For your reading pleasure today, I'm posting a story from my sister, Jennie, who also has three kids. I'm not sure if this convinces me that my family in its entirety is completely dysfunctional, or if simply everyone has as much "fun" as I. Either way, it's sure to leave you in stitches. If not, it'll at least make you feel better about your life. :D
I had been warned that raising 3 kids was kinda like a 3-ring circus. Either that or you lose your mind after the 3rd one is born. One is easy. Two? No problem! Add a third child, and it's like a whole new ballgame. Today was living evidence of that.
Living in GA has its perks. It's relatively warm in the winter, and being only 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean keeps it pretty nice in the summer, too. Today, however, Old Man Winter made his one and only (I'm hoping) guest appearance. It was COLD. Well, cold for south Georgia. It was all the way down to 35! So when my alarm went off at 5:00 telling me it was time for my morning run, I decided that I could wait until tomorrow when the temperature is supposed to only be 49. Hey! Fifteen degrees is a big difference! Especially when you are running in the pre-dawn stillness. I rolled over and promptly overslept. At 5:50, I leapt out of bed and began the mad dash to get myself and 3 kids ready for school. In addition to the fact that I have 3 kids to get ready, I also live 45 minutes from the school where I teach. However, to make my life simpler (*insert dry chuckle, sotto voce, here*) we've enrolled the kids the the school district where I teach instead of the very bad school system where we live. So, although it makes my life simpler in the afternoons, it also requires that the kids are up and out the door no later than 6:45 a.m. because the elementary school my middle child attends starts at 7:30.
"Let's go, let's go, let's GO!" I'm racing around, getting the kids dressed and trying to get the youngest, who is a very dedicated sleeper, up and out of the bed. My oldest, Liz, is usually a really big helper. Today, though, I'm thinking she had a bad case of "brain-freeze." I can only hope it's because of the cold. I'm more afraid it's hormones. As I am about to get in the shower, she comes into my room and says, "What does David want for breakfast?" Keep in mind, now, that my middle child, David, just turned 8 and suffers from mild hypoglycemia. If he doesn't eat, we're talking about a major blood sugar crash including the shakes, crying, incomprehensible stuttering, the whole she-bang. Remember that scene from Steel Magnolias when Julia Roberts' blood sugar crashes in the beauty shop? Yeah, something like that, except it's with a little boy. Not fun. To help me out, for the last several weeks, Liz has been fixing breakfast for David and Caleb (the sleeper, who takes his breakfast to school and eats with his PreK class) while I take a shower. "I don't know! Ask David!" I reply. She asked David and I hear him tell her he wants the leftover grits from yesterday that are in the fridge. Easy enough. Insert grits in microwave, zap! and bob's-your-uncle, you got breakfast, Georgia-style. Granted, a little butter and brown sugar help, but whatever. Simple breakfast, you'd think, right? Little do you know....
All the schools around here are in uniform. The choices for pants are khaki, navy, or black, so you'd think that getting ready for school would be kinda simple, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you? After my shower, I dress, do my hair, and check on the boys. Caleb is hiding under a blanket in front of the space heater and David is wearing a pair of size 6, torn and dirty khakis, (remember he's 8). Thus ensues the following conversation:
"David, you can NOT wear those pants. They're dirty!"
"But I accidently dribbled pee on my other pants and I can't wear them!"
"Where are your navy pants?
"NOOOOO! I'll look like a DORK!" [When, WHEN did 8-year old boys suddenly become aware of fashion???]
"You will not look like a dork. Everybody wears blue pants."
"Yes I will. I don't like those pants."
"Put the pants on. I'm sorry. They are all we have. I'll wash the others tonight." After a back-and-forth battle of wills, I finally force him to put on the pants.
I wrestle my very sturdy 5 year old, Caleb, into some of his own clothes and head to the kitchen. In an effort to get David to stop sniffling about looking like a dork, I offer to heat up the leftover soup and put it in his soup container in his lunchbox. This does the trick. I order him to go make his bed and put on his shoes while I fix the soup. I throw the soup in a pot and turn on the stove, turn around to find David back in the kitchen, sniffling again.
"There's a great big hole in my pants." I go to investigate, suspecting him of making a big deal out of nothing just to get out of wearing the pants. But, no, there really is a rather large hole in his pants. Right at the crotch. Crap. What do you expect from Wal-Mart? High quality?
