Wednesday, July 3, 2013

5 Possible Reasons Why I Am Running 20 minutes Late

1) I was actually on time in the parking lot, but between the car and where I was supposed to be, the following might have happened: J found a flower, rock, piece of trash, bike, motorcycle, pole, hole, brightly colored sign, and bird she had to stop and investigate. This is often accompanied by happy exclamations of, "Mommy! Look! A ___!" and me backtracking however many paces I gained during her during her stop. We will usually get about 5-10 steps before the next thing that catches her fancy. It's endearing when we have no time constraints, but infinitely irritating when my baby carrier arm is fatiguing.

2) I underestimated the time it would take to force clothes and shoes on my toddler, feed and change my infant, collect water bottles, sippy cups, diapers, and changes of clothes, find my phone and keys, get blankey and whatever toy or book that needs to come with us to prevent a total meltdown, and a run to the bathroom. Sometimes all of this goes smoothly and we are punctual. Sometimes getting the shoes on takes 10 times longer than necessary because only the sparkly shoes would do and one was missing and J had to put them on herself without help. Perhaps when I tried to intervene she became a hot, snot-covered mess, requiring an elbow to the gut in order to reverse the back arching and get her strapped into the car seat. Or she put her shoes on all by herself the first time I asked in 10 seconds flat. Or the cup of milk wouldn't do because she wanted juice so she managed to soak herself, the car seat, and her brother in her toddler fury. Or she hopped in on her own with that glorious gap-toothed smile on her face. There is no way to accurately predict how much time any of these tasks will take. All of these steps are necessary for optimal happiness during our excursion. I really try to prevent my kids peeing on the property or unleashing raptor shrieks on your ears and proper preparation is key.

3) Our last activity ended too soon. We finished swimming, showering, eating, exercising, playing or napping ahead of schedule. You would think this would lead to being 15 or 20 minutes early, but you are mistaken. If everyone has been cleaned, changed, fed, shod, and collected before the optimal time, all the prior productivity becomes moot. That means the shoes will have come off again, the diaper will have been filled again, the potty requires pit stop again, M needs to eat again, and inevitably my phone will have disappeared again. I often think maybe we should just arrive 30 minutes early and save the repeats, but that isn't usually practical. If we get to church 20 minutes early, that is 20 more minutes I have to enforce proper church behavior. It is rude to show up 30 minutes early to a play date or the babysitter's. The gym only allows me 60 minutes of kids care for the infant so I can't just hop on the treadmill for a bit before the class starts. Being ahead of schedule is just as bad as being behind schedule.

4) The naps went long and I wanted to squeeze in every minute of shut eye possible. The disposition of my children (and me for that matter) is directly proportional to the amount of sleep they get. I'm pretty sure you would rather us inconvenience you by being 20 minutes late than deal with the gremlins that emerge when naps are cut short.

5) Some how an hour disappeared without me knowing it. In my sleep deprivation-induced haze, the clock hands move suddenly and stealthily. I had every intention of starting the loading process at half past the hour, but time evaporated and now it is on the hour and even a best case scenario won't get us there on time. Then comes the decision on whether or not to pursue our original plans at all. If we are an half hour late, then that only gives us 45 minutes of play time until we start losing the nap time window. If we push back naps then we won't be able to go grocery shopping until 4pm. That means we might not be done before hunger-induced tantrums ensue in the check out line over candy, always viciously placed in toddler reach. And that means dinner prep will be done to the backdrop of crying unless I provide snacks, snacks that defeat any chances of consuming more than a bite of dinner. Sorry friend, because I was 30 minutes behind at 9:30 this morning, we aren't going to make it because it will literally ruin our entire day.

So next time you see me show up only 5 or 10 minutes late, give me a pat on the back and say, "Well done!" because punctuality is just not feasible.


Elena said...

You have the best voice when writing. I would enjoy reading a YA novel written by you. So you know, with all of your free time, you should write a novel :)

jeanene c said...

I second that idea... with your free time. The whole scenario sounds so familiar. That's the joy of having decisive children with strong opinions.

jeanene c said...

Of course I wouldn't know anything about that!

Marilyn said...

Boy, isn't that the truth! Spot on.


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