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I have decided to revise my morning routine expectations.  I will no longer try to feed my children between 6:30 am and 7 am.  I will no longer try to get the three of us dressed and out the door by 7:30 am.

I rarely succeeded on that schedule.  We were rarely out the door by 7:30, and I was rarely succeeding as my best self.

From now on, I have decided to try to leave the apartment by 8:15.

So, this morning the boys and I read books until 7, when they started their breakfasts, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

"Ahhhhh, so this is all it took?  A shift in perspective?  Less pressure to meet an unattainable goal?  Done and done.  We are all so much happier right now.  No one is yelling or throwing a fit.  This is awesome!"

Perhaps as a result of prolonged periods of sleep deprivation at various points in the last three and a half years (yes, today is Bug's half-birthday!), I did not stop myself when I was having such glorious, self-congratulatory thoughts.

I did not think, "Hmmmm . . . this elated feeling that I have solved the mysteries of motherhood tends to precede a not-so-gentle reminder that this game is always changing."

No, I did not think that.

Instead, I continued with the morning sure that the days of morning-meltdowns (Bug's, Squish's, mine) were over.  (See e.g., Yesterday morning when I broke down and started to cry while I was trying to cram Squish into his rear-facing car seat and he was screaming loud protest screams at me and Bug was refusing to get into his car seat and whining loud protest whines at me.)

After I dressed Squish for the day, I went into the living room to get Bug into his "daytime clothes."  I turned off the television because his favorite dinosaur show had ended.

He yelled at me something about a Martha who speaks.

I said it was time to get dressed.

He got up and turned the television back on.

I turned it back off and started to count to three (some magic spell I read about in a book somewhere along the way).

"That's one."

Bug spit at me.

"That's two."

He called me a Stinky Butt.

"That's three - time out."

I told him to go to his room.

He hit me.  He started to push me and said, "I am pushing you!"

I tried not to laugh as he narrated his battle.

I picked him up and carried him to his room for a three-minute break.  He kicked me en route.  He hit me again when I put him down in his room.

Squish started to laugh at just about every part of the excitement.

I said, "[Squish], please don't encourage him.  It's not actually funny."

Then Squish said, "Nooo!  [hahahahaha]  No! [hahahaha]  No!  No!  No!"

This was not exactly fitting into my A New Day Has Dawned Because I Have Solved The Mystery Of Getting Out Of The Apartment Every Morning With Happiness And Light Shining On The Three Of Us By Deciding To Leave At 8:15 Instead Of 7:30.

Many door slams and Stinky Butts later, the time out ended, and Bug seemed a bit calmer.  In fact, we all did.  And we made it out of the apartment by 8:23.

I am going to stick with the 8:15 goal.  It may not prevent Bug or Squish meltdowns, but at least I wasn't in tears today.  I didn't feel the usual dread that we were going to be Late As Usual!  Instead, as I set the oven timer for Bug's time out, I actually thought to myself, "Well, at least we have fifteen more minutes until we are supposed to be leaving.  Surely we can put the pieces back together within fifteen minutes." 

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