Monday, November 11, 2013

toddlers and the superpower of time management

So let me start by saying I have never been very punctual. To me, time has always seemed like a fluid thing, kind of an "on time is when I get there;" an abstract notion in the universe. The problem with that attitude is that everyone else expects you to be on time for ______ - appointments, school, work, special things like your wedding or your parent's 50th anniversary party. I do try to get ready and be to things on time, and sometimes I succeed, but not always. It's the cause of numerous fights with my husband, and I can probably count on one hand how often I was on time to work in the past month. 

I was not prepared, however, of the need to be super-time-manager (who knew it was a superpower?) when my son was born. I was OK at the beginning. I remember sitting on my bed, double breast pump action going while applying my makeup and petting the poor neglected dog with my foot. I prepared dinner while the Midglet rested comfortably in the Baby Bjorn. I cleaned and wrote thank you notes and even got out for lunches. I absorbed the superpower and was winning the battle!

Then he got a little older and then mobile and then was walking, and we needed to rethink our exit strategies. Somehow my super-time-manager power wore off and the super-late-for-everything power kicked back in. And then things kind of tapered off as we got into a routine. Mornings weren't so tough anymore, we were able to leave the house without SWAT intervention, and it seemed OK. Any parent reading this who still has an infant - be prepared. This is simply the calm before the storm. Because then your little one enters toddlerhood, and all bets are off. And I mean, off. You will sit and wonder how you were ever a self-sufficient, efficient, functional, contributing member of society. And how you ever were able to jump in the shower, get dressed and go somewhere in T-minus 12.4 minutes flat. You start believing you toddler is possessed by demons, because in a matter of 30 seconds the tornado of destruction that hit your living room, of course immediately after everything was put away and tidied, could certainly not be caused by your sweet, adorable little munchkin. 

You realize you may never be on time for anything ever again. You look around you and just gaze past the trucks strewn everywhere, the cat licking the cream cheese off the couch next to where a half-eaten bagel lays, the Play-doh stuck to the underside of your shoe. You can't think about it, because if you do your head might explode with the frustration. And then on the flip side of that, you come home immediately panic that someone broke in while you were away, never mind that you had to unlock the deadbolt coming in, and while they didn't take anything they sure made a huge mess!!

These are my mornings. This is my living room. It seems like it's every morning and that it's never going to be any different. I look at my son, and he's so sweet and delicious, and then his head spins around like Linda Blair and he's off on a path of mischief-making. While we don't know always what sets him off (that's another post, for another time), it's certain that whatever poor time management skills I had before he was born are just emphasized daily by him and the constant unpredictable nature that is toddlerhood. And every time (no pun intended) I think I've got a handle on it, I realize he's smarter than me and will always win. Always. 
Look at that sweet face - does he look like he could be the cause of so much chaos??

I call this "Reasons I'm late now that I'm a parent," or "It's because of the kid I'm always late."
  1. Poop. Always with the poop.
  2. “No I don't wanna wear that!"
  3. I forgot the stroller in the garage. I'm already driving and 10 minutes away from home.
  5. Potty. Potty. Potty.
  6. “Mommy, I want chocolate milk to bring."
  7. ME: "Did you get the diaper bag ready?" HIM: "No, I thought it was ready from yesterday." ME: SIGH (insert eye roll and inevitable argument here)
  8. I forgot my car keys.
  9. "Put your shoes on. Why are your shoes off? Didn't we just put them on?"
  10. “Mommy, my tummy hurts." Commence with the potty routine.
  11. I locked myself out. With the toddler screaming about juice or food or a toy I inevitably forgot to grab on my way out the door, only to leave my keys inside with said item.
  12. WTF is all over my shirt?
  13. "Mommy, I want juice to bring."
  14. "Oh no, my frozen yogurt is broken!!!"
  15. I can't find my shoes. Where are my shoes? Oh, there they are, shoved under the bookshelf. Because that's where they belong.
  16. "Mommy, I need to go potty!!!"
  17. "I didn't get to push Daddy out the door!!"
  18. Mommy just can't take it and needs to sit down for 2 minutes.
  19. "Put your jacket on. Why is your jacket off? Didn't we just put it on?"
  20. I dropped my car keys in the recycling bin in the garage. And then spent 20 minutes looking for my keys everywhere but the recycling bin.

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