Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Getting the Big Family out the door in the Morning

Getting five kids out the door and on their way to school every morning is no easy task. It seems simple enough. In this 2007-08 school year that is coming to an end, we've done this so many times, but I can likely count on one hand the super smooth mornings we've had.

On a day that the spouse works, he wakes before me and gets himself off to work. I wake when he leaves. I shower and get started with my day. My getting started routine includes a shower, clean clothes, brush teeth, dry hair, straighten hair and all the things that go along with rolling out of bed in the morning. This usually takes me from 6:20 a.m. until at least 7 a.m.

Between 7 a.m. and 7:10, I pause what I'm doing and wake any children that haven't already gotten up on their own. Lately, that's all five of them. The boy hates to get out of bed when I wake him. If he gets up on his own, he's fine, he'll go start his breakfast or at least turn on the tv or something before the girls join him. So, I have to give him a shove and some sort of inspiration to get him out of bed. This week the inspiration to get out of bed is one of several prompts such as, you have a tball game today, there's only 3.5 days of school left, one more day til olympic day at school.

I move from his bedroom to the shared room of the younger girls. There is a rescue pet alarm clock in this room, but it doesn't push them out of their beds, so I usually have to wake them both. The older of the two (9 year old girl) is a pretty easy up. Give her a tickle and she's awake and doesn't take too much prodding for her to get out of bed. Sometimes I'll skip the bottom bunk and go to the next room before coming back to my youngest, who is at her most pleasant when she's sleeping!

I give a tug on the oldest girl's pillow, which wakes her easily. She lays there for a minute while I attempt to wake the sleeping log. My pre-teen 11 year old girl is rough on the waking and has taught every snotty thing she knows to the littlest princess/demon. I nudge her, tickle her nose with her hair, pull off her comfy blankets, shake her shoulder and tell her its time to get up before I get a reaction.

Once she moves around a bit, I can go, because she'll get up once she's awake. I return to the youngest, hating that I must wake her, but give her covers a little shake and her eyes flutter open. Will she be a princess or a demon today? I never know what to expect. I tell her bunkmate to get moving and she climbs down the ladder and heads downstairs for breakfast. I ask the little one if she wants to pick her clothes or for me to pick them. She wants to do it. I tell her to get moving and go down for breakfast while I finish up in my bathroom.

On my way back to my room for any finishing touches, I tell the boy he'd better get downstairs before the girls do or there won't be any of his favorite cereal left. He reluctantly climbs out of bed. I make it to my bathroom to finish whatever is left, moisturizing, a little more straightening of the hair. It's not more than 2 minutes before the demon starts yelling.

Today she is screaming at an older sister to get her something to drink. Her siblings think she's spoiled, but she's likely just misunderstood. She doesn't want to be left out and can only do so many things for herself. She's little, what do you want. I shout down the stairs for someone to help her get her breakfast ready and the 11 year old complains that she did it yesterday and 9 year old is already eating and doesn't want her cereal to get soggy.

The oldest says she'll do it, because as she says, she 'does everything around here'. I beg to differ with that statement, but am satisfied that breakfast is underway and it's not even 7:30 yet. I finish my stuff, and head down to supervise breakfast clean up because without daily reminders, no one will clean up after themselves.

After they eat, most of them head back upstairs to get dressed. The demon whines for someone to push her chair out so she can get down, something she can do herself, but today refuses to. I ignore her and tell her to get dressed. I've brought an outfit down for her. She finds it on the spouses recliner, but decides it is not what she wants to wear. Demands I fetch something different.

I cannot, we're running low on time. I put together 2 butter sandwiches, 1 peanut butter sandwich and 1 pb&j and put them in the lunch boxes. Once their dressed, they'll come back down and put the rest of the things they want in the boxes, juice box, granola bar, etc. I add 3 slices of salami to the demon's princess lunch box, a juice box and a granola bar today because I know she won't be ready to do it herself. I still have to brush her hair.

She finally realizes that I'm not fetching her clothes, much to her loud demands and arguing with me she goes upstairs to find something better. She can't find what she's looking for and I end up going up there anyway and opening the next drawer and handing her the outfit she was looking for. I go brush the hair of my 9 year old girl. Direct the boy to get his lunch finished and in his backpack.

The older two pretty much do their own thing. Once they've eaten breakfast, they're in their room primping. After primping they finish making their lunches and get ready to walk out the door. I yell to the little one to hurry so I can get in my last bit of torture, the hair brushing. I pull out yesterdays rubber bands at 7:56. There's no time for a cute french braid, so a ponytail holding the front hair off her face will do. She whines and complains the whole time. By now I've shooed the rest of the kids into the minivan and they're waiting on us. We're doing good if we get in the car before 8:05.

We drive the .75 miles through town to the middle school to drop off 11 and 13. They request a ride home. The little one is cold and didn't bring a jacket. I don't have time to run back home. Back towards home and pass the elementary school and drop off the other 3. She still wants a jacket, which she wouldn't have needed if she'd worn the outfit I'd originally picked out for her, which I of course mention. She ends up taking 9's sweat-jacket with her.

I head back home to wait for my daycare kids to arrive, which happens around 8:20, minutes after I get there.

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