Your Comprehensive Guide To Mornings With A 3.5 Year Old
April 30, 2012
First, it's a good thing three-and-a-half-year-olds aren't that big, because you will probably need to physically pull him out of bed. He will look like an adorable, sleepy cherub, and may even fold himself up into a tiny ball on your lap while he fights the waking-up process.
Take a minute to enjoy it, because it's all downhill from here.
Once the three-and-a-half-year-old is semi-halfway-awake, he will start whining about something: The fact that his Cheerios are not yet in his mouth, that he can't find the book he deliberately kicked under the bed last night, that you are SO GOING to bring him the wrong pair of underpants, HE JUST KNOWS IT ALREADY, etc.
Pro Tip: You will indeed bring him the wrong pair of underpants, this is true. You are a negligent monster and the absolute worst.
Once you have peeled his pajamas off and poured him into his clothes like a blob of limp-yet-resistant pasta — and navigated the treacherous Sock Drawer Of I Don't Like Those Socks, I Want The Imaginary Red Socks That I Do Not Own — it's time to make the first transition of the morning into the bathroom for potty and teeth-brushing. This will go about as well as expected, i.e. migraine-inducing.
"Uppy!" he will wail at the top of the stairs, with arms raised in your direction. What, you expected him to walk down the stairs by himself? Why, that barely puts anyone at risk of falling down the stairs and breaking a hip AT ALL! Why would we do that?
Pro Tip: Some mornings he will happily walk down the stairs unassisted. This step will only be added if you already have something in your arms, like the baby or a laundry basket or a large assortment of books and toys that he absolutely refused to emerge from his room without.
And now, it's the Breakfast Gauntlet. He wants the dark blue bowl, not the green one. But only if there is a dark blue spoon. Otherwise, he'll take the orange. He does not want milk in his Cheerios. If there are pancakes, he'd like a waffle. If there are waffles, he'd like pancakes. If there are pancakes and waffles, he'll take a scrambled egg.
Why did you put the milk away? He wants milk in his Cheerios. He will pronounce it "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerioooooooos," adding an infinite number of syllables.
Noah kicked him. Noah hurt him. Noah took his toy. Noah looked at his dark blue spoon. Etc.
He would like a banana-na. He would like to make a pretend phone call to Grandma and Grandpa on the banana-na. Then he will hang up the banana-na. On the floor.
It's time to put shoes on. Yeah. Like that's happening.
It's time to go to the bus stop. Anyone who doesn't have his shoes on (ahem) right this second needs to stay in the house with Daddy and Baby Ike and finish his goddamn Cheeeeeeeeerioooooos.
He will decide he desperately wants to go to the bus stop. He will attempt to convince you to take him to the bus stop by hurling his body on the floor and kicking in the vague direction of his shoes, which he is still not putting on. You will ignore him and walk out the door anyway, smiling cheerfully at your fellow bus-stoppers walking down the sidewalk who can totally hear your three-and-a-half-year-old screaming in righteous, pissed-off fury just inside your house.
Pro Tip: You are probably going to get reported to CPS someday, unless you bake a lot of cookies and give them tomatoes from your garden. Or both. Do both.
When you return from the bus stop, he will be officially Over It, and pretty much anti-leaving-the-house-ever. His shoes will not be on and he will be happily mid-construction on a Lego creation that nooooooooooooo he can't leeeeeeave he never ever! He just NEVER.
Pro Tip: He will never finish that sentence. "Always" and "never" are a three-and-a-half-year-old's favorite forms of hyperbole, and he sees no reason to supply a verb to his adverbs. You know what he's trying to say, and that it's you are a negligent monster, the absolute worst, and a big fat meanypants.
Because you are still bigger than him, you will get his shoes on, even if it involves shoving them on upside-down and at an angle while he hides under the dining room table. He will show his gratitude for your Tetris-like skills by shifting the focus of his rage to his coat, which he does not want to wear.
You know what? Let him walk the 20 feet or whatever to the car without his damn coat. You've earned it. Treat yourself.
He will of course be demanding his coat after 10 feet. He will also demand that you drive Daddy's car, because Daddy's car is currently considered "more fun" even though your car has a damn DVD player in it, not that you ever let him watch it. (See: monster, negligent; worst, the absolute.) You will pick him up and put him in your car, once again treating the neighborhood to the sounds of a child being literally skinned alive.
On the way to school, everything will change. He will be his usual, charming self. He will talk to you about trees and cars and ask complicated questions about the United States Postal Service. He will wave to his big brother's school and tell you that Noah is his best friend. And Daddy is his best friend. And you are his best friend.
Once you arrive at school, you will be more than his best friend. You will be his Mommy, his love, his entire life, and leaving your cherished presence is pretty much the worst thing since not getting the dark blue spoon. Note that this is only because there is a full line of cars and witnesses at the curb-side drop-off this morning. His usual bounding enthusiastic skip-hop to the front door has been replaced with a second-act tantrum over wearing his coat, which he has pulled off and thrown on the sidewalk.
Pro Tip: Who cares! You're in a car! You're watching this scene in the rearview mirror! Just keep driving. He'll be fine once he gets inside. Or not! Either way, he's their problem now. Mwa ha ha ha ha oh my god.
(The three-and-a-half-year-old in his natural habitat, scoring free food from easily-charmed vendors at the farmers' market. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE, YOU GUYS.)