Parenting Advice from Simon & Garfunkel

 

Slow down, you’re moving too fast…

I’m reminded of this almost every morning as we get the kids ready for school and ourselves ready for work. Usually my wife and I both get up around 4:15, so that we can work out, and have a little quiet time to ourselves before the day starts.

If we are lucky, our son will sleep until about 5:15 or 5:30.

Once he wakes up, we shift out of relaxing morning mode, into fixing his breakfast, refilling his bottle, changing his diaper, and carrying him around as we try to manage our morning tasks. Our pace picks up a little, because there is much to do, and now we generally have one less hand, arm, or leg (depending on how our attention is used) to do those things with.

By 6:15, we wake up our daughter, who, for whatever reason, is an absolute grump in the morning. She must be prodded out of bed, carried to our bathroom, where she spends the next 10 minutes under special calming light bulbs listening to the sounds of ocean waves so that she can wake up peacefully.

So by 6:25, all arms are full, Harper needs a second breakfast, Hope needs to eat, I need to eat, shower, and get dressed. Hope needs hair done, teeth brushed, breakfast, her TV show, and her shoes untied so she can get them on, and then she needs to be reminded of all of those things because she wasn’t listening the first three times we told her.

Basically, at 6:25, my wife and I begin auditioning for a spot on a Daytona 500 pit crew. Except rather than cars, we are dealing with tiny humans, who are fragile both physically and emotionally during the morning time. We are slinging towels, clothes, toothpaste, combs, eggs, toaster strudels, Ipads, and children all over the house in a semi-synchronized fashion.

And if anyone gets off pace, we let them hear about it right away. “Hurry up!” “Have you brushed your teeth? How about your hair? You can’t find your comb, just use your toothbrush on your hair and your teeth, it’s a brush, it will work on both!”

“Eat your breakfast! We are leaving in 3 minutes” “Just get your eggo into your mouth, you can swallow it on the way to school”

Minus the spaghetti, this is what Hope looks like many mornings, trying to get any nutrients that she can in before I throw her into the car.

Usually, about the time we are walking out the door, Harper poops, and needs to be changed.

It’s a little hectic. Sometimes, my wife and I speak to each other in the mornings.

And every morning, every single morning, I try to remind myself to slow down. I’m moving too fast.

Sometimes, I’ll wake Hope up by laying down beside her and talking to her. She’s still a grump, but it’s a much more enjoyable transition than the one that occurs when I sling back the covers and tell her that we are wheels up in 45 minutes and that, unlike the Marines, we do leave men behind.

Sometimes, I’ll play trucks with Harper, and we’ll put out imaginary fires with all of his firetrucks. It’s much better for him than watching cartoons, and it helps me start off the day right, by spending time with someone who is important, doing something that is important.

Every now and then, Jennifer and I will speak, maybe even string together a conversation.

Every now and then, I’ll wrestle with the kids, which usually involves me tickling Hope, and Harper jumping on my head from the top turnbuckle. We all laugh, and enjoy each other before we start our day.

I hate hurrying my kids along. And at the risk of trying to sound deeper than I should, I hate rushing life along. And that’s what we do each morning.

We need to slow down.

Hope needs to be told that she looks beautiful while we help her get ready.

Harper needs to be allowed to share his imagination with us.

My wife and I need to interact in ways other than quick soundbites, before we part for the next 10 hours.

These things don’t take long, but they can’t be done well in passing, with such great pace.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to lose my job if I’m only 10 minutes early instead of 15.

But I do worry that I might lose my kids if I don’t take the time to live with them, and let them live with me.

I don’t know about you, but many times, we need to slow down. We are moving too fast. All of this will pass faster than we know. Life doesn’t need any help rushing right along.

Slow down and enjoy the people that matter most.

Much Love,

Bryan

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