Are you a proud parent of a little toddler or little one? Perhaps, you are blessed with “multiple bundles of joy.” As much as I treasure my daughter and feel blessed, most parents will agree that it is a lot of work. Perhaps, you can relate and understand getting your child out the door? Two full time parents that work and commute to work… get the picture yet? Twenty or so minutes to get out the door. Hmmmm.. life as a parent. Easy? I wish. No time a wastin’. On your mark, get set, rant!
7:00 AM- Wake up!
I hear commotion outside my door…the creak of floor boards and the door to my bedroom is slightly ajar. No sign yet, but my “Father radar” is instantly alert and ready for action. Managed to grab 5 hours of sleep, but I wake with a slight migraine and familiar soreness and achiness in my joints. Dehydrated or maybe it was the wine? Sadly, I have been awake since 6:30 AM full of anxiety. Maybe I’m just getting too old. Raising a child in your mid-forties does have its drawbacks. Going to be one of those days!
7:02 AM – Pass the Tylenol
I manage to haul my weary and stiff body out of bed just as my 3 year old daughter (toddler) comes scrambling into the room. The game is on. The twist of blankets and sheets causes me to half jump out of bed, but I managed to keep my balance. Where’s the bottle of Tylenol? Never mind. My daughter gives me a giant hug and is spouting off with incoherent toddler talk. “Daddy, Daddy”, she exclaims with a bright smile on her face. I nod and reply vaguely as I usher her out to the room. I have no time to change right now or go pee…I’m glad I remembered to put on some clothes so I’m not going “Commando” today. Too cold at this time of year! Oooopps, my daughter is off and running and I lost track of her in my peripheral vision. No time to play hide and seek! I rub the sleep out my eyes and begin to chase after her.
7:06 AM – Potty time
Apparently, she wet part of the bed since she is still not toilet-trained. Great, this is going to be a close-call to the finish line! I tug at the twisted fitted sheet and nearly take out my daughter with a hip check as she clings to me lovingly. No time to wash the sheets. I squeeze my daughter reassuringly and head to the main bathroom….draping the sheet over the bathroom tub. I motion and shout to my daughter, “time to go potty, sweet heart!” I frantically look in the bathroom vanity for my secret weapon …Oxy Clean. No where to be found. Darn. I run to the other bathroom with sense of urgency and find it tucked away in the back. My wife must have used it last. I run back to the other bathroom and managed to spray a few squirts on the stained sheet and rub the fabric together. I return it back to the railing. Mental note: Wash it later!
7:09 AM- Trail of clothes
Meanwhile, my daughter is dumping her clothes from her dresser drawer on to the floor. Oh, know. “Need to go to potty now”, I say. More urgency in my voice. I almost drag her to the potty half-willingly…leaving a trail of clothes and a dirty diaper in the hall. Okay, not my finest moment. I deposit her sheepishly like some foreign piece of luggage and close the door. I race like a “Hot Wheels Marvel car going down the track out of control”…. I nearly knock over my wife as she scrambles downstairs to make coffee. The idea of fresh brewed coffee going through my veins causes me to salivate with anticipation. Besides wine, coffee is one of the things parents can’t live without. Suddenly, my naked daughter is out the door after making a “successful deposit.”
7:12 AM – Getting changed
I glance at my flashing clock radio quickly. No time to waste. I snatch her again like a football with one arm before she runs off again….picking up the growing pile of clothes in the hall and from her dresser drawer. No time to be picky about clothes. I clean her with a sanitizing wipe and she struggles to put her shirt on backwards. I help her with the chore as she starts to protest wildly, No Daddy, No!! Toddler tantrum don’t ya know? She collapses to the floor like some rag doll. Okay, spotted pink socks with blue pants don’t match, but I don’t care at this point. I put them on anyway. My wife is signalling me to hurry up from downstairs. I can smell the aroma of coffee and my migraine has subsided to a faint headache. I forgot to brush her teeth!
7:16 AM – Brush her teeth
I manage to push the yellow and green plastic turtle stool out the door while straddling my daughter with other arm. The stool is an essential aid to help her reach the sink and tap. Once it is situated below the bathroom vanity, I start brushing her teeth. Another shriek comes from her mouth. Right, she wants to do it herself. She manages to squirt too much toothpaste and a glob falls on to her clean shirt. UGGHH! I smear it off with my finger and wipe her shirt with damp wash cloth. Tick- tock, I got to hurry!
7:18 AM -I can see the finish line!
I excitedly pronounce that Mommy is waiting for you downstairs. That will get her going! She rushes down the hall and runs into the baby gate leading down the stairs. Great, now she is crying. She must have pinched her finger or clipped the wall. Daddy is in trouble now. I console her at her time of grief and immediately kiss her “boo boo” better. Mommy is scrambling up the stairs to the rescue. I got this. My daughter is pointing her tiny finger at Daddy accusingly. Now, “I’m in the doghouse”. I release her Kung-Fu grip that binds me and she follows her mother downstairs. I collapse against the wall with fatigue and slight relief. I lift up my saggy blue jeans back up to my bulging waistline and swallow my pride. My fatherly duties have come to an end momentarily as I retreat to my room. A few seconds to spare. Phhheeewww!
My 20 minute tiring morning routine is typical for many parents. However, it is rewarding as you will discover: it is amazing watching children grow up and experience things for the first time. Children are a treasure and a beautiful miracle to behold. The great thing about being a parent is the little moments that touch your heart despite the hard work and chaos at times. Twenty minutes of my life may be gone in a flash, but guess what? I would not change it for the world. Happy parenting!