A Whole New World

I have to admit: I’m confused.

The topsy turvy sensation of new parenthood, of everything taking an extra hour because of a newborn’s needs for swaddling and nursing and diaper changing and napping and…that feeling is long gone. I’ve ditched the diaper bag. I always have snacks and crayons. I’m still not in my element, and it all feels like being in a foreign land, but I know about how long it takes to get the small people in my charge ready.

It takes a long damned time.

I learned pretty quickly that, to get a school-age child and a toddler in my house somewhere on time, I have to start the “we have to leave soon” announcements a full thirty minutes before we need to go. Apparently, dressing, brushing teeth, grabbing a lunch bag, putting on shoes and hat, and checking for a jacket takes my children longer than it takes to pass a Constitutional Amendment. (Like, say, for instance, a law overturning the Citizens United decision by making sure people and corporations can’t buy elections. Perhaps.)

But this week I’ve been shocked by the speed with which my offspring are out the door. Two days in a row, I issued the “we have to go NOW” announcement with fifteen minutes remaining on the oh-my-gawd-how-do-we-do-this-every-day clock. The toddler checked the weather and declared no coat. The six-and-a-half double checked and declared it was freezing and he needed his jacket. They both got shoes, sun lotion, lunches, and…holy crap, we’re ten minutes early.

I don’t understand. This process worked for a year. Has gravity reversed itself? Do we live in a wormhole? Is the time-space continuum not continuing?

Why?

Because Butterbean loves preschool so much he fights getting ready less than he used to? I doubt it. He still refuses and stalls and asks for “one moe meedee” of naked dance time. (Green Day, Diana Krall, and Bee Gees, thanks for asking.) He still refuses shoes and screams about lotion. And the older one still needs several reminders and a relatively calm, “I’m getting angry. You can get ready now or I can put you in the car in what you’re wearing, but whatever you choose right this minute is your final answer.”

Is it possible I’m getting faster? That they’re getting faster? That Schrodinger’s Cat is helping them get ready while I’m not looking in the box?

Why?

Should I now prepare for five-minute departures and actually play with my kids, or do I maintain the twenty-minute prep phase, knowing full well that just as I get used to quick mornings both kids will get a case of the Eff Yous?

Maybe someone switched my decaf for full strength. Just saying.

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21 thoughts on “A Whole New World

    • Keep in mind, it’s because I completely sacrifice our morning fun because I am ADDICTED to being early for things. The fact that I assume it will take 90 minutes to get the whole family ready comfortably shows I have a problem. But, hey, now it’s just 80 minutes*. Yeehaw for us!

      *It’s 15 minutes for just me, to be clear. I’m not exactly blow drying or showering or changing out of my clothes from the day before. That I slept in.

  1. OK. I know nothing of this sensation. In my house, getting out the door to make it somewhere on time is like falling into a black hole. The Bitter Betty in me wants to say “don’t get used to it.” The kind-hearted friend wants to say “Well done. You have done many things right these past four years to teach about the importance of timeliness. I must now emulate your every move” Let’s go with the latter. It’s just nicer.

    • Ha! When it was just me and Peanut, we were out the door relatively quickly. Of course I had to make the shoes to dance to get him in them, and beg him *not* to get dressed so he would get dressed all giggly, but it was a ten minute process. Double the kids, quadruple the out-the-door time?

      • try sextuple the out-door-time. I have been trying to figure out how to write about this without pissing off all those with one child, but I honestly don’t know what I thought was so hectic before Isabelle was born. But, I’m sure that all those with three or more can say the same about two. You adjust to what you have…at least, I hope so. I haven’t yet.

  2. You think you’re good now??

    JUST WAIT.

    You’ll be multitasking like a mofo when they’re all in school at the same time and have 3 extra curriculars all within the first half hour after pick up … each one at a different place.

    You’re gettin’ good, mama.

    • I have visions of you rolling down the main drag, eclair in one hand, convertible top down, three teens singing to some delightful compromise music.

      I aspire, really, to keep my kids shy and uninterested in extracurriculars so we can keep walking home every day. ;-)

  3. I used to be 5 minutes early for everything, at least 5. Now it’s like I have 2 octupus-cats that I have to dress, feed, sunlotion, and herd to the van every morning. I’m never, ever 5 minutes early.

    And why do they fight getting dressed and sunlotioned every day like it’s some unique torture they’ve never had to endure?

    Really, by the time I drop them off at daycare, I’m pretty happy to leave them there!

    • Seriously, I’ve tested the lotion on myself to make sure it’s not sulfuric acid in disguise. I’ve tried their clothes on my head to make them laugh and to see if the *constant* “no, later” and “in a few minutes” is caused by some particularly itchy consequence of our refusal to use fabric softener.

      Octopus cats is my favorite description EVER of children who need to leave the house.

      Thank you.

  4. Oh that’s fun! When that happens here, (like once a long time ago…) I keep the same time and just play once everyone is in the yard or we get there. Awesome for you! Hallmark should hire me, I need to make cards for this too. You should be able to collect the pop out medals, you get an awesome, ” totally on time with extra playing mom of the year” one for this ;)

    • Nobody else is giving me medals for standing around on the playground as soon as the custodian opens the gate. Now that you mention it, a cardboard gold star *would* be incentive to keep the timing the way it is.

      Kudos again, Hallmark Writer of the Year!

  5. I don’t know, Nap. I’m pretty sure preschool (for the second) comes with magical powers. They’re excited to keep up with their older sibling, and we’re excited to breathe. You might as well keep trying to get out of the house early. Why not start on your alone time as soon as possible?

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