When kindergarten first started...
...I had no trouble getting Chickie to school early, every day.
What happened?! Lately it seems that more often than not, we're right outside the building, or in the hallway leading to her classroom, when that darn school bell rings!
This morning I thought we were doing great, and somehow things fell apart, and I was getting more and more stressed. I yelled at the kids to get in their car seats. I rushed as I walked them to the building. Chickie wanted to "play the crack game" in which she walks with one foot on either side of a sidewalk crack. Sometimes this slows her down. Today, honestly, it didn't seem to be slowing her down, but Mama did not have patience for a silly game!
I told Chickie to stop playing the game. She wouldn't. I grabbed the back of her backpack and attempted to pull her toward the school door on the shortest trajectory possible. She resisted, pulling the other way.
So I let go of the backpack, knowing she'd fall. She did.
It was not my proudest moment. I kind of felt like crawling into a turtle shell somewhere. Another parent was just exiting the building and he saw the whole thing. I avoided looking at him and explained to Chickie with a shaky, hormonal voice how much I just want her to be at school on time.
"I don't care if I'm on time," Chickie said.
"Well, I do," I said. "Don't you care about ME? Don't you want to care about it because I do?"
What a morning. I tried to force my daughter to hurry, and then I pulled her, and then I let her fall, and then I gave her a guilt trip. I felt about this big.
And then I spent the walk to her classroom apologizing to her. We were 10 feet from the door when that darn school bell rang. I took the time to give her a hug anyway, and sent her into her class.
As I drove home, I thought about what I should do. One option is to give Chickie a consequence if we're late because she's dawdling. (That was part of our issue this morning.) I may need to do that; she needs to learn to get ready more efficiently, and to care whether she's late or not.
But realistically, I know that there's one person in the house who has the most power over when we leave the house. And it's not Chickie. Or Zoodle. It's me.
I'm the one that sets my alarm at night. I'm the one that decides when to actually get out of bed and wake up Chickie. I'm the one that decides what all really needs to be done before we leave the house. And I'm the one that sets the tone, whether it's one of positivity and relaxation, or one of stress and anger.
So I've decided that we must leave 25 minutes before school starts (if we're driving) and 40 minutes before school starts (if we're walking.) That will get us to school 10-15 minutes early. I just have to build everything around that time. And I know on the mornings when something happens to mess up our plans at the last minute, we'll still have plenty of "cushion" so that we're on time. That means setting the alarm earlier, and choosing an attitude that somehow combines efficiency with patience.
I have a lot of influence over how my daughter's day starts. I want to use my influence for good, every morning!