Monday, December 16, 2013

Tender Moments

"Good morning Mom, did you sleep well?  I thought I'd get up a little earlier to make breakfast for everyone.  Don't worry about me, I'm all ready for school and I still have about 20 minutes before the bus comes.  I've already fed the dog, cat, and let out the chickens, so please sit down and enjoy your eggs.  I've cleaned up breakfast so I think I'll leave a couple of minutes early, and look I've already got my shoes, coat and backpack on, in fact I noticed it was pretty cold out so I even grabbed a scarf.  I'll see you later, I'll be good, and careful not to slip on the ice, and always listen.  I love you!"  My eyes flutter open as the visions of the most amazing dream slip from my head, replaced by a cold nose of one very anxious dog.  I glance at the clock and stumble out of bed, carefully, I don't want to wake the three year old who joined us in bed last night.  I realize I have about 20 minutes to myself before the morning chaos begins.

I make it to the bottom step, "Moooooooom, Mooooooom, MOOOOOOOM, I need you!"  Guess I wasn't quiet enough, nope that wasn't the problem, over waddle walks my three year old, I quickly realize why he is waddling, he's soaked from the waist down (how does that happen so fast?).  "I tried to listen to my body, but I guess I peed."  Put him in the bath, start a load of laundry (only if the pipes aren't frozen to the washer), strip MY bed of some very wet and very stinky bedding, run back down stairs, pull three year old from bath, wrap him in a towel, and realize that 30 minutes has gone by way too quickly.  It's okay I'm only 10 minutes behind, no shower for him this morning, even though I think he's a few days behind on a shower.

Run back upstairs pull the blankets from my eight year old, pull his clothes from his drawer, run back downstairs and place his clothes in a pile, start the yelling from the bottom of the steps, pull eggs and milk from fridge, yell again, realize it's not working, run back up stairs, pull covers off again, do a bit of threatening, run back downstairs, and find my naked three year old climbing on the table and up a wall to reach some boxes of cereal.  "I'm making eggs." I say, "I don't want eggs, I want cereal, no maybe just cookies or a turkey sandwich.", "Cereal it is."

Run back up stairs, pull the covers for a third time, this time make a serious threat, and grab some clothes for my naked three year old.  Find three year old eating from box of cereal, still naked, on the couch, he gives me a nervous look, "What!" I say alarmingly, "Um, I think I have to poop."  Lightening fast I grab and run him back to the toilet, good news, we made it, and I think I hear sounds of life coming from upstairs.

Down walks a very sleepy eight year old, "I've got your clothes out, hurry and get dressed or you won't have time to eat."  Completely oblivious to what I just said, he steps over his clothes, and crashes face first onto the couch, I don't tell him that I just pulled his naked little brother from that exact spot moments earlier, karma, if he'd only listened.  I peel him from the couch, "Every morning it's the same thing, please just listen to me!".  He grunts and stumbles over to his clothes and begins to dress, dropping pajamas and dirty underwear on the floor, he manages to get dressed and prop himself up at the breakfast bar.  "You only have time for cereal.", "I don't want cereal, I want Nutella toast.", "Fine, I'll get it done, just go brush your teeth and it'll be ready."  Pull out toaster, find Nutella, toast bread, find backpack and coat and place by front door, but no shoes? Glance at the clock, man, only four minutes until he HAS to leave to make it to the bus stop in time.

"Jooonaas, come on, just a couple of minutes, you'll have to eat on the way to the bus stop."   Find him playing with the water stream in the bathroom sink, splash some water on his hair, do my best to pat down bed head, lead him from the bathroom to his pile by front door. Notice how dry and cracked his hands are, grab lotion, and apply it to his hands as he's trying to shove them in the sleeve of his coat.  "Shoot, where are your shoes?", he shrugs.  "Just get your backpack on, I'll find them.", run to back door in full panic mode, stepped in something wet, no time, investigate later, find shoes, run back to front door, he's still fumbling with his backpack, it's on upside down, aw well it's zipped.  I try to cram his foot into his shoe, why is it not fitting?  "Mom those aren't mine there Sol's.", I mutter something I'd rather not say, and run back again to the back door, this time slipping on some dirty underwear left in my path, can't find shoes, "Jonas, where are your shoes!!!!"

