It’s been a while. Despite the fact that I made the promise to myself to write each week, it’s been many weeks. Well, no excuses. I’ll just get on with it shall I? What is that has given me incentive to write? Why that would be my delightful children. The loves of my life, my reason to live, my sun, stars and moon. They are the very centre of my world. They happen to be as annoying, wearisome and exasperating as they are hilarious, adorable and fulfilling.
Let’s sit with that for a minute… the annoying, wearisome and exasperating…because it’s my blog, and I can.
I always start the day with the best of intentions. I wake up and think “Today is a good day”. I have my morning coffee and observe the scene before me. Actor is already ready for school, every morning he is ready before I even open my eyes. Organised.
Deflector is dressed and is in the kitchen making his lunch. Captain Clumsy is naked and walking around in circles. Princess is a reflection of me. Hair sticking up, rubbing her eyes, dazed and confused. She looks like she doesn’t know where she is or why she’s here. She looks like she could use another 2 hours sleep.
As my senses start to awaken I take a deep breath and decide that today I will be the very definition of calm control. I smile at CC and remind him that he is looking for his uniform. I hug my little Princess and tell her she needs to get dressed.
I put my arm around Deflector and ask him to perhaps lower his voice a little.
It doesn’t take long before my calm is tested.
Deflector is complaining about how ‘lame’ his lunch is. How it’s ‘totally embarrassing’. I’m not sure why it’s lame, a sandwich is a sandwich right? How can lunch be embarrassing? He goes on to whine about how ‘all the other kids’ take Doritos and Coke and blue frosted cupcakes. He continues with ‘Well I guess i’ll just starve then’ I feel my blood pressure rise a little and think about putting him on the next flight to Ethiopia or Cambodia. Perhaps he will rethink his position on lame sandwiches there. I take a deep breath and calmly explain why his lunch is not lame, why I insist he eat healthy 98% of the time, and why he can choose to not take lunch if he doesn’t like what I have to offer.
Calm control. That’s me.
Suddenly I am ripped from my gentle caffeine induced awakening with what sounds like the caterwauling of an injured feline, which I quickly realise is actually my daughter. Folks, if you only have sons, I have to tell you that the shrill shriek of a little girl cannot be compared to anything else in existence. I likened it to a screaming injured cat only because there are no adjectives for this phenomena. There simply is no way to accurately describe the ear-splitting torture that is a little girl squeal. So, I peel myself from the ceiling and decide that because I am so calm and in control I can let it float on by. No need to get involved. Princess and whoever her tormentor is can sort it out themselves.
Look at me; Cool as a Cucumber.
I give my children time calls. This way it’s not a surprise to them when we are leaving NOW.
“20 minutes guys. CC where are your pants? Princess, brush your hair.”
CC appears to be wandering aimlessly with no pants on. He has had an altercation with Deflector, I realise, because he is not wandering aimlessly at all, rather he is shadowing his brother, taunting him with “brk brk brk chicken. Brk brk brk” I gently take him by the shoulders and redirect him to his awaiting pants.
“15 minutes kids. Princess where is your hairbrush?”
Princess is sitting on the floor in the kitchen putting her socks on. The Actor steps backwards and promptly loses a bowl of cereal all over her clean dress. She, of course, starts shrieking, He, bless his sweet little heart, tries to mop up the rice bubbles with a very wet chux.
I bite my lip. No use crying over spilt milk. I lovingly tell Princess that sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor is not a good idea. I tell Actor that an already wet chux is obviously useless. I might swear under my breath.
It’s ok, I Am Zen.
“10 minutes. CC where are your shoes? Princess, brush your hair while I iron your clean dress.”
Deflector has disappeared. I don’t have time to find him and I’m not going to shout. Calm controlled mothers do not shout. I hear the muffled sounds of Sponge Bobs theme song drifting from under the closed doors of the rumpus room.
They wouldn’t dare… would they?
CC, still pantless, lounges on the couch watching Sponge Bob. Princess is dressing the cat. Deflector is perched on the ottoman crushing candies on my iPad.
Apparently they would.
My voice might be a little….raised when I tell CC that I will not hesitate to take him to school naked. I might have been a little…stern as I tell Princess to dress herself rather than the cat. I was possibly a little …gruff when I snatch my iPad from my eldest who should know better and how the hell does he crack my pass code anyway!?
