Now that school is back in session, we have settled into our normal routine here at the Hickson household. This routine is based on a strict time schedule that my wife and I have developed over the years to ensure that, each morning at precisely 7 a.m., all hell breaks loose. This includes — but isn’t limited to — at least one person (or family pet) running through the house in boxer shorts, and my daughter locking the bathroom door for some “quiet time” while heating a Pop-Tart with her hair dryer.
Though we know this pandemonium could be avoided by just getting up a little earlier, the fact is, my wife and I are the only morning people in our family. As anyone in this situation already knows, this is sort of like being the only lambs at a coyote picnic.
In order to stay alive, you must keep moving while, at the same time, drawing as little attention to yourself as possible. What makes this especially difficult is that, from time to time, we find it necessary to actually speak. Usually, we’re just trying to determine our teenagers’ progress by way of a simple question, such as: Why is the dog wearing cowboy boots?
That’s when all eyes suddenly turn to us.
And these are not happy eyes.
These are the eyes of pod people.
They are hungry. They are confused. And they know we are not one of them.
Fortunately, this is about the time the core temperature of our daughter’s strawberry Pop-Tart reaches its flash point, causing it to burst into flames and, consequently, be dropped into the commode. The dog, familiar with this routine, then races across the living room in his cowboy boots and runs headfirst into the bathroom door, which my daughter — also familiar with this routine — has locked again.
Given that I have nothing to compare it to, I have no idea whether our morning routine is considered “normal” by most standards. However, after looking through some self-help books and trying to pick up some tips, I came to the conclusion that, for the most part, these authors are single. I know this because of suggestions like:
Set aside some quiet time each morning for you and your children to talk about your goals for the day. This will help your whole family begin each morning with a clear direction!
Better yet, why not provide each reader with clear directions to your home so they can set aside time to come over and whack you with this book?
The only author who seemed to have a handle on things AND be an actual (living) parent was a retired lawyer who lived in a small town in West Virginia with her husband of 24 years, four children — oh, and a full-time English nanny. Of course, there was nothing in her book suggesting that, if we couldn’t afford a nanny, one would be appointed to us.
What this means is that we’ll stick with the routine we already have.
At least until the dog stops wearing cowboy boots.