Early Morning Agony

Nov 8, 2013 by

I did not have any logical reason to remain awake.

My daughter’s lunch and snack for tomorrow’s school day was packed and both my children were asleep comfortably in their bedrooms.  Resistance won out over resuming reading the 800 plus pages of a Stephen King novel I had recently begun.  I lacked the interest to pick up my IPad and aimlessly bounce from website to website.  And to top it all off,  the Red Sox fell behind five runs early in their playoff game versus the Tigers.  I realized that it was only the bottom of the 2nd inning but I deemed the lead insurmountable for a Sox comeback. I  had witnessed enough for one evening.

Within twenty minutes I drifted to sleep.

The next morning rudely rushed in.  It felt like only minutes had passed since I first closed my eyes from the previous night.  I awoke to the sounds of a crying 18 month old child.  My first inclination was to ignore his pleas to remove him from his crib.  To justify my decision so I could return to my unconsciousness state of being, I needed to know how early in the AM it truly was.  My left eye politely declined an invitation to participate in the viewing of the time displayed on the cable box.  My right eye, though at first hesitate, agreed to open but only just slightly enough to half-heartedly complete the job.   The digital clock from the cable box to the left of the bedroom television displayed a number 5 with no other number appearing before it to the left.  The numbers proceeding the numeral 5 were irrelevant therefore justifying that it was too damn early for this day to begin.  So I feel back to sleep.

The cries began to intensify with each passing minute, eventually segueing to screams.  My son continued unleash sounds that incrementally increased in volume as to if my son was saying, “Jesus Christ Dad, I know you can hear me!  Get up already!”   By this time, I knew an action by me was inevitable as well as a realization that I am the one solely responsible for this tiny person on this particular morning.

It’s never a promising start of any day when my first word I utter is “fuck”.

My wife was out of town on a business trip so it fell on me to remove this child from his apparent anguish and prepare a bottle of milk for his consumption.  My son tends to wake up at such ridiculously and inappropriate early times on weekdays.  The only other known people up at this hour of the day are men in their 60’s, Type A personalities and/or CEO’s of large corporations.  (Apparently these three types of people are often the same person)

The sunrise was still a full 90 minutes away from show time.  I lumbered out of bed with both knees aching from playing pickup basketball the day before.  Any breadth of luminosity from the upstairs hallway lights was like looking directly at the sun.  As I stumbled my way to my son’s room he greeted me with tear filled eyes as he stood upright with his hands on the rails of his crib.  I picked him up and together we ventured down one flight of steps to the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of milk.  Upon seeing the bottle his crying instantly ceased.

We lay back down in my bed and handed him the bottle which he outright refused and crawled out of the bed.  He took around ten steps or so and then stopped.  He just stood there for what I estimated about two or three minutes staring off in my opposite direction.  I am still uncertain why he stood motionless; he did not appear upset.  He just stood perfectly still like a guard watching over something of importance.  After those minutes had passed he began to creep me out a bit so I asked him if he wanted his bottle.  He peered over to me and made his way back to the bed and began sipping on the bottle as we took in the early morning SportsCenter broadcast.

It was time to get moving.  For me to come close to making it to work on time I needed to hop in the shower before my daughter awakes from her dream of traveling down the yellow brick road.   My son follows close behind and begins tugging on his clothes which is the signal for I am coming in the shower with you Dad.  And at 6:52 AM I turned on one of the shower heads for him as the water poured down on his head.  I quickly washed him, dried him off, and headed to his room to get him dressed for the day.

On the trek to his room I step in a river of urine left by our dog, Manny.  Our two small dogs – a 3 pound Chihuahua and a 7 pound mix of numerous breeds – have officially stopped caring about most things, especially where they shit and piss.   In their younger years, they were at least respectful enough to do their thing on a pad we placed out for them.  Not so much now, I can only imagine what they left for me to pick up downstairs.

Things went relatively well the night before.  Both of my children finished their dinner without any of my desperate pleading for them to eat.   I had both of my children in their pajamas and settled in to their beds.  The nighttime routine came off rather uneventful.  When the kids go to bed without a hitch I am overcome with euphoria that I instinctively throw out promises rewarding these children for doing something they are supposed to do .  I also understand that this is not only shitty parenting on my part but a warped way of thanking for not making me work any harder than I have to when putting them to sleep.  On this night, as I kissed my daughter goodnight, I told her that we can go to McDonald’s the next morning for a pancake breakfast and that I will include  whatever plastic figurine toy those fuckers are shamelessly promoting for suckers like me to purchase.

My son is now dressed and it’s now time for him to head directly to his older sister’s room, climb on her bed, and jump on her.  I let this happen.  She struggles most mornings to get moving so I have my son conduct my dirty work for me.

