I was in the middle of extricating cold, congealed maple syrup from the insidious nooks and crannies of my son's booster seat when my stomach started doing "Mambo Number Five." It had to be fed, no matter what it took, even if it meant hiding from my children.
Almost two hours beforehand, I had been jolted out of bed by a loud, insistent "Mama!" holler from Jonah's room alerting me that my day as his personal servant had begun. A half-hour later, his twin sister Abbey awoke and the two of them demanded that "bwe-fis" ("breakfast" to the rest of us) magically appear before them right now. After sucking the juice out of their sippy cups in a mere 90 seconds, they quickly grabbed my ankles—clearly irritated that I was moving too slowly for their taste—and requested, "Moor duce." When I replied, "No more juice right now, you'll spoil your breakfast," two sets of feet began stomping on the crumb-covered linoleum in a fine exhibit of toddler rage.
An eternity later, from a toddler's perspective, I finally put their gourmet meal of reheated frozen waffles, maple syrup, and sliced bananas on their trays. While they devoured their food, I made some coffee. No sooner had I poured myself a cup and settled in to drink it, when Abbey and Jonah decided they were done and had to be set loose, immediately. "Why don't you try to eat a little more banana?" I pleaded. "No! All dun!" they yelled. "Fine," I grumbled, getting terribly fatigued surveying the mess they'd made, feeling like I needed to start a caffeine IV just to keep up with them. I really needed that coffee. I did a cursory kid clean-up (a fire hose would have done the job best) and then flouted the warnings of the clueless, so-called child experts who say kids under two years old shouldn't watch TV, and put on a Teletubbies video.
I went back into the kitchen, started to clean up, but then decided my growling stomach took precedence. I popped my cup of coffee into the microwave and started slathering a bagel with cream cheese. But then, I heard it . . . that distinctive sound of tiny, bare feet slapping the ground coming at me. If they saw me, they'd demand my bagel. They'd sit there until all the cream cheese was gone and my bagel was covered with toddler spit. Despite their insistence that they were stuffed beyond all reasonable measure by my exquisitely prepared breakfast, if something better came along, like, say, anything Mommy was eating, my bagel didn't have a prayer. "I'm so terribly full Mother, I couldn't possibly eat another morsel of your scrumptious meal . . . what, what's that you say? You have a bagel? Well why didn't you say so? Gimme!")