In terms of the latter and because of the former, I kind of punched Jellybean in the mouth.
As if the career change weren’t replete with enough said change, I’m also making the transition from salaried to hourly employee and having to deal with all the machinations — all of which are vast, complicated and utterly unworthy of debate — that comes with having to clock in.
But on a personal level, punching the clock has ratcheted up my morning stress level to Bruce-Banner-into-the-Incredible-Hulk proportions … you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
The panic settles in around 7 a.m. My Lovely Wife and I have this tradition of watching DVRd episodes of “Days of Our Lives” while drinking a cup of coffee. Watching the ridiculous issues these people deal with (Raif is pretending to be the father of Nichole’s baby, when EJ’s really the father; but Nichole loves Dr. Jonas, and Raif loves Sammy who’s still dealing with the fact that her son, Will, is gay, but then Will slept with Gabby, who’s really in love with Chad, and in trying to get back with him accidentally — yep, accidentally — got Melanie kidnapped) makes our lives pretty manageable by comparison.
By 7 a.m., when The Diva has emerged from her den and My Lovely Wife has yawned her way back into the bedroom where she goes from simply beautiful to professionally gorgeous with just a little blush and a hair flip, we tag-team waking a sleeping Jellybean.
It’s fascinating how the same child who climbs into our bed like Chatty Kathy at 3 a.m. won’t stir without a Herculean effort and at least one dog stomping on her sternum.
By the time she’s awake and watching Katy Perry videos, we’ve got about 10 minutes to get dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed and gather up the odd assortment of stuff — books, blankets, notebooks, pens, stuffed animals and jewelry — she insists on carrying before hitting the road.
Used to be, time wasn’t necessarily of the essence.
I always tried to make it on time, but 10 minutes here or there didn’t really matter. Now, soon as that computer clock starts tickin’ past 8:30 and my tush hasn’t hit the seat, it’s money out of the family coffers.
So while Jellybean sings blissfully in the backseat — again with the Katy Perry — I’m driving with Dale Junior’s reckless abandon. And I barely tap the brakes once we hit the daycare. Before the Kia’s come to a full stop, I’m dragging Jellybean toward the door — unchewed Pop-Tart in her mouth and ice water dribbling down her cheek. When we’re finally in the classroom — usually with about six minutes to make it across the street to my office — Daddy doesn’t have time to coddle or cuddle.
Before the time clock, I’d take my time getting Jellybean settled — finding her a chair and puzzle, maybe make a little small talk with the teacher. Plus, we do this sweet thing from “The Kissing Hand,” a book about a momma raccoon who eased her baby’s fear over starting school by reminding him how much she loved him by kissing his paw, and then he’d do the same.
This is not a gesture that should be rushed … else, like this morning, “The Kissing Hand” accidentally becomes the “Punching in the Face Hand.” Guess I’d better slow down, before Jellybean learns how to hit back.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org