Each morning my husband and I are woken by two children who have incredible deficiencies in the area of volume control. They stumble out of their beds, exit their room, thud down the hallway bumping into walls and jostling each other for placement, swing open our door, announce Good Morning, crawl into our bed, and then talk -- daresay, shout -- as if they don't notice that Joel and I are burying our heads under our pillows, shushing them, and mumbling increasingly heightened orders to "be-quiet-before-you-wake-your-baby-sister-in-the-next-room."
They squirm. They flop over and elbow us in the face. They simmer down momentarily and then loudly ask for breakfast. The baby wakes up. It's abrupt. It's loud. It's like having an alarm set to chaos. It's officially morning.
I go through phases when I have more patience with my kids. (Feel free to infer from that statement that I also go through phases when I have less patience with my kids.) The whining, the arguing, the incessant noise, the constant touching, the "accidentally" doing the exact thing that I just asked them not to do -- they can wear you down some days.
These are the days that my kids get on my last nerve, the days when my first nerve is my last nerve.
Yesterday I wrangled Brooke into the bathroom after she had run away from me, a floppy-haired, impressively elusive toddler who had thought it was great fun to wedge herself under the dining room table when all I wanted to do was plunk her down on the potty and get on with the day. Can we not do anything in a streamlined fashion?
I waited until she was calm enough to listen, told her the importance of obedience, led her through an apology, and then waited as she properly used the bathroom.
Moments later, after we had washed and dried hands, she looked at me in the eyes, wrapped her arms around my neck in a close hug, and said, "I very sorry, Mommy. I love you."
She reached up and touched my hair. It was entirely unprompted. My heart melted. In the time it took for her to utter those sentences, my depleted reserve of patience was refueled.
Oh, you little noisy thing, you. I love you, too.