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?