I think I mentioned in my last post that the kids have been getting up ridiculously, 4am, early. A better mother would probably leap from the bed to watch the sun rise with her progeny, but honestly after a week of dealing with late night nightmares and people jumping on my face in the middle of the night to whisper 'I want my wheatbix', I am operating in somewhat of a coma. At one point in the blackest of night Turi decided to practise his articulation. He starting chanting, 'shit, shit, shit', and while I am fairly sure he didn't know what he was saying, it was a very accurate vocalisation of my internal feelings. I digress. The truth is that yesterday I let the kids get up at 4am and I, horror of horrors, remained in bed to sleep in until the scandalously late hour of 7:30am. You might be wondering what the children got up to alone in the house during this time. Let me paint you a picture.
So it's 7:30 in the morning and Turi trots into my bedroom and says, 'Mummy, wash my hands, I'm grubby!'. Still in the befuddled haze of sleep, I roll over and say, 'ok sweetheart. Have you been playing outside?'. Turi replies in the affirmative and I stagger out of bed to the bathroom. At this stage I notice the intense smell of peanuts and notice that Turi is smacking his lips together in a way that suggests his mouth is dry and sticky. I glance down and see that his shirt is streaked in green, (grass stains perhaps?) and his hands are caked with black (maybe from making mud pies?). And then I notice flecks of white on his hands. I look closer. The flecks are oats. A flood or dread sweeps over me and I am well and truly awake.
At this point Minty flits past and says in an ominously, cheery voice, 'don't go in the kitchen'. Of course this in where I am headed. The closest visual I can give of what I found is this Pro Hart ad for Stainmaster.
I know as bloggers we are prone to exaggerate for effect. But believe me when I say that the kids emptied the entire pantry onto my kitchen floor. They mixed several kilos of flour, five bottles of vinegar, brown sugar, caster sugar, oil, all my tea (loose leaf and bags), a kilo tub of peanut butter, wheatbix, pasta, oats, nuts, dried fruit, limes, baking powder, baking soda, creme of tartar, icy-poles, ice-cubes, and, perhaps most horrifyingly of all the entire packet of my precious matcha tea I had brought back with me from Japan. Those green streaks on Turi's shirt were matcha.
I use a large plastic trug tub to carry my fruit and veg home from our veggie group. This tub had been the focus of their efforts. It sat in the centre of the kitchen floor like a witch's cauldron, filled with a black lumpy slurry of food. The smell took my breath away. I sobbed a large gut wrenching sob. Part of it was shock. It had never even occurred to me that my kids were capable of such large scale destruction. Part of it was the realisation of the scale of the mammoth cleaning task that awaited me. A small part of it was grief at the loss of my matcha tea! But honestly the true origin of that sob was fear that somewhere along the way I had gone horribly wrong in my parenting and discipline of my children. Do I command no authority or respect in my own home? How could my kids do this without any thought of consequence? It felt like a big, sticky slap in the face.
It took me six hours, without stopping for so much as a cup of tea, to return the kitchen to some state of normality. They hadn't merely emptied the canisters onto the floor, they had also made experimental mixtures inside each canister. No corner of the kitchen was safe. They had reached into the back corners of every cabinet with their sticky fingers. All the mixing bowls had food caked onto them, my pizza stones had been used as mixing plates, there were dirty birthday candles in the cutlery drawer and the finger printed freezer door remained open as clear evidence of their destructive path.
I'm not exactly sure how to wrap up this post. I'm still reeling 24 hours later. I guess today is a new day. Today I'll try harder to be a better parent. It's 11am and no one has trashed anything yet. Focus on the positives?