in the Northern Hemisphere. Translation: I suck as a chauffeur of smallish creatures that are known to wield backpacks and lunch boxes. Further, my brain simply cannot fathom the driving-on-the-left-side-of-the-road thing whilst traffic whizzes past me ON THE RIGHT, winding in and around an exceedingly large parking lot and buzzing up to the double doors for the celebrated and markedly expeditious deposit of children-ish entities. Everyone but me, it seems, grasps the inherent logic behind said circus-like pattern.

“It’s like the (fucking) Autobahn! With ONCOMING TRAFFIC!” I shriek to my charges, as if they could offer a modicum of support as third graders.

“A) This is COMPLETELY INSANE! B) You’re LATE for school! And C) This is COMPLETELY INSANE!”

A pregnant pause ensues, followed shortly thereafter by Thing One’s expressly pointed commentary from the back seat, “You’re not doing it right, Mom…but I still like being a car rider.”

Joy. Glad someone can see the bright side of my disaster-in-the-making.

“Mom, just follow the arrows and go where that man in the orange vest is pointing………then we won’t crash into Kevin’s mom,” Thing Two instructs, ever the practical child.

Lovely. Crashing into Kevin’s mom sounds like something I’d like to avoid at all costs. I shall heed the orange-vested gentleman’s signals.

Crash or no crash, it’s still entirely likely I’m an ass.

Thirdly, somehow I’ve fallen down on the job of imparting crucial tidbits of information to the impressionable youth in my charge. More specifically, I neglected to inform my kids of the protocol for disembarking during the drop-off period. That said, Thing One tried (and thankfully failed!) to leap from my vehicle as I slowed down to take my place in the endless procession ahead (aka the Escalade Parade).

“No, no, no! You can’t get out HERE, doofus! Wait till I get all the way around to the sidewalk. Then you can hop out, Hon.”

She then fumbled around with her stuff and inadvertently shut the door on her backpack, beside herself with glee over the delicious reality of being a bona fide CAR RIDER instead of a lowly bus goer. “Terrific,” I thought. “She’ll miss the bus INTENTIONALLY tomorrow morning.” As I wended my way through the line (trying like crazy not to rear-end anyone in the process), I quizzed each kid as if they were preparing to parachute into a war zone.

“Homework?”

“Check.”

“Lunch?”

“Check.”

“Agenda?”

“Check.”

“Library books?”

“I don’t have library today, Mom.”

“Oh. Hey, it’s time to get out! GO! GO! GO! There’s a gazillion people behind me! Have a great day!” I shouted after them as they piled out of my Jeep and raced to the school, jackets flapping in the breeze.

“Whoa! Wait a minute!” I rolled down the window and hollered to Thing One, holding up the precious line in the process. “YOU FORGOT TO SHUT THE DOOOOOOOR!” Naturally, she forgot to shut the door because I forgot to quiz her on this all-important sequence of the drop-off event. To make matters worse, I couldn’t shut the stupid door myself (though I tried like mad), nor could I GET OUT and shut it. I feared such action would be viewed as unforgivable by the vast majority of those waiting in line. Further, I assumed the Drop-off Police would then cart me away to be flogged or something equally horrible.

There would be no exiting the vehicle.

So, like a fool, I continued to yell. And in a moment of sheer panic entwined with supreme idiocy, I laid on my horn. Again. And again, not once thinking about the ramifications of my infinitely obtuse actions. I’m certain the people ahead of me in line pegged me for an ass. And rightly so.

“Who honks their horn in the drop-off line?!” they likely bellowed. “My kids are moving as fast as they can, you idiot!”

Needless to say, I wouldn’t blame them for chiding me. I deserved it.

Finally, Thing One realized the mad honker woman was, in fact, me. She then returned to close my door. “Whoops,” she said with a smile. “See you at the bus stop, Mom!”

