But it's at this point on typically hectic mornings that my 3-year-old has begun asking me to tell her stories. Not from books, but from my head.
"Talk to me about Rainey, Mama," she suggests between slurps of her milk and cereal, "and her cat!"
Rainey is a character I made up a hundred years ago, it feels like, on some traumatically drowsy night when my daughter wouldn't fall asleep on her own.
As far as I could recall this morning, when my child asked me to retell the tale, Rainey and her family moved to a new neighborhood and now live in a big old house. Rainey takes walks by herself and discovers an eerie, abandoned shack down the street where a family of talking squirrels hang out. Nothing terribly compelling there.
That's about all I could remember today. There was no cat.
But as any aspiring supermom would do, I stepped up to the plate to weave a tale of magical mishaps, right there on the spot as I sipped coffee #2.
What a gift my child gave me, the chance to exercise the art of impromptu storytelling.
Over the next two and a half minutes, my 3-year-old and my 21-month-old sat enraptured by the tale of Rainey's overfed cat, Juicebox.
The fat Tabby, poking around the house curiously while the family is away for the day, discovers a secret tunnel in the basement that leads to a magical party room, complete with blinky lights, a trampoline, swings hanging from the ceiling for kids to play on, waterslides, and mounds of candy just waiting to be devoured.
Not bad for off-the-cuff. At least my kids thought it was pretty amazing -- especially when embellished by goofy voices and sound effects.
Tomorrow's breakfast story time will reveal how the made-up kids (Rainey and, of course, her little brother, Stormy) will get to visit the party room with Juicebox. And who knows what'll happen?!
Thank you, dear daughter, for the morning flash fiction writing workout!