School started yesterday. Luisa left for a business trip yesterday. Today, I had to get both kids up and to school at 8 a.m. for choir. I prepared for this challenge by staying up until midnight last night and then letting myself sleep in a bit. When I finally got out of bed, I told myself that I could make the school lunches while making breakfast. Two meals, one stone! This decision meant that I would have to get both kids up and ready, make lunches and breakfast and pack backpacks in 40 minutes but it would also mean that I could sit and have a couple cups of coffee in peace.

And this is why I should not be trusted with decisions before coffee.

I bounded up the stairs at 7 a.m. to wake the sleeping angels. Zeca refused to get out of bed because she was cold. Miguel chose this morning to explain why he had no interest in choir and would not be going.

"You are going."

"No, I'm not."

This was a daunting ripple in my otherwise fool-proof plan. I decided he just needed a little time for the tone of my voice to sink in before he got up.

I returned to Zeca's room and she was still wrapped in her blanket.

"Get up! We're going to be late. If you don't get up right this minute, then you will be having a Luna bar for breakfast. A LUNA BAR AND NOTHING ELSE!"


She got up.

I returned to Miguel's room and he was still in bed. I told him to get up. He told me he wasn't going to choir. I told him that he was. He said it was too early. I told him I didn't care. He told me he didn't care about choir. I told him that I didn't care that he didn't care and told him to get out of bed.

He got up...with a scowl on his face and his heart a little black stone.

Somehow, he managed to get downstairs first. By this time I was frantically packing lunches, making sausage and toasting up some pancakes with the grace of a disgruntled teenage fry cook. Miguel, clearly unable to read the emotionally charged situation, proceeded to launch into an anti-choir tirade.

I whipped around and stared at him. The look on his face showed that he was suddently aware that he had made a tactical error.

Well, tit for tat. Tirade for tirade. I launched into a convoluted rant that went something like this:

"You NEED choir. You know why you need choir? I'm going to tell you why you need choir. You need to sing. That's right. SING. Your brain needs it. Your brain needs you to go to choir so that the artsy parts of it can develop. And you know what else? Stop - don't answer because I'm going to tell you. The arts are important. The ARTS! Uh huh. You cannot go through life just playing soccer and doing martial arts because then you will not be a well-balanced individual. You will be...well, you will be a jock. A jock with no sense about the arts. The ARTS! That's right - the arts will keep you from being just a sporty jocky whatever kinda of person. Do you want to be that kind of person? Do you? Don't answer. No, you don't. You need something artsy in your life because it will make you a better person and that, my dear, is why you will most certainly be going to choir! Also - the ARTS!"

When I finished, I noticed I was panting and that I had been waving around a dish towel and a fork.

He looked at me calmly and said, "So, let me see if I have this. If I don't go to choir, I'm going to end up a football player?"

I was at a loss for words, having already used up my daily allottment. He held up his hand to stop me as I opened my mouth.

"I'm going to choir, mom."


"Know what else I was thinking? Playing drums is also an art. Maybe you should reconsider the lessons and drum set?"

"Oh honey, we don't have time for the drums - we have soccer and martial arts."

Both kids made it to choir on time. Miraculously. Tomorrow I need to get up earlier. Also, I need a parenting script. Anyone have one?