So you think you can dance?

It’s a precise, mom-engineered dance – a marvel of perfectly choreographed moves. When the alarm goes off at 5 AM, a sequence of events is set into action. The players have to perform their roles with precision, each sequential move setting the stage for the next move. This time-driven dance is directed by me, The Mom, and fueled by Krups, The Mom’s Coffee Maker. When all goes well, magic happens: one woman, one man, and three children are fed, dressed, coiffed, and loaded into the appropriate vehicle with all the supplies necessary for the day.

Granted, getting dressed occasionally involves Febreeze. (Don’t judge; I Febreeze the night before so the questionable item of clothing will be dry by morning – that, my friends, is good parenting.)

Okay, sure, sometimes the coiffing looks more like WWE wrestling which is reflected in the resulting hairdo. (No, I don’t think that pig-tails need to be straight. When it comes to hair styles we go for a more avant-garde approach. It’s because we’re artsy.)

One wrong move, one misstep and we go from ballet to clown car. A misplaced key, a coffee spill, a husband not having time to bring the dogs in (Keith, that one was for you) and the choreography turns chaotic. Suddenly, someone’s socks feel funny. The shoes lose their partners. The toothpaste ends up on the shirts. The homework is dropped in the sink. Precision fails.

I know all the tried-and-true tricks. I set out the clothes the night before, pack the backpacks, and program the coffee maker. This isn’t my first rodeo. But my preparation and choreographed morning has met its match …


Her three-year-old independence has completely changed our morning dance. I’m directing a ballet; she’s dancing a solo.

Molly is fiercely independent. I’m not using the word fierce as a replacement for the word very. I mean she is fierce. She fights for her ability to “do it by myself” with every bit of fight she has in her little body. She not only wants to do everything for herself in the morning but she wants to direct the show. I’m sure there will come a time in her life when this independence will serve her well. In the meantime, however, I show up at work with a twitch and a slightly hysterical pitch to my voice.

This past Friday, Molly was in rare form. She disagreed with the outfit I’d picked out for her, insisted on brushing each tooth with the exactness of a compulsive dentist, had a fit because her brother walked out to the car in front of her, and then insisted that she buckle her car seat herself. As I dropped her off at her pre-school that morning she sent me off with a cheerful:

“I love you so much, Mommy. Don’t be late.” Is it too early to teach a three-year-old irony?

12 thoughts on “So you think you can dance?

  1. I’m so glad those days are behind me. Yes, there is life after that dance–a new dance–one you get to make up the steps as you go. But enjoy this dance while you have the partners.

    1. I have to admit that in the middle of the morning I am on auto-pilot. But I should definitely work on it because before I know it I’ll be on to new dances. (Although, those future dances look pretty good from here!)

  2. Ahh yes. The scream for independence.

    I know it well.

    Thankfully, The Tackler is now capable of doing most of the things he wants to do himself.

    Lil Diva? Not so much.

    Currently our ongoing battle is “holding hands while crossing parking lots and streets”.

    1. Kelly, we have that same battle. It normally ends in the “hold my hand or I’m picking you up” ultimatum. Soon we’ll both be on to new battles and wish for the days when our fights we’re about hand holding in parking lots and not hand holding with girlfriends/boyfriends!

  3. My fierce child answers to the name Adrianne. In the early years, shoelaces had to be symmetrical with no strings hanging longer than the others and “dinosaur humps” were absolutely unacceptable when I put her long locks in ponytails. I hate to tell you this but it doesn’t get better, it just changes. Today, all radios must meet her decibal requirements, van seats must be reclined just so, and absolutely no double negatives are to be spoken in her presence. It’s all about power Amy, and we are raising the next generation of very…scratch that…FIERCELY powerful women.

    1. Melia, this is why I love you. You just had to know how much I would love the concept of “fiercely powerful women!” Thank you for giving me a different perspective. And if Adrianne was your fierce child then I’m definitely on a good track.

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