Tuesday, September 16, 2008

school daze, political haze

i am idealistic. i want to wake up every morning with plenty of time to spare, wake the kids up with a giant hug, have them wish me good morning, fill their tummies with something like homemade biscuits, sip my coffee, talk about what a great day it's going to be--in this world, everyone would get along, everyone would have only kind, gentle words to say. the little ones would gobble up their breakfast, telling me over and over how  yummy it is and how grateful they are that they have ME as their mother. :)

so it's pretty much none of this on weekdays at our house. instead, i get up at 6 to do yoga (don't praise me--i just started this routine today), halfway through it aedan comes in and starts telling me, "i know why she has you put your hands THAT way." only he's talking really loud, so i miss the next two instructions. while i'm attempting to complete the final poses, marley (the dog) comes in, asking to go outside for his morning relief. luckily, rick's in the kitchen packing lunches for the kids and getting their breakfast ready (i know--this is the ideal part of my morning--can you believe i have a husband who does these things EVERY DAY for me?! i'm very lucky!). so i send marley in to rick.

pretty soon, the baby starts yelling that he's ready to get up. lo and behold, he has pooped, so he won't just hang out and wait for me this morning. on top of that, gillian gets up, and pretty soon it's chaos. they are asked to get dressed before breakfast is ready, and gillian is sent to her room THREE times for her attitude in a matter of 5 minutes. 

the kids sit down to french toast (that dad has made), but then they spend 30 minutes trying to eat it, fighting in between.  gillian complains of her stomach hurting, almost crying over the "pain." the minute she's done eating, she's somehow miraculously healed. aedan has to be told at least 5 times to eat his grapes, another 5 times to put his socks on, and another 5 times to go find his shoes. 

during this time, the baby starts yelling for his oatmeal, because he can see it on the counter but he can't quite grasp the words "it's still too hot" yet. i keep giving him cheerios, which he promptly keeps giving directly to marley. i take that back--he lets marley sniff and try to grab them, and THEN he puts them in his own mouth. he starts throwing his sippy cup onto the floor over and over because he loves to watch gillian & aedan scramble to pick it up for him, fighting over who can reach it first.

so, obviously not my ideal morning...

but then we get into the car, and we enter the inner sanctuary of NPR. the voices, the music--all so calming. if i can manage for gillian and aedan not to touch each other (which promptly spurs a fight), we all can remain quiet and calm and listen to the news. 

this morning, there was quite a bit of campaign coverage. after dropping aedan off, gillian and i listened for a while, and then i laughed when i heard obama say, "instead of borrowing our campaign slogans, maybe they [mccain] need to start borrowing our ideas." i laughed, and this is the conversation that ensued between gillian and me:

gillian: that's not really funny mom.

me: i know. i'm laughing more because i think it's true. it's hard to explain. (how many times do i say this on a daily basis?!)

gillian: well what do they  mean?

me: well, a slogan is like a sentence that describes what you are about. so obama says, "yes we can" and "change we need." and mccain says...well i have no idea what mccain says. ok, here's another example: disneyworld's slogan is "the happiest place on Earth."

gillian: (laughing) that's funny! it's not the happiest place on Earth.

me: why? you think that? 

gillian: well, yeah, because there are other places where people are probably happier.

me: (thinking way to go girl!) this is true. but that's what they say. and a pizza place might say, "the world's best pizza."

gillian: but what if some other place says they have the world's best pizza?

me: exactly. it's just what people do.

gillian: i know why--they do it so they can sell you stuff.

me: EXACTLY. and the people campaigning are doing the same thing--they are trying to get us to vote for them by giving us slogans.

then while we were talking sarah palin's voice came on:

gillian: is that the real sarah palin or  the fake one?

me: what do you mean?

gillian: well we saw the fake one on tv--is that the real one or that other lady?

me: (realizing she was talking about tina fey's appearance on SNL) oh! this is the real one. and she's trying to tell us that she's ready to be president. if something happens to mccain, like he gets sick or dies, then she would be the president. she would have to fill in. and dad and i get nervous about that, because we don't think she's ready.

gillian: so she's like...what is that word?

me: i don't know.

gillian: it's like when one flower girl gets sick and then they have to get another flower girl to take her place...it starts with an "a."

me: alternate?

gillian: yeah! it's like she's an alternate for president.

me: (flabbergasted) yes, that's exactly right! what a smart girl.

big pause..................

gillian: so doesn't sarah palin know she's not ready to be president?

and now you can see why i really treasure these moments in the car with my kids, tucked safely out of the chaos of my home, in the warm glow of conversation ignited by NPR. ;)

p.s. the photo at the top has nothing to do with this post; if you are really into symbolism, feel free to comment and tell me how it works with this, but right now my brain's too tired to try to reach and make a connection. gillian and i took this the other night; it's an old trophy that sits in front of her night lamp, and it makes the coolest shadows when all the other lights are off! 


Pixie said...

Why am I not surprised? After all, isn't this the little girl that went around saying, "This message was endorsed by John Kerry" after the last election? She's a bright one!

The alternate flower girl bit cracks me up!

Amelia Plum said...

you're so lucky that your kids will actually stop fighting and listen to NPR with you. oona's usually screaming so I can't even hear what they're saying. the alternate flower girl part is hysterical, like you should send that to some national magazine. i think owen & gillian would get along well. he spends his time in the car spotting political signs on peoples yards and says 'hurray' for obama signs and 'boo' whenever he sees mccain signs. people posting mccain signs in the city have to be a little bit nuts, given that pittsburgh is one of the country's poorest cities.

asti said...

I can't tell you how like our mornings this is! I wake up full of good intentions and fantasies of how it's going to be...and it always ends up the same, stressing to get out the door (Maddie always needing the loo just as we are about to leave etc etc)I could get up at 5 and still be late for school I reckon..
Oh and the radio doesn't work with my two...Lily wants pop and I need the civility of BBC Radio 4..I'm such an old fogey...

Sunnye said...

Wow--"Doesn't Sarah Palin know she's not ready to be president?"


Zen master GIllian...