My left eye struggles to open. It snaps shut. I’m able to prize it open to pick up my overturned phone from on top of the book I’m not reading on my bedside table, to check that it really isn’t the ungodly hour I think it might be. It is. I sigh out loud, through my nose, but groan on the inside. I’m frustrated, my ears hurt pathetically with the not so loud noises I can hear coming from his cot. I check again, and muster the energy to speak. “It’s half. past. five.”
“I know” my husband says, like I’ve said the same thing to him for the fifth time.
The bedroom door gently opens and Rosa peeks around it, as quiet as a mouse. “Mummy” She whispers. “I’m thirsty.” Displeased, I sit up. My brow is furrowed, for a few reasons. My left ankle is weak and slightly aching from a 10k run the evening before. I am frustrated that children don’t understand time. I’m annoyed at myself for feeling frustrated that children don’t understand time. It’s not their fault. I feel mean. And, I’m just trying to wake up from a very deep sleep, my eyes aren’t adjusting to the dawn light as well as they should. I hobble downstairs, to fetch drinks for the children. On my return, I put the drinks in the childrens’ bedroom, that they’re currently sharing, the reason for not just one child being awake at this time. As I walk back to our bedroom to try to steal a few more seconds in bed, I see Rosa in front of me. “Your drink is in your bedroom”.
I left her drink in there when I took her brother out of his cot, and put him on the floor, hoping he would want to play.
“Why?” she asks me. I think for a few seconds.
“Because that’s where I put it” I say, irritatingly. I immediately feel dreadful for my answer and for the way in which I said it. Especially when she replies,
“Mummy, I’ll play with Jackson” in her sweetest, loveliest tone. “Look, Jackson. This is what you do with this” and she drops an oversized, moulded, plastic coin into a toy piggy-bank.
Despite feeling engulfed in guilt, I steal away, in the hope I won’t be followed by my little ducklings, so that I can crawl back into bed.
With all the noise I’m sure he can make, Jackson runs into our bedroom. He stands by the edge of the bed, near my face and makes a noise, which means ‘Let me up, let me up’.
I lift him up whilst I’m still lying down, and put him on the bed. He sits on me, like he’s on a horse and bumps up and down on my tummy, with a perfect chubby smile, stretched across his face. Its incredible how children can smile so happily so soon after waking up. I should learn something from this. He lurches across me, onto his daddy, to routinely slap his daddy’s shaven head. Steve lifts and turns his head to Jackson and smiles unconditionally at him with his eyes shut.
He gets up with the children, with an unequivocal energy I admire, and takes them downstairs for breakfast, as I bury my head under three pillows, still swamped with self-condemnation for being so abrupt.