Morning madness, happiness

Our mornings seem crazy. However, I wouldn’t trade them. Here is a snapshot of one of our crazy-fun starts to the day. 5:45 – 8:10 a.m. on a morning last week…

It was week two of taking the boys to daycare in the morning. My 6th day in charge of getting two not-always-cooperative little critters out the door, safely buckled in their car seats, through the doors of school then getting my own tush to work.
Evan (2.5) and Roger (4.8). Evan woke up and was doing some chattering in his crib. I went in to get him and he was really peaceful and sweet. He held my hand then I got him out of the crib.
I walked into Roger’s room with Evan on my hip. Immediately I was assaulted by a urine smell. I gently woke Roger up and asked him to change out of his peed-in pajamas. It was almost 6 a.m.and Kyle came in and offered to put the sheets in the wash. That was a lucky bonus gift of help because usually he’s on the way to the gym before the kids wake up.
I wiped Roger down then on the third pair of underwear I suggested – we had a winner – navy with white star boxer briefs. He seemed sleepy so I continued encouraging his getting dressed process. He shot down my first few outfit ideas and landed on (forecast of mid 80s) Adidas pants and a grey long sleeve shirt with dinosaurs on it and “Old School” written in orange. I went into Evan’s room to start dressing him but then need to go back into Roger’s room because he was balling. He was crying because he had his shirt on backwards so I helped him put it on the right way. Back in Evan’s room we picked out jeans and a Paw Patrol t-shirt. We got the t-shirt on with no issues. Then I changed his diaper and put his jeans on. I picked out light brown socks which he was not too keen on but eventually, after much fussing about not liking the socks, he got distracted by something Roger was up to and I slipped the socks and shoes on him.
I decided to feed them a breakfast of chocolate chip waffles from the freezer. They wanted a frozen waffle (rather than waiting for them to be heated up).
Roger started happily eating his. Evan cried and said he couldn’t bite it. I took it and broke off a little bite sized piece for him and he began wailing about the broken waffle.
For approximately the next 10 minutes he was tearful, very tearful, about the injustice and tragedy of me breaking his waffle.
At this point the remaining 4 waffles were warming in the oven. I had the coffee machine started and Roger was hanging around in the kitchen calmly eating a frozen waffle.
Towards the last few minutes of Evan’s wailing, he ran up to his room to comfort himself with a binky. I went up and invited him to come down for breakfast. He caught his breath and walked with me.
Roger kept asking for another waffle and Evan kept asking if it was ready yet. I kept asking them to get their plates out. Half of good parenting is repeating the same thing or saying it in a slightly different way without getting exasperated, raising your voice, or opening a wine bottle at 6:11 am.
The kids got the plates out and on to the counter. I ask them to go sit in their chairs at the dining room table and I was getting the waffles on the plates, but had to take a few breaks to check on why they were squabbling before I could finish buttering and drizzling syrup on their brekkie. They ask for me to cut their waffles up into pieces so I did.
I got out to the table with my own breakfast including water and coffee and life was great for 60-90 seconds. Next, they start arguing about something and, tired of telling them to be nice, I use a distraction technique “who wants gummies?” Gummies are the two morning vitamins we take each morning. After doling those out I sat for a minute and ate. Roger started asking for a third waffle and Evan started crying that his syrup was gone because he ate all the visible runny syrup off the plate. I explained that waffles soak up the syrup and to take bites then he’d taste it again.
All through the morning I kept looking at the clock. Every morning I have had to keep lowering and lowering my expectations for how soon we could leave the house.
I felt impatient to get upstairs and finish straightening my hair so I decided to let them finish their last few bites unsupervised. Obviously, a risk of things going wrong, but I try to test and learn what kind of responsibility they can handle in safe situations. Roger finished his breakfast and put his plate in the sink then walked upstairs to brush his teeth.
Evan stayed downstairs to finish his breakfast. Well, actually, he ended up pouring out my water bottle and splashing his hands in it on the dining room table. Expirement failed. TV privilege lost.
I actually forget what Roger was doing at this…oh, now I remember. He insisted on making a craft for Dad. He wrote “Dad” in glue and sprinkled rainbow glitter all over it. Meanwhile I had Evan next to me while I was flat ironing my hair and to keep him close – I let him pick out a read-along book. He chose Justice League. Roger came in midway through the story and listened/watched with Ev.
I told them they could watch and listen to one more read-along story after they brushed their teeth. Roger spring up to brush his teeth and returned to claim his turn to pick a story. Evan, by this point in a cuddly mood (and probably exhausted from all the early emotions) was snuggled up to my hip and taking no interest in going to brush his teeth. I tried to pawn off getting Evan’s toothbrush ready to Roger so I could finish my hair but I had to go break up a fight about who got to stand on the the step stool and ended up doing the job.
We made it back to the bedroom and Roger chose a Paw Patrol Halloween (howl-o-ween) book. While the boys sat contentedly, I finished my hair and got dressed.
Next came the time to get out the door. Evan grabbed a large teddy bear and his backpack. I assembled a backup outfit (in case of pee accident) for Roger. Roger grabbed a blanket and Frank the stuffed wiener dog. We got outside. Evan ran partway down the driveway and stood by a tree I thought he was pooping but he was just being defiant and testing boundaries.
With no parenting pride, I bribed them I’d give them one Yum Earth pomegranate hard candy each if they’d get their bums in their car seats quickly.
I exhaled, doled out a fruity candy to each boy and backed down the driveway. Thankfully, they were really content and fairly quiet on the drive to daycare and traffic was light *praise hands.*
In the hallway, Roger said “I want to show you a pretty girl. I bet you’ll like her.” “There!” he pointed. I looked right to see a young woman who looked like a stereotype of what I’d expect a 14 year old boy to find beautiful. She had long blonde straight hair, a thin and curvy body, blue eyes, lash extensions and full makeup. She is a pretty person, perfectly nice. It’s just interesting to me that the first woman he’s made it a point to single out and ask me “Isn’t her pretty?” was basically a Disney princess.
We walked Evan to his classroom and he was easy-peasy with transitioning into his school day. Roger and I walked to his room and crammed his water play outfit, backup outfit, beach towel and blanket into his cubby then joined his friends in the Kindergarten prep classroom.
It’s important to Roger that he gets to parade me around and that I say hello to his friends before I leave for work. After a bit of this and a kiss on the cheek, I was headed back to my car to start phase two of my commute to work.
Two working parents of young children. It’s no joke logistically and in terms of energy level needed, but lots of people make it work and I’m glad to be part of a good team with Kyle.

