Time Zones

“Everybody to the car!”

Despite the regularity with which I yell this phrase, my offspring have yet to respond the way I expect. I think I picture immediate reaction, response, frenzy, and (obviously) obedience. I see myself picking up my purse and walking out to find four smiling boys all buckled and ready to go.

I do not ever call myself an optimist so why do I expect miracles for so many child-related activities, like punctuality?

A helpful fellow parent might lean over to me and advise, “Prepare your children for leaving by calmly telling each when you want to go and what you expect each to accomplish to get there.” She and her one or two child(ren) probably communicate well and skip down hallways filled with sunshine and never end up arriving late to appointments.

My application of this method begins with a patient Chelsea telling my children, one by one, that we are going to the store in ten minutes. I ask them to use the bathroom, get a drink, and apply coverings to their feet. Five minutes later, each receives a warning. One minute to go finds me back at square one. Instead of, “Everybody to the car,” though, my yelling is much like the bedtime mantra: “BATHROOM! SHOES! DRINK! CAR! I’m LEEEEEEAVING!!”

A more realistic friend of mine follows the Leave Them Behind the Way You Threatened To approach. Sure enough, her five-year-old hops to it and gets right in when she asks.

I think I drove off a few times when I had one small child as well. Now that my oldest is twelve, however, he wants to stay behind. Heck, he’ll get free access to computers and food.

I think I’m just stuck following Child Standard Time for the next twenty years. I’d consider petitioning for a specific government zone -but know that, no matter how long they’re given, my children would still be late.