The aftermath of a complex transaction involving my bike lock keys, my wife driving to the station with two sleepy kids and my inability to navigate around brain fade saw me on kid duty this morning.
Springing out of bed like a coiled sponge, I woke the kids through the simple medium of walking into their door. The whole light switch / door handle/ spatial awareness thing is way beyond my meagre cerebral resources before an infusion of spicy Java. A single step into their room was rewarded by a shooting leg pain triggered by a cruelly abandoned spiky toy selection.
The carpet had been properly mugged by every toy they own and “ unless I missed a Christmas “ quite a few they don’t. Only the occasional flash of purple reminds me that we paid good money for a bloke to cover the nail ridden floorboards. Hard to see why we bothered. Tidy your room” has about as much chance of success as opening the door and shouting World Peace, Today” at next doors dog.
The morning routine of making breakfast, preparing lunch, retrieving lost story books and weaving complex Mandelbrot hair patterns generally passes me by. Either I’ve left hours ago to go and play with the London traffic or I’m safely ensconced in the barn with a steaming cup of coffee and an aspirational to do list. A sidebar here: this to-do-list may as well be carved in stone such is its’ intransigent nature. At the end of each day, I hopefully circle it with the red pen of task completion but it’s nothing more than a weary gesture. I may as well append Put your toys away and don’t hit your sister” to the bottom of this fantasy list. Still if Finish Christmas Cheese” doesn’t see some action soon, I fear for the fridge.
But today this was my routine and easy as that may sound, without the navigational map of motherhood, it proved rather more troublesome. I managed to make Carol’s breakfast although risked the wrath of the Mumminator” -as we like to think of her when she’s in full Arnie mode “ when enquiring to the possible location of sealable lunch bags. Of course they’ll be under the stairs behind a poster warning beware of the leopard“. How silly of me not to realise.
The ticking clock spurred me into action. I shouted upstairs Are you dressed yet” to which the pleasing response was Yep, got my trousers on“. And then a pause. And then on my head¦.”
Barge upstairs, sort inappropriate headgear, shoo children downstairs, endure brief argument over appropriate breakfast ingredients. Refuse to accept that Mummy feeds them chocolate and smoothies regardless of innocent pleading. Dispatch them back upstairs for teeth cleaning and hair tidying “ a job so far beyond me it’s whooshed by and is accelerating towards desperate haircut with kitchen scissors“
Finally co-locate children, schoolbags, shoes, hats, gloves, lunch, reading books, essential furry animals and front door. The rain is lashing down but I ignore the wistful glances at the car from all those under the age of eight. Waiting for the school bell, I’m surrounded by people I sort of know who look even colder and more damp than I. Kids don’t seem to notice at all which is clearly unfair.
Eventually, they become someone elses problem and I stride home at top speed to deal with some important e-mail. Or to put it another way to get back to what I’m meant to be good at.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this – morning multitasking does not come easily to the ball scratching side of the genome.