It takes forever for us to get out of the house. For starters, there are clothes to pick out and put on. Both girls decide whether they want to wear big tutu or little tutu because we only wear dresses and skirts in this house. I don’t have anything against pants, wear them almost every day. Simone and Nadia, though, are another story. You have to be able to twirl in your clothes, and you can’t twirl in pants. No way, no how.
Then there are heads of hair to be brushed, not combed because combing is associated with tangles and pain, and so we don’t use a comb. Ever. Then someone has to go first. Some days they both want to go; some days no one wants to go. The drama is never-ending when it comes to hair. Simone orders up one ponytail, not two, not three, but one, mostly because she is anti-comb, and you have to use a comb to create those other styles. Nadia welcomes more than one ponytail, she just doesn’t want to sit still for me to do it. After some wiggling back and forth, both heads of hair are brushed and pulled into one or several ponytails.
So after the bodies are dressed and the heads are combed, I mean, brushed, there are socks to put on and shoes to fasten. By this time, Ken and I are losing the battle to television. Simone and Nadia are more interested in Noggin than getting dressed. Simone has suddenly forgotten how to put on her socks, and Nadia is shunning them. “No,” she says, walking in the other direction. After what seems like light years, Simone decides she does know how to put on her socks, and we corner Nadia and somehow manage to cover her toes and feet. Now on to shoes. Those should be easy. We put those bad boys where we can find them, so we usually know where they are. They have one Velcro strap to keep things simple. Still, Simone has to ask a million questions. “This foot or that foot?” she wants to know. Then she struggles with the strap and one of us has to help her. Meanwhile, Nadia is pushing her stroller around the house at Olympic record speed, daring one of us to try and catch her. In true toddler fashion, she forgets she is running from us and is snared by a parent whose only intent is to quickly put shoes on a kid. There. Both of them are dressed.
One final stop: the bathroom. Any mother worth her salt knows you don’t dare leave the house without first demanding that all children visit the bathroom. This cuts down on getting five feet from the house and someone announcing that she has to go to the bathroom, or getting halfway to the destination and learning that someone has to go to the bathroom, or arriving at the destination and hearing that someone has to go the bathroom, which is nowhere in sight. We always make a pit stop before leaving home. Simone usually protests that she just went or doesn’t have to go, while Nadia runs in the other direction. Eventually, both girls use the bathroom, and we head for the door.
Simone grabs three books to read in the car, and Nadia wipes her fingers on the car door. She thinks she is on her way back to the bathroom for a messy, time-wasting hand washing, when we spoil her evil plan and give her a diaper wipe.
Are we there yet? Nope, we’re in the garage. Simone and Nadia are still getting in the car. We get Simone buckled in, but Nadia is taking too long to “click” her belt. Mean Old Daddy does it for her, which sets off the My Parents Are Mean Alarm. Ken puts the car in reverse. I extend my hand to Nadia, and the tears stop flowing. Like Dora the Explorer says, “We did it!” Then a few miles down the road, Ken says: “We didn’t brush teeth.”