A free steak

Walking on Craig street, I saw a beggar. He asked me for money to buy food. I told him I didn’t have cash, but would buy him soup if he wanted. I planned to buy soup at Eat Unique shortly anyhow.

Without missing a beat, he said “I want steak.”

Surprised, I said “Steak!?” Then I mumbled under my breath in shock and walked away.



racial divide

Why does someone love or hate entire groups of people?

They just do. Or they think they “just do,” but it’s a culmination of positive or negative experiences with a group, or stories you’ve heard about the group.

Would small acts of love help bridge the racial divide?

This is America, the song by Daniel Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino is unsettling. My friend asked me if I’d seen the video and I told her I hadn’t watched fully because I saw an execution style shooting coming and turned the video off.

But a few days later, after internet rumblings of his genius creation and my own curiosity, I decided to try again.

Watching This is America left me with a nauseous, sad feeling. It’s discomfiting because of the dance and pep of the song set against the violence and apathy in most of the plot.

I read some critical analysis on the song and video. Mr. Glover chooses not to explain his work. A tactic that is normal and wise for creatives.

Some of the critics discussed the brown and white chickens in the video facing apart showing a divide in focus of white versus black* and brown communities. One suggested that black people need to consider correcting their desensitization to violence and idolization of people such as shallow rappers bragging about money.

The pulse of our country seems hostile and divided. Morning news abounds with cell phone videos showing police officers using unnecessarily forceful actions with black people.

And still, I hope we can take care to stay vulnerable, open and not go into a racial divide, us-versus-them mindset. It’s a scary world out there for many and uniting, not dividing is what will raise us up.

A woman I follow on instagram posted a MLK Jr quote calling out white people as failing to educate themselves on black issues.

Upon reading it, feelings of defensiveness started to bubble up. Then I realized I should think about why she felt that way and to think about the statement from different angles.

Talking about race is considered “touchy” and we’ve seen public figures make career-ending errors by saying the wrong thing. The goal of political correctness may stop friends of different backgrounds to only talk on a surface level. They may have no idea how interested and educated (or not) the person who looks different from them is.

I’m an extrovert who loves people and is very inquisitive. For me, getting to know and find commonalities with people from different backgrounds is usually not too challenging. I try to be careful to ask things in a thoughtful way. Still, sometimes I’ve screwed up and needed to apologize.

That’s how learning and growth happens sometimes; in fits and starts – imperfect progress forward. Barriers break down when we discuss nuances of our lives instead of making blanket statements and setting hard rules. Learning happens when I put my foot in my mouth with a trusted friend and allow them to correct my vocabulary or educate me on my assumption.

In this essay, I focused mostly on Americans and the black versus white tension here. The story plays itself out in so many ways in so many parts of the world. For some it’s skin color, for some it’s religion, for some it’s wealth… We, as imperfect humans, have this way of trying to feel different, better-than.

I hope we can all get more comfortable with being common, good enough, brothers and sisters, children of the universe, children of God. Curious, imperfect, full of love and room to grow.

*a note on why I choose to write and say “black” instead of “African American” – as a college junior I had the pleasure of interning with three women from Indian, Caribbean and African American backgrounds. The Caribbean and African American heritage women explained that they prefer the term “black” because not everyone is from the continent Africa.