I'm one of those people who really doesn't like to be running late all the time. Really really. Like, it stresses me out terribly to have several things scheduled close enough together so that there is a slight chance I might not be able to make it exactly on time. Prior to having children, I was able to deal with this okay, and I usually arrived a few minutes early for most events, just as I liked it.
I know, everybody knows those people, that family, who are always late. Doesn't matter what time they say they will be somewhere, you can count on them showing up a half an hour later, an hour later, whatever. It becomes a kind of joke; if they actually show up on time somewhere it's a monumental event. People start telling them a time that is earlier than usual in hopes that they will maybe arrive by the real time. I have always vowed never to be those people.
And then we had kids. Suddenly everything slowed down. This week alone, I was late for work every single day. Not LATE late, you understand, but late enough. Late enough so that I had to rush, to skip steps, to snap at the kids about a billion times (which just makes them move more slowly, but ack! what am I supposed to do?)
I do everything I can to facilitate a smooth morning. I pick out the kids' clothes the night before--hunting down little matching socks and clean underwear and onesies and lying them all neatly on the changing table for the next morning. I arrange the boots and snowpants and hats and mittens and lunches and backpacks all carefully by the door. I make lunch the night before, fill my water bottle, bring up the laundry from the basement. Every single thing is set to jump into it the moment we are awake. And still, we are continuously running late.
On Tuesday, I was ten minutes late. Yikes! I had a meeting at 7:30 that I totally didn't get to until almost 7:45! Everything had conspired against me--the road on the way to daycare was a sheet of pure ice (I do thank my lucky stars that I avoided the crash that happened moments after I got to work, however!), Monkey had one mitten go mysteriously AWOL, I got behind a school bus making its stops--anything that could possibly thwart me was there for the thwarting.
So Wednesday, I set the alarm ten minutes earlier. Everything seemed to be working; Jabber woke up without me needing to shake him and cajole him and drag him out of bed. Monkey stayed sleeping in my bed while I washed my hair and put on my make-up and got dressed in the bathroom. Every so often I called in to Jabber's room with a nice little, "How's it going in there, honey? Are you almost dressed?"
"Almost!" he called, each time. I trusted him.
After about ten minutes, I was showered, made up, and dressed. I was about ready to go in and dress the Monkey. I put the toothpaste on Jabber's toothbrush and poked my head in to his room to let him know he could brush at any time.
There he sat, on the edge of the bed, perfectly naked, with one sock in his hand, poised over the edge of one toe. He was lost in thought and looked as though he had been lost there for the last ten minutes. "I thought you were getting dressed!" I shouted. "You said you were almost ready to go!"
"Mom?" he said, looking up from his toe contemplation. "How do we really know about things? Like, really know?"
"WHAT THINGS? THE ONLY THING I KNOW IS THAT I AM GOING TO BE LATE FOR WORK IF WE DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE IN SEVEN MINUTES! THAT MEANS TEETH BRUSHED, HAIR COMBED, CLOTHES ON, BOOTS ON, SNOW BRUSHED OFF THE CAR, BUCKLED IN CAR SEATS AND HEADING DOWN THE ROAD! WILL YOU PLEASE GET DRESSED NOW????"
I feel awful about that. I mean, he's obviously having some incredible epiphany about the nature of true knowledge, and I'm shoving a piece of gum in his mouth and snapping at him that we don't have time to brush teeth today.
And don't even get me started about the next morning, when I had everyone dressed and ready to go, and then Monkey took off all his clothing while I was out starting the van and scraping the ice of the windshield. Or how he screamed bloody murder while simultaneously thrashing and maintaining an unnatural stiffness to every limb while I tried to re-clothe him.
Late. Running late. Sorry I'm late. Hurry, we're late. Come on, we're going to be late. I feel like the white rabbit.