I recently watched a crime thriller in which the coroner said he could tell from the spatter pattern that the victim’s blood pressure was sky high before she died because she was fighting for her life.
That’s pretty much how I feel most days between 6 and 9 a.m.
In fact, the other morning I was so stressed out by the time I dropped my twins at kindergarten that I found myself frenetically humming “Mother’s Little Helper” to my 2-year-old on the walk back to the minivan. The whole experience was so enjoyable that I thought I would work up a sort of recap for the pleasure of my readers.
The games began at 6:04 a.m. when I tried to feign sleep after hearing my 5-year-old daughter bang open her door, tromp into the bathroom – and, as usual, not flush – and proceed to orate 16 of her favorite books. Her twin brother quickly swung into action, ball hammering the floor on his way to his sister’s room, where they invented a noisy game that involved plastic dinosaurs and Connect Four pieces.
All of this was clearly too much for Jane, 2, who began to bellow, “I want to get out.” For better or worse, she still cannot seem to manage to open her own bedroom door.
At breakfast, Jane engaged in a round of competitive chair climbing, punctuating her gymnastics not with bites but with unrequited demands for “Caillou.” I am not actually opposed to the judicious use of television, but I am concerned that I may pierce myself with one of our dull paring knives if I ever again have to suffer that particular character’s whine.
When she did finally sit long enough to chug her yogurt drink, Jane then pressed into another familiar theme – wanting to “wash out” the container in the kitchen sink – a messy undertaking that I had no desire to facilitate at 6:38 in the morning. Griffin left his Cracklin’ OatBran marinating too long in milk and began whining that his cereal was “too soggy.”
I stupidly chose this moment to unload the dishwasher with my 2-year-old, who insisted, “I help.” Of course, “we” broke a glass. While I swept up the shards, and my twins wrestled on our sagging couch, Jane moved onto “cleaning” our filthy floor with a baby wipe that she soon applied to her face.
I then tried to scrape together the school-required, nut-free lunches for my twins, one of whom subsists primarily on peanut butter. My son dribbled his “Toy Story” ball about my feet, occasionally bouncing it off the refrigerator. Georgia and Jane took turns asking me 139 “why” questions in between scrapping over Barbies and books.
Then the tattling commenced.
“Griffin said something not nice to me!” wailed Georgia.
“Georgia stepped on my arm!” her brother cried.
“Georgia said ‘no’ to me!” – the consummate crime in Janie’s mind.
Upstairs, my son bemoaned the fact that he had no clean pants. He unsuccessfully tried to squeeze into a pair of size 4 corduroys. So I trudged down to the basement laundry where I encountered a gigantic (and scary) cricket sheltering near the dryer – but no clean trousers. Griffin fussily settled for an oversized pair of hand-me-down sweatpants, the legs of which dragged along the floor.
My 2-year-old barged through two sets of doors to confront me on the toilet with the concern that she couldn’t find “Some-Dee,” her favorite, oddly named doll. “Brush your teeth!” I yelled from my room – and then turned my ankle trying to hop out of my pajama bottoms.
When I emerged from my ablutions some minutes later, I was delighted to discover that my twins had carried out my instructions in their own bathroom and had not only left toothpaste smeared across the counter but also both faucets running.
Jane then insisted, “I dress myself.” After trying to poke her head through one of her shirt’s armholes about 16 times, I took over, and she dissolved into a tantrum.
Georgia picked this moment to air her ballooning list of grievances. “We’re going to be late!” she cried. Then she went on to share, through tears, that she hates waiting in the gym for her teacher to fetch her class, that she’s really angry that Griffin gets to do iPads more often than she does at school, and that it’s totally unfair that Jane gets to spend all this time alone with me. While I fruitlessly tried to reason with Georgia, Jane commenced her other favorite hobby, opening and slamming doors.
At this point, we really were getting late, so Griffin decided to sprawl out on the foyer floor. He then put on his backpack before his coat and had to redo the enterprise to much fanfare. Jane bolted from me when I tried to strap on her shoes.
“Georgia stepped on my lunch box,” Griffin complained.
“We’re going to be late!” Georgia started crying again.
“That’s it!” I screamed. “Everyone to their rooms!”
“Mommy sounds like a dinosaur,” Jane observed.
By the time I dropped off my twins at school, their faces splotchy from crying, I was twitching. “Doctor please, some more of these,” I hummed on the walk back to the minivan with my 2-year-old. We only had to stop about nine times for me to hitch up my retreating trousers – they were missing the top button – and for Jane to try to stuff Some-Dee’s chubby, plastic thumb into the doll’s pinhole of a mouth.
Still shaking, I drove straight to The Cheese Company.
“Mother needs something today to calm her down,” I told Jane, before splitting open a banana chocolate chip muffin.