It is morning.
Or so a loud, high pitched voice right in my ear informs me, in discord with the miniature elf drumming band which seems to have taken up residence in my head overnight.
Opening my bleary eyes before they are poked with a maurading-small-person finger, the sight of a sluggish grey light edging round the curtains confirms this theory.
Time to attempt to lever myself out of bed.
As I, and my 7.5 month pregnancy bump emerge from the lovely warm duvet, I have a momentary panic that I may be leaving my hips behind…but no…in a screech of pain, they reluctantly follow me as I stagger to a semi upright position, pondering the location of my slippers.
Are they under the giant pile of laundry over there? Behind ‘stuff mountain’, that ever growing pile of…who knows what…that is invading the bedroom and threatening to spill over into every corner of the house? Or has the cat eaten one and thrown up on the other? All seem equally likely and giving up, I stagger to the bathroom cursing the cold tiles under my feet and attempting not to fall into the hole in the floor.
‘I’m off, see you later!’ an all too chirpy voice declares from the hallway, as its owner departs to a day of relative sanity and reasonable adult company.
[was that a relieved sigh I heard…?]
And then the demons arrive. And possess my children.
‘No get dressed. NO GET DRESSED!’ screeches the smallest of the two, wriggling like an octopus on steroids and aiming ferocious kicks at my bump as I struggle to attach some semblance of an outfit to her frame. This process is further hindered by the biggest, who, giggling madly decides now is a GREAT time to play that most wonderful of games ‘prod your sister in the face repeatedly’.
Clothedness is achieved, finally, by dangling the smallest upside down over the side of the bed until the fear of falling on her head outweighs the outrage of daring to suggest that wearing clothes in the middle of winter might be a good thing. The top is on. The pants are on. The TIGHTS (who the hell invented tights, the nemesis of every mother of an octopus child?) are ON!
Except…now they’re not. Now they are sitting in a forlorn little pile on the floor, with pants on top, next to a red faced two year old with arms crossed and an angry mouth, who glares at me and states, quite firmly ‘NO GET DRESSED’.
Fine then. On to the bigger one.
‘I can’t do shoes’ he whines. ‘I don’t want to go to school. I might have a tummy ache’.
The dreaded tummy ache. Ever since I was telephoned by the teacher several weeks ago and informed I must pick him up straight away ‘in case he poos everywhere’ it’s been the go to excuse for ANYTHING the Wee Man isn’t keen on doing.
Eat his dinner? No, tummy ache. Go to bed? Tummy ache. Put on his own socks, pick up the toy he’s just left lying in the middle of the stairs, brush his teeth, get in/out of the bath…’tummy ache’.
‘I know you can do shoes’ I reason. ‘I have seen you do them many, many times. When you were smaller, you refused to even let me come NEAR your shoes because you wanted to put them on so much’.
‘CAN’T DO IT’ is the howled response.
One small, semi naked child strapped into one side of pushchair.
One larger, shoeless, coatless child dumped unceremoniously into the other side.
And we are off.
Passers by give looks of alarm as I march determinedly up the road (quite slowly it is true – the dumping of aforementioned children into pushchair may have done some kind of damage to my back) and then avert their eyes as they witness the two year old who is struggling to stand half naked, waving her pants around in the air.
My unkempt unbrushed hair flies around me, my sockless feet feel cold in their hurriedly stuck on boots, and finally I decide I really don’t care if people notice that yes, I am still wearing my pyjama top under my wonkily buttoned coat.
When did I sign up for this?
And then comes a little voice
‘Mummy, I cold. Tights on, please?’
‘Mummy, I want to walk. Please can I put my shoes on?’
HALLELUJAH! The demons have departed.
The pants resume their rightful place. The tights go on. The shoes are installed on feet by their rightful owner, with no trace of the previously stated inability to carry out such a task. Coats have arms thrust in, scarves are wrapped snugly around necks and hats are placed on heads.
Not much I can do about my hair. Or my sockless feet. Or my pyjama wearing top half.
BUT the morning is conquered, for another day.