Thanks for asking! I get that question a lot but it’s probably not much different than your routine. Let me describe yesterday and you can judge for yourself.
There’s something buzzing in my head and something gnawing in my gut. The buzz is the snoozed alarm from my wife’s empty side of the bed. The gnaw is the guilt – Amy’s already got coffee brewing, the hot pot heating water for cocoa and the pumpkin-brown sugar oatmeal cooking in the crock-pot since last night. Now, selfishly, she’s taking two whole minutes to get dressed. I roll from bed and put on yesterday’s outfit.
I hit the Hong Kong Boys’ (HKBs) room which, 10 hours ago, smelled like Febreeze Meadow & Rain but now whiffs like a Middle School Boys Locker Room with a hint of wet dog dankness.(?)
Two-thirds of the HKBs are dressed. Meanwhile, I’m in hostile negotiations with Blair. I’m attempting to get him out of the shirt he’s worn for the past 2 days (like father, like son). Surprisingly, he buckles at the offer of a hot shower and I am the victor of a rare Win-Win outcome!
Albie is up all by herself, dressed and fed. She now sits guarding the front door awaiting a bus that’s still 23 minutes away. She is dressed as though prepared for an Antarctic trek; only her eyes and nose are visible. It is 490 F this morning. Her equator-accustomed blood is not yet acclimated to the Northern Hemisphere she’s called home for the past nine years.
A fresh Blair enters the kitchen and violently signs “noodles” upon spotting the oatmeal awaiting him. I counter with a karate chop to my palm – the sign for “Stop”. He gives me a smirk and heads to the table to join his fellow HKBs. I get my first sip of coffee.
Amy descends the stairs after dosing prescribed antipsychotics and stimulants to the UTTs – Ukrainian Twins of Terror. She receives a rousing HKB “Momma, Momma, Momma” that lasts until…
…another karate chop “Stop” from me
I’m distracting the HKBs as Amy dons her TSA hat. She quickly, but thoroughly, searches the boys’ backpacks for contraband. Past smuggled items include checks, bills, staplers, cell phones and keys. The only thing she finds today is that shirt Blair’s been wearing for two days. Cleverly, he’s hidden it in Yul’s bag.
Hearing aids are installed into an ear of Blair’s and both of Yul’s; two of three fail to work. One aid has a battery problem – easy fix. The other has a serious ear wax problem. Amy is using a variety of specialty tools to extract the problem.
That big, beautiful, Blue Bird relief vehicle that others merely call a school bus pulls into our semi-circular driveway. Keen-eyed Nanook Albie leaps into action and nearly tramples several small Asian boys in her path. The door closes as the last HKB exits. Handel’s Hallelujah chorus is offered in all its sweet, melodic refrain by Amy.
0623 to 0645 am
22 blissful minutes of heaven descend upon us before the next wave of action. I sneak into the pantry freezer and retrieve a toasted coconut donut for Amy; I take the vanilla crème powdered for myself. These two are from a dozen I bought last week for the entire family. The first two we ate were so delightful that I couldn’t spare them on those not fully appreciating this magnitude of pleasure. This is Day Six of enjoying these delicacies.
Bowel & Bladder prep is on the docket for Sam, our son with Spina Bifida. I’ll spare you (and him) the details except for the one thing never ceases to amaze me about this process. This boy complains, in excess, about going through this even though I’m doing all the dirty work!
Amy walks Luke, Maddie and Irina down the stairs. Luke stops and stares out the window. He is vigilant in seeking any opportunity to escape as though he is a prisoner of war. He logged one success and one near-escape from school in the past month. Maddie belts out a “HI DAD” that rattles the window and snaps everyone (including daydreaming Luke) to attention. Maddie is our daintiest yet, loudest child. Irina tells me, “I got Dwhy Pense” (Dry Pants), while freaking out. I hope she is lying because I now recall my promise last night of a donut for not wetting the bed – the donut now digesting in my stomach. The price I’ll pay is steep if she kept her end of the bargain. I head off with Luke to the boys room to get him dressed; Amy takes the girls to the bathroom for their clothes. The dog whimpers which launches a barrage of “Stop Thor” from this gang. They know Thor is deaf but this doesn’t keep them from raising a ruckus. I hand-signal a thumbs down and our sweet puppy lays back down to wait his turn.
We all reunite at the breakfast table – Sam, Maddie, Irina and Luke. I sling four bowls of delicious oatmeal in front of them. Irina gives a grunt and my Adam’s apple drops to my stomach. She eye locks me in a death stare and slowly raises her hands; she is making the ASL sign for “donut”. I glance towards my wife and she is wide-eyed and slowly nodding “yes”. I dive into the freezer and emerge from its depths with a blueberry scone I hid months ago. “Please Lord, let this be sufficient”, I pray. The answer is quick as Mount Irina erupts in glee. The aftershocks of her happiness cause cups of cocoa to overspill their brims.
Bus Two rolls in and Luke gets secured into his six-point harness restraint. This minimizes the chance of a Fugitive-style bus leap escape. Sam and Maddie board and away the bus whisks the majority of my Eastern European front.
Irina is rocking out to Kidz Bop Bad Blood. She, too, is in a six-point restraint harness and sitting in her stroller. School is her favorite and she tells me this approximately 1,192 times before her van arrives. I bend over to tie her left shoe and as my ear reaches her mouth level, she let out a blood-curdling “BUUUUSSS”. Simultaneously, she kicks her right foot into my nether region. I fall to the side, allowing just enough room for Amy to wheel our girl out to her bus.
Like I said, our mornings are probably similar to yours – a little confusion to start, some type of intermittent sensory overload, the comfort of a good meal, joy in the unexpected and the stimulation of a good ol’ fashion kick in the shorts.
But indeed, Dad Just Happened!!!