This morning, we collapsed under pressure.

Under the pressure of six jobs, between my husband and I. Under the pressure of trying to get our house somewhat organised before baby number two makes his or her appearance. Under the pressure of lack of sleep and not enough time with just the two of us. Pressure does that. It makes you collapse.

It started with a little disagreement over shelves. It escalated over breakfast until I was shedding tears as I tied my shoe-laces. I don’t cry often but the emotion of the argument broke my dam wall.

This fifteen minute argument was a long one for us, but we have put ourselves under too much duress.

Both good communicators, we tried to remain (somewhat) reasonable. We tried to listen. We tried to empathise. But emotion got the better of us.

At some point I raised my voice.

“Shhhh, Mama,” said Elka, raising her finger to her lips. “You must be quiet. The babies are sleeping in the other room.”

Her sweetness disarmed me temporarily, but the argument was not resolved.

When emotion overcame me, and tears slid into my shoe-laces, Elka came up and asked: “Are you OK, Mama? Why are you crying?” How do you explain to a two-year-old the logic behind an irrational argument?

Far more rational was she. Mummy clearly needed Cinnamon, her teddy bear. She handed him to me, and told me he would make me feel better. She offered me a jutie too. Her sweetness again disarmed me.

Fifteen minutes after the pressure descended, we group-hug as a little family, kiss each other and say sorry.

It was touching how little Elka was affected, yet how concerned she was. She was empathetic without being afflicted by our emotion and our tears. She reminds us that no amount of pressure is worth it. All that is worthwhile is our love for each other. Our hugs and our kisses. Her sweetness.

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