I've said it before and I'll say it again: Nothing sows domestic discord like a weekday morning.
No matter how many times I vow to wake up with the alarm (No snooze! No double-snooze!) and establish a disciplined, night-before ritual of dinner, homework, prep-for-morning-by-making-lunch-and-choosing-clothes, and a timely and calm bedtime, it inevitably all goes to hell in a hand-basket with the rising of the sun (and in the winter months, long before that).
And I mean all of it.
This morning was a study in First World disaster. Like most difficult mornings, it was preceded by a difficult night. A night in which two children slept where adults should be, and two adults "slept" throughout the house in a farcical game of musical beds and couches whose rules changed by the hour.
But the real problem was Syria.
As generations of parents have done before me, I tried to impart upon my second grader her good fortune in life, and force her to appreciate her circumstances by making abstract and meaningless comparisons to ongoing geopolitical conflicts.
Specifically, I launched into a lecture about the Syrian refugee crisis. I tried to explain that she should quit insisting that there is "nothing to put in her lunch," while pouting at an open refrigerator containing more food than most of the world's families see in six months' time. I told her that children are starving and drowning just trying to flee their war-torn homeland, and that many kids don't even get to go to school at all, much less choose and make their own lunch every morning before they do. Even as these words were exiting my mouth, my mind was thinking, "What is the point of this? Why are you doing this? This is so stupid." (Side note: This is a series of thoughts that usually accompanies most things I say out loud).
Of course, all I got was back-talk; and for every point I tried to make, Paige had an answer: "Why don't they MAKE a car out of mud to take them where they need to go? Why doesn't someone BUILD a supermarket there?"
At this point, Isaac--who was smugly eating his breakfast in silence---piped in. He said verbatim: "I'm glad I'm not part of this conversation, because if I was, the kids would win." He smiled and resumed eating his egg and cheese sandwich.
Well all I can say is that the morning devolved from there.
Having solved the problem of Syria, Paige then collapsed into hysterics about oatmeal stains, tank tops, sharks in a pool, swimming practice, and scary dreams. All the while, Isaac was visibly relishing in his own calm compliance, as nothing is more satisfying than watching your sibling decompensate while you enrage her with your smug tranquility.
I ultimately left Paige a blubbering mess at school, her classroom buzzing with kids and her teacher, understandably, already looking vaguely overwhelmed. I'm literally still wiping snot off the sleeve of my jacket (hers, not mine).
In short, this morning was a fucking fiasco. And that's what I get for trying to deliver a Pointless Lecture on Geopolitical Conflict.