It's 6.35am in the A____ B______ house. E is in the kitchen, making breakfast.
Which is where I found her. There was a part of me that wanted to point out her Glo clock was not yellow, no sun was up, and so try to get her back to bed. Maybe I should have been more assertive but it would have been a failed attempt at getting her to lie in*. I must say, there's something comical about having a 3 year old who's pretty much able to make her own breakast, while wearing a nappy so full it's practically down to her knees. I did feel proud though, watching her use a stool to get a bowl and the cereal, fill the bowl, get a spoon, try to get the milk (too heavy). Once she got a hand with the milk, E was quite happy to take her bowl to the microwave, put it in, set the programme, wait for the ping, remove the bowl, stir her cereal, and then carry her bowl to the table to eat. (Yes dear reader, I'm sure you're bored by these details, your children have probably been able to make their own breakfast for years, and I'm being one of those stereotypical first-time Mums).
Watching E being so independent yet still so small and in need of support, I felt disappointed in myself for being a grumpy cow yesterday. I work part time in the NHS and lately have found myself having to take work home with me. Not something I plan to continue with on the whole. I don't mind doing some personal development and reading at home but I resent having to write contact notes/letters in my own time. Oh the joys of administration.
I never wanted to work full time after becoming a Mum. I've nothing against people choosing to do so (not that everyone has the luxury of choice in the matter). In my case, we need the money, I need to earn some sort of pension for my old age, and a career gives me personal development, adult conversation, and is part of my identity. I just never planned to find myself putting work before E. She's more important by far.
But yesterday afternoon I found myself being short with E for repeatedly disrupting my attempts to work, by asking me to read stories or play with her. I felt irritable and unable to focus. She bore the brunt of my grumpiness, when really, I was the one being unfair. It wasn't her fault I've got work to catch up on, or that I was trying to cram too much into the afternoon so as to avoid doing it in the evening.
When E is in a grump I sometimes tickle her and call her a "grump-a-lumps" to get her out of it. So over her beautifully made breakfast this morning, I spoke to her about yesterday. She said I had been "cross" and a "grump-a-lumps". When asked why she thought that, E said it was because I didn't play with her and because she hadn't done things when asked (which was true, when she was a real monkey at bedtime). E told me that she'd been "a grump-a-lumps too" because she hadn't wanted to tidy her toys. I said "I'm sorry" for being grumpy, and she said "me too" (she usually avoids saying any form of "sorry"). We both agreed to a fresh start today.
I looked at her adorable little face, complete with cornflake & milk moustache, and thought, "I so love you", and made a little promise to myself to try harder next time.
*(Take note E, if you're reading this as a teenager. You used to view being sent back to bed as a bad thing. Strange child! Clearly not taking after either of your parents there. Must be an Uncle P gene.)