Natalie has been having a rough time getting used to school mornings. She relished the lazy summer mornings that involved little more then waking up late, eating a quick breakfast and then playing for hours dressed in nothing but panties and a smile. The whole concept of getting up at a certain time and then actually getting ready to go out into the world is completely lost on her. Her first wake-up call comes at 6:50 and she opens her eyes just enough to look at me with hate and disdain then she rolls over and goes back to sleep. The second call comes at 6:55 and this is when she usually says something mean, perhaps moves enough to throw a pillow in my general direction, and rolls back over to go back to sleep. The final get-out-of-bed-NOW call comes at 7 am. This is when things really get ugly.
So last Friday when she got out of bed, got dressed, brushed her teeth and hair, and was ready to go to school ALL WITHOUT A FIGHT I decided a motivational surprise was in order. When I picked her up from school I announced that we were going to go home change out of our school clothes and go to the neighborhood park. This proclamation was met with cheers and whoops of joy. I was the best. mom. ever! I told her life could always be this great if only she would listen to me and do the right thing. She may have heard me between her claps and whistles, but I can't be sure. So off to the park we went. And what a trip it was. As I observed my children in their natural habitat I learned these things....
1.There will always be a used band aid hidden among the rocks and my children will always find it. They have a built in grossness detector and it never leads them astray. And not only will they find it they will bring it to me. "LOOK WHAT I FOUND MOM!!"
2. They may fight like cats and dogs at home, but when it comes to being in public with non-family people they will protect and defend each other until the end. If another little kid pushes Allison out of the way to get to the slide you had better believe Natalie and Vanessa will be right there helping her up and telling her that everything is OK. She was there first. The other kid is "mean". It is nice to see the sisterly love because sometimes I wonder....
3. The niceties come to a screeching halt when it is just them and they want to do the same thing. Two kids want the same swing? World War 3. Two kids proclaim themselves "it" in a game of tag? Watch for the flying fists. All three want to cross the bridge at the same time? Chances are excellent that, even though the bridge is big enough for all of them, someone will lie down in the middle of the bridge preventing the others from crossing and then the other two will break down in a puddle of inconsolable tears.
4. Natalie would much rather watch a group of teenage boys playing football then...well, anything else. This scares me.
5. They never, ever want to leave. We were there for almost two hours. We missed our regular dinner time. We didn't take any bathroom breaks. We played on every piece of equipment. And still they asked if they could stay just a little bit longer? Please? Home is so borrr-rrring.
I'm not sure if our little excursion will persuade Natalie to have better, fight-free mornings from now on (I somehow doubt it), but it was a good time. And I got a nice used band aid out of the deal.