Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Critical Hours

I live in 12-hour cycles. Seven AM and Seven PM are whistles going off in my head. The tenor and pace of the whole day flows from these two times. If the kids aren't downstairs by 7:30 AM to eat breakfast, they will arrive at school late. Sometimes late enough to see half their class marching off to Spanish while they're hanging up their coat. If five children are not upstairs by 7pm, then brushing, changing, book reading will go overtime. The lights will not be out by 8, and the necessary sleep evaporates. Make this a pattern, and by the fourth day, everyone's a bit kookoo.

That's why I'm the Cassandra, the militant, the witch on her broom. Deliverer of bad news such as, Time to wake up, Time to get dressed, Get dressed now, if you don't get dressed, we will take your clothes to school in a bag. And these: Time to go downstairs to breakfast. It's breakfast time now so you need to go downstairs. Didn't I ask you ten minutes ago to come to breakfast? No, you can't play the piano now, it's breakfast time. Put the guinea pig down and come to the table! IT'S 8 O'CLOCK, COME DOWN TO BREAKFAST NOW!

Aren't I supposed to be sipping my coffee and gazing out over five fresh faces eating cereal, all scrubbed and dressed for the day? As the sun rays dance over the steaming bowl of scrambled eggs, shouldn't we be overwhelmed with a gratitude that makes us break out in song?

Not at my house. Snakes are coming out of my hair, and if you look at me, I will turn you to stone.



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