Hello, all! This is a terrible habit of mine – disappearing for the length of the school year. Can’t think why that might be.
Incidentally, today one of the papers noted with surprise the number of parent bloggers; how do these mothers have the time? My day begins at 5.45, when the 4-year old wanders into our bedroom. I try to ignore him and continue sleeping, but he is always in possession of a token item that commands parental attention – a needle, for example.
The older boys get up at an entirely more civilised quarter to seven, but in the short window between 6.45 and 8.50, manage to turn the house into a war zone and me into a nervous wreck. The four-year old has recently discovered the power of ‘the gesture.’
‘He made a gesture at me!’ shouts the six-year old, as I grip my coffee cup.
‘No I didn’t’ bellows the four-year old – he speaks as if addressing a stadium, always - ‘I did it this way – it means “peace”!’
I have blanked the child, berated him, threatened and bribed him. No effect. Finally, the older ones can bear it no longer and leap on him. I wouldn't say they’re the innocent parties: they’re both highly-trained experts in psychological torture. They coyly, slyly, slowly, maliciously drive the four-year old crazy with frustration – they goad that kid into making ‘the gesture.’
The fight, when it happens – imagine three cats, clawing and biting in a cloud of dust. No matter how good-natured a feline, if his survival is at stake, instinct takes over and he becomes feral. My boys (don’t want to malign anyone else’s) are similar; I can bark orders till I’m hoarse but they don’t hear me.
By the time we're walking to school, they’re all refreshed and bouncy from the adrenalin rush of battle; meanwhile my blood flows fast like a river about to burst its banks, and the tendons in my neck are rigid like steel.
Then it’s work, washing, work, supermarket, work, tidying; work; and I’m the last at pick-up again.
Upon the boys' return, I am like a frog leaping from lily pad to lily pad – let’s go to the park – and now see a friend – aha it’s TV time – and a break for dinner – bath! We’ve made it to bath time! Stories! Goodnight, my delicious piglets, yes!
And the triumphant creep downstairs, to husband making dinner, and the possibility of a good murder (Spiral, I mean, or Wallander) because let’s not claim to be doing anything too fabulous on a weeknight – then, just as I’m sitting down to eat, a plaintive squeak of ‘‘Mummy, I heard a noise....’ .
‘Darling, it was just the cat, talking to his cat friends. Now go to sleep. I beg you!’
‘Can I sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag?’
‘You can sleep upside down, hanging from the ceiling like a bat, if you wish, just – please – sleep!’
The holidays should be fun – but don’t expect to hear from me any time soon....