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Saturday, July 20 Local

The Motherlode: Wake up, it’s September

“Yes, but you feel that way every September.”

First of all, that is not a helpful comment coming from my husband at this time of year.

Second of all, OMG.

We are back to school, back to work, back to no-more-summer, back to racing around, back to feeling like I’m on the fast train to Crazy Town.

I would like to describe getting my 7-year-old George out of bed every day for school over the past two weeks. I knew it would be hard. After all, my three kids have been running around shrieking with sticks playing some bizarre cross between Manhunt and Harry Potter until 10 o’clock every night.

So first I tried the gently cuddling, softly whispering, motherly wake-up approach.

I lovingly climbed partway up the ladder to George’s little bunk bed, shaped like a castle, so I could gently stroke his back to help him wake up. It didn’t work.

Then, I started the more firm, “OK, now it’s time to wake up, George!”

And then, the bread-and-water approach: “George, you are not getting breakfast unless you start to move here.”

Finally, without fail, I had to climb into the now-infuriating little bunk bed, shaped like a castle (which by the way is not made for an overweight 47-year-old mother) and physically manhandle my suddenly enormous second-grader down a hellishly rickety ladder and onto his pile of school clothes.

“Mom, my legs! I think they are broken!” he moans, zombie-like.

But now we really were about to miss breakfast, if not school, so I am dressing George manually. This is not unlike trying to put clothes on a large flopping salmon.

Plus, I am now in full panic mode because I haven’t made the lunches I had promised my children. No chia pudding today, kids, or actually anything beyond slapped-together, industrial-sized sandwiches. Perhaps that’s a good thing, I ponder as I stuff George’s floppy arm into his H&M Ninjago T-shirt.

And we are off to the races.

By day three, I graduated to waking up George by playing calming Bach music on the CD player, figuring cuddling and that ladder were helping no one.

The Brandenburg Concertos did nada. Ditto the Goldberg Variations.

By day four, I was considering Beethoven or Wagner at top volume, but I couldn’t find the CDs in the chaos of the half-unpacked bags from our summer vacation. So instead, I set George’s iPad to play that horrible blaring “classic” alarm sound (classic only to Steve Jobs, apparently).

I would like to say we are making progress, but it’s not pretty. On the bright side, we are down to two snooze periods on the iPad.

On the down side, I’m back to being under the equivalent of house arrest. The great thing about summer is I occasionally get to leave the house. In the fall, it’s back to “Mom, where is the…” or simply “MOM! MOMMMMM!” from distant rooms that I refuse to run to, until it occurs to me someone could be in physical danger. So I’m pretty much always dashing to a far-off hollering voice, thus reinforcing my children's infuriating call-of-the-wild.

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Still, let’s face it, in the summer I’m mostly a short-order cook. I mean how can I say no to fresh fruit and veggies from the garden, plus I am not sure anyone ate breakfast because we all woke up so late.

“Another smoothie with fresh strawberries from the garden? Sure honey, why not!”

Problem is I am making smoothies all day long. Or some form of weird frozen popsicle made from garishly colored liquids my kids have suddenly decided to freeze, including crushed maraschino cherries and puke-green Gatorade.

Then there is the fun of finding buckets of sand in every pocket of every piece of clothing, enough so our washing machine sounds like one of those clanking machines in “The Terminator.” And wet towels! Why not leave them everywhere, kids? The wetter the better, especially on wood.

So yes, it’s September. Try Wagner. Loud.

Claire Tisne Haft is a former publishing and film executive, raising her family in Greenwich while working on a freelance basis on books and films.