Each and every morning, Monday through Friday, our 11 year-old daughter Taylor gets up for school. She’s finishing up the 5th grade. (By the way, when I was in the 5th grade, Mr. Mussa was my favorite teacher; Miss Monzillo, my 7th grade teacher was a very close second)
It begins with getting her up at 7:20, handing her a glass of chocolate milk while she checks out Spongebob Square Pants on the boob-tube. (I’ve come to the conclusion that his screaming this early in the morning is too taxing-no more Spongebob)
A few minutes later she comes downstairs for breakfast. Most often it’s her favorite cereal, Trix. While Taylor eats at the table (half-asleep) I pack her lunch which was prepared by my wife the night before. (I miss the days of coming home for lunch at 12 o’clock)
After she polishes off the bowl it’s time to get dressed. Brushing her teeth and her hair is a given.
8:20 and it’s time to jump in the car while we carry her heavy bookbag and lunch box to make the drive to school.(I lived across the street from Holy Name. I usually had one, maybe two books in my hand)
During this time of day, how difficult is it for you? When I first started in this thing they call parenthood, it was crazy. I was out of control. Always yelling, always screaming. “COME ON TAYLOR, WAKE UP!” or it was, “LET’S GO HURRY UP OR YOU’LL BE LATE!”
Arguably, Monday’s are the hardest, no kid wants to get up (shit, us grown-ups don’t want to get up but we have to). The thick, heavy, soft blankets over their body keeps them warm. Who really wants to get out from under them? And why is it the person sleeping always gets mad at the person sendng the wake-up calls? We’re just trying to help for crissakes.
But it’s in our job description as parents to get them up and at ’em. We do everything we can. We try the nice, soft, sweet approach and if that doesn’t work, we get tougher and tougher when they ignore our calls.
A few weeks ago I came across a story in the New York Times on child development. The author mentioned, “If you make it easy on the kid today, they’ll have it hard tomorrow.” That quote has stayed with me ever since.
As a kid growing up on 9th avenue, it was tough for me in the morning to get motivated. Eating cereal, getting dressed, the brushing of the hair and teeth. There were some mornings I didn’t brush my hair nor did I eat anything. Yeah, I know, both gross and sad.
To top things off, I was often late for school…and I lived right across the street! I recall mornings in my house where I rolled out of bed as the bell from school was our alarm clock; slid my school uniform on and walked across the street. I was so late at times Angel, our crossing guard on the corner was already gone from her usual post.
On mornings I did get up on time, I’d often peek out my bedroom window and wonder who were those kids waiting outside school at 8:00AM? How did they get up so early and why were they there 45 minutes before the bell?
When I look back on those morning rituals, I have to say, I learned a ton. These days as a parent, I could never allow my kid to be late for school. She has to eat, brush her hair and teeth. It’s a work in progress but we manage.
How’s your morning ritual with the kids; tough? easy?