Monday, September 24, 2012

A School-Day Morning at Our House

Why describe the carnage at our house on a Monday morning? Oh, I don't know -- in case anyone is trying to decide whether to have more than one kid? Because if you do, you might have a morning like this. Or hundreds of them.
The alarm goes off and I stumble into the kitchen to make two Aeropress lattes. After grinding beans, heating water and milk, pouring, squeezing every last drop of coffee out of the grounds and stirring, I sigh with anticipated pleasure and take a sip.
And spit into the sink. Because the milk went sour before its expiration date.
I start over with the other gallon of milk in the fridge, and lower the temperature, which I notice has been set at two notches warmer than "recommended" since we moved in here three months ago.
When Epu emerges from the shower and claims his coffee redo, I try to tell him what happened, but by this point all three kids are at the breakfast table and Nutmeg is singing "It's the End of the World as We Know It" and Toth is screaming for Nutmeg to stop so Epu can't hear me.
I try again to tell him what happened with the coffee and the fridge, and then give up. Instead I read the kids today's lunch menu, which is corn dog, Nutmeg's favorite food ever.
"No way," Nutmeg says. Because apparently the school food tastes bad no matter what the menu choice is.
"Aren't you ever going to get school lunch?" I ask her. "Because we put $100 on your account."
"Maybe another time," she says. "But not today."
I stand at the counter, filling out the form for Pebbles' school picture today. Epu appears in the kitchen and tells me, "It's Picture Day."
"I know," I tell him. "That's why we gave them all baths last night, remember? That's why I picked out a special outfit with each of the girls."
"I set an alert on my Google calendar," Epu said. "Because sometimes in the past I didn't know it was picture day, and the kids looked messy in their pictures."
"How would YOU not knowing it's picture day affect how they look?" I ask him. "I always made sure they were nice outfits on those days. It's not my fault if their hair got messy after I dropped them off at school."
"Also it was in the e-mail newsletter from school," he tells me.
"Why aren't I getting the email newsletter from school?" All school emails are supposed to go to both of us, because of an elaborate email system Epu set up. But apparently it's not working.
"Anyway, it's picture day," he says, and I ask if perhaps he would like to fill out the order forms, or do the girls' hair.
"Gotta go," he says.
I remind Epu to take a lunch and he leaves for work. I decide to order the kids' pics online instead of with the form and sit down a the computer. I have to get up twice to tell Nutmeg to stop singing "It's the End of the World as We Know It" because for some reason it causes her brother to scream and he is never going to finish his breakfast if he keeps screaming, and then we are never going to make it to school on time. She finally stops singing and makes her own lunch -- a jelly sandwich.
I send the kids up to get dressed and put the girls' printed out picture forms into their backpacks along with their recess snacks. When I get upstairs the girls are dressed but they can't find their hairbrush. We need to leave in 10 minutes or be tardy. Toth is still in his footies and whenever I try to grab him to start dressing him, he crawls under the shelf next to his bed where he knows he's hard to reach.
"I want to play iPad!" he yells at me.
I give the girls some flack about not putting their hairbrush away when they're done with it, and Nutmeg reminds me that I was the last one to use it, when I combed out their hair after baths last night.
"Everyone look for it!" I tell them.
 While they stand still and watch me while I pull back the covers of their beds and feel underneath their beds and search their bathroom.
"What is all over all these wet towels in here?" I ask.
"Marker," Toth tells me.
I don't really want to ask any more questions about that. I drag a huge plastic storage container out of their bathroom, which apparently had been used to add extra height to a stepstool so someone could reach the top shelf.
I give up on the hairbrush hunt and have them use mine, while I get Toth going brushing his teeth. I dig some clean clothes for him out of the clean laundry bin. Then, just at the moment when we absolutely must throw on his clothes and dash out the door to beat the tardy bell, Toth makes the morning announcement I dread most:
Like all males, he will now spend a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom. I put the finishing touches on the girls' hair and tell them to go without me, and I pray that Nutmeg will get Pebbles to the kinder entrance without ditching her.
Then minutes later, Toth is suddenly all cooperation, gets into his clothes practically unassisted, and tells me, "Now I'm fast."
Sure, now you're fast.
I remember that Pebbles was supposed to have show and tell today so I grab her Halloween costume, and get Toth out the door and into the bike trailer. As we ride toward the school on our way to Toth's school, I notice that all the parents and students are on the blacktop, because Mondays are assembly day.
Oh yeah, I forgot about that.
This is actually good because although I missed the assembly, I am able to visually confirm that both my kids made it to their classes, and I give Pebbles her devil costume as she heads into her classroom. I have a quick word with the already-busy kindergarten teacher about when Pebbles might be able to fulfill her dream of bringing one of our cats for show and tell.
Wednesday, we agree.
Pebbles starts crying because she wanted to do it today. She buries her face in her hands.
"DON'T MESS UP YOUR HAIR!" I beg her. "It's picture day!"
And then I look over her shoulder and notice that the other kids brought apples to school today, and I do not remember any note coming home about bringing apples.
I kiss her goodbye and bike Toth off to school.