The lovely husband showers first, and I snuggle with all three kids, willing them to stay less-than-fully awake until the water stops. We need those moments, they and I, me sprawled in some implausible shape while they crawl like puppies across my body and each other. Where’s my nose? one of the girls asks G, and obligingly he pokes her in the nose. Giggles abound. Where’s my ear? she asks, and he obligingly pokes her in the nose again. More giggles. Ears are not so important, not right now. The other girl climbs across me and offers her scrunched-up face. Where’s MY nose, sweetie? Poke poke. Giggle giggle. They’re fully awake, and luckily, the water stops. The lovely husband emerges momentarily and the three throw themselves at him. He tries to catch little humans hurtling through space without losing his towel, and so far, it’s a good morning. The four of them go downstairs.
I get out of bed, walk through the purple bedroom, the blue one, the yellow one, gathering diapers and shorts and dresses and unders and the favorite-of-the-week bracelet that I know will be called up for, and I throw three little-person outfits down the stairs. I yell to the lovely husband that he has the things he needs to get them dressed, and I go take my own shower.
I do not know what happens while I shower, but he gets them dressed and packs up lunches and starts prepping breakfast while I stand under a stream of scalding water for about 18 minutes, realize how pruny my fingers are, and shower-shampoo-rinse-face-legs-etc. in about 37 seconds.
I come downstairs holding the very last clean shirt I can find, think, “man, we should do some laundry tonight,” and get dressed in the dining room while checking the calendar on my phone as seruptitiously as possible. The phone is plugged in, charging, on top of the toaster oven in the kitchen and I bring it around a wall, clicking and deleting and swiping and trying not to trip over my own underpants as I don them one-handed.
The girls are running around, doing their very best impressions of putting on their shoes whilst not actually touching any footwear, and G is in the high chair, devouring a morning snack and staying out from underfoot. The lovely husband verbally reminds me of a meeting tomorrow night that I insist doesn’t exist because he hasn’t marked it on the joint online calendar. The daughter is begging for the swim lessons she cried fearfully over all summer because suddenly, she brags, she loves water on her face and the other daughter tells a word-for-word recap of an argument she had yesterday regarding a blue crayon stub and the pipe cleaner mobile that never was completed. The boy is squealing for release and I don’t know where my carkeys are and it is not six minutes until we absolutely must be driving and the kids aren’t even in the car yet, let alone strapped, let alone I don’t have shoes-
-and then I think: shoes! like it’s a revelation anew each morning, you would think I could more successfully remember about them, and I look down to see both girls are still barefoot. Desperately, I moan: “shoes, girls! Get some shoes!” And they both look up from their reveries, water- and crayon-induced, respectively, and find themselves in the same state of surprise at their barefootedness as I. They’re dreamers, those girls, and I swear I have no idea where they get it. Three minutes.
The lovely husband is handing me three lunch bags and two water play bags and my keys and my phone and I’m still barefoot and still, things, coming my way, a plate of all our breakfast food, a steaming hot mug of coffee-
-ouch! Too hot. I can’t carry all this! And: “girls! The shoes! L, switch feet! E, why did you stop after one buckle?! Both shoes have buckles!” thirty seconds and G is bucking in his high chair, threatening to eject himself by sheer will and I haven’t found my own shoes and I can’t now see my feet, so full are my arms with our get-out-the-door-ness of life.
I will just walk to the car barefoot, I tell myself with deliberate calm, drop everything, shoo the girls inside, encourage them to buckle themselves and hope they’re not feeling oppositional about it or each other, find shoes, grab the boy, and we’re off. Where are my keys? One minute late. The girls are in the car, the bags are in the car, the breakfast is in the car. The coffee is on the car and let’s hope I remember to move it to before driving, not like last time, that’s what windshield fluid is for and I think I remembered to pick up the mug from the lawn later when we got home, shoot WHERE IS MY OTHER SHOE? Grab the boy, straddle him on my hip, spy my shoe sticking out of the couch cushion WHY IS MY SHOE IN THE COUCH CUSHIONS? Berate self: there is no time for questions, let’s just go. I have two shoes. I have the boy and I have the keys and the girls are safely strapped. Three minutes late.
I open the front door and throw the keys on the seat. I open the back door and tuck the boy in his chair. I fasten his straps and notice his shorts are kinda sticky. Wonder what he was eating in the high chair. We’ll just grab a wipe at school and try to clean him up; there’s no way I’m going back inside the house now. Four minutes late. I stand up and WHAT THE
Deep breath. What is wrong with my shirt? And I figure out what was wrong with the boy’s shorts, and calculate just how much jostling happened as he straddled my hip. The boy was clearly suffering from an acute case of Stealth Banana Crotch, and I was wrong. I am, in fact, going back in the house.
I need a new shirt.
Okay. Shirt found. Kids strapped. Car packed. Coffee grabbed. Nine minutes late: a pretty good morning.