"You need to get dressed!" I shriek. Miss F lies on the living room couch with her head resting on the arm, eyes half closed.
"I don't know what to wear."
Not a day goes by with us not having this discussion.
"Mom, can I have more cereal," my Little Dude asks from the kitchen. The Dude loves morning. He's been dressed and ready to go since 6:55.
It's been raining on and off on this chilly New Jersey June morning, and the weather adds to my misfires. I run to the fridge and forget why I'm there. Once I remember, I can't seem to find the soy milk. Something is burning in the toaster. I spill my coffee. The dog cries to be let out.
Hot Sauce, my youngest, tantrums in the middle of the kitchen. She's only interested in wearing clothes that are in the dirty laundry pile. "OK, baby, we'll find something," I say in a voice that's reassuring yet laced with tension, as I whiz around her to get the Dude more cereal and check to see if MIss F has gotten off the couch (she hasn't).
It's 7:45, and I am still in my sweaty running clothes. The kids get onto the bus at 8:25 and not one lunch has been packed. I need to hit the shower, and I need to take a photo of the kids to upload onto Instagram before they head to school.
A few weeks ago, I signed onto participate in a 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge, organized by the healthy lifestyle blog, Run to the Finish. For accountability, Amanda Brooks, owner of Run to the Finish, has asked that the participants post a daily photo of their smoothies on Instagram.
On the first day of the challenge, I have an idea. Instead of posting the requisite photo of my drink, I post a shot of me, with kale juice smothered on my upper lip with the caption, "Got Green Smoothie?"
Suddenly, I feel clever, and that cleverness is followed by a wave of adrenaline that I've never before known.
Because, here's the thing. I'm not naturally clever.
Sure, I can be witty, but it's usually twenty minutes after the punch line, or I've already left the party, or navigated away from my Facebook page. Clever is such a foreign concept to me, now that I've had a taste of it, I want more.
On Day 4 of the challenge, I get the idea to have my kids stand around my smoothie glass and point to it, with faces of horror. That's basically what they do every morning when I drink the thing, so today, I will capture it on film, along with some heightened dramatics.
As clever as this may sound, I have thirty minutes to prepare my smoothie, shower, get my picture, and send my kids off on the school bus.
Do I have to get this shot today? No.
But I want to. I need to.
Because I am now fiercely attached to the idea of being clever.
And the chatter in my brain has convinced me that I must be clever now! Immediately! Without further delay!
7:55: I throw kale, banana, carrot, ice and water into the blender. While it purees, I negotiate an outfit with Hot Sauce and pack lunches.
8:00: I shower. I scream from the bathroom for Miss F to get dressed.
8:05: I throw on clothes, and yell behind to the kids, "Brush your teeth…get your shoes on…put your backpacks by the door!"
8:10: I usher everyone into the backyard. The dog greets me with a jump, almost knocking over the smoothie in my hand.
I position the kids in front of our patio table.
"Move closer together," I command.
Hot Sauce sticks her hands on her hips and bats her eyelashes as if she's moving down a catwalk. "Disgusted," I remind her. She tries to scowl, but the smile keeps pushing its way through.
I snap some pictures. The dog runs around the kids in circles, breaking their concentration.
"Don't worry about him!" I order. Except many of the shots are blurred from the dog knocking into the kids' legs, causing them to move unnecessarily. I run the dog inside and take more pictures.
"Mommy, I'm tired," whines Hot Sauce.
"No, you're not, " I snap.
"Ow! That frigging hurts" screams the Dude.
What did you just say?
"She stepped on my toe," he says, pointing to Miss F.
"Well he stepped on mine, and it was on purpose!"
"What was that word you used?" I ask the Dude.
"Mommy," Miss F says. "You use that word all the time."
"No, I don't."
"Yes, you do."
"Okay, okay, can we just take the picture!"
I say this a little louder than I mean to. The kids freeze.
"Smoothie! Point at the smoothie!"
I get three or four shots before the rain begins again.
We go into the house and grab backpacks, rain jackets, and umbrellas. We run past the dog, who sits on the floor eating a Lego. I get the kids out front to the bus, and I barely have time to wave goodbye before it rolls away. I collapse on the couch and upload the photo to Instagram with the following caption:
"Ew! Mom, what are you drinking?"
It's a great shot.
Although, truthfully, being clever is hard work.
Inspired by the following writing prompt at http://www.mamakatslosinit.com