Mornings are different this year, with 2 kids off to 'school'. Darrick showers while I settle the just-waking kids onto the couch with a blankie and some breakfast (and usually Bubble Guppies on TV) so I can start the coffee and pack lunches. The kids get dressed (he with help, she in whatever outfit she chose herself thankyouverymuchMOM). I am still packing lunches. Rohan comes in scrounging for something more to eat because one breakfast is rarely enough for a growing 3 year old boy who's built like a kindergartener. I am still packing lunches. Darrick comes downstairs and helps the kids finish getting ready while I run up to jump in a quick shower and grab some clothes for me to wear, slapping moisturizer on my face before heading back downstairs.
Darrick gets his things ready as I stand in front of a big mirror hanging on the wall and do my makeup while keeping one eye trained on my kids' reflections in the mirror so I can prompt them periodicially.
"Rohan. Your shoes? Put on shoes, buddy." (dot concealer on undereye circles)
"Luca-bear, we have 5 minutes. Did you brush your hair? You don't need to whine. Your brush is right where you left it yesterday." ('...on the floor where it doesn't belong' I think to myself and line my eyes)
"ROHAN. Are you listening to me? Shoes. Your SHOES. Well, did you put them in your shoe bin like you're supposed to when you get home? What do you mean you don't know? Why don't you LOOK?" (use mascara wand to point to shoe bin below front entrance table, apply mascara).
"Luca, can you please get your backpack ready?" (run brush through hair)
"Rohan, sweetie, I can SEE your shoes from here. Buddy. BUDDY. Look. Look right there. Right there. NO, not in the kitchen. Right THERE in the SHOE BIN." (mentally recite Bill Cosby stand-up to self as I dress)
By the time we head out the door, I consider it a good morning if the kids haven't cried about being asked to put on shoes and brush hair and if everyone remembered their bags and lunches. And if I remembered shoes because, true story, I have left the house without them more than once in the mad morning rush.
My reward for the morning rush, though, is Luca as a carpool buddy. We ride together to her grandma's house, me sipping my coffee and her working diligently in one of her 'learning books', tracing letters and numbers and counting and adding and just generally preparing to be smarter than her mama in 10 more years. Everywhere we go now, under one arm she tucks an activity book, and grasped tight in the other hand are 2 or 3 markers. Her hands are perpetually stained with marker in a variety of colors. Sometimes her face has marker on it as well. Every few minutes on the ride, she asks me how to draw a '6' or what color she should make the pig she's drawing. We talk about school and she asks me questions about things she's learning. When we get to grandma's, she jumps out of the car and gives me kisses and hugs me tight before running off to another day of adventure, and despite the whining over brushing hair or what shoes are ok for P.E. day and the frustration of rushed mornings and long days of work ahead, I feel so lucky to get that time with my best girl.
The 10 quiet minutes with Luca alone each morning are the best way to kick off my day.