Crawl out of bed. It's early for me. Gotta shower. Gotta get Dylan ready for daycare. Gotta walk Jade to the school bus. Gotta make some freaking coffee.
Jade is cheerful until she's not. Soon there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. She can't find her sock. Where is her sock? Dadddy picked out these socks ESPECIALLY for her. SHE CANNOT FIND HER SOCK. She slumps on the floor and wails.
The sock is beside you, I say. Look.
The wailing stops. She pulls on the sock. I want to crawl under her turquoise and lime flowered duvet and sleep. She merrily hops down the stairs. I follow, less merrily.
Dylan needs a new diaper; Jade needs juice. I need coffee. I change Dylan's diaper and pour Jade's juice. I make Jade's lunch. I drink two sips of coffee. Now it is snowsuit and backpack and where-are-your-mitts-child time.
Jade and I walk to meet the bus. The winter morning is sparkly clean. Our breath puffs as we stroll down the lane way, hand in hand. The sun rises behind us, unhurried. Dylan watches from the upstairs window, knocking and waving. He is not wearing pants.
Jade leaps on snowy crags, tells me they are mountains. Gifts the snow plow has left. The bus pulls up. I give the bus driver a chocolate bar. I was so late last Friday. That's not necessary, she says, but smiles and takes the chocolate. I hope I'm not THAT MOTHER. I hope she likes Jade. I hope Dylan doesn't drive her crazy in September.
I walk back to the house, sunrise on my face. Finches rush into the sky at my approach. In the back porch, Dylan peeps at me through the mail slot. Pudgy fingers poke out and wave. Hi Mumma. I waiting for you.
Where are your pants? I ask. Where is your diaper? My diaper is gone. His eyes are the colour of the lake in autumn. He runs away and jumps into the beanbag. Toopy and Binoo are on. I will wrestle with him later.
I check the time and sit down at the kitchen table. Flip open the laptop. Click through my email. I pour fresh coffee, close my eyes and let the aroma drift into my brain. Dylan climbs up on my lap. Demands his favourite show. He pats my face with his hand. I smell poo.
Were you playing with your bum? Tell me you weren't playing with your bum. He attempts escape. I grab his hand, lead him to the sink. He screams and flops around like a fish on a hook. I wash his hands with difficulty. He flails. Water is everywhere. I want to go back to bed.
I get a diaper. I find pants. Dylan runs away, squealing. I chase him, cajole, joke, beg, then finally, threaten. No TV, I say. Corner, I say. He relents, sobbing. Snot and tears, little chest heaving. I don't want pants, Mumma.
It's a Nina day, I say. We have to go to daycare. Daddy will pick you up. NO! He wants to go to the grocery store. He wants to go to the post office. He wants to go to Grandma's. Not today, I say through clenched teeth. My mother used to talk like that when she was mad. I squish my son into pants and socks, give up on the shirt. Fine, I say. Wear dirty pyjamas. Dirty pyjamas, he agrees and crawls into my lap, thumb in mouth, mollified. For the moment.
Get your hat, I say. I turn off the TV. I close the laptop. Dylan goes purple with rage. TV! I WANT TV! No TV, I say. Get. Your. Hat. NOW. More clenched teeth. I am going to throw something. I need more coffee. He gets his hat. He puts on his boots. He sobs. He needs his mitts. Mitts Mumma! My blue mitts are GONE! I find the mitts shoved behind the door. He needs his blankies. Where are your blankies, honey? Where are they? My blankies are gone. I check upstairs. I check the bathroom, the bedrooms. The blankies are in the tent, downstairs. I drape them over his little head. He pulls them off and beams. You found my blankies, Mumma! You found them!
I help him with his coat. I grab keys, sunglasses, purse, snow pants. We head for the car. My phone. My phone is upstairs. Dammit. I buckle my son in the car and backtrack. Damn phone. I get back in the car; start the engine. I have a doctor's appointment later. Do I have money for parking? Do I have a toonie? I check my purse; nickels and pennies. One quarter. Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT! Back upstairs. I take change from Jade's piggybank. This is not bad parenting. She has stolen most of the money from me.
Back in the car, roaring down the driveway. Off we go, I say. Like a herd of turtles, says Dylan. Like a herd of turtles, I agree. Turtles who need more coffee.