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The Morning Triathlon

By Gabbi Browne

Running the Race Against the Clock Every Morning

Two weeks into having all four boys at a Mothers’ Day Out program has brought some big challenges to my life, especially in the morning. I am running around like a mad woman. I’m sure all moms understand and can add their own experiences to the morning routine. It’s calm, and then all of a sudden it’s time to get up and begin the Morning Triathlon!

The first event in this never ending triathlon is breakfast. Today, my oldest son was fine eating a bowl of cereal. Yesterday, it was a bagel and only a bagel. If I had offered cereal, the tears would have started. Tomorrow, the exact same cereal will not work. The babies are fine with anything I offer, bless their little stomachs! But with babies, I need to be with them with a spoon, so the second event in the Morning Triathlon gets off to a late start.

The second event is dressing and cleaning up. I am sure that all my sons’ teachers have noticed sticky hands (the wet wipes only get so much off) and the messy hair. Teeth always get brushed so as to avoid my sons being the “bad breath boys” at school. And cavities are expensive, I hear. But as every parent knows, for some strange reason in the morning, your children develop a severe loathing of washing hands or changing diapers. Meanwhile, the clock ticks on…

Which leads us to the final event: getting into the car injury-free and in an orderly fashion. If any neighbors are watching us load up into the Odyssey, I am sure it beats anything out of the comics page. Three car seats with squiggling babies and one preschooler who now seems interested in everything except the car. “Mom, look at this bug.” “Mom, why is the bike’s wheel turned like that?” “Mom, did you see how many crumbs are on the floor of the van?” I can only carry one car seat at a time, so I put one baby in and then invite my oldest to go next. Huffing and puffing, carrying the second and then the third car seats, I pass the slowpoke and then finally get him buckled into the car seat. Yikes.

I then do a quick check of myself. Did I spill something on my blouse? Do I have shoes on? (Yes, I once set the alarm without them on my feet!) Do I have my purse and all the bags for school? Then off we go, passing and being passed by other parents competing in the Morning Triathlon.

Any hints or tips from Gold Medal winners out there? I’d love to hear some advice.