Sunday, November 15, 2009

Herding Turtles

If I am late one more time because of Lego Star Wars, there is going to be an Unfortunate Incident. I hate being late. I hate rushing. Yet, all I do is rush around, five minutes behind schedule in a big, white, 7-seater Ford Tampon. And it's about to get worse. Because of the cold. Because it takes the little terror suspects that much longer to get out the door when you add in variables like hats and gloves...I will never be on time again. As it is, I haven't been on time since early 2003.

I have mentioned this phenomenon before. I harp on it. I am a harpy. Because I can't take it anymore. What happens to short people when they need to leave the house? They are zippiest little buggers on earth when its time for quiet reading but ask them to get ready for school and time stops. This morning, for example, The Slowness hit at breakfast. It should not take 25 minutes to eat four tablespoons of oatmeal. It should not take 17 minutes to put on a pair of Crocs.

I am currently an imbecile. You know this. I have dedicated several posts to the subject. So it should come as no surprise to you that I. Don't. Get. It. I would be more understanding if there were some logic behind their behavior. There is not. So I tend to lose my, ahem, shizzle. I don't like using my dragon voice but sometimes I have no choice. I am being driven crazy. Do you have any idea the amount of un-Christian behavior it takes to get my family to church on time? Neither do I. Because we have never once been to church on time.

Now, if they hated going to school I would understand that it might be difficult to muster the enthusiasm required to find your backpack [hint: it is blocking the front door, along with your sneakers and hoodie, right where you left them when you came home yesterday]. But it doesn't seem to matter. Example: We can't wait for Suzy's 5th birthday party. All week long: Is it today? Is it tomorrow? How many sleeps 'til Suzy's stupid, rancid, pathogen-filled Chuck E. Cheese nightmare of a birthday party? Yet when the day comes, in spite of the fact that we have been dressed for the party since 7:30am, we arrive 18 minutes late. Here's the play-by-play:

Large female: "We have to leave in 5 minutes. Let's get ready to go!"
Small female: "Yay! Finally... Where's my shoe? [pause, whining] I want my pink fleece not my pink vest! And you said you'd braid my hair and you didn't and that's breaking a promise to me."
Large female: "You asked me to braid your hair on Thursday. This is Saturday. No time now, sorry. [points to bathroom, hears squeal of anger] You most certainly are going to the potty now because I am not setting foot in that public restroom. Go. Now. [Stomping. Then 5 minutes goes by. No sound of flushing has been heard.] Are you done? What do you mean NO? Why not? What are you doing in there?
Small female: "I'm braiding my hair."
Large female: "Dear God. Daddy! Get in here."
Large male: "What the ?! Is that a dreadlock?"
Small male: "HA HA HA! You look stupid!"
18 minutes later we are in the car. Hair is fixed, but my daughter's face is pink and streaky from having her handiwork dismantled with power tools and hot oil. And she never actually used the bathroom. Dang! Now we need a juice box and some Kleenex for the ride there. Fine, I'll go back in the house. Aw, come on! I forgot my go-cup of coffee on the counter. Back in the house.
Total elapsed time from the first statement of impending departure until now: 31 minutes.

You've heard the expression "herding cats", right? Its not like that. Its much worse.
"Herding cats" implies a sometimes frustrating and often futile exercise. This is more like herding turtles. I am a turtle herder. If you prod a cat, it runs. If you prod a turtle, grab a magazine and make yourself comfortable, you are going nowhere. Turtle herding ("turding?") is always futile and frustrating. And sometimes, on a bad day, it even involves real turds.


  1. cannot believe that no one has commented on this post...
    for the longest I have been looking for a phrase that represents my daughter & I in the morning...thank you again, you ladies light up my single mommie full-time workin days w/much needed laughs. my daughter can/does/will take 45mins to eat one small bowl of cereal...*large sigh & shaking head* and then wants seconds...who knew that it could take 2hrs in the morning to complete 3 basic tasks...

  2. When you find out the proper amount of un-Christian behavior it takes to get to church on time, please let me know because we can never make it either. And our services start at 1:00. in. the. afternoon.

  3. Sounds like my mornings too. They are the bane of my existence, mainly b/c I have to be at work at 8, no flexibility, after dropping off the kids. To make it worse, I believe that time moves more quickly in the morning than at other times in the day. I go to do something that I know takes 5 minutes, I look up at the clock, and 15 minutes have passed. Anyone else have the same experience?!!

  4. I just made my 9 year old daughter read this post! FINALLY!! She understands my "dragon voice" in the morning!
    Seriously!? 20 minutes to eat one scrambled egg and a piece of toast?!? And what. the. HELL. do they do in the bathroom for 15 minutes?!?
    This is my life...

  5. and this is why I send my daughter to day care without breakfast. yes, they have agreed to feed her. and yes, I know I am a bad mom. but I also know I would never make it to work in anything other than my pj's and a sweet mess if I didn't do this.

