It’s Not Easy Staying Calm.
I was full of good intentions today.
Last week had more than its fair share of fraught mornings on the back-to-school front and my being stressed hadn’t helped matters. My kids’ behaviour is much worse when I’m already irritable and snappy.
So I was determined that today I would stay calm and not shout at anyone No Matter What.
When my alarm failed to go off and I woke up half an hour later than I intended to, I stayed calm. DH must have turned it off over the weekend and when I set the time last night, I had failed to check the bl**dy thing was actually switched on. Oh well, I had to have a speedy shower but at least I’d had an extra half hours sleep.
When DD2 woke up howling that she was tired and wasn’t getting up, then hit DD3, I steamed in, gave her a cuddle and hustled her back to our room where she couldn’t annoy her younger sister. Unfortunately, unbeknown to me, DD1 had crawled into our bed before DD2 entered the room and the ensuing territorial squabble severely depleted my reserves of patience.
DH hung around to help and we managed to get everyone up, dresssed and downstairs for breakfast without shouting.
I had a blip at breakfast as DD1 is being a complete PITA about eating in the morning. She’s 9 and as skinny as they come. She often refuses to eat anything or allocates herself a ridiculously small amount of cereal; today it was a couple of tablespoons of cheerios. I should just leave her be, and not comment, I know. But I couldn’t help myself and made her double her portion. She was not happy and moaned and whined about being full after she’d had a couple of spoonfuls. In the end she ate most of them but I was feeling very end-of-tetherish by the time I’d finished making their lunches.
There was a mild fuss about PE uniforms and appropriate footwear but I dealt with that well and then it was time for the school run.
Everyone had their shoes, coats, bags and lunchboxes, and DS was sitting happily in the wagon when DD1 suddenly gasped and said ‘I’ve got orchestra today. I need to take my Double Bass in.’
My stomach lurched. Taking ‘Barry’ to school is a very big deal and one I like to prepare myself mentally for. I admit to sounding tense when I asked DD1 if she was sure. She said she was so DS had to be turfed out of the wagon, which precipitated a tantrum. I promised someone would pull him on his scooter on the way to school and he could sit in the wagon on the way back which stopped him crying. I had DD1 in mind as the ‘someone’ but we couldn’t find the bungees we use to secure Barry in the wagon, so DD1 had to walk beside her instrument and make sure it didn’t fall out.
We’ve already broken one Bass last year, which cost £300 to repair, and I thought a repeat performance would just about finish off my pledge of calmness. So DD1 and I trundled down the road with Barry between us towards the school, DD2 pulling DS on the scooter, and DD3 and the neighbour’s girl going ahead.
Suddenly DD1 slapped herself on the forehead and said ‘Oh no!’
I stopped and looked at her. ’What?’
‘I’m so dumb.’ She replied. ‘I forgot the year 6′s have moved up. There is a spare bass at the school I can use.’ I resisted the impulse to join in the forehead slapping and started frantically looking around for someone who could walk the girls to school for me. DS was not going to be happy about not getting his promised ride in the wagon, and I was keen to minimise the distance I was going to have to drag him back home.
Luckily for me, one of the usually very-punctual school mums was running a bit later than normal this morning, and kindly agreed to walk my lot to the school gate. She even helped them cross the road safely after DD1 almost got them all run over on the first attempt. I will be now rethinking my plans of letting DD1 walk to school on her own as requested, but that’s another story for another day.
As I waved the girls off, I was left with a howling boy. He may not be able to say many words but his pointing at the wagon, with the bass in it, and screaming No, No, No said it all. Then he picked up his scooter and threw it on the road, narrowly missing a passing car.
I tried carrying the scooter in one hand and towing the wagon with the other. This worked well for about 10 seconds, until there was a horrible thunk as the bass gently rolled off the wagon onto the pavement. Thankfully it rolled onto its back, not the bridge so hopefully it’s not damaged but it was obvious that I needed to use two hands to transport it.
If DS wouldn’t push or ride his scooter, it would have to stay on the street and take its chances. I’d come back for it later if someone hadn’t pinched it in the meantime. I explained this to him, and he elected to push it slowly home, screaming at the top of his lungs all the way.
My patience was well and truly in tatters at this point but I still didn’t yell. I did however, mutter a few choice swear words under my breath.
The final straw was when we got home and I found DS using the toilet, paying no attention to where his willy was pointing and merrily p*ssing all over the floor and wall. Then he refused to wash his hands. I wouldn’t say I saw red, but a light pink mist descended.
The poor boy had his hands washed and dried before he could say ‘Waaaah’, while I ranted about how I now needed to clean up his wee when I already had plenty of other things to do today. Of course this made him cry some more. So when I’d finished raving, I sat down on the sofa and gave DS a big cuddle and watched some weird sh*t on Cbeebies with him.
And now I’m putting off the moment where I have to take Barry out of his case and check him all over for damage. I’ve had a quick look and his neck is still attached to his body, which is an improvement on the last accident.
And I didn’t shout this morning, well not very loudly. It was more of a sharp hissing really.
Well done me.