The kids have four days left of school, and I am anticipating the summer with a combination of excitement and dread. Dread because the thought of two and a half months of completely unstructured time provokes a slight panicky feeling. Excitement for the obvious reasons: I picture long, lazy days in the sun without the pressures of hectic schedules. Mostly, though, I cannot wait to have a break from the Morning Routine. Wait - routine is way too kind a word to use for what our mornings are like. The only constant in our mornings is chaos.
This morning I awoke with a start at 6:45am with a vague sense of unease, like I had forgotton something. As I shuffled downstairs to make coffee, I realize what I had forgotton was the large man standing at our front door looking expectant and a little pissed off: the Peapod Man. Peapod is a grocery delivery service we started a few months ago, and it is the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel something akin to love for the man who brings me groceries every week. It also provides me with an unexpected perk: the kids seem to think that HE is the one who picks out our groceries every week. So if I forget something they like, or pick out the wrong kind of snack, they say: "Mom, the Peapod guy doesn't know we hate vanilla yogurt". "I'll be sure to tell him", I always reply.
School starts at 8:30am for my daughter, and 9:00am for my son. I have been told on more than a few occassions, with varying degrees of politeness, to please be sure to have Greta to school by 8:30am so she can participate in circle time. Right. No problem. They get up by 6:30am or so every day, so we have plenty of time to get ready and get out the door.
The Peapod guy leaves, with a promise to return next week. I love that guy. I feed the kids breakfast, which consists of cereal, fruit, a popsicle and chips, because they got into the snacks while my back was turned unloading groceries. While the kids are eating, I paw through the Clean Pile of clothes, looking for something the kids can wear. No luck. Rounding the corner towards their room in my search for more clothes, I slip on a large tray with toys all over it and crash to the floor. Swearing, I pick myself up and examine this odd sight. I realize there is a note on the tray that says "Theese toys are four poore peeple. We donnt play with them aneemore. Pleese giv them awey".
I go back downstairs, hand Greta clothes to put on, and explain to her that giving toys away is a noble cause, but ask her not to leave them smack dab in the middle of the hallway.
Getting Finn dressed is like trying to wrestle an angry Octopus into fishnet stockings. It is a process I detest. I have tried getting him to dress himself, but because I don't have the four hours it takes to accomplish this every morning, I help him along as best I can.
It is now 8am. Kids are fed, dressed, and I only have to pack their lunches and we're good to go. Noooo problem. I'm feeling especially good, because my fridge is fully stocked this morning, so I have a vast array of healthy delicious items to choose from. I pack lunches that contain all four food groups and feel rather superior. I don't think about yesterday (the day before the Peapod guy comes is a dark, dark time in our house) when they had Trix Yogurt, one piece of bread and black olives (I kid you not) for lunch.
8:10am. Kids are fed, dressed and the lunches are packed. I totally rock at this. I find the kids in the playroom watching TV. Finn is naked.
As I'm wrestling Finn back into his clothes, Greta says "Mom, it is Around The World Day today. Did you pack my London stuff?"
I have a vague recollection of a bright pink flyer saying something about studying maps and please bring in items from a place you have been. You would think the bright pinkness of it (clearly designed for people like me) would have alerted me to something. Or at least made it impossible to lose. But, it is in the back seat of my car, so it is Gone Forever.
We scramble to find items from London. The Everything Drawer produces an Eiffel Tower keychain (I realize the Eiffel Tower is in Paris, but she bought it at the London Airport, so that counts, right?) and I scramble to print off some pictures of her in front of the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. For good measure, I even throw in a map of London (because my husband is Organized and has this drawer labeled "MAPS").
8:25am. If we leave RIGHT NOW we will be there on time. I shuffle the kids out the door, prod them in the general direction of the car, and rush back in to grab the lunches I so thoughtfully packed and then almost forgot. In the time it takes me to run back in to get them, Greta is splashing in a puddle in the driveway, and Finn is in the backyard chasing a chicken around (we have one chicken who cannot be contained - we can't figure out how she is getting out, so we named her Houdini and just hope for the best).
8:35am. Greta is deposited at school, and I give the teacher my Apologetic Smile. She gives me her Only-Four-Freaking-Days-Left Smile, and we call it even.
So I will be more than happy to give up the morning craziness for a couple of months. And I'm sure every Summer day will be like a Disney Movie - we will all wake up singing, fawns will be licking our palms, I will be fresh-faced and beaming. Because I'm nothing if not realistic.