Since last week we've been continuing the pleasantifying of mornings, and with one little hiccup yesterday, I think it's working.
To review, this is how it goes: we get up and have breakfast together, then I go and shower and leave the children the following list:
- two trips to the kitchen
- pack snack
- get dressed
- brush teeth
- brush hair
To which Delphine inevitably adds a sixth item: Play. I think they're finally understanding that Play can only come after (and if) every other thing is done.
Cathy suggested creating a colourful chart listing the morning routine, but Delphine is text-oriented and a list nerd like me, so the staid to-do list format works for her. I write a new list every day, and she solemnly X'es off the things she's finished. It works for both girls, even though Cordelia doesn't read yet, because Delphine's essentially in charge of Cordelia in the morning, and Cordelia doesn't mind. (Your mileage may vary.)
Yesterday I didn't include "brush hair" on the list, and when I announced "we have to leave in five minutes" Delphine rashly concluded they had time to play because they were "almost done". Cordelia came downstairs with every intention of playing and justly rebelled when I said I had to brush her hair first. She dug her heels in and I lost my temper and hollered at them. I'm not sure why I took it so badly—could be that I didn't get enough sleep, or I was worried that I would miss a 9:00 appointment. Fortunately Delphine stepped up and was the grown-up. She brushed Cordelia's hair and her own, and helped us all get out of the house in good time.
Today our morning went smooth as butter: I didn't leave anything off the list, and the children didn't muck about. We arrived at school in plenty of time, with no shouting. It probably didn't hurt that the kids were in bed early last night.
I should add that one of the keys to this working is that I studiously don't care what their snacks look like (apart from that they have to contain fruit). Today Cordelia took a little container with some pretzel sticks and a dried apricot—no snack bag, no drink. It's certainly not how I would do it, but I expect it will be good enough for her, plus she has the satisfaction of having created and packed her own snack.
Another thing I cultivate a lack of interest in is what the children wear. Today Cordelia wore a black dance leotard with teal leggings, which might just be a little too gorgeous for kindergarten. Delphine has been dressing herself sensibly (but with a certain flair) since forever, and fortunately she's happy to choose Cordelia's clothes too, on the days Cordelia's not interested.
So, for now, mornings are a success story. As the girls grow and the dynamic between them changes, I guess our mornings will change too, and of course the success of mornings will depend on how well-rested we all are, but for now I'm happy that we have laid the groundwork for a functional start to the day.