I had a rough night with little Colin last night and I was looking at a ten hour day at work, with a three-hour training session that I was presenting at in the middle of the day. I was in no mood for shenanigans this morning, but the boys had other thoughts.
The morning started fine. Brady woke up soon after my alarm went off at 6 am. He kept himself occupied with a flashlight/magnet that the clerk at the battery store gave him yesterday. We think he might be Brady’s new best friend. I was able to get ready for work in relative peace. I glanced at my watch and was relieved to see that I was running ahead of schedule.
The next task was to get the older boys dressed and brush their teeth. I went in the room to wake up Sully. Hysterical crying ensued. Sully is not what one would call a “morning person.” For some reason, I seem to have unlimited patience for Sully’s tantrums, maybe because I was a whiney kid and I feel I owe the universe to not get frustrated by that behavior. I calmly apologized for having to wake him up, repeatedly explained that we could not stay home in bed today, and waited patiently until he calmed down enough to undress him. I have learned that Sully will say “no” to whatever shirt I choose. I now select two or three shirts and allow him to pick one. Today he chose his Go Irish shirt as opposed to Dinosaur or Guitars. I looked back at my watch and realized I was still doing good on time.
I got the boys’ toothbrushes ready and went to wake up little Colin. He doesn’t cry when I wake him up. His little head pops up and he always gives me a great big smile. Because his hair sticks straight up, he always looks surprised and happy to see me. He’s a morning person.
While I was dressing and feeding Colin, Brady went into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He came out a few minutes later. I didn’t hear his electric toothbrush going.
“Did you brush your teeth, Brady?” I asked.
“No, I did something BETTER!” He looked so excited.
I knew this wasn’t good. “Oooooooh, what did you do?”
“You have to come and look!” He could barely contain himself.
I slowly got up and walked to the bathroom, feeling the trepidation with each step.
“I used the toothpaste to write ‘Sully’ on the bathroom mirror!” he announced.
I looked at the bathroom mirror and I reached deep down. Really deep down. I found it, the thread that holds me to my sanity, and I held on tight. I took a deep, calming breath.
“Okay, well that’s not really better than brushing your teeth, Brady. You’re not supposed to use toothpaste to write on the bathroom mirror,” I told him.
“But look at my S, and my U, and my L’s, and the Y. Look how good I wrote them!”
It really was impressive letter formation. I complimented him on his writing but explained, again, that he should write on paper, not with toothpaste on the bathroom mirror. Success. Mommy gets a point for keeping her cool, even in the face of adversity.
I went on to finish getting the boys ready and started loading up the van with all of our bags. As I was getting ready to start putting on shoes, coats, hats, and gloves (first day of spring, you know), Brady came running into the kitchen.
“I hope the bathroom is wearing a bathing suit because the wall is soaking wet!”
Where is that flipping thread? I found it again, held on tight, and took another calming breath.
In an effort to clean the bathroom mirror, Brady had splashed water from the sink all over the mirror. It dripped down the mirror and all down the wall. I calmly thanked him for helping to clean up and asked that, in the future, he ask me for help and to please not splash water all over the bathroom.
The rest of the morning was, thankfully, uneventful.
Brady started testing the strength of my thread when he was 18 months old or so. In those days, the thread (I) snapped easily and my sanity was lost frequently. Over the years of near-constant testing, the thread has grown stronger and stronger, and more often than not, I am able to find it and hold on. I still lose it some days, I am not perfect by any means. I hope that by the time the boys are teenagers and are really testing me, my thread will be unbreakable.
Ha! I just laughed at myself.