You can tell what kind of day it will be for my daughter within five minutes of her awakening.

Scenario 1 – A warm smile and a big hug for her brother as she brushes off with grace any ill will towards her brother for applying a top rope leg drop on her skull = A pleasant day for everyone that comes in contact with her.  A sweet lovely child that makes everything around you better, my wife and I thank our lucky stars that she is a part of our lives.  We cannot express our love enough.

Scenario 2 – A scowl across her face, covers pulled up over her head, and a series of  verbal assaults towards her sibling for jumping on her while still asleep = Look out world, stay away from my daughter at all costs, failure to do so will result in a day you would not wish on anyone.  She will compromise on zilch, scream at her brother, and will do the exact opposite of what is asked of her.  These are the days my wife and I consider giving her up for adoption – a no process no paperwork type adoption – to a lovely family that preferably resides on the opposite coast.

On this particular morning, I was dealt scenario 2.

First she starts with the slow methodical movement of getting out of bed.  Then she pulls from her closet a Cinderella dress to wear to school, mind you we are a month away from Halloween.  I tell her she can’t wear that to school.  I am not certain if it’s even a rule but I stick to my guns anyway.  Then she finally puts respectable clothes on but makes her way downstairs without shoes.  She then asks for me to venture back upstairs to retrieve shoes.  I gladly accept this chore because the alternative would be a young girl sitting in her closet with no plans to neither put on shoes nor move from a seated position.  There is a less than 3% chance I correctly choose the shoes she had in her mind to wear to school.  Three trips later I get it right.

The dining room has the look and smell of a dog park.  I clean everything up and place a new pad down for the dogs to ignore.

I finally manage to herd both my son and daughter in the car.  We are ready to make our journey off to school when my daughter says its library day.  “Where is your book?” I ask.  “I dunno.” She quickly responds.  I bite my lip, run into the house up to her bedroom and grab her book from the shelf.

“Daddy?”

“Yes.” I say faking my sincerity.

“Remember you said we can go to McDonald’s”

Everyone in this city heads to the McDonald’s drive through each morning for breakfast.  Between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM you can consider yourself reasonably lucky if you there are less than ten cars in front of you making their way through the drive through lane.

I counted twelve before my frustration kicked into high gear.

“ I hate this place!”  I yelled.

“Why daddy?  Why do you hate this place?”

In which I responded with a question of my own, “Why do you like this place?”   “Because I want a Dorothy Wizard of Oz doll and I like the pancakes.”  She said.

“Sorry for yelling, we are just running late and just that…..sorry.”

“It’s ok, Daddy.”

I order the pancakes and the toy along with a hash brown.  My son will eat half the hash brown and then throw what’s remaining all over the back seats of the car.   I pull over in a vacated parking spot so I can cut up the pancakes and apply the butter and syrup to my daughter’s liking.

“That’s not how mommy does it!”

“Huh?”

“She puts the butter on last.”  She said in a tone that would better suited if she witnessed a something truly horrifying.

“This is how I do it.” I responded back.

“It’s ok Daddy, moms are better at cutting pancakes and dads are betting at fixing things.”

“Not this dad.” I mumbled.

We are now in route to drop them off at my son’s sitter who also takes my daughter to school.  You can feel the tension still present in the air but at least no one is talking.  I decided to turn on some music for the remainder of our fifteen minutes together.  Both kids are busy eating and I would assume in thought about what an incompetent mess their father can be in the morning.  I hit play on the car stereo and Tom Petty begins singing the first verse of the song Wildflowers.  I thought to myself what a nice soothing song to hear and just maybe it will settle everyone down some, including myself.

“Dad! This song is boring.”  My daughter, the music critic, states.

I shake my head and grip the steering wheel a tad tighter.

We finally make it to our destination.  I put the car in park and look back at my daughter.  I then tell her that I am sorry that I yelled and I hope she has a wonderful day at school.

“That okay daddy.  I love you.”  She said like the last hour never occurred.

I look over at my son and he gives me a big smile.  I return one his way.

I drop the kids off, apply kisses to their cheeks, and hop back on the highway for a twenty minute ride into work.  If the traffic is minimal I estimate that I will be at least 45 minutes late today.  And by this point I could care less.

During the drive in, I see a new text message from my wife.

Text Message

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to respond later with an “everything went well” text.   I felt I was not in the best mindset to respond immediately in fear of being too honest, so I did something else with my phone.  I plugged it into the car’s USB port and scrolled ITunes for something loud.

Somewhere on Business 40, together Black Francis and I screamed the chorus of  Tame.  These are the sounds that can be heard from two crazed men.

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