A scream dashes down the hallway and into my bedroom. “Get down, Rosie,” shouts a gruff little voice, prematurely awakened by a cold, wet nose pressing into the folds of his warm neck. A soft thud will follow, and then the click-click-clicking of nails will trace into the next bedroom.
Another voice will sound:
“ROSIE! That's my sock! Give it back!”
There will be scurrying and pounding of feet. Something will overturn, but thankfully it won't break. A door will slam. The dog will run into our room and launch herself onto the bed. My daughter trails her, complaining. She says something about dogs not understanding boundaries as she crushes my shins climbing over the mountain of covers.
Within seconds, my son will make the migration from his bedside to mine. There's no snooze alarm to press; no nine-minute respite from day before us. There's just an angry little boy who hates the world at 7 a.m.
“There's no room for me,” he huffs. “Why is there never any room for me?”
The morning alarm clock is as fail-safe as they come.
It's always a rude awakening no matter how many times it happens.
I lift the covers and inch backward. Cold air reaches toward me with prickly fingers. It is a momentary shock as The Champ crawls in and goes back to sleep.
“How does he do it?” my husband will ask as the faint sound of snoring drifts upward.
I wish I knew.
Also wish I knew how to stop the fight that will ensue once he wakes up and realizes everyone else has migrated downstairs to fill themselves with breakfast and morning television. Without him.
For once I'd like to get through the morning without whine.
It's enough to drive a person to drink.
But this is our routine, more or less.
There is much dragging of feet. No decisions about breakfast. Lunch won't make itself. “Where is my favorite shirt? The one I've worn every day since three weeks before school began?”
These shoes don't feel right. Can you drive me to school? How about you just pick me up after math class?
I'm exhausted. I feel like I've run a marathon and the day hasn't even really started.
How many times have I run up (and down) the stairs since the loony alarm went off?
One trip for socks. Another for shoes. A red shirt. A New shirt. The wrong shirt. A blue shirt.
None of it makes sense. Especially the soft, warm depression my hand makes when it makes contact with the wood of the hand rail.
“Why is there oatmeal all over the banister?”
In a million years, I could never imagine those words would ever have reason to come together in question form, but there they were.
Why. Is. Oatmeal. On. The. Banister?
He musters as guilty a looking smirk as a little kid can muster. “I tried to feed it to the dog. She didn't like it either.”
I want to scream:
“What were you thinking? People are starving in Africa! This is why we can't have nice things! Who do you think you are?”
But I just stand there. … blinking.
I am exhausted.
We barely make it out to the curb before the bus passes us by.
Once they are seated, noses pressed against the glass, the doors of the bus fold shut. A smile stretches across my face, and I start to wave maniacally, anticipating the silence of the house upon my return.
I'm going back to sleep.