No really, I’m still calm…just a little…exasperated.
“5 minutes kids! CC! Your Shoes! Princess, your dress!”
Deflector is sitting on the floor at the door. Apparently ready to go, at least he’s out of my way.
Actor and CC are squabbling over shorts.
“No they’re not, they’re mine!”
“What size are they then? Show me!”
Argh. Give me strength. “I don’t care who the shorts belong to, CC just PUT THEM ON. Everyone else, in the car now!”
Deflector decides that now is a good time to mention he hasn’t eaten breakfast, despite the fact that he has spent the last 10 minutes sitting on the floor, and who knows how long before that playing on my iPad.
I toss him a packet of ‘Breakfast biscuits’ and we’re out the door.
Princess hasn’t brushed her hair, I can see a few rice bubbles stuck in it. Deflector complains again about the lack of junk food in his lunch box. I take a deep breath. Two more minutes, I can manage two more minutes.
I kiss them goodbye, say I Love You and wave to the other Mums. Look at me. I am in control; I even managed to get some make-up on today.
I get home and notice the chaos that I’m trying my best to ignore. The iron is still on, beeping. The cat is sitting in the milky/watery ricebubbles swirls on the kitchen floor. There is Vegemite smeared all over the bench, and next to it sits CC’s lunch box.
I spend the day cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping. When I find banana skins under the couch I am glad the kids are at school. They shouldn’t hear the words I use until they are at least 18.
The washing I gave CC to put away yesterday is in the machine again. Apparently it’s easier to put your clean red shirts in the machine with Mums whites than it is to put them away. I send my husband a text.
“I might just kill him, I’m not even joking”
“LOL” he says
By the time I pick them up from school I feel like their personal assistant. I have just spent the whole day cleaning their mess, re washing their clothes, killing the ants that are contentedly munching on the contraband substances that have been hidden in sock drawers, and making raspberry muffins for afternoon tea.
Before we even leave the school gates a squabble erupts over who is going to tell me about their day first.
“I was talking first”
“No I WAS!”
We get to the car and Actor and CC decide they have to fight over who is getting in the car first. There is a stand-off. No one wants to sit in the middle seat, so no one is going to get in first.
Because I am so calm and controlled I close the car door and drive off leaving them standing in the parking lot.
I drive around the block, telling myself that I will not shout. I am calm, I am Zen.
When I get back to the school they are looking adequately subdued. I pull up and they wordlessly get into the car. Smart move boys, Mum is holding on by a thread.
We go home and I do the usual run down. “Kids put your bags away, do your chores and put your washing out. Then, and only then, you can have a snack. And DON’T make a mess in my clean kitchen.”
I disappear for 10 minutes to hang out my now pink whites.
I come back inside to find the kitchen a disaster zone. Squashed muffin on the kitchen floor, a trail of crumbs leads to the rumpus room. They don’t bother to look up from the TV when I open the door. I notice their school bags are spewing papers and rubbish into a pile on the floor, their school shoes and socks flung here and there…
“What?!” Says Deflector
“Hmmm?” Says Actor
“Huh?” Says CC
“Mum, Can I have a Bratz doll?” Says Princess
Now they get it. Zen does not work. Calm control does not work with my children. It takes something far more obvious, ie: me losing my shit.
It’ amazing how quickly children can get to work under threat of starvation and house arrest. It takes them less than 10 minutes to clean their mess, do their chores, tidy their rooms. I put dinner on and take my wine into my bedroom. Close the door. Do not kill them.
Oh, and FYI, my closed door translates to “Do NOT disturb unless you or your sibling is bleeding, dying or on fire”.
A short while later I hear the front door slam, then “Honey I’m home!” followed by a chorus of “Hi Dad”, “Hey Dad”, “Daddy!”
They all go running to Daddy, the man who still holds sanity at 6:30 in the evenings, the one who will save them from the crazy lady.
“Where’s Mum?” he asks.
“She’s in her room” says Deflector.
“Think she had a bit of a hard day.” whispers Actor
“She’s a little bit grumpy” says Princess
“We cant figure out why!” exclaims CC