My Four-Alarm Morning


As I write this post, please understand I am operating on precious little sleep.

If I ramble a bit, keep in mind that I’m getting old and lack of sleep is kind of a big thing for us oldsters. I cannot be properly held accountable for lucidity of thought today, and here is why:


*cue marching band, fireworks, jugglers and clowns being shot out of cannons, hot dog vendors, glo-sticks, bullhorns, cow bells, face paint, toffee popcorn, ice cream and tigers leaping through flaming hoops*

Ok. So maybe that is an exaggeration.

the boys

*cue two little blonde cherubs, aged 5 and 7*

(The effect remains the same.)

Yes, I had both little men last night for a sleepover, and apart from a minor incident at bath time involving the Littlest dousing his Big Brother in way-too-hot tap water (oh yes, there were tears from both of them – one from the scald, the other from the scold, but it all ended in hugs and some sort of “willy-soup” joke), it went off without a hitch. I may be out of the parenting groove somewhat these days, but I can still creak my way through bath time, impromptu rugby games, burnt popcorn and BluRay with the best of them.

By 9 p.m., all was quiet on the Western front, and hubby and I settled down on the sofa for some mindless TV and split a bottle of wine. Naturally, as per “empty nest” protocol, we stayed up too late, conveniently forgetting about the many built in alarm clocks that would ensure ZERO possibility of having a lie in on Saturday morning. We ended up hitting the hay at about 1 a.m. I can curse my night-owl gene all I want, but it is what it is. At my age, it ain’t going anywhere fast.

Alarm Clock #1: At 5 a.m. the largest of my two young cockerels woke me with his infernal attempts at crowing, kind of something between a creaking gate and a sheep in hard labor so far, but that hasn’t stopped him trying. Actually, he’s even attempting to get a leg over on the hens already, but they are having NONE of it. Having been beat up by my (now dead and eaten) former cockerel, I can’t say I blame them! The hen house at the minute is something of a cross between a refuge for abused women and Desperate Housewives. When they’re not fighting over food and the best nesting box or sorting out the new official “male free” pecking order, my hens are currently in the process of regenerating feathers to cover their bald spots, preening and dustbathing like there is no tomorrow.


Logan… not exactly every hen’s dream just yet.

Poor Logan… you have a brand new key to the rollerskates, and the rink is closed for refurbishment. Don’t worry buddy, they’ll soften over time. (One hopes!) Just keep chowing down on that growth formula, and pretty soon they’ll be all over your Charles Atlas chicken butt.

But while I feel for my cockerel, I can’t say I like getting up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday, so I turned on the fan for some white noise to drown him out and dozed off.

Alarm Clock #2: I dozed all of 25 minutes, at which time Tiger, who had been prowling the garden all night, started banging on the front door. I don’t know how any creature with paws that soft manages to pummel a door with all the enthusiasm of a vice squad beating their way in to the local shooting gallery, but there you have it. I stumbled blindly down the stairs to let my kitty in, treated her with either a packet of Whiskas from the fridge or a Capri Sun. I don’t remember which. At 5:25, one shiny packet looks pretty much like the next. Back to bed for me.

Alarm Clock #3: It is 6:05 a.m. and Little brother appears like a phantom at my bedside. He doesn’t actually speak to me, but I wake anyway, my Nanny spider sense informing me that he is up. I open my eyes to find two bright brown irises staring straight into mine. “Is it wake-up time?” the phantom whispers.

“No, buddy. Not yet. Go jump back in bed. And DON’T WAKE YOUR BROTHER.”

From the other side of the bed and from beneath a thick feather pillow, PopPop interjects sagely, “He’s going to wake his brother up.”

I roll my eyes. What does he know? My grandchildren are perfect. His, apparently, can’t be trusted.

Alarm Clock #4: It is 6:10 a.m. Big brother is crying out in protest. I can’t make out the words, but they are not happy. These are not my (perfect) grandchildren, these are clearly PopPop’s grandchildren. Nevertheless, I swing open their bedroom door just in time to spot Little Brother jumping on the bed and happily pummelling his brother on the head with “Baby,” his beloved stuffed dog. Big brother, who likes his sleep, is not impressed.

Nanny is not impressed either.

PopPop is sawing logs under his feather pillow while HIS grandchild is up to mischief.

I march Little Man downstairs, but as we march, he buries his face into “Baby” and starts snivelling. “I didn’t sleep very well,” he cries, massive salty tears rolling down his cheeks. (This is patently untrue. The child slept like the dead from 8:30 until first light.) I know full well he is upset because he has been caught in the act of being a complete pickle to his brother, and is trying to evade a talking to or worse. (As if!)

Sure, he’s been proper naughty and I do not approve. Still, I am helpless in the face of little tears. I snuggle him up on my lap and give him a proper cuddle, reassuring him that it is all OK, and that I just needed to get him downstairs so his brother could sleep. “Let’s find something on TV while I go start the pancakes, K, buddy?”

He brightens up and snuggles onto the sofa for some Ice Age.

By the time I get the DVD going, Big Brother is up as well, and I am off to gather eggs for pancakes and scramble with bacon. Before long, PopPop smells the bacon, wakes from the dead and herds the boys out into the morning sunshine for some impromptu gardening. I watch them lopping branches and pushing the wheelbarrow around the garden and can’t help but smile at my 3 boys. How I love them.

Is this (grand)Mother Hen exhausted? You bet. But would I trade my 4 alarm morning for anything in the world? Not a chance.

Here we are with our gorgeous grandsons.

Here we are with our gorgeous grandsons.

Mother Hen

© motherhendiaries 2014 all rights reserved



20 replies »

      • Little boys are such fun! I was a camp counselor (read: temporary mom) for a cabin full of 10 year old boys for a couple of months right after graduate school. I adored them! They were an absolute riot!


        • Boys! If I could bottle their energy, I would be a millionaire! If I could bottle their laughter, I would sell it to nursing homes and adult care facilities – it is sheer, utter joy to listen to. And they are so, so, so funny. The roads their minds take are so offbeat and whacky – so full of imagination. As adults, we lose that zest, that zeal for life a bit. Oh, but to spend some time inside their little heads is such a welcome vacation from the real world! 🙂 (I bet you were the BEST “temporary mom” ever!!!)


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