January 15, 2019
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Do you rely on routines? You know, the things that get you through each day? The alarm, the usual routine of getting ready in the morning, the same traffic, same parking spot? Do you count on it so much that if one thing is off, just one small thing, you can't function? Well, that is exactly what happens on the mornings when I wake our son and something is out of place.
I never know what to expect as I quietly push the door open in the morning. I say, "Good morning." I flip the closet light on and get his clothes from the closet. The clothes we have pre-picked out the day, or even weekend, before to save time in the morning, just in case. As I pull the clothes out, I continue to speak to him in a soothing voice, varying what I say from, "Good Morning" to "Hey sweetheart" or "Rise and shine" and sometimes even "Wakey, wakey, eggs, and bakey." I never know what will come next. Sometimes, it is a subtle moan. The same moan I want to make when my alarm goes off when I'm having a good dream. Sometimes, it is a quiet yawn. Other times, it is a sudden jolt of him sitting up and his mouth going a mile a minute about something he was thinking of before he fell asleep, or while he was sleeping, almost like his brain never shut off. It usually starts with, "You know Mommy..."
And then there are the mornings I dread. When I wake him and he immediately starts crying, whining, and sometimes flailing on the bed complaining that he is still so tired and he didn't get enough sleep. These are the mornings that I know, no matter what, I have to be turned all the way up. I have to be 100% on for him...100% present...no matter how tired I am. No matter what...I have to be ready for anything.
Then, sometimes, he surprises me. He'll whine and complain all the way to the bathroom and come out for his morning cuddles. We have to have those every morning, NO MATTER WHAT! We set the timer. We cuddle. Timer goes off. Then, he's fine. No more whining or complaining. He gets dressed while telling me some story from the day before or something he's looking forward to for the day. And off he goes to eat breakfast. And he's good.
Then some mornings, we start off completely fine with a quiet yawn or a subtle moan. And I think, "we've got this." He'll go to the bathroom and come out for his "NO MATTER WHAT" cuddles. And something will happen when the timer goes off. It sets off a trigger of some kind. Something I don't see coming since all morning so far has been peaceful. And before I know what has happened...I'm in the middle of a major meltdown. Some mornings, these meltdowns will last 2 minutes and other mornings we are 20 minutes or more.
On the mornings when these meltdowns occur, I am like a firefighter extinguishing every spark I see as soon as I see it before it can become a flame. Once a flame, it is almost impossible to extinguish and I have to let it run out of fuel. Once I'm done fighting all these sparks and flames, I'm exhausted. But, my day is just starting. I haven't even woke my older son yet. I haven't even left for work yet.
And I know when I pick him up in the afternoon, I have to put on my firefighter gear again...just in case.