The Key to (In)efficiency

Kids have this wonderful habit of making the easiest things super difficult. It takes me four seconds to go down our staircase; it takes my two-year-old son three minutes. You know why? Because instead of descending while standing upright, Andy sits on his butt and very carefully scoots forward, then teeters on the edge of the stair until he plops down onto the next one. Scoooooot, plop. Scooooooot, plop. God help me when he gets to the landing, because he inches along like an arthritic caterpillar. By the time we reach the first floor, I’ve forgotten why we came down in the first place! “No no NO! Walk normal!” I bark at him. “We’re in a hurry!” Of course, his speedy descent is no better; this one involves him leaping from five stairs up and smashing onto the floor, collapsing his knees into his chest. He either moves at the pace of a tired snail or an amped-up kangaroo, and I end up annoyed or terrified.

Sometimes even getting to the stairs is a problem. After dinner, Andy needs to go from his highchair down to his bedroom. Guess how long it takes him to walk eleven feet to the staircase? Answer: as long as possible. Lately, instead of walking, he gets on his hands and knees and hops around while squeaking “chipmunk! Chipmunk! Chipmunkchipmunkchipmunk!” Yes, this is completely adorable, and yes, it makes me smile – for the first thirty seconds. After that, I’m biting the insides of my cheeks to keep from screeching!

And what kid has ever brushed their teeth efficiently? After the Sisyphean task of herding five-year-old Molly into the bathroom, her nighttime routine would test the patience of a saint. From her mysterious disappearing toothbrush, to the “one last drink!” of water, my tolerance crumbles like a cracker. “I want to stay with youuuu,” she whines as I (finally) tuck her into bed. “I want to stay up like a grown-up!” Let me burst your bubble on this one, kid. After you go to bed, nothing interesting happens. Jeremy (my husband) and I stumble to the couch and watch TV for two hours until one of us falls asleep. Then we brush our teeth and pass out in bed; it’s a glamorous life, but we’re humble about it!

There’s no sugarcoating this one. Kids will be kids, and that means they’ll be annoyingly, amazingly inefficient. They’re feathers in the wind and I’m a brick in a rock garden. Together we’ll stumble along, perpetually late and with mismatched shoes. But oh, what a wonderful ride it’ll be!