Today, I overslept by ten minutes. I had hit snooze on the Blackberry—or so I thought. Turns out I dismissed the alarm entirely. Stumbling down the stairs to check on children was my first obstacle of the day. My husband had already risen before them and was supervising their morning routine. I should have stayed upstairs with my coffee and readied myself first.
“Little people!” I called. “Breakfast!”
“I don’t want breakfast. I want to eat breakfast at school,” said the oldest.
“Cereal!” shouted the little guy.
“Mommy, can I have almond milk?” asked the oldest.
“Mommy, I want cereal. This kind!” stated the little one again, waving an empty box at me.
“Mommy, can I have medicine for my throat?”
“Mommy, there is no peanut butter.”
“Mommy, did you pack my lunch?”
“Mommy, can I have almond milk now?”
“Mommy, I don’t want the vitamin with the hippo on it.”
“That’s it!” I cried out, overwhelmed by the barrage of mommy demands, “I am changing my name! What should I change it to?”
“Avatar!” answered my boy.
After sorting through what was available for breakfast (we have cruised through groceries this week), and with my husband snickering at me in the kitchen, we somehow managed to pull it together, and get to the bus stop on time. But at the bus stop, I noticed my daughter was wearing crotch-length shorts. No, I was not the one that bought these for her.
“Baby girl! Those shorts are against dress code!”
“They won’t care!” she said in reference to the school faculty.
“Really? Well, when I have to interrupt my work to get you from school and bring you home to change, I will care very much, and be extremely unhappy about whatever citation you get for breaking rules.”
“Mo-om!” she sighed.
“Let’s go,” I said. Marching us home, we missed the bus, but the point was made clear long before she is old enough to try to sneak out of the house in a belly-bearing shirt. Minutes later, shorts changed for a longer version, we drove to school, negotiated the uncertainty of the drop-off car lane, and then I headed to my son’s preschool. I had been smug oh-too-soon about making the two schools on time despite the set-back of a wardrobe change and the morning mommy dance in the kitchen. As soon as I pulled up, my little son made the announcement I fear the most:
“Mommy, I’m hungry.” (I thought my name was Avatar now.)
“What!? What happened to your breakfast?”
“I did not like the toast. I fed it to the dog. I’m hungry.”
This is not a child that can forego a meal. When hungry, he becomes hyperactive and disruptive. I walked him into his school cafeteria for the public school breakfast, provided instructions to both child and cafeteria worker to skip milk today (it does not help him absorb iron), and hugged and kissed my tiny man.
“I’m tired,” he said. Oh, no. This is a danger sign. This means a virus is heading our way. So as I sit here, supposedly editing 34,000 words for a client many states away, I keep wondering when the phone will ring with the fact that Tiny Man barfed or developed fever. I planned a day stacked with work and have an overwhelming feeling that the list will remain uncrossed today.
So, in the meantime, I’ll plug away. In only a few hours, the non-stop call of “Mommy” will rise again. Oh, wait, just call me Avatar.