Indeed, it’s where I belong, ass that I am.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "S" is for Shame, Ode to Embarrassment

Juggling Act

I’m not especially sure that I was meant for mothering—with all its rigors and responsibilities, and those insufferable shades of gray. Simply put, I’m just not wired for it. I much preferred being able to place chunks of my life into neat little boxes, where I could tend to them separately and manage my world at will. Becoming a mother changed all that. I learned that children don’t do the tidy little square thing. In fact, they don’t do the tidy little anything, nor are they built for confinement of any sort. I also learned that there is no logical formula in existence for raising teenagers. I only knew that I’d need to tie on my sneakers.

And as I look around at other women who were thrust into the role for one reason or another, I think, “Wow. They’ve really got it all together—ferrying their kids here and there without missing a beat, sprinkling their beloved charges with balanced meals and an abundance of feel-good blurbages, oozing patience and composure at every juncture in life, no matter how harried the schedule or demanding the pace.” Nothing, it seems, rattles them—even when they discover one of many cruel truths of parenthood: that they don’t get to choose their children’s friends. That realization, in particular, threw me into a tizzy—a control freak’s living nightmare.

They stay on top of things, too, these supermoms; like homework and school functions, birthday parties and soccer leagues—and of course, all the really important stuff like remembering ballet slippers, shin guards and library books for the right child on the right day of the week. They also recognize the importance of filling minds with wonder and lunchboxes with love. My paltry lunch pail offerings (i.e. “I love you” notes scrawled on scraps of paper and tossed in with the Cheerios and Cheez-Its) are at best hastily prepared, pitifully cliché and often faded and crumpled from recycling. “Have a great day, Hon!” is pretty much all my frazzled brain is capable of churning out on the fringes of my day. The lunches themselves are dreadfully dull, too, which is perhaps a sad reminder of how horribly inadequate I sometimes feel as a mom—notes or no notes.

Occasionally I fail to summon the humor and flexibility needed to approach such an impossible task, as well as the wisdom to accept that some battles as a parent just aren’t worth fighting—especially those that involve six-year-olds and mashed potatoes or teenagers and five-year plans. “Let it go,” I need to remind myself again and again. Certainly, there are more important issues with which to concern myself—like the beefy toad I found on the coffee table recently, warts and all. And the mouse tail stew that had apparently been concocted in the garage-turned-laboratory and subsequently smuggled into the kitchen. God only knows how long it had been brewing there and what other bits of foulness had been added to the stagnant pool of repulsiveness. Color me oblivious, yet again.

Kidding aside, I’d like to know how other moms do it. How do they keep all the balls in the air? All those plates spinning—as if flawless extensions of themselves? Maybe it has something to do with my multitasking skills—or lack thereof. Simply put, I stink in that realm—which contributes greatly, I think, to the whole woefully-inept-mommy thing. Over the years, I’ve been forced to develop just enough juggling proficiency to get by—enough to get me through a day’s worth of kid-related chaos to include the morning frenzy to catch the bus and the after-school circus, when backpacks are emptied, bellies are filled and the air is inundated with multiple conversations, all of which I am expected to attend to meaningfully. The homework gig is yet another monstrous challenge for my sorry set of skills, mostly because I try to do everything SIMULTANEOUSLY. Because that’s what moms do best—at least the good ones, equipped with that oh-so-dear multitasking gene.

I’m sure much of the ugliness would go away if I were capable of turning off or at least filtering the noise in my head so that I could focus on each task individually—instead of trying to absorb and act upon every silly thing that floats across my radar screen. I’m doing one thing perhaps—like driving the kids to ballet, but I’m thinking about the last 6 things I’ve done (critiquing myself to death in the process) while catapulting forward to the next 17 things I will do before bed, all the while fielding inane questions like “How can people buy invisible dog fences if nobody can see them, Mommy?”

