I know it's time to get up in the morning when I hear Miss I-haven't-pooped-in-three-days-and-need-to-poop-right-now is hollering and Mr. I'm-so-quiet-you-just-know-I'm-into-something isn't making a peep.
As soon as I open my bedroom door, Mr. I'm-so-quiet comes skipping down the hall and darts quickly into his room. He looks both elated and guilty and then confirms that he's been up to something by shouting out before I can even ask, "I didn't do it!"
Realizing that I am awake, Ms. I-haven't-pooped belts out her request in an ear-piercing wail that makes the skin on my skull wither away. And so begins another day in the Barker household.
It doesn't take a genius to determine that the last of the plastic Easter eggs have been looted for candy. Little scraps of tin foil litter the floor and there are smooshed peanut butter cups on the kitchen table along with some sticky, wet rejected jellybeans.
Of course this is when Miss I-haven't-pooped DOES and greets me for the day with a diaper blowout. Joy.
As soon as I am up to my elbows in that mess Mr. I'm-so-quiet sneaks out of his room to get himself a glass of water. This means that when I return to the kitchen the refrigerator door will have been left open and the cats will be browsing the leftovers and there will be a large slippery puddle on the floor. The dilemma? To determine whether it's a puddle of water or the result of a lazy pet.
Finally, I send Mr. I'm-so-quiet to the corner so I can catch up on the catastrophes. He starts wailing and Miss I-haven't-pooped giggles and coos. There is a cosmic law that states that no household shall exist without one crying child per hour, so naturally the kids take turns being miserable to make sure they cover every hour of every day.
At last I have it under control. Even though I won't be getting a shower until the evening when my dear husband returns home there is some semblance of order.
Now it's time for the rest of the children to return home. "Can I have a snack?" "She got more than I did!" "Get out of my room!" "Do I have to do my homework now?" "Sign my reading sheet, Mom." "The dog just ate my eraser!"
It's enough to make a mom run stark raving mad out of the house and down the street. But I am a woman of considerable restraint. Not.
I assume the position. Slack jaw, drool on my chin, hair frizzed and wild, eyeballs slowly rotating in different directions…so that when my husband walks in the door he'll say the magic words: Pizza night!