Monday through Friday my mornings are nearly always the same. I get up at 6 am. I have cereal and coffee and peruse the Internet in peace. At 6:30 I call up to Carmella and Beau to get dressed for school and ask them what they would like for breakfast: Carmella, never wanting anything, will say "just" cereal or a piece of toast or yogurt and then will be angry when I also put a banana on her plate (or God forbid offer her some juice.)
Beau, wanting everything, will peel off a list dreamily from his bed: waffles, yogurt, cereal, pop tart, eggs and french toast. Oh and bacon if you got some. Mom? We got bacon? I love bacon!
Then he will come downstairs half dressed and blanket toting and spend 5 minutes yelling at me that I only gave him three things for breakfast. Beau likes to get all his daily calories in and done at breakfast. All those other meals are stupid.
By 6:45 they are sitting at the table eating breakfast. And by eating I mean squabbling and being silly. Actually, Beau is eating and Carmella is merely pretending to eat; biding her time in hopes that Beau will quickly finish his feast and then eat her breakfast too when I am not looking.
Around 7 am I send them upstairs to brush teeth. I instruct Beau to also brush his hair--which invariably he won't do or will only get the front combed and the back will be a rat's nest. He takes "party in the back" to a whole other level. I will also instruct him to put on his shoes--which he will do but will put them on the wrong feet, most times I think on purpose. And I don't care. My hope is that his classmates will make fun of him and shame him into no longer doing these things. But so far Beau has proved immune to shame.
While I am directing Beau, Carmella, without being asked, will usually take Lola out and then feed her. After I have Beau in a passable state that won't encourage the school to call DEFACS on me I remind the children to get their snacks, jackets and make sure all papers, folders and anything else is in order in their book bags. By 7:20 we all pile in the car and I drop them at school. I would be lying to not admit the tiny thrill I get each morning seeing them run, jacketed with book bags waving back at me, eagerly through the school doors. I love that they run!
Then I come home and pour a second cup of coffee because I never got to finish that first cup. After properly caffeinated, I clean the kitchen, pick up all the toys, shoes and whatevers because apparently I am the only person in my house that has mastered bending over and picking up objects off the floor. It is a gift, for sure. Then I swap out laundry and then go upstairs to make all the beds and clean the upstairs. You know, all typical boring ass housewife stuff. I know you are all dying from your envy. Don't let it eat a hole in you.
Yesterday though I found a new responsibility added to my chore list.
The above picture is what I found laid out on the trunk at the foot of Carmella's bed. I paused, puzzling over it. It probably isn't clear in the picture but the post-it notes on the doll outfits say: Grace (brown) and Carly (blond). Grace and Carly are Carmella's dolls names. Yes, the dolls are named after her. Carmella's full name is Carmella Grace and until she was 2 and told me flat out that she was "a Carmella" we called her Carly. Very imaginative, I know.
I looked at the outfits and then to Carmella's unmade bed. And then I noticed the girls.
And I looked back at the outfits and back at the dolls as it all set in for me. To be certain I was understanding, I called Ryan upstairs who was working from home yesterday to confer with.
"Do you think," I asked him, "that she means for me to dress her dolls for her?"
"Looks that way," he said. "You better get on it."
Just so you know I didn't even play with dolls as a child. And I have to admit that I was a little insulted by the implication here: Carmella, too busy with school doesn't have time to tend to her toys. She has more important things to do but clearly felt some guilt neglecting her toys. But me? A housewife? What do I have besides time? Of course I should pick up the slack for her!
So in uncharacteristic passive aggressive form I dressed her dolls for her but mixed up the outfits. Not just putting the wrong outfit on the wrong doll but mixed up shirts and shoes and set them neatly posed on her made-up bed in her cleaned and straightened room. Bwhahahaha.
Later, after I had picked the kids up from school and was upstairs in my room folding laundry, Carmella having finished her homework came up to her room. She was quiet in there for a moment and then called out across the hall to me.
"Mommy," she says, her tone slightly annoyed, "I see what you have done here and I don't think it is funny."
Feigning innocence I call back to her, "What are you talking about?"
"My dolls," she says impatiently, her voice serious; "you mixed up the outfits."
"Oh that. Well maybe you shouldn't leave your dolls for me to dress. Obviously I can't be trusted."
She sighs and says, "I just didn't have time to do it this morning and I didn't want to forget which outfit to put them in."
And then, of course, she fixes the outfits and plays with her dolls.
Funny how I think I am the one in charge but it seems like I keep finding signs to the contrary and that maybe I am the only one who thinks that.