Run back to the front, find him back at breakfast bar, "Where's my breakfast?"  Mutter something else I probably shouldn't share, grab a napkin, then toast, slather way too much Nutella on it (Score!), shove a couple of wipes in his pocket, he'll be covered in Nutella chocolate by the time he makes it to his bus stop (I'm sure the wipes will go unused), and push him towards the front door, found his shoes, I can see them through the window, guess outside in the snow is a perfectly normal place to leave them, "You're wearing your boots today.", "But it's P.E."  He sees my warning glance, and quickly mutters that it's okay.

Feet in boots, coat on, backpack on, Nutella toast in hand, I throw on a scarf noticing the freezing temp outside, and give him a shove,  "Hurry, run, and fast, and don't stop until you make it to your bus stop, and be good, and listen, and don't slip on the ice, and I loooove yooou!"  I see his arms flailing as he slips on the ice, catches himself, and continues running towards his stop.  Phew..... shut the front door, glance at clock, 8:21 only six minutes late, maybe he'll make it?

Once back inside, it seems pretty peaceful, even my once anxious dog is nice and calm curled up on the couch, pick up dirty underwear and pajamas from floor, remember wet spot, go to further investigate.....I never let the dog out.  Crunch, "Sorry Mom, I spilled.", this coming from my still naked three year old, grab the broom to sweep up entire contents of a now empty cereal box.  "Hey Mom," a sweet voice from one bright eyed and bushy tailed five year old comes from behind me, "what's for breakfast."  I look twice at the contents now in the dust pan, naw, toss it in the garbage, "What do you want?"

This is how most of my mornings go, when I think back at them they seem pretty comical, but in the moment there's nothing funny about them at all.  I'm pretty grumpy and it doesn't seem to matter what time I get going, it's always a huge rush to get out the front door.  The thing that bothers me about it most however, is the huge amount of negativity I send my oldest off to school with.  I'm scolding him until the very last minute, and then only manage to throw in an "I love you", as he's running down the street.  So tell me, what to do different?  We've tried it all (maybe not all, but a lot), an earlier bedtime, an earlier wake up time, lists, charts, bribery, I'm desperate.

I even have entire days that I speak only in warnings, Stop doing that!  Please don't make me yell.  Why do you only listen when I'm yelling?!  You know better.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Please don't touch that.  Don't touch that!  Why is it always the same thing?  Someone is going to get hurt.  Watch out!  You're driving me crazy!

I purposely try to somewhat distance myself when my children are playing, I feel like I micromanage their fun.  To some extent it's far better for me to just not know what's going on, then to constantly nag what they are doing.  On some especially hard days, I've come to realize that it's not just me who feels like they are at a breaking point, but my children too.  One final scold sends them over the edge, and bring on the tears.

It's not a good feeling when you become conscious that your negativity has brought us to this moment.  I can only rock and hold my child as I become aware of their hardships too.  In these tender moments tears wash away the tensions, stress, and conflicts from the day.

Jonas hit his breaking point yesterday, he usually is the biggest receiver of  my warnings, and he has an especially high tolerance to my scoldings, so it was hard to watch, as he turned away slumped shouldered and secretly tried to hide his tears.  My annoyance was instantly replaced with remorse.  I embraced him as we sat quietly next to one another and let this tender moment repair what I had done.

One really, really, really hard day, for us both
 Why was I scolding him?  I don't really even remember, it was something with teasing or pestering I'm sure, but not anything of real importance.  He never hits, and rarely has a mean word to say about anyone, and is so understanding, his heart is so kind.  I often apologize to him for being short tempered, but in the end he ends up comforting me, "Oh mom, don't worry about it, I should have listened better, you were just trying to help."

Please, I just want to remember the raw emotions and the sweet love that encircles us during these tender moments..... I might need them when I'm scrubbing carpet, washing bedding, feeding children, helping with homework, moping up spills, settling arguments, helping with Christmas projects, finding shoes................ 


  1. Syrian this made me laugh a bit as this is my morning everyday minus a naked baby running about. I also had to Notre that unfortunately all of us as parents have prob done the same and had our kids spirits broke for a few min ( I recently got silent treatment from Dawson for about 2 hours very uncommon) but remember we do the best we can and as long as we do our best each day they always love us they will always forgive us because we wipe the tears have the best hugs and always fix the owies scare away the boogie man and much more . One day they will realize we weren't just trying to be mean and naggy but trying to do what was best! Keep it head up and keep underwear on Abe!