by guest blogger Andeep Singh, documentarian and television and Web video producer
It’s 7:35 a.m. on Monday morning. My 4-year-old is lying on the floor like a starfish. Her little belly sticking is out from under her shirt, and her pants legs are up to her knees.
Note to Mama: Growth spurt—buy new pj’s.
Rising from the rug is not going to be a part of her morning plan. She says emphatically that she doesn’t want to go to school today. Make that ever.
We’ve all been here before—felt like lying on the floor, refusing to get up. The only difference is that 4-year-olds actually get to do it. Lucky things.
I’m late for work. I went to bed way later than I should have, and I’ve slept in a little too much this morning. I need to get this show on the road. The adult needs to win this battle, I think to myself.
“Come on, we’re late for school,” I gently remind her.
She is 4. It’s not like she’s taking the SATs today or being sworn into the Supreme Court. But we have a schedule. Suddenly, I flash forward 10 years, and it occurs to me: If she’s like this now, what’s she going to be like when she’s 14?
Note to Mama: The teenage years are going to suck.
“It’s time to get up,” I tell her.
“I don’t like time,” she responds.
I have to wrap my brain around that statement. Touché, dear 4-year-old. Touché. Clearly, this is a showdown between a mama and her preschool poet.
I don’t like time, either. I call this moment in the calendar year the “autumn malaise.” Every autumn, I get a year older and temporarily gloomier. What have I accomplished? Where am I going? What’s it all about?
As the clock ticks away, I’m even later for work. Someone somewhere is going to be angry. So I try to rationalize with my child that she needs to go as much as I do.
“We need to go to school to grow our brains. It’s like food for our minds.”
Note to Mama: Speaking of food, you haven’t packed lunches yet.
She’s unmoved by my metaphor. Or is that a simile? Wow, age is making me stupid.
Logic clearly isn’t working with the 4-year-old. Why would it? OK, plan B.
“I loved school when I was your age.”
Note to Mama: This is total BS—why are you lying to your kid? And why are you trying to speed up time?
Suddenly, we’re both forlorn and having full-blown existential crises—two girls questioning life and purpose. Not what one expects at 7:30 a.m.
So I do what most adults don’t do on a Monday morning: I get on the floor.
I curl up next to my little starfish and we talk. We talk about the week ahead. We talk about how kids at school can be jerks. We talk about how we’re going to eat giant pancakes with 3 million chocolate chips and Nutella—because the only thing better than 3 million chocolate chips is 3 million chocolate chips AND Nutella. And we agree that we will find time over the weekend to do something together, just the two of us.
As I kiss her soft cheeks and she nuzzles into my neck, we are very late. Late for school. Late for work. Late for all the expectations of life.
But the time? The time couldn’t have been better.
Andeep Singh works at the Rodale Video Network and has produced nonfiction television, film, and digital video content for some of the biggest networks in the country, including ABC, NBC, PBS, CBC, and A&E. She recently completed producing her first feature documentary film, titled Living the Fantasy, which follows the lives of six high-stakes fantasy football players. Originally from the Great White North, Andeep has a serious case of wanderlust, is afflicted with perpetual food envy, and is mildly obsessed with the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.