A Semi-Typical Morning in Stimeyland*

* The phrase “semi-typical” is used with the greatest of glee and irony.

6:15 a.m.: Stimey’s alarm beeps

6:15, 6:22, 6:29, 6:36, 6:43, and 6:50 a.m.: Stimey slaps at the snooze button. (This happens every single Saturday, by the way. Some of you would just change your alarm to go off at 6:57, but (a) I fear that I would sleep through it/snooze again, and (b) I don’t know how to change the alarm.

6:57 a.m.: Stimey gets out of bed. Stimey also considers jabbing Alex in the ribs just because, but takes pity because he is sick. Alex is extremely lucky this morning.

7:00 a.m.: Stimey tries to make Jack jump up happily so we can leave for hockey at 7:20 and be on the ice by 8.

7:02 a.m.: It becomes clear that this won’t happen.

As I proofread this, I see that I switched from third to first person here. I’m asking you to just roll with this.

7:05 a.m.: I hand Jack clothes and tell him that if he gets dressed and ready to go that we can stop for hashbrowns for him at McDonald’s on the way to practice. Jack tells me he wants doughnuts instead. I tell him that doughnuts come after practice because they are a treat and that hashbrowns come before practice because they are a food (only marginally so, if they come from McDonald’s).

7:08 a.m.: We have our first tears of the day.

7:09-7:23 a.m.: I somehow manage to get Jack dressed; find him socks, then find him the socks he wants to wear; brush his teeth; give him some food; and get him to walk to the car.

7:23-7:28 a.m.: We argue over the definition of the words “food” and “treat.”

7:28 a.m.: We stop at McDonald’s for hashbrowns. Jack screams a lot. Jack claims he will NEVER EAT A HASHBROWN!

7:29 a.m.: Jack begins to eat his hashbrown.

7:34 a.m.: I consider scrapping the whole idea of hockey practice and going home. I then remember that if I go home, all that is waiting for me is sick Alex, who won’t get up if I’m home; surly Sam and Quinn, who will demand breakfast, video games and other unreasonable things of me if I were to show up; a dirty house, which I do not want to clean; and, right, Jack will still be there and will still be mad at me. I decide to soldier on and pretend that I’m teaching a lesson on “following through with commitments” and “supporting your team” and “being the best that you can be.”

7:44 a.m.: Jack somehow comes under the impression that he doesn’t have to skate at hockey practice, but just cheer on his team. (I may be to blame with that whole “supporting your team” thing.) After being corrected, Jack starts trying to negotiate start and stop times for his practice: “I’ll start skating at 8:30! I’ll stop skating at 8:50!”

7:52 a.m.: Our appearance in the hockey locker room and Jack’s subsequent tears as I veeeery sloooowly put on his gear takes our private spectacle and turns it into a public spectacle. Thankfully, every parent there has been through this, so they nod knowingly and carry on.

8:10 a.m.: Ten minutes after practice starts, I finally have all of Jack’s gear on him, with the exception of his helmet and gloves. I am very intentionally moving extremely slowly, yet this is still not slow enough for him. I get him to the rink side by telling him we’re going to see if his friend from school who recently joined the team is out there skating. Thank the good lord, he is.

8:17 a.m.: I repeatedly put Jack’s gloves on his hands only to have him repeatedly hurl them to the ground.

8:19 a.m.: Jack follows his gloves to the ground in a dramatic exhibition of collapsing in tears.

8:22 a.m.: I tell Jack that we are going to go take his gear off and go straight home. Jack realizes that this means no post-practice doughnuts and starts to cry.

8:23 a.m.: I tell Jack that if he will skate for the rest of practice, we can stop for doughnuts on the way home.

8:26 a.m.: Jack gets on the ice. The team is a little bit short on mentors this week, which works out perfectly because Jack almost certainly would not respond well to following directions at this point. Instead of participating in any of the drills happening on the ice, Jack skates to the middle of the ice and begins skating around the marked circle at center ice. The other players drill around him.

8:49 a.m.: After skating in approximately 7000 small circles, Jack wants to get off the ice. I tell him to skate around the outside of the rink twice, then he can be done. Jack speed skates those two laps with a huge grin on his face and happily decamps to the locker room.

8:55 a.m.: While taking off Jack’s gear, we overhear another parent talking to his son about him having earned a doughnut. This makes me feel substantially less bad about my own parenting choices.

9:08 a.m.: As we are walking to the car and I’m telling Jack how proud I am of him, I ask the question I am afraid to hear the answer to: “Did you have fun?” Jack cheerfully answers, “Yes!”

9:23 a.m.: Jack gets his TREAT of doughnuts in the form of a Hostess six-pack.

He’s such a good kid. I’ll do anything for that grin.

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