This morning was a usual crystal maze type experience of trying to get the three of us out of the front door in time to be at preschool for 8:45. It’s so rare when we are actually on time that I am starting to get seriously worried about how I am going to cope when it’s time for big school and will also have to remember various PE kits and art projects. Being on time for anything has never been my strong point but now with a three year old and four month old to get out of the door in appropriate clothing with appropriate vehicle, be it scooter, pram or car it seems that I am doomed to failure.
Above all else, I try to remain calm which is a real challenge when the baby is doing a kind of siren like rhythmic scream in the pram and my threenager is ‘fixing’ her scooter by hitting it with an echo microphone and I am standing holding a little patent shoe saying, ‘Come on let’s put shoes on! . . . . It’s time to put shoes on . . . . Audrey, it’s time to put your shoes on . . . . Audrey come on we really have to get your shoes on now . . . . Audrey we’re going to be late! . . . . AUDREY!!!!’
But today it has been snowing which means I would really be a terrible mother if all my children are not wearing every knitted item known to man. My Nan is a serious knitter. We are drowning in knitwear in this house but can I find a matching pair of god forsaken mittens in this house? No fricking way!
I start turning over the rooms of the house looking for a particularly garish mitten which matches the one I have in my hand (God! I don’t give a dam if they match but in the interest of avoiding another battle, matching would definitely be better) all the while with my baby screaming in the cot and my daughter singing a rather elaborate improvised song consisting of the words, ‘Shut up Arthur’ repeated over and over up and down a scale.
It is at times like this when I try to be nice to my children and stay calm but all I want to do is join in with their screaming and just shout at the top of my voice,
“WHERE THE FUCK ARE ALL THE FUCKING MITTENS!!!!”
As I run around the house looking for the mitten I occasionally pass them in the lounge and try to say something calm and comforting in a rather strained and robotic mum voice, ‘It’s oooooooh kaaaaay! Mummy is looking for the mittensss! Mummy’s coming baaaack!’ I convince Audrey to rock Arthur in his pram and continue the search, as I leave the room I hear her repeatedly banging the pram into the front door which is really not okay but has at least stopped him from crying.
Mitten was of course being used as a sleeping bag for a rather haggard looking plastic doll under Audrey’s bed. No doubt part of some kind of pretend camping expedition (her all time favourite game). I feel a lovely flash of guilt and shame about the amount of mess and dust under her bed, promise myself I will clean it later and extract myself to sprint downstairs.
Finally back downstairs with mitten and the baby has fallen asleep. It’s a good job he finds violence so soporific.
I check the time.
We will definitely be late for preschool.
Oh well, at least she’ll have her mittens on.