To Get A Kid in a Van

We have two biological children and are in the early stages of adopting child #3.  At this point I can't imagine life without our recent addition, but that doesn't mean I've mastered parenting three kids.  Sometimes I think it would be harder to have just one kid...other times I have to get somewhere-with three kids- on time- and I reconsider.  I'm quite convinced that being a parent would 30-45% easier if we just never had to go anywhere. 

Kids live blissfully unaware of deadlines and schedules.  My yelling, "We're going to be late!" is the motivational equivalent of yelling, "Plurble flum slomux!".  Somehow, even though I know that the concept of "late" is useless, I find myself using it frequently.  

In my brain I picture my kids happily listening, using the potty without being asked, traipsing out the door well before we even have to.  But there is always something that blocks this vision from becoming reality.  

My daughter is not often, typically? always disobedient, but if something takes three minutes and she can do it in fifteen she will.  The later we are running, the more thoroughly she must wash her hands, for instance.  And then she is easily distracted- I may ask her to put on her clothes, then walk in the room to find her playing with a toy she found within the six steps necessary to get to her clothes.  

My son is stubborn. He knows what he wants and will loudly and physically try to convince you that he should have what he wants.  Unfortunately, letting him open the car door himself and button all his coat buttons are things I don't mind him doing when we aren't rushed, but take a lot of time when we are "late". He sees no distinction between situations, so there we are. (Also candy isn't really never going to be an appropriate breakfast food.  So stop asking, Kid.)   More than once I have carried him to the car only partially dressed (as long as there's a diaper!), and buckled him in because I couldn't possibly have gotten out the door any other way.  

And there's always the daily battles of which shoes the kids are allowed to wear, whether a coat is needed, who will be sitting where (we fixed that problem recently), and whether a juice box or toy is appropriate to bring along.   Or I have to run into the house five times after the kids are buckled because I keep forgetting things.  Like the keys.  I feel like at least 25% of the time, once I've finally gotten us all in the van at least one kid is crying about something.  Or I am. 

Then, to add to my stress, my van door is breaking- it is one of those automatic doors which are wooooonderful when they work- but horrid when they stop.  So now I have to load the kids in (or out), trigger the door to shut, then lean into it to make it latch- and half the time I have to ram it a bit to officially close it.  (Which isn't a half bad way to get a little aggression out, actually.)  Then some key mechanism is messed up with my van as well, so even when the key is removed the thing beeps incessantly whenever the drivers door is open at all.  So if I don't shut it right or leave it open to get a bag out, I wind up unloading my kids to the tune of beep-beep-beep-I want to do it, Mommy!!-Beep-Beep-Why did you pack me a fruit cup for snack?-Beep-Beep-*Hungry baby cry*-Beep-Beep-  ....all capped by me yelling directions at the kids.

Okay, that's just the bad days.  More or less.

The other day I was getting ready to take my daughter to preschool and I hit this moment when I knew we weren't going to make it on time.  Usually we can rally and get it together and be just barely late- but on timeish enough to drop her off without signing her in at the school office.  But that day- I looked at the clock- and around at myself and my kids in our acute state of un-readiness- anti-readiness really- and I admitted defeat.  But the odd thing was, once I knew we were going to be late I didn't care.  I stopped rushing the kids so much, I let the little things that usually drive me crazy off the hook a bit more, I didn't race down the road, and I had an unusual sense of calm even though I knew I was going to have to march three kids all the way to the office.  late.  And it was a beautiful feeling.  

I'm sure the real moral of the story is that I should get up earlier so that I can give my kids a break- let them take their time getting ready, etc.  That's definitely part of it for me.  But I also wonder if we can take a cue from our kids sometimes.  Sure the real world has schedules and deadlines and whatnot- but how often do we allow being on time, or making the kids look perfect take such a high priority that we miss letting our kids be kids? Or perhaps more importantly, how often do we let OUR schedule, our "must-do" list, keep us from just enjoying fleeting moments with our kids.  Maybe if I didn't put pressure on myself to finish all my things- I could relax a little and ease up on the kids too. 

I know others have written about this topic as well- it is definitely one I struggle with.  What are your thoughts?