Coffee is essential. Whether coffee is an ice cold bottle of water, a pureed vegetable shake, hot tea, or even the chocolate milk from Burger King that somehow got overlooked and hidden in the back of the fridge for an early morning treat; whatever it may be, we all need our morning coffee. My morning coffee is usually coffee.
There's just something about waking up to large groups of children that gets you hooked on that daily dose of heavenly caffeine. Give me a large ice coffee and some comfy shoes and I can make it last 8 hours while I teach 200 kids English Language Arts, all while juggling three Beastie's of my own in the air. What a miracle drink.
As my new role of stay at home preschool teacher the coffee pot sits right in my office, playroom, kitchen; and yet I can never seem to get to it. When you are being Mom or Dad, there's always that little extra that needs done; and when you are a loving parent with high anxiety, your children become priority to everything. Yes, even to showers and pee breaks (and definitely the hair that used to flow luxuriously off my shoulders but is now a tightly packed bun of split ends glued to my head.)
I can feel my ponytail gently pulling before I even open eyes. A high pitched squeal cracks through the morning silence. One eye opens and I smile at the overjoyed baby waiting for me to get up; my hair pulled through the crib bars and wrapped in his little hands. In the moment I think, who cares if my hair gets knotty, he's happy, but later I'll cry inside as I try to brush through the tangled mess.
A steady, patient thud against the wall coming from the two year old next door. That means his brother isn't awake yet. A morning with only 2 Beastie's awake? A rare opportunity to have my morning coffee in the morning.
Diaper change. T-shirt. "C'mon little baby let's get coffee!" A quick pit stop to snatch up the Beastie from his crib and down the steps toddler and baby in tow; dreams of coffee not too far away. One in the jumper, one on the couch with their juice cup.
I bring the TV remote into the kitchen. As I start emptying the dish washer I put their morning preschool songs on. So far, all is well.
Once I have the dish washer empty, the counters get cleaned, the dishes get loaded, the floors get swept. Aaahhh... a clean kitchen to start the morning. The bouncer rocks loudly and the 2 year old's little feet make pat-pat noises as he dances to the alphabet song. Hitting little dance moves to the alphabet beat, I finally fill the water in the coffee maker. As I dance over to the cabinet to get the coffee accessories, my little dancer makes his way into the kitchen, his diaper sagging off his butt.
Woops. Forgot diaper change two. Back into the living room, I dropped the empty coffee pot on the table and laid down the giggly little Beastie. His legs flailed left and right as he laughed loudly at his own maniacal behavior.
"You little sucker- if you don't let me- change this butt," A foot flew dangerously close to my face, "Punk." I tickled his bitty thighs and blew a raspberry on his belly. All the butts were clean, baby was still jumping, back to coffee.
As I looked for the now missing coffee pot, I can hear the four year old getting out of bed. Panic rises as I hear his heavy feet running from the room down the hallway above. There is no in between for our big Beastie. When he is awake his is running. When his is standing still he's jumping and not standing still at all. When he's talking, he's animatedly yelling and acting out what he's saying. My heart, my love, my main reason for never getting to actually drink coffee.
Quickly, I got ready to be Mom to the max. You are the only mom these boys will ever have. It is scientifically proven that the first interaction of the day leaves a lasting impression on a child's mood for the entire day. You got this! Oh, how I missed my teacher-to-teacher pep talks.
"Hey sleepy sleepy". I scoop my giant baby up and hug him until he's annoyed with me but smiling. "Let's get you all comfortable with your brothers". Sippy cup made, Pull-ups changed. On my way back to the trash with diaper three I saw the coffee pot. Yes!
Back to coffee. Filter, check. Coffee grounds out of cabinet- "You want the marble tracks? Sure, hang on..." Other cabinet. Get out marble tracks. Build marble tracks. Oops, now the 2 year old is hungry, he's been up for a while. Baby is still jumping. Crap, hubby will be home soon, need to get breakfast going.
I don't notice it yet, but my anxiety is now full blown. My ADD and my anxiety run magnificent marathons together. It's long after my husband has tried to calm me down and long after I get offended that I realize he was right.
So, there I was literally spinning in circles full anxiety ADD mode when the baby started crying. I still hadn't gotten the 2 year old's food out and the coffee grounds were open waiting on the counter. His screams and cries reminded me that I had forgot to put in my earplugs. Suddenly, my head was swarming with all the things I didn't do and needed to do.
Frustrated, I picked the baby up out of the jumper and plop him on my hip, then into the high chair where I could keep him company and play little face games with him.
When my husband walked in the door from his red eye shift, my makeup was still smeared across my face, my hair was frizzed out on all sides, the bun slowly falling in a mess on my neck, one baby was crying, Beastie 2 was screaming the words to Rain, Rain, Go Away, and the third was making loud sound effects as his marbles whizzed through the tracks. The raw bacon was open but not cooking, and a scoop of coffee grounds was in my hand.
The immense feeling of wanting to disappear and somehow reemerge as the gorgeous creature he had fallen in love with is a topic we'll get into next time.
"Oh babe", he came over to hug me but then made a disgusted face and stopped. He pointed at my side.
"What now?" I looked over at the side of my shirt. No wonder the baby wouldn't stop crying. The entire side of my shirt was soaked in poop. I looked at the back of the highchair, poop was seeping down into the fabric. I dropped my head and the coffee grounds to the counter.
It's mornings like these, which happen every day since I have become a stay at home mom-teacher, when I find it is most important to remember that just because I am Mom, does not mean I am not me (and just because we think about ourselves, does not mean we are not good Moms and Dads!)
Many of us are such great parents that we actually develop anxiety over the successes for and of our kids on a minute to minute basis, and I am not here to tell you to stop; but I am here to remind you (and myself) that just because we feel lost and confused doesn't mean we aren't working from the heart.
So brush your hair, finish that drink, breath one more time. No child will remember that you made them wait an extra 2 minutes for a sippy cup, but they will remember the way you felt and made them feel each day. Your smile and positive attitude are far more important than a timely snack even if your child is screaming like he's in a thriller killer movie.
So here's to getting through the poopy parts of adulting, being better parents tomorrow, and most importantly, to our morning coffee.