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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

End the morning madness

Friday, October 21, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- I don't remember the mornings being so tough growing up. I am definitely missing something, not hearing someone's advice or forgetting some golden rule that will hopefully slap me in the face soon.

It is a struggle to get the little guy through only a few basic tasks each morning; clothes, breakfast, teeth, shoes, jacket, backpack and out the door. It sounds simple enough but nonetheless Declan and I are doing our best to leave our mark on Kindergarten by setting the school record for most consecutive tardy days.

I can just imagine the nightmare that would ensue if tardiness ever became an offense that required the school to contact the county attorney, as they do with absences. If word of our tardiness streak reaches him, something tells me the county attorney would be lobbying for that change...

I found that a simple google search of "Stop the morning madness" provides a wealth of information on the topic, and at least I know I am not alone. Some experts say to focus on yourself, getting up earlier and getting more organized, maintaining a positive attitude.

Others seem to think empowering your child should be the focus. If your kid knows you will work hard getting them out of bed and ready each morning, they have no motivation to do it themselves.

Both make very good points, I think I will try for a combination of the two strategies. I am sure I will have it resolved in the near future, starting by practicing what I preach to my son and moving my own bedtime closer to his in an attempt to move the dreaded wake-up time to an earlier hour.

No matter how stressful of an initial launch we have on any given morning, nor how many times Declan tells me on the short drive to his school that I am "no longer the best Dad ever," the most recent occurrence because I refused to substitute Kool-Aid for his snack time water bottle, he seems to find a way to strap on a smile as he sprints to his class line.

Morning hugs between classmates are not as common as the parting hugs at the end of the school day, but it is easy to see how excited the kids are to see each other. They manage their cheerful greetings to each other even without the benefit of a morning coffee! I know it sounds impossible, but I see it daily. At least I have assumed it was without the benefit of the ever popular caffeinated beverage.

Perhaps the soccer-moms I am so envious of that seem to have it all together and actually arrive in the elementary school parking area before the tardy bell rings, are secretly pepping up their kids with morning coffee. I can just imagine the Tasmanian devil that Declan would become if I was silly enough to try that experiment even once, no thank you, I will find another way.

Most days just getting the hug goodbye from my little guy, as he runs off smiling, is more than enough to brighten my morning and send me off to work in good spirits. But I gotta admit, it will be so much more enjoyable when we find a way to end the morning madness leading up to that precious moment.

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Bruce Baker
Dinner with Declan