Actually scrub that as I’d like to state in print, nail my colours to the mast as it were and say outright that I hate school mornings at the moment AND the school run…
Since the change of season and the clocks going back (or forward I can never remember which and the fact that some clocks in the house magically change and some don’t leads me into utter confusion for days. Time can change in the space of a few paces or a change of room it seems) the boys don’t appear to be able to get out of bed anymore. I am now sergeant major extraordinaire as I open their bedroom doors and gently say ‘good morning beautiful boy’ or other suchlike words of mummy loveliness. After the second or third time these words, and their tone, start to change from ‘can you get out of bed now’ to ‘get out of bed!!!!’ to the very desperate ‘for the love of God will you Pleeese get out of bed!!!’ if this fails then the direct threat of ‘Well, if you don’t get out of bed you can just go to school in your pyjamas…’ normally fires them into action as they know with my track record I will follow through. They all go to a boy’s school and the threat of turning up at school in your jammies in front of your mates with a bag of clothes and a harassed mother is a step too far. For extra effect I even threaten them to kiss them goodbye in front of their friends….
There are cries of ‘I don’t have any pants!’
‘He has my pants on!’
‘Muuuuum where’s my trousers????’ -‘On the floor where you left them last night. I’m not your servant you’re nearly 9 now’
‘Mum do you know where my jumper is?’ -‘In your wardrobe like it always is. Please can you think before asking the same question every day!’
Oliver looks smart and Henry does not. No matter what clothes I put Henry in, no matter how clean and how ironed they are as soon as they touch his body he looks like something out of just William with shirt untucked, hair all messy and strange things appear (how does he do that??) in his pockets. I always have to spend a few minutes with him getting him to look like someone actually cares about his appearance.
Once they’re downstairs the breakfast stress begins.
‘Please can you sit on the bench with your legs under the table so you don’t fall off and hurt yourself!’ (Like you did yesterday and the day before…)
‘Please can you stop pushing your brother so he falls off the bench!’ (Like you did yesterday and the day before…)
‘Please can you hurry up –you’ve been eating for half an hour!’ (Like you did yesterday and the day before!!!!!)
Finally they all clear away their bowls and are off upstairs to clean their teeth which, unusually for them, doesn’t usually take long but then they’re back downstairs to get shoes, coats, book bags and any other stuff they need for that day. What they need changes on a daily basis and the second half term of the autumn term –the run up to Christmas- is what I call the silly season as one day they may need a sheep costume, the music to the songs they are learning, a form returned to indicate something of great importance (that I will forget and have to be rung up to be asked –yes Mrs B-L I am thinking of our phone conversation yesterday) we need to remember the judo kit, the ‘cello, the library books, the homework’s, words study folders, the reading books and all this for 3 different children on 3 different days. Yes we have a very organised whiteboard but as only 1 of them can read the darn thing it still falls to me to sort them out.
I then get, ‘Where’s my shoes??’ –’In your cubby hole where you put them last night’, ‘Where’s my other shoe?’ – in your cubby hole where I put them last night’, ‘Is this the right feet?’ ‘Yes!’, ‘Where’s my coat?’ –Hung up like it always is’, ‘Is this my coat?’ –’Yes! It has your ribbon sewn in so you can see that it’s yours!!!!’
No matter how organised I am with shoe cubby holes, whiteboards to tell us what they are doing each day and places to put things so they can be found again my boys still like to ask the same questions every day, lose the same items every day and generally dick about like it’s a holiday every day. I try my best to be organised but I just can’t get it right. Maybe Mother baiting is a new sport that only children know about and, maybe, they get to school each day and whilst we think they’re chatting about what they had for dinner the night before on the playground they are actually awarding each other points for how many questions they asked that morning, how many times their mother shouted and did she actually go blue in the face like she said she would? I think I’m being conned somewhere along the line…
We next get into the car after the usual hunt for books bags, glasses and books to read and after seatbelts are on and the back door is locked we’re off down the lane.
I like to listen to the radio in the car but this proves nigh on impossible with 3 boys arguing, giggling and asking endless questions. ‘Mummy, who would win in a fight between Darth Vader and Buzz light-year?’ and before I can say, after a bemused pause, ‘erm, I don’t know’ I get asked ‘Mummy why did the chicken cross the road?’ Again I look bemused more at this sudden change of conversation direction which just serves to keep me on my toes. ‘I don’t know darling why did the chicken cross the road?’ ‘Because it was stuck to the tiger’s foot!!!’ A medium sized little boy collapses into uncontrollable giggling as his larger elder brother tells him in no uncertain terms that that was a stupid joke that wasn’t funny. The laughter turns to crying and then I’m driving while consoling and telling off. All this whilst trying to listen to the news…
Once we’re at school I just feel like a sheep herder. I am the sheep dog snapping at the heels of 3 boys who do tend to run in all directions to see friends, hit each other with book bags (what else are they for?) or just go and hit random strangers with book bags (I have learned this is boy for ‘hello!’).
I file them in their classrooms –Ollie goes off on his own to sort himself out and after the morning’s fiasco I’m always amazed that he actually manages to get in the right classroom at the right time with all the right things – and then I walk back to the car. I open the door, sit in my driver’s seat close the door and then slowly breath out as yet another morning has been got through and the boys are all dressed with the book bags they should have.
…and I know that tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all again.