We got up late. The baby was wet through but needed milk, so a quick decision had to be made; change the baby, but start the morning with her 'hunger scream', or feed the baby but start the morning with wet pyjamas, as her wet becomes my wet. I decided the hunger scream was the better choice.
Screaming baby changed. And on with the feeding, but shouts from another room of "I hate you" meant baby was put down on my bed, where she successfully grabbed the bottle and fed herself; a useful skill if you happen to be the fifth one in this house. Young Jedi has learned well. The "I hate you" is a new phrase. It only just started this week and needs training like every other new phase they go through. But this morning, really? Younger boys bugging older boys, older boys jumping out at younger boys and a mummy snapping at multiple boys. Do I really have to talk into why we don't hate each other? I haven't got the time this morning. I wonder if someone slept over last night or if indeed these are actually all my kids? I'll assume for now, that they're all mine and get them packed off to school, so I can get on with the stuff I need to do today. There's a cry up the stairs of "Muuuuuuuuum there's no milk", but it's okay that there is no milk today, because we are running half an hour late, which means that the little shop is now open. Hurrah, every cloud...
£1.50 found and a child sent out to buy milk, which I do stop to appreciate, knowing that some mums have years 'til they're at this stage. Brief thankful and positive thought of the morning over with, and on with the morning.
Multiple cereal boxes, bowls, spoons and light sabers, are precariously balancing on the table around the pile of wet washing which I left on the table last night, to remind myself to hang it up last night. The child returns with milk but no one needs milk because they all ate dry Frosties out of the box, while I was upstairs. Of course they did, how innovative of them. Baby sat in a Bumbo chair next to the pile of washing on the kitchen table, still in her nappy. I feed her mashed up banana while she spits out mashed up banana. I try to remember back to when I had one baby and I took my time with each of these delicate little developmental stages and wrote them in a 'Keepsake' book. Ha ha ha...
Baby taken upstairs to clean off what I'm hoping is just banana. There's an argument about marbles going on. I make a snappy suggestion about shoes and teeth; the things they do every single day but seem to forget on a daily basis. So three end up in the bathroom together, which everyone knows is just a recipe for disaster. More than two children in a room together, doing something they've been asked to do, never actually works. Even two children is probably one too many, if you actually want them to achieve that thing. I remember the dentist saying something about them not all being old enough to brush their teeth without supervision, but the dentist didn't mean on days like today, he meant nine years ago, when I had one child. One, I can supervise. How is there a child still in pyjamas? Oh pants, I thought they were all dressed.
Baby carried downstairs for some physical play (rolling over and getting stuck). The pyjama-d boy is now dressed but screaming. His brother hit him with a light saber. I hurry to the offending child and snap at him. I yell something about being a good example as the older one. I can hear the hypocrisy as I yell, but I'll set him a good example tomorrow, when I'm calmer, when I'm not running late, when I've got more time. The older boy listens to my rant, and then simply says "I was actually just holding the light saber when he tried to hit me and he hit the light saber instead". I was yelling at the wrong child. So I went and made things right, by yelling at the other child. I think the baby is crying. She must've rolled over and got stuck. I'll get to her in a minute.
It turned 8:33am. The boys needed to leave for school. A hurried coat grab as they were shoved out the door, "But mum we need £1.50 at school today, to help the dogs". A random request, but I seem to remember it was spent on this morning's milk which we didn't need. Heads kissed quickly and off they went into the big wide world. Why are there still two children crying? Oh yeah one got yelled at and one got stuck. I went for a distraction technique rather than a sorry, to the 'yelled at' one. Baby has stopped crying. A window of opportunity to get dressed.
I moved sleeping baby from the lounge floor to the car seat and started out the door for nursery. It's my rare day when four out of five are at an educational setting and I can have a bit of space, a bit of me time, a bit of house cleaning with no one needing me. I have a faint recollection that the other three left for school without lunch, so I cut mouldy edges off of some bread, stuck something edible inside and grabbed their lunch boxes which still had yesterday's leftovers in. I stopped to add a note to their lunches saying "mummy is sorry for being a grumpy poo-head today". I dashed to the car in the rain. Drenched and slightly tearful, I looked into the mirror and realised at some point today I must've made the decision not to do my hair or make up.
My now wet boy piped up from the back, "We don't like the rain do we mummy?" And I knew what he was about to say and I knew it was today's 'lesson from a three year old'. "We don't like the rain do we mummy, but it's the rain which makes the plants grow." I sat in the car with him asking why we weren't going anywhere and I reflected on my morning. If the plants grow in the 'not so nice weather', how have I grown in my 'not so nice morning' and how have my kids grown from their 'not so nice mum'?
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness". Lamentations 3v22-23
Somewhere along the way this morning, I thought my mission was to get them up, and get them out. I'd forgotten that my mission is actually to show them Jesus' love; to show them His kindness and His compassion and to train them to glorify God, in how they live their lives. I was too busy this morning to train my kids, too snappy to set them an example. Actually I had set them an example, just not one I want them to follow. I didn't start my morning in God's presence, I didn't even ask Him for help as it went from bad to worse. I just ploughed on, in my own strength and I definitely didn't glorify God with my actions. Thankfully He is patient enough to train me, and to grow me through the rainy, all consuming days. Because the sun will come out tomorrow. His mercy is new for me every morning, even this morning.