Monday, January 26, 2015

Mornings at The delagar Household

Since my kid has returned to high school, our mornings have been fraught, y'all.

First, we have to wake up at actual freaking dawn.

Only Dr. Skull is a morning person.  He wakes at four, usually.  Sometimes three.  This is handy, since his new job is subbing in the local public school system, and this means he gets first crack at whatever work is available.  He is awake when the new jobs come up on the system, in other words, and can take his pick.

I wake up, cursing, at six, stagger out into the kitchen, still cursing and dodging cats, to make the kid's lunch.  (The cats demand their share of the tuna from the tuna fish sandwich.  They get some, too.)  When the lunch is made, and I am somewhat awake, I wake the kid.

The Kid: "Noooo."

Me: "Look at the clock."

The Kid: "NOOOOO."

Me: "Come on."

The Kid: "Why school.  WHY."

Me: "What do you want for breakfast?"

The Kid: "I want to die."

I make her grits and eggs.  She emerges as they are finishing, glumly, with her iPad, and eats while I make coffee for myself.  Dr. Skull comes, chipper, from his shower, to announce he has taken a job teaching band at Darby.

Me: "What!  You hate band!  You said you'd never do band again!"

Dr. Skull:  "That's all that was open, though."

The Kid: "Brush my hair."

Me: (getting the brush): "You could learn to brush your own hair."

The Kid: "I always mess it up."

Me: "What are you going to do when you get to college?  Who will brush your hair then?"

The Kid: "Once I graduate high school, I am going to shave my head."

Dr. Skull: "Where's the boiled eggs?"

Me: "Did you want me to boil them?"

Dr. Skull "-- -- "

Me: "You didn't say you want me to boil them."

The Kid: "OW."

Me: "You could brush your own hair."

Dr. Skull: "I'll take cheese sticks."

Me: (to the kid): "Why do you always have feathers in your hair?  Are you consorting with angels?"

The Kid: (To Dr. Skull): "We're gonna be late."

Dr. Skull: "I need my iPod."

He wanders off.  The Kid gathers all her many items -- backpack, purse, Trapper-Keeper -- and waits impatiently by the door.  I refill my coffee and collapse in my big chair with my laptop.

Me: (as they leave): Goodbye!  Have a nice day!  I'll be lounging about here!  Drinking coffee!

The Kid: (growls)

Dr. Skull:  "Bye, sweetie!  I love you!"


Anonymous said...

I'm not understanding why you have to get out of bed in this scenario at all.

delagar said...

Now that's an excellent question. I ask myself that question every morning at six a.m. Couldn't Dr. Skull make the grits and eggs, I wonder? Couldn't he brush the kid's hair?

The answers to these burning questions turn out to be no. Not that he wouldn't do it. The Kid wants me to do it, is the answer.

You will say I should make the kid make her own grits and eggs and brush her own hair. And you are probably right.

Anonymous said...

It is true that my first comment mentioned that my EIGHT YEAR OLD has been doing these things himself for years. And that I cannot remember my parents doing these things for either my sister or myself (early on my parents had to work so there was a college kid there, and by the time I was 9 and my mom no longer had to be at work by 8 five days a week, I was in charge of all getting up things for myself and some for my little sister).

But I deleted that...

Maybe I should post a "mornings at casa grumpy with #1."

DC1 makes his lunch the night before so the morning scramble isn't as scrambled, btw.

And you are absolutely right about college. It was stunning to me how many of my fellow freshmen didn't have any basic life skills. Thank goodness there were people like me and a couple other kids to show them how to do things like laundry!

And, remember, when/if the kid has kids of her own, you want her to be able to tell them to make their own damn grits and eggs (or cereal...) so she doesn't have any guilt about not being a SAHM.

Anonymous said...

At this age, in fact, she should be making eggs and grits for YOU!

delagar said...

I was cooking meals for my entire family (three brothers and me) at eleven; this on top of doing most of the childcare for my infant brother, and doing laundry, and doing a ton of other housework. I can't help but believe this has a *lot* to do with the fact that my adolescence was kind of awful, and that my GPA in high school was not great.

I mean, on one hand, yes, life skills. I know how to cook and do laundry. And take care of kids.

On the other hand, once I got finished doing all that, the last thing I wanted to do was deal with school work. And my performance showed that. My parents also -- by making it clear to me that my main job was taking care of the house and my brothers -- made it clear to me where academics stood (at least for me) in their world.

My kid does work around the house -- she does the dishes, she cleans her room -- but her main job is her academics, and her art. That's our deal, and that's always been our deal.

I'll make her breakfast and her lunch. She'll make A's. Seems like a fine trade to me.

Anonymous said...

I can see where those feelings are coming from (I only took care of one sibling and when she was old enough to do stuff herself, she did stuff herself-- academics were always #1 priority), but there's a happy medium in which she gets herself out of bed, brushes her own hair, makes her own breakfast and lunch, and gets As.

That's something she's going to have to do in college. Seriously, there are kids who burn out because college is harder and they're no good at feeding themselves or waking up to an alarm clock. Especially if she doesn't end up in a place with a mandatory dining hall. (Like where DH and I worked as RAs.) Yes, she will learn to do those things, but the transition is much harder for people who come in without those skills.

But yes, it is your family and your life and you get to decide what you want to do, which is why I didn't say all that in the first comment. At the same time, you note you're not happy about getting up early and there's no reason you should be getting up early. There are valid reasons to not get up early.

Grades can still be #1 priority with a self-sufficient kid, especially with a teenager.

delagar said...

"'re not happy about getting up early..."

Aw now, you're taking my crankiness far too literally. This is meant to be an *amusing* post.

If I get up early, I can drink coffee and write!

fairyhedgehog said...

I read your final comment here as "I can drink coffee and wine".

I know Americans have different breakfasts from us (grits? What are these grits that you all eat?) but wine for breakfast is decidedly odd.

All this went through my brain in a flash before I registered what you'd actually written.

Oh, and not being hard on kids strikes me as a good idea but then mine both all grown up now so I don't have to worry about it.

delagar said...

Grits are common only in the American South! And many people here don't really like them much.

They're made from hominy, which is field corn treated (boiled, I think? I've never made it myself) with a mix of lye and water, and then dried and ground until it's little tiny bits: grits, basically.

THEN, we store it until we're ready to eat it. THEN, we boil it up until it's soft again. Mix in a little bacon grease and salt and pepper. I crack in an egg when its done, to add some protein.

Why in God's name would anyone eat such a thing, you're wondering?

It's dirt cheap. Breakfast for about a fifteen cents, I guess? Maybe a quarter. It's also pretty good. This is why it's Southern food -- lots of poor folks down here!

You can get instant grits and five minute grits and grits with fruit mixed it and other abominations in the stores these days. Those I do not recommend. Not only not cheap, these also taste horrible.

(Some people would claim ALL grits taste horrible. Don't listen to these people. Barbarians.)

fairyhedgehog said...

I don't know how cereal is prepared to make porridge or corn flakes, but treating a cereal crop with lye sounds ... well let's just go with uninviting!

It's a bit hard to imagine what it tastes like but I have the feeling I prefer commercial breakfast cereal; or even toast with honey!

I suppose it depends what you're use to.

delagar said...


The lye has all been washed away before it gets to the grit phase, I promise!

Field corn is non-digestible, is the issue. Well, cattle digest it. Non-digestible by humans. The lye breaks down something or other in the whatever. I forget the mechanism, if I ever knew it. :)

You can *also* eat hominy without drying and grinding it. Hominy boiled, hominy fried up, hominy served with syrup and hominy in milk. I am not a big hominy eater myself, I admit.