Victory OatmealDecember 18, 2012
I have the same breakfast every weekday morning. When I get to work, I mix two packages of cinnamon-swirl oatmeal with two baby boxes of raisins and top it off with hot water from the coffee maker. Then I stir it all together in a styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon and eat it quietly in my office while basking in a sense of accomplishment. This is my happy oatmeal. My victory oatmeal. Enjoyed in a moment of celebration knowing that, even at this early hour, I have already conquered the days most challenging hour. That is, the hour between the time the Kalahuraka Kiddos wake up and the time that I walk in my office door. That hour is an everyday skirmish. A wrestling match. An exercise in patience. An exercise in chaos management, from which I have, once again, emerged victorious.
I realize that it may be difficult for you to understand how simply getting a couple of kids dressed, fed and out the door to school could be such a difficult task. That’s reasonable. So, let me give you a glimpse into only five minutes from this very morning.
Minute 1: It’s early. I’m trying to catch a quick shower before the kids realize where I am. No luck. I see Billy wander into the bathroom carrying my phone (note to self, Billy is now tall enough to reach the night stand). I double the speed with which I am trying to wash the soap out of my hair and decide to skip the conditioning. I hear Billy exclaim happily (typically not good), so I open one eye and try to wipe away enough soap to see what he is up to. He’s using my phone like a paddle to splash around in the toilet. “NOO!!!” I jump out of the shower, reach for my phone with one hand and the only clean towel in our house with the other. I wrap the phone in the towel (dripping soapy water all over the place). Shake my wet finger at Billy, “We don’t put Mommy’s phone in the toilet!” Billy grins and says, “Boat?” I hop back in the shower to finish washing off the soap.
Minute 2: Just when I’m almost (but not quite) done, I hear Billy exclaiming happily again. I peek out to see him laying on the floor and making swimming motions in the soapy puddle that I just made. “AGGH! No Billy, we don’t swim in puddles on the bathroom floor!” Now I’m going to have to dress him again. I get out of the shower, unwrap my phone (which is incredibly still working) and mop up the floor puddle. I “dry off” with the now very damp and clammy towel and proceed to get ready for work.
Minute 3: Amelia wanders into the bathroom, still wearing her pajamas and knuckling her eyes at the bright lights. She whines, “Mommy? I need to go potty.” I help her onto the potty and go out into our bedroom to get some clean clothes. Before I can get back, I hear Amelia yelling, “MOMMY!!! LOOK WHAT BILLY IS DOING!! COME LOOK WITH YOUR EYES!!” I hurry back into the bathroom to see one very wet Billy whacking Amelia (still sitting on the potty) over the head with a toothbrush. I take it away from him, “No Billy, we don’t hit people over the head with toothbrushes.” And I continue getting ready.
Minute 4: No sooner is my back turned than Amelia begins yelling again, “NO BILLY!! MOMMMYYYYYY!! SCREEEEEEEECH!!” I turn around. Billy is laughing maniacally and doing his best to shove Amelia down into the toilet. “No Billy! We don’t shove people into the toilet!” I snatch him up, take him out into the dark bedroom and flop him down on top of Bill (who is attempting to steal a few more minutes of sleep by hiding under the covers). Bill exclaims, “He’s Wet!” Yes. Yes he is.
Minute 5: I go back into the bathroom to finish getting ready. Amelia’s standing there, in only her PJ top with a very serious look on her face. “Mommy?” she asks. “Yes Amelia?“ Then with her best wide-eyed innocent face: “Oh My! Billy does LOTS of bad things.” “Yes Amelia, sometimes he does. But Billy is still learning how to behave.” I pick her up and head towards her room to get some clothes. “Mommy?” she asks again. “Yes Amelia?” “My name is Amelia, and I am NOT doing bad things.”
Well, not yet, but there are still 55 minutes to go . . .
There it is. A five-minute glimpse that is representative of the whole pre-work hour on most of my mornings. Those kids of ours — they are creatures of chaos, masters of messes and directors of destruction. But they are oh so very cute.
Now then, back to my victory oatmeal.