“Mammy, is it time to get up yet?” comes a whisper. The phone on the locker reads 7:32 a.m. “Shit…. Yes, it’s time to get up. We’re late so get dressed really quickly.” The little one is still asleep. A hot shower is a must to wake up the weary, so in I jump. “Shit” – there’s no hot water. Shivering and wet, I get out, dry and dress. I’m definitely awake now.
“Mammy, I can’t do the buttons”
“Mammy, I want two pony tails”
“Mammy, what’s for my lunch?”
Then the little one comes in, sleepy headed, clutching six teddy bears. How does she do it? I beg her to get dressed quickly, then seeing her put her pants on inside out and back to front, I give her and her clothes to her daddy to dress her.
“Mammy, I want six pony tails.”
“No, don’t have time, come on hurry… we’re very late today.”
“Will Muinteoir be cross?”
“Not if you get a move on, come on.”
Downstairs, a crash of dishes and cups, the cats mieow to be let out, the dog barks at the cats. Ok, prioritise…. Clean out smelly cat litter tray or feed kids first. The kids win out and then complain that the cereal in their bowl is not what they wanted. Oh god, the smell of the cat’s tray is turning my stomach.
“For the love of Christmas, where are the keys?” I run upstairs to get the keys, to open the door, to put the cat tray out. Finally find my keys, open the door, the dog runs out ahead of me, into the muck and then runs back to me, jumping and imprinting mucky paws on my freshly washed jeans. “Who’s idea was it to get a bloody dog?” But no one’s listening. The kids are fighting over a crayon.
“Girls, there is no time for drawing pictures, please eat your breakfast or you will not be going to school/playschool.” As soon as I utter the words, I cringe. Supernanny says you must follow through on your threats. Now what if they don’t eat, I’ll have to stand by my threat and keep them home. Oh god no. I know, I’ll bribe them with Smarties instead.
“Girls, if you eat your breakfast, I’ll give you Smarties!” A gleeful “Yayyyy” and they begin to eat slowly but surely.
More nagging, this time to get them upstairs to brush their teeth. Why do they go immediately into the playroom and drag out their toys? My face is starting to go red and the caffeine withdrawal headache is thumping in my temples with a vengeance. Eventually, after more threats, they brush their teeth and then I nag at them to go downstairs again to get their shoes on.
“No, you can’t wear sandals – it’s lashing rain. Please just get your black shoes on.”
Finally, we’re in the car. The sky was blue when we got up, now it’s grey and lashing rain.
“Mammy, you forgot our bags.” Jump out into the rain and run back inside to get the bags. Sit back into car and start the ignition.
“Mammy, we’re not strapped in”. Turn off the ignition, jump out into the rain again and strap the kids in. And we’re on our way. Playschool drop off first but when we get to the playschool, there’s no parking. So I do a probably illegal u-turn and park on the road. I put the hazard lights on in the event of a passing policeman taking exception to my parking spot and hope that he’ll realise it’s the parking of a frazzled mammy and drive on. Run through the rain with the kids down the long, car packed driveway, deposit one slightly reluctant three year old with the teacher and run back to the car with the older one. Of course, by now, the driveway is free of cars. Strap my now soaking five year old into the car and off we go for drop number two. I curse as I pull out in front of a car on the roundabout. My mistake, sure, but people really need to learn how to use roundabouts. You only indicate left when you are leaving the roundabout, not when you’re driving right around it. But, really I should never have trusted an indicator nor the idiot behind it.
Get to the school and am trying to park in a space but the ‘lovely person’ (I don’t want my kids to speak negatively of people so I must set by example – starting now) who is trying to park in front of me has yet to establish the difference between first gear and reverse. I consider going over to them and recommending a good driving instructor but eventually they get it and I can park. Run in the rain again to the school and deposit the five year old, who has been embraced by a cackle of five year olds. I run back out into the rain and to my car. Some idiot (kids are gone so I can say that again) has left a flyer on my windscreen wiper, which has gotten soaked in the rain and is now smearing a pulpy mush all over my windscreen every time the wipers move. Seriously?
Eventually get home, take my soaking wet coat off, greet the dog, make a coffee and sit down. What is that noise? My silence is punctured by some sounds I haven’t heard for a long time – the ticking of the kitchen clock, the gentle, reassuring hum of the fridge, the dogs stomach growling and the wind rustling the leaves on the apple tree outside. Settling back into the couch, clutching my hot coffee, I savour these sounds. Then I sit up: I miss the kids, how long is it till I get to collect them?