It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The eternal quest

I’m not the most methodical of people. Well, in some respects I am: with children’s behaviours, I tend to have a pretty well-trodden path of responses and counter-responses charted out in my head. But my my own personal habits? I have general patterns, but nothing you could set a clock by.

I get up between 4:45 and 6:00. Between then, and when my first child arrives at 7:30, there are a bunch of things I tend to do: read for half an hour, plot out my day’s activities, maybe give a thought to dinner. I’ll throw in a load of laundry most days. Chat with my youngest as she gets ready for school. I always give the bathroom a quick wipedown and often put away the dishes that were washed the evening before, if they are still in the drying rack. Empty the blue boxes under the kitchen sink into the larger bins in the back porch.

And at the end of that, I always, always make myself a cup of tea, the idea being a quiet 15 minutes before the onslaught of the slavering hordes.

7:40. I sit down with my tea. It’s a little late, but the earliest-arrival doesn’t come on Mondays. I’ve probably got 15 minutes.

7:42 The first child arrives. We greet, chat, exchange information while peeling the snowsuit, boots, hat, scarf, and mitts off the child.

7:58 Take sip of tea. Ugh. Pop tea in microwave. Recover now steaming tea.

8:00 Greet second child, who has arrived with a book of nursery rhymes.

8:12 Sip. Ugh. Nuke tea.

8:14 Arrange self on the couch with two tots to read book.

8:18 Third child arrives, dropped by a dad this time, so deposit takes 93 seconds. Return to nursery rhyme book.

8:37 Sip. Ugh. Nuke.

8:41 We start our Spring Project, planting beans in clear plastic cups so we can watch them grow. We place the planted beans on a low window ledge and gaze with pride on our accomplishment. Well, some of us do:

“They’re not growing!”

9:03 Sip. Ugh. Nuke.

9:06 Settle tots down to free play: hobby horses, castle, blocks, cars, teddy bears …

9:10 Sip. Ah. Very nice. Second sip. “Mary! Anna grabbed my cheeks!” Conversation re: using words and hands being for hugging. Standard stuff. Then, since I’m right there in the construction zone, we have to see whether we can build a house big enough for the smallest teddy, right?

9:37 Sip. Ugh. Nuke.

9:40 Noting the time on the microwave, I set about preparing snack: fruit to be dipped in plain yoghurt. This will take about 4 minutes – the tea will be hot when I’m done, and I can sip while they snack!

Emily and Timmy decide they would like to “help”.

10:00 Snack is delivered to the table, ringed by famished, bibbed toddlers.

10:20 Sip. Ugh. Nu –no. It’s gone! No steaming cup of comfort for me. My caffeine comes in tepid dribs, little slurps of chalky bitterness, a dozen times a day. And for this, environmental me nuked the thing every time?

Oh, the shame.

March 31, 2008 - Posted by | eeewww, the dark side | , ,


  1. God bless you! I always thought about watching a child, but it was always ONE child. I had a tough enough time with my own two. Mine are 15 months apart and I was 40 when second child, Son, came. God only gave me two for a reason. At 40, I only had enough patience for two. Now that they are in school? I’ve taken the civil service test and hope to get a job in a school. I applaud you. It takes a special person. Hope you get an afternoon cup of tea and hopefully it’s hot.

    Comment by Nutsy Fagan | April 1, 2008 | Reply

  2. I hide inside my pantry and take my mid day caffeine in the form of dark chocolate. Some day they’ll smell it on my breath but I’ve been safe for a long time.

    Comment by Jill | April 1, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’d think the response would be ugh even if hot after two or maybe even three heatings… blech.

    And I’m thinking of doing bean planting in pots the kids will paint as a birthday party craft for just 7 kids – girls, all right around age 4. whaddya think?

    Comment by kittenpie | April 1, 2008 | Reply

  4. Oh, I feel your pain. Just wanting one cup of tea, and not getting it, oh the torture.

    Comment by mamacita tina | April 1, 2008 | Reply

  5. […] Or drink a hot cup of tea from start to finish without having to reheat it. […]

    Pingback by Dancing for Myself « Zayna’s Garden | April 1, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hearing that makes me feel blessed that I can drink my tea (or whatever “mommy drink I’ve chosen) and Jeffrey pretty much leaves me in peace. The calm of having only one at a time.

    Comment by Dani | April 2, 2008 | Reply

  7. isn’t it sad sometimes?!?! lol! i swear i have to reheat my lunch about 12 times before i actually get to eat it all. always someone needing something … one after another!

    and that part about the dad drop-off only taking 93 seconds … that made me laugh so hard! it’s so true … the moms take forever and have lots of kisses and goodbyes. dad’s are like “see ya kid” and out the door. lol!

    It is true — and which do YOU prefer, oh fellow daycare lady? (And, bottom line, which is easier on the child??)

    Comment by laura | April 3, 2008 | Reply

  8. I run a family child care program in MA and got your blog address from someone in my online child care providers support group. I have to tell you, I’m LOVING your blog! I try not to write *too* much about work for fear that one of my work parents will discover my URL, but I’m absolutely loving reading your accounts of your days. Thanks for writing–now I have to go read your archives while the kids are still napping!

    Comment by Clementine | April 30, 2008 | Reply

  9. You shouldn’t nuke the tea that much xD

    xD is a new one on me. A smile? A sneer? A dead person smiling? Someone holding their nose?

    Comment by Jadine | May 4, 2008 | Reply

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