Thursday, March 15, 2007

For Your Consideration: Mother of the Year Nominee

I am not a morning person. I'm not even an afternoon person. Evening is okay, except that I have to make dinner and bow to all the other unreasonable demands my family layers on me (when will these people leave me alone already?)

Night. That's my good time. My productive time. Just so long as we all agree on a definition of productivity that is completely self-serving.

Quiet, alone night time. That's my time. It's not unusual for me to stay up until 3, sometimes 4 a.m. As a result, (let me state this delicately) early mornings have never been my specialty. And by early, I mean anything before, oh say, ten-ish.

Before you call CPS, let me illustrate how this all works to everyone's satisfaction:

I learned long ago how to pick my battles. When it comes to morning routine, I don't bother exhausting myself by flailing around attempting that challenging upstream swim. It's so much easier to float with the current. My kids have always been allowed to stay up late reading. As a handy consequence, they too sleep in late. In a mutually beneficial arrangement, the kids and I happily get up between 9 and 10 each morning. As long as the school work gets completed and the chores are attended to, it's a victimless crime.

My Thursday morning schedule is constructed around Little Guy's piano lessons. If I get up at 9:15, I have time to check my e-mail (at least as important as coffee!) take a shower, make myself passably presentable to the world, and leave the house by 10:15 to get to piano lessons by 10:45.

So, this morning at 8:45--a full half hour before I needed to bother with consciousness--I was just a tad unhappy with the ringing of the phone. We have an answering machine. I ignored the phone. Then it rang again. Shit. Leave a f***ing message already and let me get back to sleep!

Once the house phone finally ceased its incessant summons, I could hear my cell ringing in the kitchen. Damn. Must be Mister. He can leave a voicemail. I'll call back in half an hour. (An obvious bid for Wife of the Year.) My cell rang again. What doesn't that man understand about voicemail????? Next, the sound of Number One's cell.

Number One, home for spring break and having no obligations, was happy to slide back into the family ritual of staying up late and sleeping in long. To accommodate this delicious habit, he left his cell on the coffee table so it wouldn't wake him. How convenient for him. How decidedly inconvenient for me since I could now hear it ringing yet again!

Great. Must be some sort of emergency. Why the hell can't emergencies occur midday when I'm alive and dressed and prepared to manage a crisis?

Fine. I hauled my under rested carcass out of bed to answer Number One's cell. Looking at the call log, I could see it wasn't Mister. It was Beautiful. By now the phone in my hand was ringing AGAIN. I answered in the polite way most folks receive a phone call, "What!"

"Mama, I'm so sick, but I can't miss work. Will you please drive me today?"

"You don't even have to be to work until 2 this afternoon. You're calling me before 9 o'freaking clock in the morning to ask for a ride at 2?"

"Why are you being so horrible to me? I want to go back to sleep but first I needed to be sure I had a ride set up."

*Heavy, guilt inducing sigh* "Fine. I'll get you. Take a hit of NyQuil and go back to bed."

Now there's some mothering for you!

This evening I made up for my lack of ante meridiem compassion by making her favorite dinner, soothing her with a hot cup of tea and generally clucking over my ailing little chick. That just about erases my debt, don't you think?

Oh, but let's add this log of maternal ineptitude to the fire, shall we?:

10:14 a.m., just as Little Guy and I were heading out the door for piano lessons, the phone rang again. It was the piano teacher, Mrs. S. I was surprised to hear her voice. I thought she must have had some emergency and was calling to cancel today's lesson. Mrs. S was equally surprised to hear my voice. She asked if everything was okay--because we're not usually this late.

Not this late? Doesn't that woman know how to tell time? It's 10:15, the time we always leave for . . . Oh, shit. It's 10:15. We always leave at 9:15 in order to be on time for a 9:45 lesson--like we've been doing every week without fail since September. What. The. Hell?

And, if that's not enough to clinch the Mother of the Year trophy, let me give you one final embarrassing example of my finely honed parenting skills:

Later, that same day--7 p.m. to be exact--the phone, eternal harbinger of pestilence, rang again. It was my dear friend Mary. I was surprised to hear her voice (is this a familiar pattern yet?) We usually chat much earlier in the afternoon. Mary sounded a little confused and uncomfortable. "Umm, I was just wondering if I was supposed to bring Little Guy home to you or if you are picking him up?"

"Little Who, now? OH! Little Guy! He's at your house, isn't he?"

Yes. You read that right. I actually forgot the existence of one of my children.

Note to self: Maybe don't purchase that trophy case just yet . . .


whitenoise said...

Very funny, Kristin. Oh, I can relate! ;-)

I might even be able to one-up you, though. Given the nature of my job, mix in some time zones and a never-stable schedule.

Sometimes, I have to do the math on a piece of paper then set an alarm. This seems to work, generally, but the creature rising from the crypt is never very pretty.

And, you'd think that when I crawl home at 03:30, there'd be some consideration from kids getting up at 7... Not!

Forgetfulness... nothing memorable with the kids, but I once spent 30 minutes closing up my boat, then, arriving at my van in the marina parking lot, my wife looked up at me and said "where's the dog?" ;-)

Mary said...

Now, now, Kristin. We all know that you didn't really forget Little Guy. Not at all . . . At least that's what we told the poor wretched boy.

Sad, sad.

Mary - joining you in the race for "mother of the year". My middle daughter isn't speaking to me and my youngest is locked in the bathroom refusing to take a bath after decided to build some type of mud structure in the woods out back.

You are so much toast, girl. That award is MINE!

Kristin said...

So, Mary--being the thoughtful and sweet mother that I naturally am--my solution for your youngest would be to inform her that if she is going to refuse a bath, you will resort to spraying her down outside with the garden hose. It would only take once . . . : )

I have no cure for Middle. Unless you threaten to hose her off too? Couldn't make things worse, right? ; )

Whitenoise--I have a friend who is also a pilot and has the same complaint you do. Arriving at home in the wee hours he just wants the tiniest respite before immersing in the life of his sweet children. 'Respite', evidently, is not an entry in the dad dictionary. : )