Some mornings go smoother than others, and the motivation to work through each glitch comes from knowing that eventually, for a couple hours, everyone is gone. Before I reach that goal, though, there are two things that are always guaranteed to happen: Zoe and Charlie will fight, and someone will snap at me.
Yesterday morning it started before the first bite of eggs was off his fork. "Knock it off, Zoe. Quit looking at me. You're being rude."
"I'm not looking at you. I'm looking by you. And you're chewing weird." Zoe doesn't believe in sugarcoating things.
"Just. Stop. Looking. This. Way. Then. Geeeez." Charlie said, while turning his back toward her.
"Now you're sitting weird and chewing weird. Hey Charlie! We're going to see Santa in one sleep! That'll be so fun!" We're really hoping that her short-attention-span phase ends soon.
After a few more petty arguments during which Zoe criticized her brother's ping pong serving skills and accused him of being "annoying," it was finally time to pile in the car and head to the Most Funnest Place In The World, also known as school drop-off.
I needed to deliver a bag containing three plastic shopping baskets, a giant box of noodles, four cans of tuna, and a shoe box (please, don't ask) to Zoe's kindergarten room. The bag was too heavy and cumbersome for her to carry, and I thought: "Hey! I have this useful sixth grader! He can carry it and Zoe will think it's really cool that her big brother is walking her to class! Now I don't have to get out of the car at drop-off and risk bumping into the VC!" When I informed Charlie of the chore I had for him, his expression didn't exactly radiate goodwill and a voluntary willingness to help. I reminded him that Santa's watching his crabby mood and taking notes, to which he replied, "Yeah. Mmm hmm. Sure mom."
After securing my spot in line for the minivan/SUV parade, I pulled up to the curb and waited for the kids to hop out. Zoe was the first out, followed by my carpool kids, and then...no Charlie. I turned around and looked at him, peripherally detecting the angry looks being shot my direction from the other drivers because: "I was taking too long to drop-off! Get going! What's wrong with you? Don't you know how the drop-off procedure works? Go! GO!"
After giving him a few seconds, I finally said, "Charlie. You have to hurry up and get out of the car. There might be a drive-by."
"I WOULD!" he snapped. "But my backpack is really heavy and I have this stupid bag of baskets and tuna and crap that you want me to carry, ALL RIGHT? MAN!"
I noticed that a few people were on the sidewalk wondering why in the hell I was taking so long, and I didn't think they'd be very impressed with my "scream like a lunatic while I hit Charlie with the bag of tuna" show. So in my best I'm-such-a-happy-mom voice, I said to him: "Get out of the car. Now. And this attitude of yours might just guarantee that you end up without any Christmas presents from anyone. In fact, I might just make you give some back from last year."
Silently, he got out of the car, and I'm sure he would have loved to have slammed the door on me. Unfortunately for him, though, I have power-sliding doors, so he had to settle for pushing the button with a little extra force, which doesn't really have the same dramatic effect, but still pisses me off.