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The Maiden Voyage of the Soft Start

Drum roll, please.

Our school hast implemented a Soft Start. This means families can arrive anywhere between 8:25-8:40, and children proceed to their classrooms to start the day gently and calmly. Rather than lining up outside, letting cars line up like the McDonald’s drive thru during the free McRib special, all to bring 500 kids into the building in a 5-minute time span.

It all just so brilliant that I wonder why we haven’t been doing this all along.  So we started the morning today with plans to leave at 8:20, allowing us a full 20 minute cushion for unexpected happenings.

I’ve declared a war on technology for 2014: none before school in the morning. All the supermoms are saying, “Well, yes of course, no technology in the mornings. TV and handheld video games wouldn’t mix well with the balanced breakfast of organic granola and protein.”

Even though I am not supermom, I recognize the inherent mistake in allowing their brains to slip into the vortex of the screen when we are on a time limit. So, starting today, no games before school. (I’ll tackle the after-school-do-your-homework-finish-your-dinner battle later today, I’m sure.)

I was prepared for a full on battle, and the morning did not disappoint. One child has lost his gaming system for the forseeable future, because it turns out, obedience means not arguing for the next 25 minutes about whether or not it’s fair for him to ‘just hold the case’ when he has no intention of playing the games before school. Right. Let’s not kid ourselves. Said gaming system will remain in visible storage until the new regime deems appropriate.

I made hot chocolate. Extra marshmallows. I gave them red velvet muffins for breakfast. I packed lunches. Complete with fruits, vegetables, peanut butter sandwich (cut into a star), and snacks for mid-learning breaks.

We could only find one shoe and 3 boots.

Murphy pooped on the floor. Murphy ate the poop. (I will never understand this.) Tucker gagged when Murphy licked him with his poop breath (this I can understand), and Tuck threw up red velvet cupcake onto my decorative pillows in the family room.
We talked about the difference between a gag reflex and the flu, and I let him know this small eruption did not in fact deem him contagious and he would hereto and hitherfore go to school.

Murphy peed on one child’s coat, which led me to recall the three dogs I have repurposed in new homes, and why I made those decisions. It is 7 degrees out, and my son’s coat is sprinkled with dog pee. And now, in addition to boots and shoes, we are in search of layers to pile on to my son, since even this mom (though she did consider it) would never, ever send her son to school in a coat that has been peed on.

I had now asked Tyler to put his shoes on, no less than 47 times. He was instead foraging through the refrigerator for Gogurts.

Tucker had gone out to the car, and I considered myself 1 for 2, so when he appeared inside I felt a sense of epic failure and snapped at him for appearing before me. He said, “I was just going to tell you that I’m going to take out the trash cans.” Yes, thank you, lovey. I’m sorry for yelling at you. And trash cans go out on Thursday night, not Monday morning. But thank you for being thorough.

I opened the door to bring us all outside in one fell swoop, and Murphy slipped between our feet and through the garage and out into the driveway, which he does everyday, because he believes he is in control over whether or not he will ride along in the morning to take his boys to school. He is not in charge, and yet here I was, chasing a dog who’s doing laps around the car, in, around and under. It does seem like he’s maybe a ittle bit in charge.

I barked at Tyler for not being in the car. This startled him and he dropped his backpack in a puddle. I closed the car door before he was ready, and he dropped his backpack in a puddle. Awesome. I threw Murphy into the laundry room. I got a text from my checking account telling me my balance, which is fine but could use some replenishing and I’ll take care of that just please not right this minute.

We began the drive to school. We prayed for teachers and friends and leadership and the opportunities to serve others. And one child started to cry because he’s not sure if he should obey the teacher or serve others, so I clarified that obeying the teacher IS serving others. Trust me, kiddo. I was a teacher. When you follow directions, you’re helping her out in crazy, important ways.

And then we happened onto the intersection of all intersections, the precipice of whether or not we will turn left and move onward, Christian soliders. I waited for seven minutes to turn left. Seven minutes. I kid you not: I was timing it all.

I can only imagine the maiden voyage of the Soft Start was a tremendous success, as the sidewalks and parking lot were clear by the time we arrived.

At 8:57.

Happy Monday and Happy New Year, my friends. We are off to a soaring start.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Oh, how I know this story! I only have one of my five in school, but it’s like herding cats to try to get that one out the door with all the others pulling on my leg. I think we’ve been late about 8 times this year, so far, because I’m a responsible parent like that. 🙂

  2. Why oh why can this mom relate?? Thank you for bringing a spot of humor to my day…although I’m sorry I laughed at your expense. Perhaps we laughed together?? Or at least a few hours after it was over for you? Blessings!

  3. All I can think of considering how terrible the roads were yesterday was, maybe God was protecting you all.

  4. Often, when I read your blog, I find myself belly laughing! Thank you for the laughs!

  5. Laugh or cry? I am in your camp of people who feel like I’ve accomplished something EPIC to arrive anywhere with kids on time, and pretty darn great for myself, too. Can any more hassles pile up in one morning?!

  6. Sounds like the pooch could use some help from “The Dog Whisperer”

  7. Oh I love reading your posts! It makes me feel normal!!! Our kids have been off for two weeks. Now, I know most kids have been, but this momma likes routine and all this Christmas and new years in the middle of the week has had these kids and their dad home far to much for my liking quite honestly…..and then the icing on the cake when I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel…we have a not 1 but 2 day delay because of the cold….SERIOUSLY, put on a freaking coat! What do you think the kids n husbands do in Alaska? Stay home cause it’s cold?! And then all I see on facebook is the moms who apparently never get tired of people in there space…and then let’s add on the guilt for feeling this way and it’s no wonder the husdand and the son have been asking me while I am not smiling! I love my family with all my heart but I also love no need some quiet space…whew that felt good…thank you for giving me the courage to speak

  8. Girl! You earned yourself a hot beverage and some alone time after that craziness! You’re doing great, lady. Don’t anyone (even yourself) tell you otherwise.

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