Let me begin by saying that I’m not a coffee drinker. I prefer a cup of strong tea over coffee any day, but there are some mornings when nothing but coffee will do. The other morning was such a one. I’d just endured three nights of little sleep thanks to the combined powers of Mr J snoring, Miss J coming into our room in the small hours announcing her inability to sleep, and Mr B wanting his nose blown at 4am. I can cope with one bad night but two or three in a row turns me into a bleary eyed angry woman.
My children have wonderful imaginations and they’re very creative wee souls. One of their favourite games to play when they wake up in the morning involves Mr B’s toy dogs. Miss J makes a high pitched whining sort of noise for one of the dog’s “voices” and even though we’ve told her that it sounds more like a tortured cat than a dog, she continues. It’s my least favourite noise in the entire universe. And believe me, with my kids I have a plethora of annoying noises to choose from. About a year ago, after one particularly intense dog-play session we banned “THAT NOISE” from the house. Like most of the things we attempt to ban in a sweep of parental power, it didn’t work.
That morning, after being up at 4 to blow Mr B’s nose because “it has a noise in it” I was treated to little voices just over an hour later. I opened one eye and saw that the first number on the clock was indeed a 5 and said a naughty word into my pillow. Just as I began to hope that they may have gone back to sleep, Miss J started up with the dog noise. Mr B accompanied it with “thunder” by drumming his feet on the wall. Miss J laughed, then shrieked, it got louder as I got more and more annoyed. Eventually I threw back the bed clothes with a huff and stormed in there to tell them to be quiet. I just made it back to bed before I heard the dog noise again.
6.45am and it was almost time to give up and get up when I heard Mr B saying that he needed to go to the toilet. I could hear him asking Miss J to open the door for him because the knob was too high for him to reach. I waited for the pad of her footsteps along the floor but it didn’t come. Instead I heard her laughing and saying “Ha ha ha! You’re weeeeeeeing on the carpet!” Mr B was also amused. I was not.
Yes, bleary eyed angry woman had arrived. I was on hands and knees scrubbing the carpet, whilst showering a 4 year old, scolding a 7 year old, and having a weepy conversation with my absent husband on the phone.
Half an hour later all was calm again. Children were dressed and fed, carpet was clean. I was still bleary eyed but a little less angry.
Which brings me back to the coffee. That morning, if I was going to survive at all, I needed coffee.
No problem –we had coffee in the cupboard and the plunger was on the bench top. Only as I reached for it, it slipped out of my hand and shattered all over the bench,sending tiny shards of glass all over my freshly washed dishes. Oh. Really? Really? I thought as I picked bits of glass from my dishes while shooing barefooted kids from the kitchen.
If there's one thing I hate, it’s defeat. I grabbed my teapot which has a little mesh insert inside it. Ha! It looks just like the mesh in the plunger I thought to myself smugly. I made the coffee and all seemed to be going well until I poured it through the mesh into the mug and the grains came with it. By this point I was desperate and I was going to have a damn coffee.
I got a clean tea towel and shoved it into the mug then poured the coffee on top, grains and all. A minute later, I had something that looked like coffee in my mug, albeit a bit weak and murky. And it did the trick. Well, sort of.
Do you ever have mornings that seem to be sent to test you? Not the figurative ‘you’, I mean YOU. After my horrid morning the other day I was thinking about this very thing. I considered that perhaps mornings where it seems that the kids, and the alarm clock, and the cat, and the weather, are all tag teaming me were one of those little gems that come with motherhood. You know, like the ‘playing with poos’ stage. Or kids spitting out food into your hand.
But then I remembered a phone call from my beautiful, successful, very put together sister. My no-kids sister. She was bemoaning her awful start to the day. She had slept in, right through her alarm (I had to bite my tongue at the slept in part – ahem). Something had gone wrong in her office and she missed an important online meeting. She had a sinus infection. Oh yes indeed, we all have crappy mornings - kids or no kids. Although I have to say, the no kids version doesn't typically involve cleaning up other people's body fluids but we'll let that one slide.
I am becoming quite the expert at bad mornings. I can spot one at a distance. Thankfully they don’t visit too frequently, but when they show up they sure make their presence felt. My philosophy is that bad mornings are like The Week. They come, they go, you grit your teeth and get through.
And then there are those lovely mornings. Those mornings when the kids climb into my bed at a respectable hour for a cuddle. Mornings when I wake up by myself and have a few seconds to think about the day ahead. Mornings when I think it’s a school day then realise with a smile that it’s the weekend and there will be no school rush for me or anyone else. They far outnumber the awful ones.
And that, my friends, is what you need to remember when you find yourself half asleep picking through glass with hands smelling of urine while straining coffee through a tea towel.