I know what kind of morning it will be by looking at the clock. It is before 6 am and I hear the faint call coming from the monitor. “Mommy.” It’s soft and sweet to begin. But a minute later as I hold my breath and cross my fingers, secretly hoping he will go back to bed, I hear it again. Only louder. And angrier. “MOMMY!” I quickly tip toe towards his room, not wanting to wake Chloe. I laugh inside as if the screaming didn’t already do that. And then come the familiar words. “All done nugh night?” And I know that it’s not really a question for me. It doesn’t matter what I say, he has already made up his mind. He is three after all.
He jumps out of bed and the morning begins. Smooth at first. Cinnamon toast. Check. Milk. Check. Soft pants. Check. And into the car we go. Maybe it won’t be so bad, I think to myself.
And then I turn right instead of going straight. It’s as if I’ve committed a major crime. My knuckles turn white as I clench the steering wheel. “GO STRAIGHT MOMMY!” I hear through the shrills. And so it begins. Being 3. Being 3 and not getting your way. Being 3 and thinking you rule the world. It’s a huge injustice in his mind. And now I am certain that I know what kind of morning it will be.
Backpack slung on one arm. Nap bag in the other. Winter coat dragging off one of my arms. It wasn’t worth the fight. It’s 20 degrees and I can see the white cloud form as I take a deep breath in and slowly breath out. “I can do this,” I say to myself and I open the car door. Like a football under my arm, I carry Zachary into school. His teachers know he is coming even before we walk down the hallway. The faces say it all. Pity…Empathy…Are they sympathetic or judgemental? I don’t know.
In my head I answer their looks. I really am a good mom. You should see my daughter. She listened to me. And then I laugh. It’s being 3.
All of the bags hanging from my extremities sink to the floor as I bend down to settle him in. Holding his arms and looking into his swollen eyes, my heart melts. “I sorry, Momma” he says softly. A hug, a kiss, another hug and another until I’m officially late. We say goodbye through the window with a silly face. All is forgotten. It’s being 3.