It was cold upstairs; I turned up the heat and opened the vent. I opened the vent. All the way open. You there?

It was four a.m. This I would not know unless from the glow of the microwave clock that beamed in my half-opened, angry, and quarter conscious eyes. I was not craving a “hot pocket” (which I haven’t had in years, but were a staple in my early twenties diet), nor was I waking for an early morning fishing trip. I wasn’t relieving my bladder of the two pints of oolong tea I had during the, um, well, the game of American football that played on the screen from three thirty in the afternoon to…whenever that “thing” ended, nope, I wasn’t getting up for an early morning jog either. Actually, I was lying, quite peacefully might I add, in bed, asleep, as I normally do, when I heard what I thought was the sound of a cup pushing against the water dispenser on the refrigerator door. At first I thought it was the heat kicking in, “who would be getting water right now?” ran through my mind, but the gulp and loud “ahhh”, clued me in that, after a pat down to rule out the human who sleeps next to me (who was there – sleeping quite soundly), I realized one of the two “little people” were up getting water, in the kitchen?, and I identified which “little person” by the sound of their little feet that they don’t pick up, but shuffle quickly across the floor, which most of the time endears me to her, but when my mind realized there was no “forty o’clock”, I was anything but endeared.

H. had woken up, needed water, moved a stool in front of the refrigerator, got a cup, climbed the stool, pushed the cup into the lever, filled the cup, drank the water, and set her cup on the counter – all in the dark. I should have been impressed; perhaps I was, until the day progressed. Progressed may not be the right word. I shuffled H. back to bed and she, I presume, went back to sleep.

double rainbow.

It was six fifteen. This I wouldn’t have known unless A. hadn’t announced, on their way into our bedroom (yes “they” – ol’ “shuffle feet” was in tow and blamed for the early wake up call), that “it is six. one. five.”. I was thinking quicker than I was at four a.m. “Okay, I can handle this” was the pep talk I gave myself – really motivating huh? “Girls, can you go in one of your rooms and play? I need a minute (or fifty).” A surprising “yes daddy” followed by the shuffling and pounding (a. is a pounder like me) of feet out the door. Ahh. I made it. I get a little more sleep to make up for the random four a.m. hydration fest.

It was six twenty. I was woken by cries. I made my way, slowly, into A.’s room. A. was crying and H. was hiding – I didn’t need details. “Really?” I thought to myself. “Really I am starting my day, wait, my day was started two hours ago, well, starting the second part of my day with cries.” Okay, I can handle this. “Hey girls, what’s up?” Why? Why do I do things like that? Why do I ask questions? A. Starts “H. blah blah blah” It was like the reverse Charlie Brown. Let’s head into the kitchen – I need to start the coffee. They went to the table to color.

It was six forty. I was turned around by grunts. H. was pulling the bag of markers from A., and A. was trying not to cry because I told her my head might explode if I heard anymore cries – they started anyway. “Girls, could you go to one of your rooms and play while I get breakfast going?” – let’s try this again. “Yes, Daddy.” Yes. We are back on track – until H. walks into a wall on her way to the bedroom. Crying. Followed by a “I wanted to make your bed and leave Minnie Mouse on it – don’t take your Minnie Mouse off argument”, then a wrestling match to change H.’s diaper while A. commented on the smell and size of H’s rooster (in case you missed it in a previous post – we call “poops in the diaper”, “roosters in the oven” for no real reason), a crying fit because H. wanted to wear her tutu for the tenth straight day and I was trying to explain that we needed to clean the wheaties-pudding-milk-hotdog mush off of it, a nice walk to the washing machine to put it in together, then a total misunderstanding when the washing machine actually started, to a blissful moment watching the tutu swirl in water , to a melt down when the tutu couldn’t come out after a five-minute wash, to walking into another wall, a peaceful moment listening to “puff the magic dragon”, jumping on sister, then, as I was showering I heard from our closet “Dad, she has to poop” a minute later “Dad, she’s taking her diaper off”. The warm water and glass barrier were comforting. Let her poop all over the closet, this moment is worth cleaning the poop out of my clothes and carpet. Luckily, no poop.

Nine o’clock. Yes, only Nine o’clock. Only Nine o’clock and we had enough tears, cries, pouts and thirty-second bliss moments for the week. “One of those days” I thought. “Just shoot me” I texted r.. They were fed, we tried schoolwork, and H. and A. started arguing about something else. My leg bounced, as it had when I was twelve waiting to give an oral presentation, “come on ten o’clock, come on ten o’clock” racing through my mind – and I think verbalized a few times. At ten o’clock we can get in the car and start heading to gymnastics where at least A. will be busy, and I think I can wrestle H. into eating a snack – or six if it buys time – to get a little peace. It worked. We are good. We ate lunch and are now getting on with our day. I am writing and they are doing an art project.

No moral, no message – just an open vent that I am yelling through. We all need that every now and again.