8 am dentist appointment
If you are a homeschooler, you are groaning already, just from reading a previous line.
Two weeks ago, I saw a dental appointment written into my planner. Six months ago, when I made it, it was perfectly clear (or I was too rushed to make a full note) who the appointment was meant for, but now, I just could not remember whether it was my cleaning, or the kids' dentist. My husband was also telling me how our dental coverage is running out at the end of the month, so whoever the appointment was for, another one would have to be scheduled before the month was out.
I guessed it was for the kids, so I called their dentist. Turns out it was for me, but the receptionist was able to squeeze all three of them into one morning slot. The only hitch was, it was 8 am slot.
My kids are generally early risers. The only one whom I ever have to wake up is 8 yo, and I try not to resort to that often, But what my kids do with their early morning does not involve rushing out the door. They lounge on the couch. They read. The eat slow bowls of breakfast. They unload the dishwasher. They decide whether to toast bagels, and how long to spend on spreading them with cream cheese. They learn how to make tea for themselves and mommy's coffee. And then, when the breakfast time is over, they get dressed and daven. We pit a premium on slow morning pace. Even with all that, we are usually ready to start on schoolwork by 9 am, earlier for 10 yo.
This morning, we would have to be there by 8 am. My kids love their dentist, and the office. They did not stall, but getting out the door that quickly was turning into a nightmare. I found myself constantly hustling them along: Eat already! Go brush your teeth! Why are you not dressed yet? Do you have enough time to daven? The height of ridiculousness was reached when I found myself saying: put on your feet! They all burst out laughing.
Then we got to the car and I found it covered in a layer of frost. The scraper was inside the house, and I literally did not have those extra five minutes for the car to properly defrost. I started driving, and then, with the sun shining on the ice crystals (which were beautiful, by the way, but I had no time to reflect on their beauty), I realized that I am driving without any visibility. We ended up stopping and I used the flat back of a tube of lotion to scrape a spot big enough to see.
People always think how homeschooling is so hard. I say, getting out of the house with all the kids early every morning is hard! I actually wonder whether part of the reason people resent spending time with their kids has to do with constant rushing and constant keeping up with the schedule. I heard of people putting their kids to sleep in clothes for the next day, or sending them to school with a granola bar because there is no time for breakfast. I heard of people dragging half-asleep kids out of bed to school because, well, they have to go! And what if they are late, and get enough sleep, and take their time? What if there is no time crunch?
I was thinking this morning how if I had to do this every single morning, I would go crazy. I would resent my kids, and they would resent me. It's a cliche about homeschoolers sleeping in (and then doing school in their pajamas), but there is more to it than a simple laziness. It's a reflection of a different, calmer lifestyle. It's a progressive step in parenting. It's an adventure in self-regulation.