It’s no wonder that I sometimes wind up at the soccer field curious as to why my kids are wearing tutus and not cleats.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2007 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "G" is for Guilt, "S" is for Shame, Daily Chaos, I blog therefore I am, Me Myself and I, Rantings & Ravings, School Schmool

And the Snow Gods Laughed

Enough already with the snow days. I’ve certainly had my fill of time home with the heathens. That being said, I think school cancellations fall under the Law of Diminishing Returns—the more I experience, the less enamored with them I become.

Further, they embody the spirit of my slightly twisted adage, “Too much of a good thing (like parent-child togetherness) can be horrible when it involves entertainment-starved youth and a dearth of all-things-entertaining.” Okay, so maybe I need a refresher course on keeping boredom at bay for the eight-and-under set. (Note to self: Read 1,001 Things You and Your Kids Can Create with Pipe Cleaners and Modeling Clay! And after that, peruse the finer points of Embrace Cabin Fever, or Die!).

In all honesty, the first few days off from school with my children were wonderful—a welcome reprieve from our harried morning schedule. There were little or no discussions surrounding the topic of dawdling. No ogre-ish threats were made involving the consequences of missing the bus. No battles over the wearing of hats took center stage “…because I hate hats, Mom!” No one even checked to see if teeth or hair had been brushed, or that pajamas had been removed and subsequently replaced with suitable attire. Nor did anyone care. School was closed for the day and the gift of time—a sacred offering from the snow gods—had been bestowed upon us all. Liberated for one calendar day. I guess it’s much like I felt as a youngster—free to squeeze as much goodness out of a 24-hour period as was humanly possible.

Back then the joy didn’t wait for the official announcement to be made. Indeed, it arrived in earnest the night before a possible school cancellation. Like scores of goofy kids, my brother and I planted ourselves at a windowsill, anxiously scanned the starry skies for the suggestion of a snow flurry and clung to the hope that we would, in fact, receive the monstrosity of precipitation that had been forecast—as if we could will it to happen.

More recently, however, I’ve become obsessed with the Weather Channel and with local news stations that promise up-to-the-minute reports of closings. At an ungodly hour I stumble out of bed and glue my sorry face to the television screen, bathed in the blue-white glow that fills the entire bedroom. I do this because I lack both the initiative and the wisdom to fetch my glasses first. I then inch my snoot from left to right and back again, eye-to-eye with that stupid scroll thingy at the bottom of the screen—living in fear that I’ll somehow miss the L’s entirely. Translation: If that were to happen, I’d spend literally MINUTES in pure agony, oblivious as to whether or not I could skip the dreaded rousing-of-the-bleary-eyed-beasts-out-of-bed routine. A chore I loathe to the pithy core of my being.

But enough is enough. My charges have missed far too many days of school during this pitiful portrayal of winter. Besides, I think my kids would rather be there than home with me anyway. Perhaps it’s because I’m a pathetic parent and find it a supreme challenge to keep them content and actively engaged for any length of time (i.e. not at each other’s throats or leaping with glee upon my last nerve). Maybe it’s simply because they’re too young to fully appreciate the grand and glorious wonderment that a snow day possesses. They’re still completely smitten with the world of academia and, in fact, mourn the days when they cannot be with their teachers and friends, for whom they hold more adoration than for the sun and moon put together.

They’d never dream of actually wishing for a snow day. Ah, but that time will soon come and I’ll find them perched at a windowsill anxiously awaiting that which the weatherman hath promised.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live. Visit me there at www.notesfromplanetmom.com.

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Daily Chaos, Rantings & Ravings, Uncategorized

Eggs, Toast and a Side of Cynicism

For whatever reason, the gods of morning madness have been smiling upon me these past few weeks. And like any good cynic, I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out. With every ounce of my being, I fully expect my petulant children to return, brimming with an abundance of snarky commentary regarding breakfast cereal choices (or the lack thereof), eager to display the alarm clock-inspired rage to which I’ve grown so accustomed and to bring to the fore their lovely penchant for bickering with one another at dark-thirty. Joy. Likewise, I presume the frenzied packing-of-lunches-and-backpacks thing coupled with shrieks involving the very real possibility of missing the bus will resume shortly as well.

