With my book finished and more nights than not spent up way past all my Bravo reruns are over, I've found myself walking around in a thick fog of hormones, loneliness and resentment.
Too many hours of the day spent holding a baby, begrudging my husband as he half-heartedly left for drill weekend.
I put the kids to bed and stare at the glasses of wine or vodka tonics I pour for myself and subsequently dump down the sink, the prospect of the pre-bed buzz I'd get not even worth bothering.
So when she woke me on Saturday morning at exactly 6:23am with her wretchedly pink tutu in her hands, I practically growled at her.
"It's still night time, don't you see it's dark out?" I bellowed, waking up the baby I had just shushed her to keep asleep only a minute earlier.
She crept away, wimpering softly.
Later we were reconstructing her magnet calendar, single handedly destroyed by her little brother. She was having a hard time filling in the numbers on her own.
"So what does 10 look like?" I asked her as she stared blankly at a pile of tiny magnets.
"Um, I don't know!" she replied frantically, as if her life depended on it.
I was cycling up. Like a tornado.
What was this school teaching her and why doesn't she know what a fucking number 10 looks like was really why the fuck am I always alone with all the kids? Why won't the baby sleep in the swing or bouncy seat or something? Why do I still not feel like myself?
"DO IT AGAIN" I told her, scrambling up the numbers. "HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW YOUR NUMBERS?" I screamed.
I tossed a few magnets at the wall. I threw Drew's vest near where she was working at the table.
And I cried.
So did she. Her face and mine - our dry skin streaked from the salty tears, no words capable of making up for my shame, for scaring my own children.
"It's hard being one person taking care of three kids, isn't it Mommy?" she said, later that afternoon, after we had reconciled over balloons, bubbles, and ABBA.
"The hardest" I replied. I grabbed her face.
"But I wouldn't have it any other way."
And I meant it.