Friday, March 16, 2012

The Rhythm Of A Morning

My husband always wakes up before me.  It takes him a while to get going in the morning so he wakes up at 5am and takes his Adderall, drinks two Red Bulls and goes down into our cold basement that smells like a litter box and combs through the 900 emails in his inbox.

I wake up a little before 7.  I don't use an alarm clock and nobody wakes me up.  My body is very good at knowing when I need to wake up, like to the minute. I thank God for the day and then use the bathroom, sometimes I take a shower.  At 7, I start to wake up the kids.

Sometimes I'm lucky and my oldest daughter remembered to set her alarm clock the night before and is already awake.  Other times I have to sit on top of her and tickle her until she screams and says that I'm a terrible, horrible, awful mother for waking her up.  She's tired, can't I see that? I can't possibly expect her to get up at this ungodly hour. Her life sucks.  She's going to run away and join the circus.  I tell her she already lives in a circus/zoo so it won't be a long trip.

My youngest two are much easier.  All I have to do is open their doors and they wake up.  If I say "get dressed", they get dressed.  If I say, "wash your faces", they wash their faces.  Sure, sometimes they are slower than molasses in January but still, they get it done.

Every morning, I comb my youngest daughter's hair.  She's picky and never leaves me a tip.

My husband almost always cooks breakfast.  By the time we all march downstairs he's usually got the cereal bowls laid out or is cooking up a batch of scrambled eggs.  He makes the best scrambled eggs in the history of the world.  They are fluffy and delicious.  I'm afraid to ask him what he puts in them only because I suspect he uses a pound of butter for every 2 eggs.

Our dog Cocoa is always in rare form in the morning.  She greets us at the bottom of the stairs with her ass wagging so fast, it shakes the floor!  Her tail sounds like a whip as it slaps against the walls. If you are unlucky enough for it to hit your shins, you better be prepared for some serious bruising.  Or to lose a leg.  Her tail is so dangerous and fast that it could slice through steel.  Sometimes she will curl up and smack herself in the face with her own tail and she'll take it because we are apparently that exciting.  Being greeted by Cocoa is not unlike what I suppose it felt like for Oprah to be greeted by her studio audience.  She jumps, claps and almost faints in our presence.  "Thank you, thank you Cocoa.  Now have a seat, we've got a great show for you today!"

My husband heads upstairs to get ready for work.  The kids eat breakfast sitting around our giant, oval dining table while I fix their lunches and snacks.  Cocoa circles the dining table like a shark, ready to sink her teeth into any stray food scrap with the misfortune of falling from the table. The kids' conversations usually sound something like this:

Carter: "Is big foot really real?"
Laila: *playing recorder*
Me: "No baby, it's just a legend."
Maryn: "Can someone get me some more milk."
Carter: "What's a legend?"
Laila: *playing more recorder*
Me: "Like a made up story."
Maryn: "I SAID- Can someone get me some more milk!"
Carter: "I think that big foot is real.  I think I saw one! And I saw a show where people were hunting for them and they could hear them howling. And on 'Harry And The Hendersons', he was real!"
Laila: *still playing the recorder but stops to correct her brother: "That's just a movie Carter, it's not real."
Me: "Nobody has every been able to prove that big foot is real.  But I guess you never know!"
Maryn: *gets her own milk*

Everyone is sent upstairs to brush their teeth at about 7:50.  By 8:00, they've packed up their school folders, lunch boxes and homework and are flinging their backpacks over their shoulders.  Invariably, someone forgets where they left their jacket, someone begs me to give them money for a snack, "no I've already packed you a snack", and someone has forgotten to put on their shoes. By this point in the morning, Cocoa has already curled up in her favorite spot on the sofa and is snoring and dreaming of goldfish crackers.

There is a mad dash at the last minute but by 8:02ish, everyone is out the door.  My husband usually takes them to the bus stop before he heads to work.  He comes downstairs partially dressed with all of his clothes on but nothing fully fastened.  His shirt is unbuttoned and he has a tie slung around his neck. His pants are unzipped, his shoes are untied and he's sweating.  I kiss them all and say, "God bless you and have a wonderful day" as they head out the door.  Then I sit and have a cup of decaffeinated coffee with Amaretto creamer and enjoy the stillness and silence (except for all of the snoring coming from the couch) of the house.

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