In the Race for First, Get Out of the Way!

“First is the worst. Second is the best. Third is the one with the hairy chest!” My son chants this as we near our neighborhood after school some days. When we pull in the driveway, the kids make a beeline from the back of the van to the doors. They not only want to be first out of the van, but they also want to be first into the house, immediately forgetting the rules of my son’s cheer. It’s every kid for himself.

As they shove each other out of the way, they and their backpacks become a tangled mess of limbs and torsos wedged between the seats. My daughter cries. My son’s backpack, so overstuffed with Star Wars books, plugs the aisle like a giant cork. The kids both scream at each other to MOVE! I am tempted to walk away and tell them that I will be first in the house and they can work it out, but my daughter’s tears guilt me into overseeing the torment. The neighbors, already on alert that we are home, would surely disagree with my abandonment.

The culprit of many after school backseat traffic jams.

These are good times. Luckily for me, this happens at least once a week.

The backpack finally gives, my son escapes, and the kids elbow each other along the sidewalk, tears still flowing. At this point, I yell to just STOP IT! I open the front door, the kids fall in, backpacks fly, kids bolt to the bathroom to wash hands, more tears from the one who didn’t make it there first. Then they fight and cry about who was first yesterday to get in the van, get out of the van, get in the house, wash their hands, get upstairs. It exhausts me and I am just a spectator in this vicious sport. To top it all off, it turns out I am often the one with the hairy chest around here.

I can tell you who’s first to get a headache. Mom. I can’t tell you whose temper is first to flare. They pretty much all set off at one time.

What happened to first being the worst? I guess no matter how they look at things, coming in first always looks best. Hey kids, I have a rhyme for you: “First is the worst, second is a pest, third is the one who yells GIVE IT A REST!”



Filed under Can't Get a Break, Everyday Life

15 responses to “In the Race for First, Get Out of the Way!

  1. My boys do this EVERY DAY and it drives me insane!! Where’s the love? Crying over who gets to the gate first, who gets to the door first, who turns on the light….”GIVE IT A REST!” Seriously…there is no prize waiting for you!

  2. You crack me up. I’m feeling your pain. Just this morning four kids (all fighting to be first on) hopelessly plugged the doorway onto the bus with their bodies, backpacks, and lunch kits, frustrating both me and the bus driver. Only this looked more to me like the old typewriter strikers, when you type too fast, that get ’em all jammed up and you have to work the mess apart arm-by-arm to get it going again (I will shamelessly steal that “cork” reference of yours…love it!).

    • Oh, poor bus driver! And he or she couldn’t threaten to close the door on them like a mom would! ; ) I understand it on a bus though. You’ve got to get that back seat, an empty seat, a seat with a friend, or just a seat at alland one preferably not next to the kid who spat when he talked. That was so stressful as a kid!

  3. “The neighbors, already on alert that we are home,” – had me laughing!!! I love your way with words.
    Oh, and sorry about your hairy chest. Perhaps as your kids are nearing the door you could fling some sort of chocolate treat or shiny interesting object into the yard to distract them so that you can get through that door first. 🙂

  4. hey at least they washed their hands!

  5. Great one, Karen, you are so witty and insightful!

  6. I knew there was a reason I am loving this empty nest. This post looks a lot like hundreds of my journal pages over the years. I love to read them as a reminder of how hard I worked at motherhood. I told my husband if I die before our kids have kids, burn the journals.

    • Funny! Yep, they won’t get it. Same reason I cross my fingers my kids won’t come across anything I write about them before they need toWill be tricky!

      • My daughter is the only child allowed to read my blog. Fortunately, my sons have no interest, but I keep worrying some day one of my blog posts will end up on their Facebook page. The journal pages though are in a file the bookcase . . . with their real names. I can’t part with them.
        Which reminds me, you should definitely print your posts (I may have mentioned this before), if I didn’t print my “journals” I’d be looking for an old Mac computer with a 3″ floppy drive right now. One never knows what will happen to WordPress.

      • As always, good advice! This summer our old computer died and luckily it came back on long enough for my husband to back everything up (seriously for one last time) and then it just died. We were able to transfer our old files onto this one, but I know what you mean.

  7. I remember doing this as a kid! Thank you for bringing back some good memories 🙂

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