Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Story About Routine

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person, mostly when I am imagining that I am someone else.

Don't get me wrong. I've done spontaneous things. I sometimes enjoy them, but if there's one thing I know about juggling work and equally sharing parenting (and parenting in general, really) then it's that a routine is essential.

And this week, mine did not begin very well.

We traveled to visit my in-laws for the holiday, which was great, but after the four-hour drive back home on Monday night (which my husband and I both had off work), we were exhausted. Bags stayed packed and tossed into the living room, the dogs were restless from having spent two days away from the house, my daughter was wired from having slept much of the ride home.

Then it was time to go back to work. Me after having ten days off. My husband after a four-day weekend. Things did not go smoothly.

Because my husband's been busier than usual, I offered to drop our daughter off at daycare one morning so he could go in earlier (he usually does drop-offs and I do pick-ups), he thanked me, helped get things together, and left. Deviation from routine number one complete.

I've decided that I need to start eating breakfast because I never, ever do, and I know it's not good for me and whatnot. Deviation from routine number two. So, I walk into the kitchen, where of course my little barnacle (which is what I affectionately call my clingy, clingy child) follows me every step of the way. As I'm opening up some frozen raspberries to dump into the blender, I spill a couple onto the floor--literally, a couple, as in two. My daughter, curious barnacle that she is, takes it upon herself to detach from my leg and retrieve them, sticking one on her tongue until she realized how cold it is. Then I turn the blender on, and my daughter freaks out. She runs across the kitchen screaming (not crying, but screaming) and wraps both of her arms around my legs, burying her face in my knees. At this point--besides questioning her survival skills, since I'm the one holding the apparently-terrifying blender and thus probably not a good hiding place--I turn the blender off and reach down to comfort her.

Then I realize that she, in her terror, had managed to hold onto the raspberries (remember, two of them, that's it) and smashed them all over her hands, my pants, her shirt and the floor. Two raspberries, and my kitchen looked like a scene from Psycho.

So, of course, now two minutes away from the time I should be walking out the door, I have to change my pants, her shirt, clean off her bright red hands, and finish making my smoothie. I was only five minutes late to work, but her fingertips were still stained and I spent about half my morning feeling like I'd forgotten something important.

Anyway, routine's aren't so bad. Spontaneity may be overrated.

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