My day began at approximately 6:30 when I heard Lily hooting like a monkey and blearily crawled out of bed to attend to her every whim. The temperature outside was a balmy nine degrees and I was moving like a sloth after a night punctuated by Lily's outrage at cutting yet another few teeth.
"NONONONONO," Lily caroled, chasing after the cat.
"I'll be out in a minute," Tim called from the shower.
"No one is calling you," I said. "You're fine. Lily's yelling at the cat."
So Tim was hustling to catch his train and in my mind I was already ticking off the schedule for the morning: Get kids up, start breakfast, greet Baby G, make Mary's lunch, track down socks and shoes for all, find missing mittens, remember to warm up car well in advance. I was picking out clothes in Lily's room when I caught an unmistakable alert: Someone, and I won't say who or get into graphic details, had had far, far too much fruit last night and I was going to pay the price before the sun was even up with a ServPro-level cleanup job.
"Tim," I called, banging on the door. "Now I need you out. Get out of the bathroom!" Clearly I had agreed to live in this house with one cursed bathroom before knowing I'd be stacking children like cord wood within its walls. One. Bathroom.
"Coming," he said.
"THERE IS A MESS EVERYWHERE, GET OUT!"
I run back to the bedrooms, collect the offending child and walk her to the bathroom. Tim comes out, takes one look and is probably immediately grateful that no, he really can't do this one, he has a train to catch. Mentally, I am also dashing for that train, but physically I am warming water, wetting washcloths, cleaning someone. My God, the mess. The mess defies the laws of physics, chemistry, every science I either didn't take or barely passed in high school. I clean, I strip beds, I almost throw up.
"I have to leave," Tim said, giving me a kiss as I jab buttons on the washer. Sanitary cycle. Sanitary with an extra hot extra rinse. Hell, can I just burn the bedding and start over? "Have a good day."
"Have you been here for the last five minutes?" I mutter, still groggy, still mentally in a warm bed or on a fast train bound for a city far away for the day. "I think the tone has been set." I start washing my hands like Monk might.
But surprisingly, the day picked up. I don't know if it was because it could only get better from there, or because I was trying my hardest not to let Casa Cirque be forever mired in the morning of Gross, but breakfast went off without a hitch. No one fought or complained about clothes, teeth and hair were brushed with minimal screeching and no one had a messy diaper two minutes before we had to leave for school. (I love baby G to death but I swear, that child can sense something in the air when it's 10 minutes until we have to leave, and, no matter what time it is, create a fantastic mess for me.)
When we got back to the house, Baby G had fallen asleep in her carrier and I settled her in a quiet, dark room. Lily rubbed her eyes, cuddled into me and fell asleep in five minutes. I sat on the couch, checked my e-mail, Zulily and various sales (oh, J Crew, how you taunt me!) and Anna came into the room.
"I need a snack," she said. We negotiated Goldfish and she went off pushing a doll stroller with more "babies" than a Duggar Christmas special jammed inside.
A few minutes later she was back. I looked at her dark little bob and those huge, blue eyes. She was adorable in her little cotton dress and brown boots.
"Anna Beans," I said fondly.
"I need another snack," she announced, not one for beating around the bush.
"Come here and give me hug," I said, and she did, climbing onto my lap and resting her head on my shoulder.
"Mommy loves you," I said, breathing in the scent of her shampoo (horrible fake strawberry from Target, but on her, it's sweet).
"Yeah, except guess what?" she asked, pulling back. "I'm still hungry. I need a snack."
I laughed and pulled her in for another hug.
"Forever and ever," I said.
"I love you too, forever," she said. "And I'm still hungry. Can I have a snack now?"
She's two feet away from me, eating an entire apple. And when I say the entire apple, I mean when she's done she'll go to the trash and toss out a few seeds and a stem.
"I'm gonna go throw this in the trash," she just announced. "Then I gonna want another snack. I'm still hungry."
"No more snacks right now," I said. "Come get a hug."
"Okay. Can I have a drink? How about some juice? Can I have some juice?"
Well, we all show love in different ways, I guess.
It's going to be a nice day after all.