Daddy and the boys eat brekkie at the table around 7:00am, while baby girl guzzles her breakfast down in Momma's bed. The boys can see and hear Momma and their baby sister over the video monitor.
After breakfast all the boys come and join the girls - armed with a coffee for Momma.
That's my official handover, and the start of FULL parental duties... I'm not exactly clocked off during the night....
A little before 7:30am I fire up my laptop on my bedroom floor and queue Special Agent Oso on You Tube. The kids know the drill and have usually been pestering to watch that clueless little bear since they figured out that sis was awake.
Daddy has about two minutes to pull on a clean shirt before kissing everybody goodbye.
I love our morning routine at the moment. Of course it's bound to stop working soon, and Momma will have to rethink my strategy for keeping all three kidsters happy and laughing once Daddy Bear sets out to earn the 'money-honey'....
I usually leave the lights off so the room is lit only by the cartoon and the daylight seeping in around the curtains. It's cosy and romantic. It feels like Christmas every morning.
For the next hour or so the boys lay on their tummies (kicking their bottoms with their heels) watching back to back episodes of Oso and Mickey Mouse.
My 3 year old holds a little plastic Oso figure and my 20 month old cuddles his "Pickey" (Mickey Mouse). Momma lies behind the boys on the bed cuddling my 12 week old baby girl.
If I can help it, I keep her there snuggled up until after 9:00am, the end of cartoon time. Between snoozes and feeds and diaper changes, we coo and kiss and tickle and spin her alphabet ball.
Every now and then the boys' attention gets pulled away from their show and they climb up beside baby sister for a kiss and a spin of the alphabet ball.
It's a magical time and I know I'll be thinking back on these mornings when I'm knocking on heaven's door.
Half way through - when little lady is back snoozing - Momma escapes to reload my coffee mug and grab a snack for the boys (either cereal bars or bananas).
One day last week, after supplying the boys with their snacks, I decided not to return to my beckoning body impression beside baby, but instead use this blissful cartoon time to get some jobs done.
I'm not sure why I messed with a good thing.
It's the guilt.
See, while I'm laying their snuggling the baby and hanging out with the boys watching cartoons, the humongous pile of laundry is going nowhere.
I'm supposed to be working.
But my title is Stay At Home Mom, right? I don't remember housekeeping being part of the verbal agreement.
Still, half the housekeeping is at least fair, and - looking around our shit-tip we call home - I'm pretty sure it hasn't even been half-ass tackled in
I decide to attack the laundry. I could at least make a dent in it, while keeping close watch over baby girl and the boys.
But when the cat's away the mice play....
It's the middle kid who's the trouble maker. TV hasn't been his thing until recently, and sitting still is hard when you're 20 months old - particularly for him. And when Momma isn't sitting their to mind the mischievousness he just can't help himself.
He starts pressing buttons. And our 3 year old squeals loudly in frustration.
I've been working real hard with big kid regarding this issue.
"Use your words, Baby" I say. "Don't just scream at him. Tell him how it makes you feel."
I know - what a crock, right? And little brother couldn't give a rat's ass. Still, it helps our big kid to calm down if he has to focus on speaking to his tormentor,
Of course the little bugger (aka the tormentor) loves to make big brother cry. It's why he does it.
Unfortunately for big kid, he (big kid) is much easier to parent than baby bro.
"He's just a baby. He doesn't know better. But you're a big kid..."
So, there I am trying desperately to hang as many boys clothes up as possible before baby girl stirs - but baby boy keeps messing with my progress.
I must have raced back to my bedroom a hundred times to either press space bar (to start the paused show) or pull little bro off of big bro (he's recently started tackling big bro - it's NOT mutual) or return Oso to his rightful owner.
I can't believe that my little girl is still sleeping through all her brothers' drama!
I'm back in the boys closet struggling to find hangers when my eldest starts yelling "Mom!"
It doesn't sound urgent - but I'm still nervous he'll wake his sister.
"Yes?" I call back.
And just like that - for a split second - I turn into Satan.
If I were in a cartoon my head would have turned red, horns would have popped out and steam would have been coming out of my nose..
I pull my head out of the closet (and out of my ass) just in time to see his little happy eager face ashen a little.
My heart starts to hurt. Oh god! Why hadn't I heard the happy intonation?
"Santa Clause is stuck on Mistletoe Mountain..." He says, a little uncertainly.
I am such a bitch! A horrid mean Momma bitch.
Screw the clothes!
Who cares if I'm messing up the housekeeping? I'm NOT about to start messing up being Momma!
I ate humble pie - LOTS of it, and for the rest of cartoon time I laid on the floor on my tummy between my boys kicking my own ass.
Of course he forgave me and all was forgotten in seconds. He told me to stop kissing him and pushed my face away. He could have punched me and I wouldn't have stopped.
Cartoon time was extra special today (Saturday). As soon as Mickey Mouse started up I remembered how I'd lost my patience earlier in the week, so I shared the shameful story with Daddy....
"Mom!" Big kid interrupted.
"Yes, Baby?" I smiled.
"Santa Clause is stuck on Mistletoe Mountain," he gushed in excitement!
"Oh, no! But I bet Mickey will save him!" I enthused.
"Yeah!" he cheered, punching the air.
The laundry's not going anywhere....... and. neither. am. I.