The Two Speeds of the Raphael Boys


    My kids have two speeds: impatience and slow motion, whichever is the most frustrating for the given situation.

    My kids have two speeds: impatience and slow motion, whichever is the most frustrating for the given situation.

    You need some extra time to, say, meet a deadline? Whatever they want can't come fast enough: a snack, a playdate, a password, a resolution to a ridiculous argument, a witness to a new, never before seen basketball move. Whatever non-vital thing it is, it must be seen, heard, mediated or eaten before you draw one more breath.

    Now, let’s say you are in a hurry to get somewhere. Like school. Which is 20 minutes away and begins in 10 minutes.

    That's when the cement gets injected into their muscles. Because you could finish all 1,104 pages of Infinite Jest in the time it takes them to put on a coat. You can also count on some sort of last-second unecessary need. Like the shoes need to be untied and tied again, because they look funny. Or he needs different socks. Or a Lego man. Or, the event that most often thwarts all parents who enjoy being punctual: The Exit Poop.

    The opposing speed phenomenon happens with such regularity that one of two reasons must be likely: My children are not swift enough to pick up on subtle cues, such as my exasperated shouting for them to move it. Or, they absolutely pick up on it and have – in their short lives – mastered passive aggression. Both are equally off-putting.

    I have tried many things to get the kids up to my speed, such as padding exit time with extra minutes, countdowns, checklists, prayer, docking of allowance and screen time, but nothing really sticks. Somehow it's always past time to leave and someone is in the bathroom or tying a shoe.

    It happens even on holiday vacation, when really, there is no urgency to leave the roller skating rink — except for the fact that I can't take one more second inside that building with the pizza grease smell and the One Direction at an unnecessary volume and the cacophonous blasting video game sound effects. That's when my girlfriends and I shout at our kids from across the rink to come on in. They skate away, so we chase them on foot around the rink, and I try to body block Ezra, who is somehow able to evade me with his beginner skate moves. When we finally do get the skates off and endure the painfully slow shoe-tying process, I know we are all thinking the same thing: Please, no Exit Poop.