The First Frenzied Morning
September 11, 2008
Well, it happened today. We had the first frenzied morning of the school year. The older girls had been at church last night and had gotten to bed late, so they did not eagerly spring out of bed this morning. (And that, even though the tooth fairy had visited last night, leaving a five-dollar bill under Phoebe’s pillow. When I gently reminded her to see if the tooth fairy had remembered to come, she grumbled, “I already looked. She left five bucks.” And she proceeded to roll over and keep sleeping.)
Finally they got up and dressed, with a minor scuffle between Phoebe and Bridget. Bridget had been up since before the break of dawn, and was watching Wonder Pets and didn’t want her sister watching with her.
A few minutes later, Phoebe burst into frustrated tears trying to tie her shoe (something that she’s known how to do for two years, but for some reason, it wasn’t working this morning.)
It was a cloudy, chilly morning, and I suggested that the girls grab sweaters. There was a scramble to find them and I was starting to get into a mild panic-y, hurry-up-or-we’re-going-to-be-late mode. When all three were sweatered, I turned around and was astonished to find Lucy’s eyes welling up with tears. Apparently, the sweater Phoebe had grabbed was one that had been her’s, and even though she had previously declared that she couldn’t stand that sweater, evidently it’s now near and dear to her heart and she was very frustrated and upset that her sister was wearing it. Off I went to find a different sweater for Phoebe. Responsibility and ownership lessons be damned this morning, we’re going to be late! I thought.
Bridget refused to get into her stroller, and since prior experience has taught me beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would be stopping to examine every roly-poly and crack in the sidewalk if I let her walk, I was forced to give her a quick swat on the bottom to establish dominion over her and get her into the stroller. Wails of indignation followed this, and we were off.
After a few minutes of hurried walking, I decided to try some light conversation. “Let’s talk about walking home,” I started. We’ve been toying with the idea of allowing the older girls (7 and almost-10) to walk by themselves down the trail from the back gate of school in the afternoon. I would meet them at the crosswalk and walk the rest of the way home together. I mentioned this idea a few days ago and made an offhand comment about maybe getting Lucy a cell phone to use in case of emergency if we decided to take this leap into “big-kid” freedom. Lucy, like her parents in a lot of ways, likes to go against trendiness, and since most kids her age are begging for cell phones, she adamantly doesn’t want one. Phoebe would LOVE one. “It’ll be mine,” Phoebe had declared proudly.
“Do you girls want to try walking the trail alone after school like we talked about?” I asked as we hustled along. Phoebe, usually our brave and fearless child, immediately said, “I’d be too scared to walk without you unless I had a cell phone.” Lucy (typically more timid and risk-averse) shot back, “Of course we can walk alone. We don’t need a cell phone.” Back and forth they went until I snapped, “Enough.”
At about this time, the bell rang. The girls had to scurry along to make sure to get in the gate before they closed it. “The LORD be with you, girls,” I called, our traditional parting ritual. “And also with you!” They shouted back. I hope He enjoys their presence today more than I did this morning.