You wake up at six to the sound of your daughter giggling in her sleep. Aw, you think, how sweet. You know you have another 45 minutes in bed if you want it, but you start thinking about your dad and photo editing and how the hell you're going to entertain your kids during Thanksgiving break (a full week). So you flop around until it really is time to get up.
You wonder if you can squeeze in a quick birthday call to your mom, but when your son trots down the hall while you're still wet-haired and be-robed, you realize the call will have to wait. He likes to sit on your bedroom floor and talk about the universe and planets and state capitals so you let him, vaguely enjoying his sense of wonder and insistence on factual accuracy.
After you've dressed, hurriedly slapped on some makeup, and blasted the hairdryer in the general vicinity of your head, you go downstairs and heat up food. Specifically, your son's usual breakfast of chicken nuggets and frozen waffles. When you realize you can no longer avoid the inevitable, you go into your daughter's room and wake her. She is no longer giggling. She's Very Annoyed at having been disturbed. You rouse her anyway and, though her legs dangle down to your knees when you lift her, you carry her to the living room and set her on the couch.
She sees her brother using her plastic fuse beads while he munches away on "breakfast" and begins to cry. She rails that the beads are hers and brand new and that she wanted to be the first to open the package. Nevermind that they've been sitting around the house for seven months since her March birthday.
You murmur condolences, but do not make your son put the beads away. Your daughter sobs and kicks when you try to comfort her. You move into the kitchen because you still have one breakfast and two lunches to assemble (not including your own, because once the children are up, your own is never included), whereupon she screams that you've left her alone in her misery.
Both kids begin to bicker. You let it go on for some time until you feel your blood pressure begin to spike. Then you snap at them.
Your son has serious energy from all the processed chicken and enriched wheat flour, and he begins his beat boxing, which sounds not so much like beat boxing as a series of tourettes-like ticks and shrieks. Your daughter has moved to the beads and begun setting up her own pattern, refusing to eat. You glance at the clock and realize you have twenty minutes until everyone has to load into the car.
Frantically, you throw pre-wrapped food into lunch boxes. You do show your son how to make his own corned beef and sprout sandwich (the only kind he will eat), and you're proud of yourself for sliding a teaching moment into the chaos.
Meanwhile, your daughter is still in pajamas and stubbornly working with fuse beads. You actually begin to feed her, thinking that if you can get protein into her body, some sort of logic will surface and she'll realize that 8:25 is not the time for arts and crafts.
Eventually, you're able to coax her into the living room where you've set a pair of pants and sweater. You know you're doing too much for her, but are not sure how to stop or how to get out of the house remotely on time without helping her along. You start to dress her as if she is two.
She hates the sweater you've picked out and demands you fetch an alternate. You refuse, because that is just. too. much. You tell her you're fine with her going to school topless if she so chooses, though she knows you're lying.
Your son who is still beatboxing, interrupts himself long enough to pretend to squeeze a spatula from between his butt cheeks. He does this three or four times in a row, laughing uproariously.
You brush your daughter's hair, finish filling lunch boxes and water bottles, and manage to make yourself a quick cup of coffee before shooing everyone out to the car. (But not before your son has pooped out a couple books and a pencil.)
At school, your son jumps out of the car and runs ahead. He's so OVER walking across the playground with you. Perhaps this is why you're basically okay with your daughter holding tight to your hand as you escort her to her class line where you wait with her until the bell rings. Somehow you've gotten into the habit of helping her empty her backpack and stuff her locker, things she did by herself the year before.
She would really prefer you accompany her to her desk and let her sit on your lap throughout the entire day, but you insist that it's time to go. She runs through her ritual of kissing both your cheeks, your forehead, your chin and the palms of your hands before she'll let you leave.
Finally, you watch her back and head of big hair retreat into the first grade room.