There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children
She knew not what to do.
So she gave them some broth
Without any bread,
And whipped them all soundly,
And sent them to bed.
Poor Old Mother Hubbard, I think I know what happened inside the shoe that day. It was probably about two weeks into a deployment and she and her however many children were not settled into the new routine yet.
Probably the children had been fussy, discontent, irritable, possibly teething and just plain ugly to her and the other children in the shoe.
I'll bet she had lost her spanking rod in the van and hadn't given out any spankings the day before. Her children probably thought she was "all talk."
Old Mother Hubbard's two-year-old was probably the worst. He, lets just call him "Jack", was usually a very kind child but today wouldn't share his trains with the other children. He was probably poking the other children in the head with his finger. I'm sure he wasn't listening well. Either ignoring poor Mother Hubbard, or if he did acknowledge that he heard her, responded with a loud "NOOOO M'ammmm" when he was told to do something.
Her one-year-old, I'll bet he was on a tangent too. Besides his irritability with teething, he was probably just learning how to walk and experimenting with this new found Independence. I'd imagine that he was wanting to play with the other children, but getting frustrated that everything wasn't going just exactly his way. -Mother Hubbard was probably like that as a child.
I'll bet she marched those children to the upstairs part of the shoe and told them to go to sleep and not to get out of bed until they were ready to be nice boys.
Mother Hubbard probably wouldn't have reacted exactly the way she did if she had had a break in the last 384 hours. She wasn't thinking all the way straight at this point. She would probably have given the children some bread with their broth. Everyone knows that it is much easier for children to eat broth when they have some bread to sop it up.
At least, that's how I imagine it might have happened.