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).
Bug spit at me.
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."