My morning so far (it’s now 09.16)
1 – Alarm goes off at 07.20, listen to Radio 4 until sports news, then crawl out of bed
2 – On the way to the bathroom check Hannah is awake, and venture a few inches into Ben’s room to give him his first wake up call, taking care not to tread on anything sharp or disturb any of his string and sellotape boobytraps
3 – On my way out of the bathroom I give Ben his second wake up call and check Hannah is getting dressed
4 – I get dressed and go downstairs with Hannah, stopping near Ben’s room to yell that it’s time to get moving if he wants enough time to eat all the helpings of cereal he normally gets through. I start sneezing. Early hay fever seems to be another symptom of global warming.
5 – Downstairs I get their breakfast ready, start washing up last night’s dishes, get the coffee machine going, fill the kids’ water bottles, take the rubbish out, check the guinea pigs haven’t been eaten by invisible urban foxes, chat to the kids as they tell me all sorts of disconnected pieces of information about yesterday at school/last term at football club/two weeks ago in France
6 – Sit down to eat my own breakfast as Mike ambles into the kitchen
7 – Start hurrying them up as they dawdle over (Hannah) making a dolphin out of beads that you stick into a kind of plastic square with holes in it (Ben) reading out how many calories there are in a bowl of cereal with milk, without milk, a whole box of cereal with packaging, without packaging…
8 – Finish my breakfast and hassle them up the stairs to brush their teeth, their hair, and to scrape Hannah’s tangled barnet into a nit-prevention style of her choosing. Today, thankfully, it’s a labour-saving pony tail and not the dreaded “one plait in the middle, two at the side and then all of them meeting up in the middle to turn into up-and-hanging, please Mummy”
9 – Wait in the hall while they argue over whose calculator it is, and while Ben asks why when you add 99999999 to 99999999 it comes out as 19999999. God knows, but I make up a credible reply and tell them to try to talk AND put on their shoes at the same time.
10 – A five minute fight over sun cream. Just noses and cheeks, but still obviously a traumatic imposition for Ben that infringes his basic human right not to do anything he doesn’t want to do
11 – Finally we leave for school at 8.40am, with me yellling over my shoulder, “When are YOU going to take them to school?” Mike looks up from his tea and toast, surprised that someone is addressing him directly, and says “Monday?”
12 – Deliver them to school, return home just after 09.00 to find Mike in same position I left him.
13 – I let gunea pigs out of their cage, do a bit of washing up, sniff loudly and leave the kitchen in silent resentment
Mike’s morning so far –
1 – Lie in bed ignoring all activity until other 3 family members are safely downstairs
2 – Get out of bed at 8am, lock self in bathroom for 20 minutes of meticulous shaving operation
3 – Go downstairs, pick up newspaper from mat (why is it always me who has to do this, for god’s sake?) say a cheery “morning” to my two delightful children who are just finishing their breakfast. Notice there is someone else in the room who seems to have a cold and is irritatingly sniffing and sneezing all over the kitchen.
4 - Put kettle on (yes, it does suit me) and sit at table with newspaper, vaguely aware that sniffing person is also shouting and one of the two delightful children is still eating when presumably they should be doing something else
5 – Shout “Bye, have a nice day, don’t work too hard” as three other family members disappear through front door. Ah! Time to eat my toast, drink my tea, and read the paper in peace.
6 – Have hardly started the crossword when front door opens again and in comes sniffing person. Realise answer to three across is thorn in the flesh.
7 – Lots of banging about in the sink interferes with my concentration and I’m still stuck on four down when an extra loud sniff signals other person’s exit from kitchen. Ah! Got it! Waste of space!