I always know it’s coming. I screw my eyes shut for one more minute of sleep, but I can tell by the angle of the sun through the blinds, and the sound of the early bus roaring by that it must, indeed, be 6:37 am. I know I should be up at 5:30 on the Pilates machine. Or sorting laundry. Or Tweeting nice comments and favorite-ing.
But I cling to those last few silent moments of pre-chaos before the day begins.
For mornings can be hard!
Until my brain kicks into gear, I find act of juggling lunch and breakfast prep a bit overwhelming. Add to that: searching for matching socks, collecting homework, shoe decision making, getting myself out of “house clothes” for the drive to school, vitamins for the little one, hair dos (or, in the case of today, don’ts), and patiently answering the sweet series of sleepy questions from our daughter – and you will find me near meltdown at any moment.
Have I solved it all? Do we have seamless, quiet mornings, with fresh eggs sizzling and a bag pre-packed the night before? Not exactly. But it is not the chaos it once was. Let’s call it a work in progress.
1. Combining tasks
We have come up with fun words that refer to a combined/complex set of tasks. For example bathroomteeth means using the restroom, washing face and hands, and brushing teeth. It is easily thought of as one complete task, rather than four separate things that must be remembered and executed. “Did you bathroomteeth?” is a fun, secret, code that works for us.
Similarly, putwash means: clear your plate and wash your hands. One is not complete without the other.
2. Pajama Machine
We have a hook for today’s outfit. The outfit is taken down and replaced with last night’s pajamas. It appeals to our daughter’s inventive mind, and she seeks to design other “machines” for getting things done.
3. One steady protein
With whatever is for breakfast, I also serve two links of healthy, turkey sausage. Same, day in, day out. So, the meal is always rounded out: carb of the day, fruit of the day, and… sausage! One less thing to have to think about.
4. Hair + vitamins + t.v mesmerization = serenity
Once breakfast is finished, I turn on a few minutes of a morning show (def: soft and smart, something like Odd Squad, no flashing lights or craziness). Our daughter parks herself at the counter where she can see the t.v., and is able to tune out the fact that I am brushing out her hair all while popping vitamins in her mouth. It is five minutes of visual bliss for her, and I get to finish up without many fussy comments. Hmm. I think tomorrow we will have to come up with a combined-task name for this. How about vita-hair-show?
5. Shoe simplicity
We keep the selection to a minimum. For example, one Crocs-y type shoe or one slip on Mary Jane. Do you want to be fun or fancy today?
6. Above all, a predictable routine
Our daughter loves to grab a breath of fresh air before jumping in the car for school. I find if I allow her that expected, routine moment, the drive to school is all the more satisfying. Even if it means I may be running one minute late, it is a worthwhile trade off.
I will make up that minute on the Interstate. Don’t tell anyone.
Organizing your Inventive Kid – Drama-Free Mornings