If nothing else, it would feel familiar. Quite frankly, I am suspect of the degree of calm that has befallen my home of late. Mornings are no longer intolerably hectic, which I find fairly disturbing since it’s all I’ve known since the days of kindergarten. There are no shouting matches to speak of, no monumental crises related to bedhead or perceived fashion offenses and, incredibly, no one has become enraged over wrinkles in socks or the gunkiness of toothpaste for days on end. Gasp!

It’s all so alarmingly alien—this death of disorder and dissent. So naturally, I greet it with cool skepticism, assuming that a conspirator has somehow snatched my ill-tempered brood and left me with a delightful pair of third graders who get up on time, dress for school without complaint and exhibit an obscene amount of good cheer all morning long. Imposters, I am sure, are among us.

Or perhaps my fortuitous situation has arisen as a direct result of the plan my husband so shrewdly devised and skillfully implemented. Translation: The man is a genius. That said, he pulled our charges aside one day and explained how our shameless bribe new morning routine would work. The seed was planted thusly.

“If you get up and get dressed as soon as your alarm goes off,” he purred with Grinch-like finesse, “and haul your sorry selves to the kitchen by 6:30, I’ll make you WHATEVER HOT BREAKFAST YOUR LITTLE HEARTS DESIRE. And,” he sweetened the pot, “I’ll even let you crack eggs and stir stuff.” To date, the immaculately prepared entrées have included pancakes (with faces!), French toast and waffles (to die for!), eggs (infinitely varied!), bacon (impossibly crisp!) and a vat of drool-worthy, bathed-in-olive-oil fried potatoes I felt compelled to appraise. Again. And again.

In sum, he made a deal with the unwitting pair. A wickedly clever, painfully simple, non-negotiable agreement—one that is likely responsible for the glowing success we’ve experienced thus far on our journey to the Land of Hassle-free School Mornings. Note to self: Cold cereal nourishes the body, but hot cakes (and other breakfasty-type foods with irresistibly enticing aromas) inspire action of the bounding-out-of-bed variety.

But perhaps the motivation runs deeper than that. Part of me suspects that under the surface lies a host of benefits aside from the obvious. Like the delicious sliver of time in which we snuggle together before anyone heads to the kitchen. All four of us, looking as much like sardines as anything, burrow beneath a sea of blankets in our big, oak bed—the place where toes are warmed and whispers are shared in the waning moments of still and darkness.

“Here I am, your little alarm clock,” they each announce as they crawl in with us, a different stuffed animal tucked under their arms each morning. To my utter amazement, both kids have already dressed, fulfilling their end of the bargain. I shake my head in disbelief.

The plan is working.

A few minutes later, they clamber downstairs to the kitchen and confirm with the cook their menu choices for the day. Chairs are then shoved against counters, eggs are cracked and batter is stirred—fulfilling the other end of the bargain.

As the sun crests over the hillside and begins pouring into the house, a steaming, hot breakfast is served—as promised. Syrup and cinnamon, juice and jam look on as chatter fills the room. There is talk of disjointed dreams, of library books and of plans for playing with a favorite friend at the bus stop. Everything that follows is sunny-side up.

Once again, I shake my head in disbelief. The plan is still working—despite my side of cynicism.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (wondering when the novelty will wear off and hoping like crazy that’s never). Visit me there at www.notesfromplanetmom.com and at www.zazzle.com/planetmom*, too, where you can buy your very own “Eggs, toast and a side of cynicism” apron. Just click on SNARKY STUFF. It most definitely qualifies as such.

Copyright 2009 Melinda L. Wentzel

Also published on BetterWayMoms.com!

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Filed under Daily Chaos, Mushy Stuff