"Fine. Go take them off and I'll sew them up." I take the pants and ask Lizzie to watch the soup. By this time, it's 6:25. We are running out of time and I'm getting frantic. I don't have time to rethread the sewing machine and wind a new bobbin, so white thread will just have to do. I fix the pants. Whew! Crisis averted.
I take over in the kitchen and Lizzie goes back to get her backpack and books out of her room.
"Momma?!" I turn around to find Caleb shuffling into the kitchen wearing his pants and underwear around his ankles.
"WHAT are you doing?"
"I'm sorry, Momma! I couldn't make it to the potty!" Dear sweet baby Jesus. If I leave the soup, it'll burn. (The whole time this is happening, I'm really beginning to resent my husband who is still peacefully sleeping on the couch. How do I know this? Because his snores are rattling the windows. *sigh*)
"LIZZIE?! Help your brother find some clean underwear and pants. He's peed in these!" Caleb goes hopping down the hall, little white buttcheeks bouncing like the Easter Bunny.
I go back to stirring the soup.
I finish the damn soup and go to check on Caleb. Lizzie has dressed him in black pants with a navy, yellow and red top. ARGH! "Put these jeans on him and LET"S GO! We're going to be late!"
Finally set, I usher the kids into the car. Lunches, backpacks, books, bags, purses, everyone buckled.....WAIT! I'd forgotten my phone. I go running back into the house to get my phone. I come running out through the kitchen to find Lizzie slamming about looking for a spoon with a yogurt container in her hand.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! GET IN THE CAR!!!"
"David hasn't eaten any breakfast."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'DAVID HASN'T EATEN'? DIDN'T YOU FIX HIM BREAKFAST?"
I kid you not. She actually looked at me and said, "Well, I was fixing toast and David said he wanted grits." Surely I misheard her. Surely she didn't just tell me that she didn't fix her brother's breakfast because she was 'doing toast.' But I didn't have time to dwell on that. We were LATE. "Fine! Just get the damn yogurt and get in the frickin' car!" I am truly beginning to lose it by this time.
Finally in the car, we're on our way. David digs a spoon out of his lunchbox and opens the yogurt. Granted, I should've told him to wait until he got to school. But I wasn't thinking. I was still seeing red from "I only do toast." Driving like Cruella DeVille in 101 Dalmatians, I tear out of the drive, manage to get the green arrow at the end of the road and take off like a bat outta Hades. We get one block down the road and David starts wailing, "The yogurt is spilling!" [I'm sure it had nothing to do with my driving....and all over his favorite blue pants!]
Now, pause just a moment here. It is 6:50 on a cloudy morning, headed northwest. It is DARK. I can't see anything except what the lights in front me show. Imagine the scene. Lizzie's in the front seat. David's in the middle of the back because the child gets so carsick that he must be able to see in front of him or he'll puke before we go 5 miles and Caleb is sitting in his booster seat behind Lizzie. David reaches forward to hand his yogurt cup to Lizzie, unbeknownst to me. And I, in a fit of temper, sweep my right hand back and across, catching the bottom of the yogurt cup in Lizzie's hand and knock the yogurt, topsy-turvy, all over the inside of the car.
There's yogurt everywhere. There's yogurt across the inside of the windshield. There's yogurt on the gearshift, the emergency brake, the seats, the windows. It's on David, it's on the bookbag, it's on the floor. Caleb starts screaming and crying, "You got yogurt in my hair!" There's yogurt going down his back (I have no idea how it got BEHIND his head and down his back, but it did.). "You got yogurt in my eye! It's not nice for you to put yogurt in my LEFT EYE!" [As opposed to your RIGHT EYE?]
I honestly don't know whether I should've just called in sick or what. Instead, I do a u-turn in the middle of Victory Drive (ironic, huh?) and head back home. All three have to change clothes and the yogurt has to be cleaned up and David STILL has not eaten. Caleb cries all the way home, reminding me again how "NOT NICE" I am for putting yogurt in his LEFT eye! We get home and order the kids inside while I start cleaning up the car. I look up to see them standing there. "Daddy locked the door when we left." GREAT! PERFECT! BRILLIANT! I unlock the door, and start the cleaning process.
15 minutes later, we're back in the car. Caleb's hair is washed out with a wet cloth and he's wearing yet another outfit, David is back to wearing the torn, dirty, size 6 pants, and Lizzie is completely in tears. The inside of my car smells like a sour burpcloth and peaches and we are now a complete 30 minutes late getting off to school. And I now have to stop by McDonald's (my absolute least favorite place) to buy David some breakfast.
I am seriously thinking about starting my day tomorrow with a shot of whiskey.