We did it!

tapeWow, my plan worked! Last night I told all the girls, “Remember how I needed to learn to stop bossing you around before school?” They all nodded. “Well, to make sure I don’t go back to doing that, I’m going to wear tape over my mouth tomorrow morning. So if you want to ask me anything, ask me now.” I was relieved to see their reaction: amused and calm. That was a good sign.

This morning, Charlotte’s voice woke me up at 6:10: “I think you’ll have to drive me to the bus because it’s cloudy and cold and it might rain.” I opened my eyes and heard myself say, “Well, a jacket and an umbrella can help with that.” And then I remembered and shut my mouth and reached for the tape I had placed on my bedside table. “Mom, I’m going to take the bus so I don’t think you’ll boss me,” she said and went downstairs.

I followed her down to check the weather forecast. She was standing in the pantry. “Moooooom, I can’t pack my lunch! It’s too hard!” I looked at her and nodded and gave her a thumbs up. “Mom, it’s the first day of school! Can’t you help me a little bit? Can’t you just fill my water bottle?” I pointed to her and gave another thumbs up and went upstairs. (I was most grateful for the tape at that moment. Not sure I would have stayed quiet otherwise.)

I took the tape off to brush my teeth and Charlotte appeared in the mirror behind me with a sour look on her face. “Where’s Dad?!” Jerry called out to her from our bed and she went over to him. I kept brushing and my electric toothbrush drowned out most of their conversation, but I did hear, “Mom has tape on her mouth, I don’t like the tape! …”

She went downstairs again and I stayed to get dressed. Meanwhile, just as I began to wonder if Fenner and Ellen were going to get up in time, I heard the upstairs shower running. Yes. So far so good.

As I finished getting dressed Charlotte pranced down the hall toward me, her attitude transformed. “Mom! Has it been one hour yet since I got up?” (She knew she had one hour before she had to leave for the bus.) I shook my head. “Ok, good,” and she pranced away.

I glanced down the stairs and saw her backpack on the table with her lunchbox tucked inside along with the empty tissue box she was supposed to bring on the first day of school. I took a deep breath. It was going to be ok.

When we were downstairs together I made one more gesture, pointing to my watch and making a steering wheel motion with my hands. “What? You mean the bus is on its way?” I nodded. “Ok!” She zipped her backpack, put on her shoes, gave me a hug and walked out the door.


Twenty minutes later, Fenner and Ellen were downstairs, dressed, and happily making their lunches:


(Last year I remember getting up at 6am to make lunches and thinking, “Ugh, I’ve been making lunches for so many years and I have so many more years to go!” At that time I couldn’t see any other option. How wrong I was.)

“Where’s Charlotte?” asked Fenner. “She’d better get up if she wants to catch that bus!” said Ellen. I caught Ellen’s eye and pointed my thumb over my shoulder toward the door. “What? She already went?!” I nodded. “Fenner! Charlotte already left!” I could tell they were both impressed. She’s reinventing herself in their eyes too.

“Mom, what time are we leaving?” asked Ellen. I shrugged at her. “Fenner! What time are we leaving? You have to be there earlier so you have to decide!” A few minutes later I pointed at myself and pointed toward the door. “What, Mom? You’re going to be in the car?” “Mmm-hmm!” I said.

A few minutes later they both came out and we headed off to school. We backtracked down the driveway for one thing that Fenner remembered she needed, but otherwise our first school morning went off without a hitch. And I proudly watched Fenner hop out of the car with no hesitation and cross the street to start her first day of middle school … right on time.


I’m a bit stunned by how easy it was. I was really nervous thinking about how stressful school mornings used to be, can be, could be again. Would we be able to pick up where we left off?

Turns out, once again, I had nothing to worry about.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

4 Comments on “We did it!”

  1. Vicki Says:

    Yeah. It was SOOOOO worth the wait. I am so smiling – for all of us on the planet that will benefit from these 3 amazing girls, cause their mom was smart enough to really USE the tape instead of just consider it. You, my friend, are a rock star. No, that most certainly was not praise. Just the facts.

  2. […] Remember how well the first day of school went for us way back in August, after I was so nervous that we (I) might backtrack into old bad […]

  3. I’m impressed! Looks like your girls stepped up to the challenge by making their own lunches, etc. I’m going to remember the tape idea for when my girls are older. 🙂

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