There comes an age when your child wants to do things on their own. And by things, I don't mean, they discover that they want to go off and play on their own, leaving you to sit and drink coffee and send hilarious gifs to your bestie. No, they want to do things on their own that you would normally do for them. Starts off simple. They want to dress themselves without any help. This is always fun when you were supposed to be at work seven minutes ago and your two-year-old is refusing help despite the fact that she's got her head stuck in her sleeve.
There are times, however, that it's enjoyable and sweet. Like, watching them make a peanut butter sandwich. Lots of times when she requests a sandwich for lunch on the weekend, I let her make it on her own. No rush, nowhere to be, no problem.
Please ignore the unwashed dishes in the background, and the pork chops I'd taken out for supper and for some reason laid down on the counter. Yay for bacteria!
There are times, however, that you need them to do things on your own. Lately I've been allowing her to have a little more independence in picking out her clothes for school. I will usually just pick something from her drawer and lay it out for her, but if she wants to wear something different, or if she wants to help me pick it out, that's fine. As long as we have the time.
There came the morning recently that left me no choice but to let her pick out her own clothes.
To you parents with more than one offspring: I bow down to you. We have one child. One. You would think that it would be easy to get her up and off to school each morning. For the most part, it kind of is. For me, anyway. Here’s where frazzled parents will hate me and probably never return to my page again. I apologize in advance.
My husband works shift work. Twelve hour shifts, four days on, four days off. He leaves at approximately 4:40, am or pm depending on his shift, returns at approximately 7. On the days he is off during the weekdays, he does everything to get our kid out the door and on the bus. The only thing I do is roll out of the bathroom where I’ve been getting ready for work and pick out something for her to wear. That’s it! Sometimes I will walk her down to the bus stop; sometimes he goes. Sometimes we both go. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I’m sorry. But, fear not. On the days that he works, it’s me who gets her out the door. The night before, I make her lunch, write the notes, sign the agenda. Makes the morning go much smoother.
You would think.
So why is it that when it’s time for me to get her to the bus, it’s a mad rush of hair being brushed as she’s putting on her snowpants (or being put into a ponytail as we walk down to the bus stop - I kid you not)? Literally running (no, literally, for real) for her water bottle to fill and get into her bag. Multiple requests for her to hurry up, because we ARE going to miss the bus. Then running down the road to the bus stop because we can see the bus coming. Things get forgotten. I tell myself that it’s because as I’m getting her ready for the bus, I’m also getting myself ready for work at the same time. Makes me feel better about myself.
Here’s my latest fail. A snowstorm late into the night had me thinking there would be no school. She comes into our room fifteen minutes before the six-thirty alarm is set to go off. I check the local radio station’s Facebook announcements, and under cancellations, I see the schoolboard listed. Did I read the whole statement? No, I clicked off my phone and told her there was no school. Take Daddy’s tablet and I’ll tell you when it’s time to get ready for the babysitter’s.
Failure number one.
Had I read the whole announcement, I would have seen that school was not cancelled. I would have gotten out of bed instead of closing my eyes hoping for an extra fifteen minutes of sleep. At seven a.m., she would have been getting dressed instead of me suddenly realizing I’d turned off the alarm and fallen back to sleep (failure number two). Check the notification on my phone and see that yes, there was indeed, school, but buses were running on paved roads only, which was the announcement I'd failed to read in full. We now had twenty minutes to catch the bus.
You know what’s not fun? Telling your kid that there was no school, then telling them forty five minutes later that, guess what? There IS school! Today, she would be picking out her own clothes.
She must have thought as she rifled through her drawers: "I know I have a shirt that’s too small for me in here SOMEWHERE." She moved the brand new shirts she got for Christmas, looking so nice and pristine. Past her regular shirts. Until she found a Snoopy shirt that was too small. That’s what she chose to come out of her bedroom in.
Nope. Pick out something else.
Her next thought, I believe, was, “Okay, is there anything in here that looks like it was slept in for six weeks? Yes, here we go.” Fine. If you want to look like you slept in that shirt, go ahead and wear it. She decided she recognized agitation when she heard it and came back wearing a shirt that was both unwrinkled and somewhat fit her. Good enough.
Somehow, we not only made the bus, but made it with time to spare. I was three minutes late for work. I call it a win.
If your kid went to school today without mitts, or with sticky stuff in their hair because you just weren’t doing the bath routine last night; or if you drove your kids to school in your pajamas because mornings? Hey, you got your kids to school.
Pretty sure if we had more than one, I’d be sending them on alternate days.