My weekdays begin in pretty much the same way every day during the school year. I don’t need to set an alarm because my boys, early risers that they are, wake me up by busting into our bedroom sometime between 6:15 and 6:45 a.m. They do this because years ago, when Joe was in preschool, we let him shower in our bathroom before school. Our brilliant logic was that 1) our shower is enclosed in glass, which meant less mess, 2) I’d have just one shower to clean instead of two, and 3) while he was showering I’d be able to lounge in bed and ease my way into my crazy day a bit more slowly. The arrangement continued to work great when Joe was in kindergarten and Luke began preschool. Two showers for the price of one, and I could be getting ready while that happened. Fast forward six years, though, and suddenly this arrangement is slightly less than ideal. Now they alternate showers, which means they’re using all my hot water. They also bicker about fairness like old ladies accusing each other of cheating at canasta. And, they’re doing all this in the space where I am trying to sleep. Not cool.
This morning was Groundhog Day all over again. Just starting on my sixth hour of sleep, the bedroom door flies open and as if the house is on fire the boys rush in fussing and yelling.
“I called it first!” Joe yelled.
“You were first yesterday,” Luke retorted. “It’s my turn to go first.”
“But, Luke, I got out of bed first so I could be the first in the shower.”
“It’s not your turn, Joe!” Luke complained.
I was livid. Well, I was as livid as an exhausted person who is barely awake can be. It’s not bad enough that I must wake up before 7 so the boys will be on time to the private school I chauffeur them to. Apparently, I’m meant to wake up to a noisy parade of foot stomping, whining, and caterwauling.
“Boys! Boys! Boys!” I yelled, without flipping over. “Please shut it. I don’t want to wake up to your fighting! Joe, it’s Luke’s turn today. Sorry.”
At that point, I rolled over to see at exactly what ungodly hour they had disrupted my REM sleep. It was 6:25. Are you kidding me? Twenty minutes earlier than my alarm was set? Then I noticed that Steve was still in bed. What the? He usually leaves for work by 5:30.
“Why are you still in bed?” I asked. He sat straight up.
“Why am I still in bed?” he asked right before he flew out of bed and headed toward the shower, boys still bickering over who was going to shower first.
“Your father. Your father is going to shower first because he’s late. Then, Luke will shower because you were first yesterday, Joe. End of story. Now stop fighting or I’m kicking you out.”
The rest of the getting ready process went smoothly. Steve was gone in a flash. Luke got through his shower quickly because his brother pestered him from outside the glass enclosure the entire time. I sat in bed waiting for them all to get out of the room so I could get ready and then make myself a latte, which I desperately needed. When I was a kid and we misbehaved, my mother used to threaten to sell my sisters and I to the gypsies. Are there still gypsies? If so, will they still hand out cash in exchange for random children? I try not to make empty promises, like the one where I threaten to sign away my legal rights to them if they don’t stop fighting. I mean, I’m fairly sure they know I wouldn’t really do that. At least, I don’t think I would. But, if they come in tomorrow morning yelling at each other before 7, I just might have to check into that gypsy thing a bit more seriously. Unless, of course, you know of someone who is in the market for a couple mostly sweet, slightly used, early rising children? You should know I’m not a great negotiator. I’m positive you could get a bargain. History suggests that I might be entertaining offers from serious buyers as early as 6:30 tomorrow morning. Only 24 days shopping days left until Christmas, you know.