They will learn this important life lesson and they will LIKE IT.

None of us, really, are morning people. We at Casa de Katie like our sleep, and, barring that, we like to mush through our morning routines in quiet. Those sweet little girls of mine stare at me, dazed, when I tumble and drag them out of bed. They mumble their breakfast requests when I ask, and snip at me, annoyed, when I ask them to repeat it because there was no way I was going to understand that garble. My ears are half-asleep, too.

I leave the girls to get dressed, reminding them to hurry, and start the coffee, the breakfasts, and make my lunch. The girls zombie-stutter their way to the kitchen and eat, still quiet and mumbley.

But then! Oh, then comes the witching hour: teeth-brushing time. On a good morning one of the girls will finish her breakfast early and then the teeth brushing and hair fixing routine is staggered. But most mornings? Oh no, most mornings are not good mornings. Both girls are sent to their bathroom to brush their teeth and then their hair. And that’s when they find their voice.

“MOVE OVER!”
“UH ENH AH ET!” [“I need to spit.” Obviously.]
“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS…”
“BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAHBLAH!” [Did you hear a mocking whine there? I heard mocking. And whining.]

It’s constant and punctuated with tears and slams and whining and the sound of my nerves cracking. I can’t make one girl brush her teeth while the other brushes her hair because hair-fixing is practically an Olympic sport for one of my childrens (cough:Bee:cough) and she would never get out the door if I didn’t make her brush her teeth first. The other one spends approximately 15 seconds running a brush through her hair, so that doesn’t really stagger things as much as a mom might hope.

And you know, I was thinking about this while I was putting my shoes on this morning and trying hard not to lose my cool, and this is something the girls better figure out now (as I all too kindly lectured them later). They’re going to have roommates and boyfriends or girlfriends and hopefully one day they’ll find the love of their lives and get married. They’re going to have to do this “shared morning routine in a small space” thing for most of their lives. So they better learn how to handle it now. Morning routines are a dance that should be done with as much kindness (and as little talking, in my opinion) as possible. And besides, isn’t that kind of the point of siblings? Aren’t they the ones who break you in and teach you how to share space, how to give and take, to work out problems and frustrations successfully? That’s one of the many things my siblings taught me. The lessons I learned from sharing a room with Kim for nearly all of my childhood is the reason Gracie and Bee share a room now, even though technically they could have their own. (Shhhh…don’t tell them that. I won’t give in, but I’ll have to listen to it until my ears bleed.)

So I took away five minutes of bedtime for the yelling and screaming and unnecessary mocking (15-yard penalty…whoops, wrong bloodsport). I talked to the girls as I drove them to school about the importance of being kind even when we’re tired. I understand why they do it, but that doesn’t make it okay. They mostly ignored me and I let them. I know part of it will sink it. And as they grow up, a little more will sink in, and a little more.

And right around the time when they’re watching their friends at college melt down because OHMYGOD their roommates!, maybe they’ll start to see the wisdom of being forced to brush their teeth side by side in a tiny little bathroom instead of giving in and letting them use mine. They might not say it out loud, and probably not to their mom, but that’s okay. The lesson will still be there. And maybe by then my nerves will have recovered.

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One Response to “They will learn this important life lesson and they will LIKE IT.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    They will figure it out. And, they will be thankful.

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