Any parent that has more than one child realizes that one will always be the easier child, while the other one will be the “oh my God why didn’t we use birth control” child.
My older child is the easier child and that’s good for both of my children because if my daughter was born first, he wouldn’t exist.
My son has his moments, don’t get me wrong. Between the ages of 3 and 5, I considered heavy medication for the temper tantrums. For me, not him. But then, my sweet normal child that I previously knew came back, and all was right with the world.
So needless to say, when my darling princess started acting up straight out of the womb, I held my breath, certain that when she turned 5, a normal child would emerge.
She’ll be 8 in two months and I’m still waiting.
I know you’re thinking I’m harsh but you don’t live with her. So please, let me regale you with a tale of morning madness. Due to my husband’s work schedule, I am fortunate enough to have him at home four mornings a week to get the child ready to go to school. That fifth morning is a bitch. Now it’s not the older child. He would drive himself to school if he could. It’s that little one that kills me every single time.
How hard could it possibly be to get one nearly 8 year-old-girl out the door by 8:15 am? you may be thinking. Obviously, you don’t have an 8 year old “oh my God” child.
I start around 7:15 by kissing her forehead. I whisper good morning in her ear and stroke her hair while I encourage her to get up. I am usually met with a guttural like growling from underneath the covers.
I then cheerily talk to her while I pull open the drawers, asking her what she wants to wear. This usually evokes a screech from the general direction of the comforter. Still smiling, I tell her that her clothes are on the dresser and ask her what she wants for breakfast.
It is at this point that she usually dramatically flips the covers off her head and wails, “I don’t know what there is to eat! ” Happily, I recite the entire breakfast menu.
She then flops back down on the bed and sighs forlornly. “I wish I could have scrambled eggs this morning.” Despite the fact that I won’t have time to blow dry my hair if I make her scrambled eggs, I would do anything to get her butt out of bed so I agree to scrambled eggs.
After I have created the requested breakfast, I call the princess to the kitchen. I get no response. Assuming she is getting dressed, I go about getting myself ready…until I realize that she has crawled back under the covers.
Dragging her out of bed, I literally carrying her to the kitchen table while she fakes snoring. (She learned that from her father). Once at the table, she opens her eyes and recoils in horror. “Those are scrambled eggs! I don’t want scrambled eggs!”
“But, but, but…” I stammer. Am I going crazy? Didn’t she just tell me scrambled eggs?
Pouting, she cries, “I want oatmeal!” Glancing at the clock, I see that time is ticking away. I guess I won’t make my lunch today either. Well, I needed to drop a few pounds anyway. Grumbling, I proceed to make the oatmeal while I send her back upstairs to get dressed.
After the oatmeal is made, I call up the stairs. I get no response. I climb the stairs to find my daughter naked on her bed with markers and paper.
“What the hell are you doing?” I scream, unable to contain my frustration any longer.
She smiles at me as she waves the picture. “I want to color my teacher a picture.”
“No you don’t,” I tell her. “You want to get dressed. Now.”
This is the point at which I quickly begin to unravel. She folds her arms defiantly across her chest and tells me no, it is her teacher’s birthday and she wants to draw her a picture. I respond with a very colorful, “I don’t give a bleep if it’s bleeping Christmas. We don’t have time for this bleeping bleep this morning.”
She now begins bawling hysterically which leads to hyperventilation. I frantically look to the clock to see it is now 7:40 and we are, as usual, down to the wire. Since I am not dressed yet, I shout at her to get her bleeping bleep dressed before I am dressed or there will be hell to pay. She blissfully ignores me as I race out of the room to throw my own clothes on.
When I return, the coloring is over, but she is still naked. “Why aren’t you dressed?” I inquire, determined not to lose my temper after a little pep talk I gave myself in the bedroom.
“I don’t like the clothes you picked out,” she tells me.
“Okayyyyyy,” I mutter. “I don’t care what you wear, just put something on.”
It is now 7:50 and the older child is pacing and soon to be hyperventilating. I am convinced he may spontaneously combust if he is late for school even once in his lifetime. He has no patience or tolerance for his sister’s antics which he begins to voice loudly.
“Come ON, already! Jesus she’s so slow!”
“Don’t say Jesus,” I admonish half-heartedly as I tug on my boots.
“But she’s a pain in the ass,” he insists.
I ignore the word ass. “I agree. Could you help me out and pack her book bag so that we can get out of here?”
“That’s not fair,” he grumbles at the injustice but it is still more important to him to be on time so he grabs her book bag and starts throwing her homework and lunch bag in there. He will be admonished by his younger sibling after school for his “messy” packing job.
“Wait!” I haven’t packed her lunch yet. “What do you want for lunch?” I call up to the demon seed.
“I don’t know….” she whines.
“Throw a yogurt and an apple in there,” I instruct the older one. Inevitably she will change her mind about what she wants to eat between now and lunch time anyway and I will get a tearful phone call from her that she is so hungry and the food is sooooo icky.
“Are you ready?” I call up the stairs impatiently. My daughter now comes down the stairs in a tutu like skirt and a tee shirt that she has chewed around the collar. Her hair is sticking up from all the hairspray she has sprayed in it. “Dear Lord, what are you wearing?”
“I want to wear this!” she shouts, defending her clothing choice. She stomps over to the closet and retrieves sparkly boots.
Absolutely not. It’s 37 degrees out. You need leggings under that.”
“No! I hate leggings!” she screeches as she bounds back up the steps and flings herself on the bed. She pulls the covers over her head.
“See what you did?” the older one wails. “Now we’re gonna be late and I’m gonna get detention and then I’m going end up in a biker gang…” He is frantically twiddling his hair.
“No, no, no!” I cry as fly up the stairs. “Get out of bed! We have to go!” It is now 8:00. I’m pretty sure the older one is having a coronary at this point.
“Oh my God she’s so stupid!” he yells. “She makes us late everyday!”
Suddenly, the princess shoots out of bed as if shot from a cannon. She darts down the hall and launches herself from the top of the steps with the speed and agility of an Olympic gymnast. She lands square on her brother and begins pummeling him. His nose begin to bleed as he flips her over and his fists start flying. The dogs are barking and dancing around, eager to join the melee. Taking my life in my hands I attempt to separate the children and get kicked in the head.
“Get off of each other!” I screech. I am ignored. I pull the little one into the kitchen and throw her down on the chair. “Eat your bleeping oatmeal NOW,” I growl.
I turn to reprimand the older one, but he is already outside, tissue shoved up his bloody nose, pacing next to the car. It is 8:10. I am sweating and have heart palpitations at this point. But we just might make it.
“Quickly! Eat!” I cannot fathom sending my princess to school on an empty stomach. I am certain her teacher would think I was a bad mommy if I did.
Slowly and deliberately she climbs down from the chair and retrieves a box of cereal. “I think I’d rather have cereal,” she tells me sweetly.