My Kids

Untangling the Snarls

Our work week morning routine is pretty well established by this point.  It runs something like this:

I hit snooze several times because a) I’ve usually been up with Julia a couple times during the night and I still need more sleep and b) because I’m one of those people that sets the clock ahead fifteen minutes just so I can do math while I’m 90% asleep.  Exercise is good for the brain.  Oh, and c) I set the alarm clock for when I’d like to get up if I was living (and sleeping) in an ideal world.  In my real world, I need the snooze button.

At five thirty, I tell my husband he’s got fifteen more minutes.  While I’m able to spring out of bed like a clown out of a cannon at any hour of the night, my husband prefers to ease into his wakefulness.  The snooze button gives us another seven minutes, at which point I tell him he’s got seven more minutes.  After one more slap at the snooze button, it’s time for him to get up and go take a shower while I go downstairs and do the following:

pack lunch for my husband

pack lunches and snacks for the kids (which includes putting each child’s initials on each juice box and cereal bar and clementine)

wake the kids up and pick out clothes for them to wear

wake Alex up again

Bring Julia downstairs

Tell her five times that no, she cannot watch a movie

Wake Alex up again.

When Bill comes downstairs, all cleaned and pressed, I hand Julia off to him (some days she just does NOT want me to take a shower until SHE decides it’s time.  Then she’ll take my hand and lead me to the foot of the stairs and tell me to go take my shower.) and go wake Alex up again.  It doesn’t always take this much prodding to get Alex out of bed, but sometimes it does.

While I take my shower and iron clothes for work and scribble eyeliner on and rake mascara over my invisible eyelashes, Bill gives the kids breakfast and gets them dressed, or at least gets the process started. 

Back when we were trying to convince Alex that he’s old enough to get himself dressed, Bill came up with the idea of making it a competition.  Never mind just getting dressed – you have to get dressed FAST.  So it has become a one-sided race between Alex and (in theory) Julia.  Of course, Julia needs more help than Alex, which slows her down.  And she also couldn’t care less about getting dressed faster than him, so he pretty much always wins.  And he used to get incredibly upset if we got Julia dressed first.  He pouts, he cries, he complains, he sits down partly dressed and sulks.  He is much like my husband in that way.  Not a graceful loser.

This morning while I was packing up my own lunch, after my shower, Julia didn’t want to get dressed, and Bill was trying to change her mind for her.  Now, she’s not easily convinced to change her mind.  About anything.  So we have to be creative. 

I’m standing at the kitchen counter, and Julia is on the floor, having made it quite clear that she doesn’t want to go in the other room and get dressed.  Bill says "okay, fine" and heads into the living room where the clothes are. 

And here’s where it gets weird.

"Okay Julia," he calls in a sing-song voice, "ooh, I wonder what underwear you have today!  I bet it’s pretty!  I wonder who’s on your underwer today!  Ooh!  It’s DORA!"

He has her attention, but she is still in the kitchen.

"Okay, fine, then I’m going to wear them!  Yup!  I’m gonna wear them and then…put them in my pocket!"

"NOOOOOO!"  Julia finally races into the other room to stop Daddy from stealing her undergarments.  Game over.

Through the whole thing, I was standing at the sink just listening and shaking my head and thinking this just sounds so wrong….

So anyway, after the kids are dressed it’s usually about time for Bill to leave for work.  The kids wave to him out the front window while I move my car out of the way of his truck.  After all that, we do the brushing of the teeth and the brushing (or combing) of the hair.

Julia’s hair, as you can see from the pictures, is getting long and is straight and fine.  It tangles easily.  It tangles voluntarily.  With abandon.  Especially if she gets oatmeal in her hair.  And it dries before anyone notices it.  Which is most of the time.  So combing her hair is painful for her and frustrating for me.  We’ve reached a compromise, though.  She’ll hold pretty still for me if we do the combing on the couch in front of the big living room window and I squirt her hair with water frequently through the process.  She usually only takes the comb away from me once, and can be convinced to give it back without too  many threats.

So that’s what we were doing this morning.  Sitting on the couch trying to get through the tangles without bloodshed.  Any time I hit a snarl, she’d yell out like I was ripping her fingers off, and I’d apologize and lie and say I hadn’t seen that tangle, and she’d tell me to comb s-l-o-w-l-y. 

We also talk about things…airplanes or birds we see flying across the sky, or squirrels racing across the trees ("that squirrel is sad." "why?" "he miss his mommy and daddy.") or whatever.  Somehow this morning we got on the topic of things that are silly.  And I asked her what she thought was silly, and she said "Daddy’s silly."

"Daddy’s silly?" (no kidding) "What does Daddy do that’s silly?"

And as I asked that…I just knew…

"Daddy wears my underwear!"

"He does?"

"He wears my underwear and puts it in his pocket!"

I can’t wait to hear about this from the teachers at her daycare.


3 thoughts on “Untangling the Snarls

  1. Not that you asked, but if you make Bill’s lunch for him when he is in the shower, shouldn’t he be making your lunch for you when you are in the shower?? Go back and read your list of what you do in the morning- including moving YOUR car for him-sounds like there is some inequity going on, sister…….

  2. Beth!! Hi!!

    Yes – I know there’s a lack of balance there…but…it works. And I don’t want him packing my lunch because I know what I want in there and he will just throw in anything. He used to make my coffee, but now I do that because I leave later than he does and it just gets cold.

    Oh – and the moving the car thing – he also used to move my car out of the way, but then I’d have to go get it off the street and bring it back near the door anyway, so I just move the car now because it’s more convenient for ME.

    Sounds like a lot of excuses…and yes,I do firmly believe I do WAY more around the house than he does…but at the same time, the morning routine just works, and so for now, we’ll just stick with it.

    Things will start changing around this summer anyway…so I can deal with the status quo for a few more months.

    Good to hear from you!!

  3. I know, I know… it is so hard especially when the kids are little. It just seems like the guys get off so easy. Grrrrrr. Great pictures of the karate tournament, by the way!!

Leave a Reply