When I was a kid people used to comment on my shyness, my quiet nature, my peaceful demeanour. I often laughed a little internally and thought that my siblings could give a better picture of who I was. They saw me at my best and my worst, bore my bouts of enthusiasm and of temper. They knew me as myself, and not the best-behaviour version I displayed for others.

Now I think the ones who get the uncut version of me are my children.

These past two weeks since the birth of our youngest, we’ve been running tired. Pile a newborn’s nighttime schedule on top of a sleepless month for me (big and pregnant) and a few weeks of something similar for J (new department, business trip, trying to get caught up before Precious’ arrival), and you get two run-down parents with rather short tethers.

It’s not as if we’re screaming at the kids, but there is a lack of patience this week, a tendency to quickly abandon a gentle voice and opt for a sharper tone. There it is.

We keep reminding ourselves that our girls are five and two. Five and two. And although they are generally lovely, capable, obedient children, they are five and two and we must set our expectations accordingly.

At the same time we have just had a baby. So although the disorder of the house is driving me crazy, I am trying to keep clear in my mind that it is okay to take things easy. Which is why I let the girls watch a DVD yesterday while Precious and I took a nap. The whole thing. I think that was the first time I have ever gone to the menu of a children’s video and selected ‘play all’. Which I decided wasn’t all that horrible considering it was the only tv they’d watched in two weeks. Boy did I need that sleep.

We will catch up. Our bodies will adjust to being disturbed in the night and going back to sleep. All will be well.

And in the meantime I will try to refine my tired-mother-self to be a gentler, less irritable, more loving person. One whom my girls can safely imitate.