I'm going to multi-task here. In an effort to both keep up with blogging and tell my mom everything she's going to need to know while I'm gone, I'm going to write her some letters here on the ol' blogaroo. And in the event that she gets lost here while trying to find the mailbox and can't fulfill her duties, all the information will be written out and one of you dear readers can fill in for her.
The first thing you should know is that there is something wrong with Christian. Like, seriously messed up. For reasons that can't be explained, the kid gets up every morning around 6:00, sometimes earlier, without the aid of any encouragement on my part. Sometimes he uses an alarm clock, sometimes he lets his circadian rhythm naturally launch him out of his bed and into the shower. After he showers, he gets ready, makes his bed, picks up his bathroom and bedroom, and then heads downstairs to spend some time on homework or catching up on ESPN or mastering another level on one of his video games. I'd like to say that I've influenced this bizarre, responsible behavior, but I think you probably still have vivid memories of my morning lethargy, not to mention the hazardous conditions of my bedroom.
You'll make him feel most at home if you, as I do, stumble out of bed around 6:50 or 7:00, wander downstairs with eyes half-closed, wish him good morning, and ask him if he'd like anything for breakfast. Most of the time he declines, but I make him a couple of pieces of toast (with peanut butter and honey) anyway and then spend the next ten minutes begging him to eat them. He heads out to catch the bus at 7:15, lugging his overstuffed backpack. Feel free to eat the rest of his uneaten toast.
I refer to the hour of 6:50 to 7:50 as the Honeymoon phase of the morning. It goes so swimmingly, so effortlessly, you might be lulled into thinking that cartoon bluebirds are going to swoop in and begin dressing you in handmade (wingmade?) clothes from the tablecloth.
This will not happen.
Max usually has to be nudged/threatened awake, sometime around 7:40. He'll want his fuzzy red robe to put on and you'll have to resist giggling at the way he looks like a little old man in it. You can ask him what he wants for breakfast, but I don't recommend it. He'll take a full 20 minutes to contemplate it, and you just don't have that kind of time. He likes toast or yogurt or a Toad in the Road.
Max should be dressed and fed and freshly tooth-brushed by about 8:15, give or take a few minutes. He needs his homework in his backpack, as well as a snack of the toasted goldfish cracker variety. You'll want to grab a jacket and head out the door with him to join our friendly neighbors at the bus stop/mailbox for a wonderful morning chat before the bus comes to pick the kids up.
At this point, you can walk down a couple of doors to Estelle's house to join her for a morning walk on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We used to walk every morning, but Estelle has recently ditched me on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays in favor or a senior citizens water aerobics class at the local gym. I'm not sure what that means on a personal level that someone would choose pool time with the seriously bathing-suit-challenged over a brisk walk with moi, but I plan to ponder it on my lengthy flight.
Back at the house, it's just you and the dog. You should make sure that she has food (one scoop per day) and water. Do not give in to the urge to feed her whatever the kids didn't eat for breakfast, no matter how forlornly she looks at you, wincing, and trying to pretend like she has a hard life. Her life consists of napping, snuggling, eating, more napping, and low-impact resting. We should all be so lucky. That's why we get to eat peanut butter and bacon and she doesn't. There has to be some balance in the world, for crying out loud.
Feel free to indulge yourself in reading or TV, but avoid the fourth hour of the Today Show at all costs. Kathie Lee is...scary. You can dabble in dish-doing if the mood strikes, but if I were you, I'd probably sprawl out on the couch and ponder life with a bag of potato chips.
This takes care of the morning. Any questions?