This is the transcript of a meeting I’m pretty sure took place in the middle of the night between my four children: Josh (age 6), Danny (age 4), Bethany (age 3) and Joel (13 months). I hope you find it much funnier than I did.
Josh: Okay, everybody we already got the call and it appears I will be home all day tomorrow because of the impending snowstorm. So, let’s do some planning. Who would like to take the first shift?
Danny: I’ll handle 3 a.m. I’ll start by roaming around the house for no apparent reason and then I’ll pitch a fit when somebody tries to put me back in bed. I’ll repeat that routine around 6:30.
Josh: Great work. Who’ll go next?
Joel: I think I can work up a really nice morning poop. We did have corn with dinner and I’ve gotten pretty good at pulling poop-covered corn kernels out of my diaper and throwing them around the room. I’ll also be sure and smash some into my teddy bear’s fur so I’ll be guaranteed to cry all morning while its being washed.
Josh: Perfect. Bethany, what are you going to contribute to the morning?
Bethany: I’ve decided that whatever question they ask me in the morning, I’ll say “no”, cry and run away.
Josh: But what if they’re just asking what you’d like for breakfast?
Bethany: Even if. I am that level of committed to this plan.
Josh: Sounds good. I will plan on crying at the breakfast table because I can’t sit in the same chair as Danny. Then I’ll say I have something in my eye and run around the house stomping and crying and insisting all the lights get turned out until the thing is out of my eye. Who’s up next?
Danny: I’ll say I want a hardboiled egg to eat and then not eat the yoke even though I usually eat the whole thing. I’ll say the yoke makes me throw up. When Mommy asks me to eat the yoke, I will put it in my mouth and then go gag over the trash can and spit it all out.
Josh: Who wants to spill their drink?
Bethany: Oh, that’s classic Bethany. I’m all over that.
Josh: Joel, will you be up for flinging your oatmeal?
Josh: Well, that covers breakfast. Now what should we do when she asks us to get dressed?
Danny: I will cry, Bethany should put all her clothes on backwards and insist that’s the only way she’ll wear them, and Josh why don’t you get dressed in the middle of the living room and leave a trail of dirty clothes all through the house.
Joel: While she’s helping you guys, I’ll head to the bathroom and throw some bathtub toys into the toilet.
Josh: Perfect. And let’s not forget to all leave every dresser drawer entirely open. So once we’re dressed, then what?
Danny: Let’s lull her into thinking it was just a bad morning. Let’s say 20 minutes of playing nicely together in the basement?
Josh: Good thinking. Then we’ll have ten separate arguments about ten individual toys where one person yells, “I had it first” and then the other one yells, “It’s my toy.” Joel, while we’re doing that, what will you be doing?
Joel: Don’t worry about me. Teddy Bear will be in the washing machine so I’ll pretty much just be a weepy mess all morning. I’ll work on her emotions by crying, “Mama, Teddy” until he’s out of the drier.
Josh: Excellent. I don’t think we’ve designated anybody to break anything yet, so I’ll cover that. I’ll ad lib that part so she doesn’t think it’s staged. Maybe a favorite toy of mine? We’ll see.
Bethany: How about making a big mess while she’s dealing with the laundry?
Josh: Genius. It takes her about 10 minutes to switch out a load of laundry- Danny and Bethany, what kind of mess do you think you can make in 10 minutes?
Bethany: I’ll dump all the costumes out and spread them around the room.
Danny: I can throw all my plastic dinosaurs and then start crying that I can’t find my favorite one.
Josh: Okay, then we need to let her think we’re going to be good. Maybe another 20 minutes of getting along?
Danny: Yes, and then she’ll probably try and talk to another adult for a minute on the phone.
Josh: Our favorite time of all! Bethany, you take that craft box she never lets us play with out of the cabinet. I’ll run upstairs and get all the art supplies she does let us play with and we’ll mix them all up so we can claim we didn’t know which things we weren’t supposed to play with.
Danny: Stroke of genius here, guys- you know that ink stamp pad she has in there? I’m just going to rub it all over my face. I will look awesome. Like a Mary Poppins-style chimney sweep.
Josh: YES! And I will draw a marker mustache and beard on my face.
Bethany: How about to give her a panic attack, I’ll come to her while she’s on the phone and ask her to open up a thing of glue and then she’ll realize we have the craft box?
Josh: Great stuff. By this time Teddy should be out of the wash, so what’s next for you, Joel?
Joel: I’m anticipating Danny will need a bath to get the ink off, so how about I come into the bathroom and immediately launch Teddy into the tub so he’ll have to have another round in the washing machine?
Josh: Well, I wish you had a little more of a creative suggestion since the bear did JUST get out of the wash, but we’ll go with it.
Joel: Don’t you see the genius in it? She HATES it when she has to wash something she just washed.
Josh: True! Okay, so while Danny’s in the bath how about Bethany and I throw some playing cards around the living room?
Danny: Sounds good. Then let’s get out the play-doh!
Bethany: Oh, that is always a good idea. Can we fight over who has which color and then crumble it all up into tiny pieces we throw on the ground?
Josh: As usual. And then let’s start an argument about who said “poop” so we can say “poop” a whole bunch. You know how Mom loves that.
Danny: Seems like that should take us all the way to lunch.
Josh: Okay, Team. This will be the plan until lunch. Please stick to your usual lunch routines- Bethany will take an hour to eat, Danny will drop crumbs and orange peels all over the floor, Joel will feed half his lunch to the dog and I’ll complain that I was supposed to have hot lunch at school today. We’ll regroup at naptime and set the agenda for the afternoon.
So now you know how my morning went. I hope yours was a little less exciting.