The zippers were bad enough. Watching the little clumsy fingers try to manipulate the two halves of the zip while you stand there mentally tearing your hair out was the worst, right?
Now he wants to dress himself completely from head to toe. This is fine when he’s just taking off his clothes and putting on his pajamas. I mean, sure “bedtime” now takes about twice as long as before while you watch him getting tangled up in the sleeves of his Paw Patrol fleece top until he whines for your help, but it’s not like you’re rushing off to anywhere other than bed.
Mornings are a whole other story. There you are: discombobulated. Un-caffeinated. Sleep-deprived. Cross in all ways from being not-a-morning-person. You’re shambling around in the dark looking for something suitable to wear for work while your partner snores away because he doesn’t have to be up yet, and your toddler is either snoring away with him or running around under your feet while you stealthily try to figure out if the article of clothing in your hands is your leggings or your shirt.
Let’s be honest, getting my own grown-up self out the door in the mornings with matching socks and all my things in place is, in itself, an achievement. Getting out the door in the morning with matching socks on my feet, my handbag (preferably with my wallet in it, not left on the table), my work clothes, my house keys, my work swipe, my child’s correct bag (swimming every other Tuesday, ballet on Thursdays, and oh god is this the swimming Tuesday or the speech-and-drama Tuesday? Wait, is today actually Tuesday or is it Wednesday?), his book or his show-and-tell toy (is it Thursday today or is it Friday? Please god let it be Friday!), oh hold on didn’t I have a permission slip or some form for something-or-other I had to sign and return by yesterday?
Uh… I feel like I’m forgetting something.
Oh fuck yes, the child. I forgot the child.
So yes, I am not at my best on any given morning. I never have been. I am a night owl. My mother (one of those annoying morning people who are cheerful when they get up) used to tell me often “I used to be a night owl too until I had you guys. Wait until you have kids, you won’t have a choice about it.”
Yeah, that’s not how it works. Mum’s not wrong often, but she was definitely wrong on this count. Having kids doesn’t turn you into a morning person. It just turns you into the grumpiest, crankiest, goddamn pissed off not-a-morning-person that just has to be up early every morning regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend. The only benefit I’ve accrued to date is that I often show up to work extra early these days. It does not mean, however, that my brain kicks into high gear any faster.
You can well imagine, therefore, that throwing the “No, I do it!” zipper routine into the mornings was pretty devastating. It turns out though, that this was just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg wants to put on his own pants. (“They’re not pants, mommy. They’re twousers!”) And socks. Have you ever seen a three year old trying to put on his own sock and getting his toes tangled up in the sock opening? He practically rolled over on his back this morning while sitting on the floor with one foot high up in the air, his tongue sticking out of his mouth in fierce concentration. And all that’s assuming you were allowed to present the said twousers to him facing the right direction, and the socks with the heel down. Also, the right shoes on the right feet (or the left feet, depending on which shoe he’s holding). Getting dressed is now a whole new minefield and there is no way to rush it. It’s like trying to rush a snail across the road. The only thing you’re likely to achieve is to get the whole thing to duck into its shell and not move anywhere. With a three year old, you’re likely to instigate a tantrum so instead you just sit and watch, mentally tearing your hair out, counting the seconds, looking at your watch, trying to do your own thing but failing because “Mommy! Mommy! I caaaaaaan’t!”
“Oh, do you want me to help you?”
“NO! I DO IT!”