My alarm goes off at 6.30. It's been a night of musical beds, and so I am feeling a little tired. And therefore teasy. I go into Alf's room to rouse him from restful slumbers "Alf, time to get up." "Go away," comes the muffled response. I can hear Olly calling from his room. I open his door "Morning Pops." "Where's Daddy?" "He's at work. He'll be back tonight." "Can you go away when he comes back? I just want to be with Dad." Back into Alf's room "Up you get, mate." "Stop banging on," comes the reply.
And on it goes. In fact by about 8.15 my patience - which is not great at the best of times - has failed me. Olly won't eat any breakfast, which causes me no end of stress on a school day. I have a need to feed, and the fact that he isn't playing ball leaves me frazzled. I have to physically wrestle him into his uniform, while he kicks and screams blue bloody murder. Alfie blames me for making him stay in the shower for half an hour, even though I have been banging on the door after five minutes telling him to vacate, like, Now!! Throw Sam into the mix - there is always the expectation that I drive him to college on a Thursday, because he starts later - and I can feel my eye starting to twitch, my pulse race and my voice become ever shrill.
It is pouring with rain, and so I agree to give Alfie a lift to school. "We have to leave by 8.30, so I can get Olly into school on time." We leave a 8.45, after Alfie has finished doing whatever it is that he does in his bedroom. The world and his wife are taking their offspring to school. It isn't helped by the fact that Alfie and Olly shout at each other constantly whilst they are in the car. Missiles are thrown, and I nearly drive into a traffic cone. I don't deposit Olly to school until 9.10. The teachers are fine about it, but I have a thing for lateness you see, and so I don't feel very fine about it.
I come home to find Sam taking clean cereal bowls out of the cupboard, inspecting them, and then putting them in the washing up bowl. "Why are you doing that?" (or words to that effect). 'They're all dirty." "No they're not." (or words to that effect) "Perhaps you should wash up better." "£$%^&***^%$" (or words to that effect). "Can I get a lift to college?" "No." "It's raining." "You have a buss pass." "It just smacks of favouritism in this house."
Then my phone tells me I have a text. From Alfie. "Forgot PE kit. Leave it at reception." Right! So off I go, back to school with his kit. I park in a disabled bay (I know, I know), run into the school in the howling wind and rain and deposit it with the lovely receptionist. I meet my friend Nichola, who has brought in her son's forgotten packed lunch. We pass comment on what an absolute pain the arse both our boys are.
I get home, and drive Sam to college. The journey passes in complete silence. We arrive at college. "Have a nice day," I say. The door slams shut. I drive home. Actually I stop at the supermarket, because the boys have run out of fruit and cereal. Then I drive home. I make beds, pick up socks, pants and stuff from bedroom floors. I vacuum said floors. I empty their wastepaper bins. I do all of this completely grudgingly.
I pick up Olly from school. He has made some junk modelling for me "It's a present for you," he says. He tells me on the way home that he chose the floral box, because I like flowers. Alfie arrives home and gives me a huuuuge hug "The receptionist said you didn't look too happy this morning." "Well I wasn't." "I got 8/8 on my French test." Sam has had a letter from Cambridge. It's not good news. He is upset and seeks me out. "I didn't really want to go. But it would have been nice to know that I could have gone," he says.
"Fuck 'em," I say.
"Love you, Mum."
(Yes I do occasionally use bad language in front of my children).