6:50 AM: Penny came into the bedroom. "Mom, I did all the math for my diabetes!" She handed me a piece of paper and I pried open a bleary eye while she rattled off the list of what she'd had for breakfast. The math seemed solid, so I gave her the okay. She ran down the stairs, then came back five minutes later with a loaded syringe so I could hold the shot-blocker for her while she gave herself the insulin.
7:05 AM: Alex came into the bedroom to ask if he could borrow my scissors to cut a string off his shirt. I yanked the string off for him. (Against all logic, it is lodged in my head that if you can hand-break a loose thread, it's less likely to unravel again than if you just cut it.) Before I could put the pillow back over my head, Penny asked me about the weather for the day, so I picked up my iPad and pulled up the browser. I reassured her that it's not going to be as rainy as yesterday, and she scampered off. As long as I had the iPad open, I figured I might as well check on my dragons.
7:15 AM: Penny came back in with a folded piece of paper, which she handed to me. "Here's your newspaper!" she chirped. "Alex told me what to write for his side." One side of the paper was an essay by Penny; the other, an essay about Alex. Both essays featured some of their favorite things, and the things they like and dislike about the other members of the household.
7:30 AM: Listening to the kids making their noise downstairs, I figured I'd better get up. I dragged myself up and went into the bathroom. I was about to brush my teeth and wash my face when I heard feet on the stairs. "Surprise!" I turned around to see Penny holding a tray with toast and coffee, and Alex holding a yogurt cup and a spoon.
I blinked. "What's this for?"
"'Cause you're our mom," Penny said.
"This is amazing. Thank you, guys." I reached out to hug them.
Alex backed up a step. "Penny did it," he said. "I just carried the yogurt."
I hugged him anyway. He ran off to watch cartoons while I ate, but Penny sat on the bed with me. Ziggy came in and meowed plaintively.
"Did y'all feed him this morning?" I asked.
"I did, yeah." Penny paused to consider. "I guess I pretty much made breakfast for everyone in the house this morning." (She almost always helps Alex with his breakfast when she does hers.)
"You sure did," I agreed. "You're quite the little mother today."
"Well," she said sagely, "I'm the only other girl. And, you know, I have started puberty."