It is evidently still a mystery to you how the world works, so I’m going to let you in on a secret: We do the same thing every day. It’s the way the world works. It’s the human condition. People have been bemoaning this since the dawn of time. That’s why the movie Groundhog Day was popular even though it was essentially not very good: We do the same thing every day.
I tell you this not because I want to bog you down in philosophy, but because I am tired. Since you do not yet seem to have noticed that this is the case, you forget how to take care of yourselves and/or fight having to do the basic steps each day. Imagine if–I know this is a stretch–you simply DID WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO WITHOUT TEN REMINDERS AND SIX FIGHTS.
So here we go:
1) Wake up. Though you fought me last night about going to bed, now you don’t want to leave bed. It’s too cold. I get it. You’re tired–I get it. You had a long day of doing the same stuff yesterday. But please. Just get out of bed. Like you do on weekends at 5:30 a.m.
I know you are in there; I can see your foot.
2) Put clothes onto your body. This seems to stump you, so I’ll break it down. It will make your day better if you choose clothing that fits you and will be comfortable. But if you don’t want to, that’s OK. The misery you feel in your November shorts and size 2T T-shirt at 10:00 a.m. will be someone else’s problem. You should be sure you have an upper-body garment, a lower-body garment, and, later, some foot items. Socks, coats, and underwear are just icing at this point.
3) Put food into your body. It’s probably going to be the same food you had yesterday. That is all I am capable of making when someone woke me up crying about urine at 3 a.m. Since you aren’t fully awake yet, stop acting like you care whether it’s Chex or Cheerios. I would not fight you on this step except for the simple fact that I care about your teacher and I cannot unleash your blood-sugar low on her.
4) Brush your hair. Brush your teeth. Or don’t–it’s your social life. But this too must be redone each day.
5) Put items on your feet. If you want to wear Crocs in the rain, be my guest. But if you no longer like the shoes you liked for the last 167 consecutive days because they feel “weird,” you must wear them anyway. If you don’t want to wear socks and thus your feet smell like a badly maintained garbage dump, that is your problem. You just must have shoelike items on your feet.
6) Get into the car. That’s that same one you got out of yesterday. It’s in the driveway, not on the lawn, where you are often found drifting around as if it were Easter morning and the Easter Bunny had hidden the car. We still sit in the same car seats and booster seats from yesterday. We still wear seat belts.
7) If it is a weekday, we are going to school. Yes we are. It’s the law. It’s for your own good. And if you stayed home and argued with me all day like this, I would end up in a mental institution. So you are going. Every. Week. Day. Just like all of the weekdays before this. Yes we are.
How bad can it be?
8) Someone will also pick you back up from school.
9) You still have homework to do, just like yesterday. I know you know how to do it because you knew how to do it yesterday. This is elementary school. You have not started taking a rocket science course that has radically changed your assignments.
10) You’re going to have to eat food again. It’s still me making it, so it is probably not going to be something you like. You don’t have to eat this meal, because your teacher won’t suffer if you don’t.
11) Those clothes that you did not want to wear earlier must come back off your body and some semblance of nightwear must be put onto your body. I really, really don’t care what it is.
12) You must brush your teeth again, even if you did it this morning.
13) We still don’t leap on the couch at bedtime. Same couch. Same mother. Same rules. You’re looking at a book or you’re going to bed, just like happened last week. Remember how you wailed when you didn’t get to look at a book? So why don’t you look at one now?
14) You did not want to go to bed on each of the last 1,000 to 3,000 days, but I still made you. I am not sure why you did not want to, because I would go to bed at 10:00 a.m. if they would let me. But I am aware of your feelings. I am sorry. You can’t tell that I’m sorry, because having to battle through the last 13 steps kind of wore down my patience. If you are actually thirsty, you had 13 hours to drink in. Why didn’t I see you drink anything earlier? How can you have waited 4 hours to get a drink?
15) I am not going to run through the next several hours because you are supposed to sleep through them. I heard you telling your sibling that Mommy drinks wine and talks to friends after you go to bed. Who knows what happens after you are sleeping?
If you repeat steps 1-14 for the next 10 to 15 years, you will find out what happens then. I might spend those hours with you then. If I have not yet been carted away. We shall see.
So there you have it, children. Perhaps now that I have explained what you must do each day, you will not act like the daily routine is an unwelcome surprise, or like someone told you what to do in German and there is just no way that you could have seen the steps coming.
…come on, step 15!
If you need more reminders, check out Darling Children.