Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Have a seat.
My daily routine is pretty much exactly that. Daily. Routine. Our family does pretty much the same thing every day, which, I am told, is good for kids. They should have consistency; know who they are going to be with, know what to expect from each day, thus allowing them to live without fear of emotional upset. Well, we have taken this to heart, so much so, in fact, that the girls have developed their own special breakfast routine, and as consistency is the backbone to stability, they are careful not to pass this particular routine up on a day to day basis. It happens every morning, without fail, in the exact same way. And try as I may to disrupt or redirect it, the girls are holding fast to this routine that they so desperately need to ensure their stability. It begins, I'm sure, from the moment they wake up. While they may not be actively engaged in this routine at this moment, I know at least one of them is already thinking about it in her tiny little groggy morning head. We do they normal morning things - go potty, get dressed, put pajamas away - and then, as I call for the children to gather at the table for our normal morning meal of hot waffles, scrambled eggs and fresh squeezed orange juice (or cold cereal and the rest of any open juice boxes left in the fridge, but that's not the point), the spectacle begins. There are five chairs at our table, as there are five people in our home. One has a booster seat strapped to it, so this chair is perpetually dibsed by the baby. The brunette has tried on occasion to oust the baby from her rightful place in the booster seat, but she usual ends up getting stuck and conceding. So now, we are left with four chairs remaining, an ample amount of fine seating for two children to choose from. This, however, is not the case. There is one chair with a clear view of the television, and unbeknownst to me, it also has magical powers and is made of gilded fairy wings and can fly. And this is the chair of choice. It must be said, that we do not watch TV while we eat. Rarely, it will be on during a snack, but not ever during meals, so it surely must be the mystical qualities of this chair that make so desired by my children. The brunette wastes no time in the mornings; she is often awake first, dresses herself, and even has already gotten a jump on the Barbie bucket before the rest of us have managed to drag ourselves out of bed. The blonde, however, requires maximum assistance in the morning, and the brunette is fully aware of this. As soon as the blonde rounds the hallway corner, slightly disoriented and still a little asleep, the brunette, in waiting, leaps into the magical chair. The blonde, roused now by the glare of the fluorescent kitchen light sees her sister sitting the chair of choice and howls "NO(OOOO)! I wanted to sit there!" as she collapses in anguish to the floor. As a fair minded mother, I tell her "Blonde, your sister was there first, maybe tomorrow if you move a little quicker you can sit there." Now, this happens every morning, so you'd think I'd just stop trying, but I say it anyways, just so I don't feel like I haven't used an opportunity to teach fairness. "But I wanted to sit there! She always sits there! I never get to sit there! I wanted it first!" cry cry cry. The brunette bides her time quietly, soaking in her sister's misery. I remind the blonde that we have such and such today, so please just sit somewhere so we can eat breakfast. The blonde crawls, heaving herself to the table, and manages to get herself into the chair beside the chosen one. Big sniffles, muttering under her breath, general melodramatics. "Brunette, " she says beseechingly, "I really wanted to sit there." The brunette ignores the plea and busies herself with the baby. "MOM!" the blonde cries out, "I really wanted to sit there!" I, in the interest of upholding my previous statement, and also because I don't really like this much whining before my coffee is ready, reiterate to the blonde that her sister was there first, it's just a chair, deal with it. More howling, fading to whimpers and a quivering lip. Then, the climax and simultaneous finale to the routine, the brunette turns to her sister in her time of desperation and cheerfully says "you can sit here if you want." The blonde meekly thanks the sister, and they trade seats. Every morning.