They all start the same.
Teddy is the alarm clock. He is two and a half years old. This age comes with many challenges for the little guy and can lead to many challenging moments for us. It's all okay though as evolution has whittled away at this problem for some time by now and as a result he is in possession of nature’s cutest adaptation.
He is unbearably adorable. All cheeks and just enough language to get his point across eventually after several missed guesses, while giving your heart if not your countenance a smile as you try to interpret his barely understandable babble/speak. Even if the way he pronounces a word like 'truck' is mortifying at first, it's also sweet beyond words.
So his morning cries (more often than we tend to admit coming from the space between us in our bed) are tolerated. The challenging moments are frustrating for him and overwhelming for us. But between them, in the interstitials of a very full life, lies endless beauty. With lives full it’s not always easy to stop and acknowledge these moments. But we do, from time to time, just to keep the ever dwindling stores of energy positive.
The first instant is always a challenge. How can you possibly be waking up this early, you think. His insistence makes you open your eyes. The fog lays low for a bit, we are almost 5 years into this schedule however and we long since have stopped cursing the morning light. Before you know it the blurred vision takes focus and he is there, all cheeks and sorrow. We are not yet awake and feeding his belly and his need for attention. Momma never asks for relief from this duty. She knows I'd help, at least most of the time, but she loves the morning light with her coffee and her soon to be giddy and happy boy.
It's her story to write, the story of the morning the two of them share, but what I walk into when I go downstairs after a couple cycles of ‘snooze’ is nothing short of beautiful. He is curled up under her arm, laughing and silly, every bit the showman. His belly and life are full at the moment as he's been afforded the chance to be mommy's only for a few minutes each day. They both love it.
Before coming down the stairs I open the door to Charlie’s room. I turn off the white noise and allow our low key morning fun to drift up to him, allowing him to wake gently. On the good days, on most days, we'll hear something like, 'Mommy. Come get Me.' at full on four year old volume ten or fifteen minutes later. Mommy comes to him, but more and more he’ll come down on his own.
The morning is in full swing now, taking a turn from the rhythm of a 'home day' into the reality of a 'school day'. They don't know that yet. We do. It’s also a work day and we need to dress and make lunches and dress the guys and prep for the day. So the TV goes on. The boys sit silently on the couch, cereal and sippy in their laps while George entertains us as well as them. We are fully engaged viewers of TV for children and we know when somethings good or not. It's mostly not, but there are exceptions.
Our slow and soothing rhythm steadily increases in velocity. What we would allow to occur organically earlier in the morning now has two parents prompting and prodding if not begging for them to move move move. It's a bummer for everyone involved. Mommy and I frantic to make deadlines, some real and unavoidable, some self-imposed, all interfering. By the time we sit in our cars we know that the bubble has burst, but we never can actually notice it while it's happening. The weekend is over and we all have to get on with what it is we get on with.
'Is today a home day, Daddy?' Charlie will ask. He and Teddy both wait for the answer.
'Nope. Sorry, buddy. But it is a school day! You get to see all your friends!' And it's true. He loves his school friends. We all do. But eventually has asks how long until another home day. We answer together, I start.
'School, school, school, school, school…' and I look to him in the rear view mirror.
His eyes get wide and he's so happy to speak up for his part. 'HOME, HOME'