Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Time Out for Time Management

*Sorry I missed posting yesterday* Here's Your Chocolate Fix!*
Families with more than two children know the transition from man to man to zone defense in parenting takes many forms.

Some of the changes are in perception. For example, mini-vans and SUV’s seem oddly small and hand me downs no longer seem shabby.

Others are in policy; the five second rule gets extended to about a minute. Bathing is an every other day affair with the option to push to a third. Bedtime is strictly enforced, whereas television viewing options and time limits are often relaxed.

With three or more children, parenting becomes much more pragmatic and purely functional. There is none of that “hush that blanketed the house during nap time.” Having a child chug the dregs of your left over diet coke is no longer cause for alarm. The purity of the first baby’s diet, which never saw French fries until after the age of two, has given way to frustration, as the youngest just “won’t eat her Chicken McNuggets.”

But the greatest change in family policy and procedure is in the arena of transportation. Once one is past three kids, getting from point A to point B requires a pre-factored half an hour devoted to purely loading and unloading. Subsequent children necessitate factoring in ten additional minutes per minor to account for lost shoes, trips to the bathroom, negotiating car seats and memory recall about where one was actually going. With nine, I’ve had to accept that I will make it within 45 minutes of being fashionably late.

Now, I really hate being late. So I keep tweaking the system. To date, I’ve tried pre-packing a diaper bag and laying out the clothes the night beforehand. I’ve tried keeping their shoes in the car and spare socks in the back pocket of the driver seat. I’ve considered dressing them and myself before going to bed. We’ve even set our clocks to be ten minutes fast to help trick everyone into leaving earlier. That works until I start calculating the fake ten minutes into my schedule, or someone helpfully resets the clock to the actual time.
Enter reality.

I had made an appointment for our youngest. “I want you to bring in the baby for a weight check up on Friday at 8:30 before any sick kids come into the office,” The receptionist said.

The nurse was helping me out, letting me in before office hours. I agreed despite every mom cell in my body screaming “ARE YOU INSANE?!” But I told myself, I can do this. I just needed to plan out my attack.

The next morning started badly. I woke up at six thirty instead of six. Getting them dressed, fed, cleaned up from being fed, loaded in the car plus the diaper bag, the double stroller, purse, cell phone, keys, appointment book, coats, socks and a change of clothing for the child that was wearing pants with matching holes in both knees, we were on the road by 8:50.

When I made it to the parking lot, it was 9:20. It took every ounce of moral courage to not fake the sign in time on the sign in sheet. (9:37).

“Mrs. A!” the receptionist beamed. “You’re early.”

“What? My appointment was at 8:30.”

“It’s tomorrow. Today’s Thursday.”

“Right. Thursday.”

I looked at my four under the age of five children, all dressed, all fed, all ready to go somewhere. We were ahead of schedule.
“Can we wait?”

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

bwahahahah..... oh babe I love it!!

name this movie...with slight adaptation..."A mother is never late...nor is she early, she always arrives just when she means to!"

Been known to feed breakfast of dry cereal and sippy cups of milk in the car on the road to save time meself.

I also add extra time before deciding my departure moment. ie, we have to be there at 9, it takes 30 min to get there. Therefore I will start the loading process at 5:30!! (and I ONLY have THREE!!!!)


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If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!