Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Morning Routine vs Morning Chaos

If you're super-organized like Mrs. Blackwell and I, you probably have a morning routine that you adhere to religiously.

Each and every day you rise at the same time. With rigid precision you prepare for your day, while simultaneously sharing duties to ensure your kid(s) is ready for theirs.

You and your significant other are the peak of efficiency and, the fruits of this effortless effort are many.

You get breakfast. You wear a finely pressed and coordinated outfit that fills you with sturdy confidence when you glimpse at yourself in the mirror. On your way out the door your spouse is rushing, but never too quickly to stop for a peck on the lips and a firm, "I love you, darling. Have an excellent day and, good luck on that presentation thing you have to do in front of all those people."

Yes, this life is good. This life is easy. This is also not the life I'm living.

I might have had a day like this once and while I admire, even envy, those who can pull this off every day, it's not me and it's not my wife.
Thanks Internet truth tellers but I have breakthroughs nearly
 every day and I can say they're vastly overrated.  

No sir.

What we have inside the cosy confines of Casa de Blackwell is a form of choreographed chaos that is the result of good intentions frequently met with defeat at the hands of reality.

And it begins the night before like this:

7:45 p.m. — On any given day of the work week, Mrs. Blackwell and I will find ourselves at about this time struggling to summon the energy to give the boy his bath and get him ready for bed. Not easy, given that she's exhausted from being pregnant and I'm exhausted from being me.

7:47 p.m. — Mrs. Blackwell and I resolve to get to bed early tonight, sometime before 10 p.m. Tomorrow will be busy for both of us so we require a full night's sleep. Our alarms are set for a 6 a.m. start time.

8:00 p.m. — The boy's bathtime and the bedtime routine commence. As he's grown, he's become increasingly easier to put to sleep. That's great because I was beginning to get used to the sound of him screaming at us as we closed the door following yet another failed two-hour attempt to woo him into a sleepy state.

9:00 p.m — Mrs. Blackwell and I finally have some time to ourselves. Energetic couple that we are, we hop right to it by meeting in the kitchen for a boisterous game of Scrabble during which we tell each other all about our day. Or, we fall limply onto the nearest piece of furniture, zombified by the preceding 14 hours — whichever seems more probable to you.
The boy is such a proficient sleeper he does it
with a turtle on his head.  

9:15 — We tidy the kitchen and continue work on laundry. Sometimes these minutes are used to watch television. But, since Mad Men went off the air, not so much.

10:00 p.m. — We make it upstairs and fall into bed. The lights go out and shortly afterward our room is pleasantly illuminated with the cool, blue glow of our smart phones.

10:15-10:25 p.m. — In no particular order, we turn off our phones and that's when the real fun starts.

10:35-10:55 p.m. — Mrs. Blackwell jabs me in my back with one of her sharp knuckles and tells me to knock off the snoring. I reply by contending that I'm not snoring. To the contrary, I argue I'm awake, conscious of myself and therefore incapable of snoring.

Case closed, and the judge awards the winning points to me, right?

10:56 p.m. — Wrong. Sometimes, I am between awake and asleep and it's entirely probable that I'm snoring. But hey, why let that stop me from some spirited, late-night bickering?

NOTE: Mrs. Blackwell has on a couple of occasions asked me to stop snoring while I was lying wide awake and, most definitely not snoring. Perhaps she sleeps better if she gives me a swift jab in the chops every once in a while.

ADDENDUM TO NOTE: On the flipside, Mrs. Blackwell is pregnant and — how do I put this delicately? — pregnant women snore with the ear-shattering heft of a tin can being shoved through a band saw. So, yes, men are idiots but pregnant women snore. Can we all agree on this?

11:00 p.m. — Now jarred from my nascent slumber, I'm awake and I will be for then next few hours. Thankfully, I've got my wife's snoring to take my mind off things.

11:35 p.m. — Ensconced in the guest room, I'm still awake but her snoring is muffled and thus, I'm comfortable.

Sometime Early A.M. — The boy wakes up with one his middle-of-the-night angerfests. Placating him takes little time, provided you want to bring him into your bed. Otherwise, get used to the sound of angry toddler. Depending on your level of desperation, pick your poison.

Sometime near 5 a.m. — I'm, mercifully, fast asleep and blissfully unaware that the alarm is set to go off.

6:00 a.m. — The alarm rings. But instead of scrambling out of bed to prepare for my day, I fumble to reset the alarm for 7 a.m.

6:50 a.m. — After about an hour of unsatisfying "sleep," reality sinks in. I must rise, get ready for work as quickly as possible, and help get the boy moving too.

When all goes as planned, these two items are on my desk
when I get to the office. All goes as planned, occasionally.
7:15 a.m. — Mrs. Blackwell is up. So is the boy, and he's ticked off that he didn't get more sleep. He let's me know this by throwing a fit when I hand him a cup of apple juice and a bowl of oatmeal.

7:17 a.m. — After cleaning up the spilled juice and reiterating the family's tantrum policy, I hand over some breakfast to Mrs. Blackwell who, unlike the boy, doesn't swipe it away in a fit of dissatisfaction. Instead, she smiles politely, holds her nose and actually eats it. (She's such a trooper I tell ya.)

7:37 a.m. — I head out the door and begin the trek to work.

7:37 a.m. — I run back inside because I've forgotten my car keys and wallet.

7:38 a.m. — Back inside. Forgot my coffee. (Mrs. Blackwell pretends to not notice the absurd number of trips I'm making.)

7:39 a.m. — I'm on the road. Rested, ready and prepped for whatever the world wants to throw at me and blissfully unaware that I've left my lunch on the kitchen counter.

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