Thursday, February 23, 2012

Morning Has Broken

It's Eli's half birthday at school today. The kids who have summer birthdays get to celebrate their HALF birthday during the school year, to be fair. (And to drive parents batty, I suspect.) Putting the last batch of cupcakes in the oven, late, late last night, I wondered, as I often do, how there are people actually CHOOSING to single parent? Not single parenting because of divorce or death, but by choice? Are there really super humans who are so TOGETHER, so infallible, they can add children to their life with barely a ripple, knowing that as just ONE person, they can handle it regardless? I am actually acquainted with a few people like this and am still awestruck by their proficiency. It must take a certain mindset I suppose, and I guess they are used to doing everything by themselves anyway. And truthfully, I'm getting better all the time, but still, some days are harder than others. I love my kids, and I'm happy to be with them every minute of the day, I just wish there were two of me. Dear God, sometimes I wish there were FOUR of me.

This morning, I stumble out of bed with Ira wailing because I've tugged my braid out of his sweaty little hand where it's been twisted and tangled for the last couple hours. I blearily frost two dozen cupcakes with an entirely made-up recipe, that hopefully tastes vaguely like cream cheese spread, after Eli calls out from his bedroom that a bunch of his friends hate chocolate. (What kind of crazy kids hate chocolate?!) I go back to drag both boys out of bed and set them to washing and brushing while I start to make breakfast. I hear a some whispering, some giggling, a thud, a pause, and a "Whoops". ALL the toothbrushes have somehow fallen into the toilet. (Luckily, I have extras in the cabinet. The boys look crestfallen at this.) Back at the table, nobody wants what I make, as usual, and there are my normal pleas and demands, in the hopes they'll eat enough to keep them alive for the next couple hours.

I frantically glance back and forth between the swiftly ticking clock and the sprinkles I'm applying to the lopsided cupcakes (mostly, the sprinkles do not stick and simply roll off the sides while I try and pat them gently into the frosting with my fingers...which, unfortunately, stick far better than the dratted sprinkles.) In between moans that he HATES this kind of bagel, and the fact that his brother won't take his foot off his stool, Eli insists that the cupcakes have to be gluten-free because several of his classmate's have allergies. Nothing I can do about it at this point, I heartlessly continue to decorate them as he whines, "MooooOOOm, just take the gluten OUT!"

I send Eli outside to retrieve the backpack he left in the car all night, while I start making his lunch. He comes back reporting that the car is entirely encased in ice and the doors won't open. Knowing that one of the back doors is broken and permanently locked, I send him back out to try again on a different door. He finally returns with his backpack in which his soggy snow pants and mittens have frozen solid as did the water in his (now sadly misshapen) canteen. In between packing his lunch I dive around into all the random hiding places to ferret out clean snow pants and matching, dry mittens. (Success on the dry part, less success on the matching part.)

The apartment is now rank with the odor of tuna because although I DETEST fish, the kids adore it, and so I wrinkle my nose and stir together two things that make my stomach turn, tuna and mayo, for sandwiches, while the children wander off and start coloring, ignoring my request to get their outdoor clothes on. Balancing the empty tuna fish bowl on top of the cupcake batter bowl on top of cereal bowls in the sink and filling it with a little soapy water, I turn away to continue packing Eli's lunch bag. Hearing a clatter behind me, I spin around just in time to watch my leaning tower of dirty dishes collapse and to be showered with a spray of soapy tuna fish water that drenches me from head to toe. Wrestling Ira into pants and boots he proclaims: "Mom, you STINK."

I grab for the car keys, sling the backpack, lunch sack and borrowed canteen over my shoulder, and carefully lift the platter of tinfoil covered (gluten-filled) cupcakes with one hand while I steer Ira along with the other, smirking at the clock and feeling insanely proud that we'll be right on time. EAT THAT WORLD! I win!

Just then I look down and happen to notice I'm not dressed.

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