  6. LMAO ... I am so glad to hear that others have these same mornings. The other day I was practically cursing (as bad of words as you are willing to say in your driveway in front of your 3 kids-3 year old twin turtles and a 12 month old clinger) and rifling through the huge honkin diaper bag that I had dumped on the grass in a rage in search of the FREAKIN keys ... and my neighbor (who I did not know was standing there) said "it must be hard to get out of the house with all the kids in tow." I was so embarassed and really glad that I, at least, didn't say anything worse than freakin =)

  7. Ugh, our trip home from Grandma & Grandpa's house took 3 freakin hours yesterday. The trip is about 1 hr 45 minutes for those without kids. A total of 4 stops, 3 for bathroom. We are also suffering from a severe case of the "morning slows" now that it's summer and no preschool. Thanks for a great post, it cracked me up!

  8. Fellow "turder" here... I only have one child and work at home, my husband only comes home once every 6 weeks from work so I technically only have to do enough laundry and dishes in between visits to keep me going until my one real house cleaning every month and a half. But somehow, my son finds a way to drag on EVERY SINGLE task at the speed of cold tar AND requires my assistance through every second of it (one of the downsides to an only child). So the amount of actual work I can get done is stuck between having to spoon feed my 3 year old to helping him stand and pee in the toilet.

    When logically looking at my life I always come up the the same conclusion, I have a pretty cush set up. But somehow my son turns each day into the emotional equivalent of hiking Mt. Everest without an oxygen tank leaving me actually considering having him sent to a babysitter daily so I can actually work at home.

  9. Hi, my name is Christi. I'm a turtle herder...

    edit: my captcha was neswaitin - yep... all I do is wait and wait and wait...

  10. Do you have you lunch? NO. Where is your lunch? I don't know. Look for it! Turns head. I looked for it. Looking for it involves moving... 15 min later we have found lunch now on to shoes.

    I now walk my kids to school. Good exercise for me. Its a 1.5 mile walk one way. On days that they are on time they can walk it at a brisk walk. Late can mean anything from a jog to dead run. I've only had to make them do the dead run once but they still end up jogging most mornings.

  11. Thank you for giving me this gift! I have hope! I am not the only crazy, screaming, scolding mother in the morning, before a party, church, soccer, etc. The act of "leaving the house" is my least favorite act. I also find it odd that the MORE time I plan to get ready, the worse it is. I. Don't. Get. It. either. :)

  12. I love reading your posts. It's nice (and trust me, I feel sorry for you too!) to know that someone else is having the same problems I am. Every.single.meal. is a battle with my daughter. She's 4 going on 14. The teenage years are going to make me go bald. Lately it seems like I'm trying to move the pyramids while dealing with her. I hope it gets better. Two was bad. Three was worse. Four is head.slamming.madness.

  13. Best. blog. post. ever. Laughing out loud and also depressed because is not just my thundering herd of brain damaged monkeys affected with 'The Slowness' Sigh...

  14. Seriously, its the damn mittens and the hats that make me hate winter, its not the actual winter. Also the astonishing speed with which they disrobe when they get home has an inverse relationship with how long it took them to put the boots and coat on in the first place. THank you for voicing my inner monologue...

  15. Crying. tears. so funny and true!!!!! and why do they suddenly need a elaborate hairdo when you are already running late??? when I offer to do something fancy to their hair any other time they look at me as if I have 2 heads and tell me they much prefer their rats nest hair-do...but if we are late (especially if it something for ME) they want bows, feathers, braids, and bling in their hair! Thanks for the laughs!!! you all ROCK!!!!

  16. You wanted the brats! Deal with 'em!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. I am a nanny of two (which two days ago became 3) with no kids of my own... I found this blog and I LOVE IT, you ladies are AMAZING and I tip my hat to you. This entry hit home, going to school is not as bad as bedtime for us. The preschooler is so excited for school, she is "ready" to leave in her PJs and the first grader just wants to play video games before he has to ride the bus... My gut is telling me that this blog will be my saving grace in times to come.... THANK YOU LADIES! \o/

  18. I just pee'd my pants this was so funny. I actually thought of giving my children an extra birthday party because this morning they got in the car only being asked ONCE. Miracles can happen. I randomly found you when I googled "Herding Turtles" - which is a reference I use for managing non-profit volunteers, and I am so glad I found you. I'm a new follower!

  19. I tell people the same thing, "getting out of the house with children is like herding turtles!" Funny! First time I've seen/heard someone use the same phrase.

  20. Love this post. I also hate being late and have trouble being patient with this kind of thing. I remember when I was a kid and once we were actually in the car going someplace, my mother would say "Off like a herd of turtles..". I never understood why until I became a mother myself.

    My 14 year old daughter, who has definitely reached the "age of reason" will ask me about her younger brother,"Why does he act like that?". My response is "There's something wrong with his brain". Now he is in fact perfectly healthy (thank goodness) but I am convinced that young children's brains just aren't working on any kind of rational level, certainly not one that has any logical, reasonable, explanation. So this is all the explaination I have, for my daughter and myself for that matter.

  21. Just read this article for the first time...hilarious! Sometimes I put my kids to bed in their clothes the night before so I don't have to worry about getting them dressed in the morning--haha.

  22. Yes I start the day with such good intentions but getting my two boys out the door in the am is crazy making. This year will be even MORE fun because now they are in two different schools YAY.

  23. Ah. It is so nice to hear that other families have this problem. I often describe it as "swimming through peanut butter." Glad I stumbled across your blog today-I needed it.




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