The mood here this morning started out sunny and happy. As it does many mornings. Everyone was up within minutes of each other and Mei Mei was toddling around giving her morning hugs and kisses to the big siblings.
Suh-weet.... a good start is always appreciated here, as they don't happen as a matter of course.
Then Li'l Empress started the downhill slide with sadness about going to school. Sigh. She was home yesterday with the other gang members while they recovered from a nasty stomach bug. We were kind of on the fence about her showing symptoms so we just kept her home. Backfired into big alligator tears for the first 12 minutes of the day. That was resolved quickly and matter-of-factly (man, you canNOT show this kid too much sympathy for her plight or she miiiiiilks it outta ya!).
I sent the gang downstairs to start breakfast and got Mei Mei going with a clean diaper and let her pick a shirt to start getting dressed for the day (man, you HAVE to give that kid some "choice" in most of the inconsequential decisions of the day or ya get NOWHERE with the big stuff later!).
I settled Mei Mei at the table with the kids, got them all moving on cereal and excused myself to run up and finish my hair with BBE overseeing the whole process. Sounds easy, right?!
Heh. Nope, it's never that easy.
We still don't know WHAT set her off, but Mei Mei was in full freak out mode by the time I turned off the hair dryer and flew back down the stairs. Poor BBE, this was supposed to be so easy - she was buckled in, eating, and chatting happily with Lil E. What could go wrong over wheat flakes and apples?
WHAT the WHAT?!
That freak out turned into a time-in on the stairs, which escalated and became a THING that drove her mood through the big kids all leaving. Through Mommy's breakfast. Not even her beloved 12 minute short movie of minions broke the mood. Oh, man, I wasn't feeling hopeful about the morning's trajectory. Not that she was still in full freak out, thank goodness. But the mood. OH, the MOOD!!!!!
(To be fair, this time span only covered about 90 minutes of fast paced busy activity but it felt like 9 hours by the time I got all the kids off to school and Mei Mei settled enough to open the door for speech therapy.)
Then, mercifully, she put her mood on hold for sweet Miss Lauri. They had a lovely, productive session of PlayDoh time together. But as soon as Miss Lauri walked out that door, the dark cloud of MOOD resettled on her face.
So I did something that I've never ever done before. Not ever, in almost 20 years of parenting.
I bundled us both up, pulled out the dolly stroller and took Mei Mei on a long brisk walk. Nothing unusal about that, right?
EXCEPT. It was very cold. VERY breezy. And it was raining. Spitting, I believe they say in some parts.
Yeah. Me. Hater of all things cold. And all weather wet.
I didn't even care that my toes (and likely hers!) were numb with the cold. Or that it would take all afternoon for that stroller to dry out from the dampness.
There's a first time for everything.
It worked. Her mood shifted. She chattered and laughed and fussed like a little mother hen over her baby doll. And smiled. She smiled all the way around the neighborhood circle and all the way home.
We returned home, happily, to hot soup, more chattering, and finally some quiet snuggles in the rocking chair before nap time.
Sweet, sweet nap time.