I’m an extremely grumpy old trout this morning, and it’s only 10am.
It’s Friday and I always wake up happy on Fridays. It’s the promise of the weekend to come! Unlike during the other 11 months of the year, all 3 children woke up and happily padded downstairs to see what elf-shenanigans Edward and Edwinn had got up to overnight. Satisfied that they’d had a suitably messy time, the girls helped tidy up (although Midi mostly tidied the dusty and hairy marshmallows straight into her gob rather than the rubbish bin). After that, it kind of went downhill fast.
Midi is very fussy about her school cardigans: she’ll only wear one of the 2, complaining that the M&S grey one is annoying on her skin. Unfortunately, she is also a mucky pup who goes through a change of uniform every single day. It’s been too cold recently to have a window open while I tumble-dry a washing, so I didn’t get her blue cardigan washed. It’s too dirty to spot wash. It’s too cold for her to go without. So I got her a long-sleeved soft top to go under her polo shirt, partly to keep warm and partly so that the grey cardigan wouldn’t touch her skin anywhere. She refused to put the hated cardigan on. I refused to let her go to school without it.
At the same time, Mini refused to wear some new warm socks because “I can feel them on my feet! They’re touching my little ankles! Waaaaaah!” At the moment she just wants to wear clothes that feel invisible, and are a specific shade of purple or pink. I threatened to throw said socks in the bin, in a petulant rage (I’ve been stocking up on new clothes for the kids in the recent sales and am now more than a bit fed-up with the level of “It’s not the right shade of purple”; “It’s too loose”; “It’s not the right shape”; “It’s not the exact, precise same as my old leggings”; “It’s new! I therefore hate it” fussiness. And there’s no way we’re all spending a day going to the shops together to buy clothes, especially at this busy time of year). Mini has a small meltdown. Then I put on her new thick purple cardigan. It’s the right shade (hallelujah!), but the sleeves were too long. When I asked HOW MUCH too long, she held her thumb and forefinger apart by 3mm. She refused to have them rolled up. She refused to push them up her wrists a little. She tugged them long and gorilla-like, and set off her siren-whine.
I’m now getting very agitated because it’s much later than I’d like to set off so that I can drive slowly and carefully – I need to make 2 right-hand turns on a 70mph busy dual carriageway from a standing start to get to school and the roads are very icy.
I threaten. I cajole. I shout. Midi escalates the stand-off by balling up her clean cardigan and tempestuously throwing it on the dusty fireplace hearth. I really lose my temper and shriek that she can’t go to school without it. And if she doesn’t go to school, then the police will take her away and make her live with another family who WILL make her go to school, and she’ll never see her real family ever again. Cruel bitch, yes? Yes. Very. Trust me, I’d completely lost it and was throwing a verbal tantrum myself. Those vicious words to my little 5 year old are now paying back in a mega dose of guilt right now.
A crying Midi breaks the stand-off and puts her cardigan on. I melt, kiss away her tears, apologise for being bad-tempered, explain yet again why I need her to wear a cardigan and how I’d made sure that it wouldn’t touch her skin. Hug her and tell her I love her. Reassure her that she’s going nowhere and will have to stay with her grumpy, horrible mummy till she’s a grown-up. That raises a smile, which makes the rising guilt in me sting all the more.
I turn round to see Mini furiously hauling off her latest pair of socks and cardigan, and petulantly throw her hat and mitts on the muddiest shoes she can find. The Red Rage washes over the Mummy Guilt for a second and I yank on a hat, scarf, cardi on backwards, cram her into a jacket, and frogmarch her to the car. I strap her in the carseat, strap her sisters in safely, then race back to the house to get away from the jet-engine tantrum roar. Few deep breaths. Few deeper breaths. Survey the carnage of the kitchen. Assess that the pile of played-with toast and full beaker of milk mean that in the 45 mins that she sat at the breakfast table, she ate a grand sum of one tangerine.
Out to the car. Open the door. Hit with a wall of noise. Grab a sherbet lemon to disguise my dead-animal-mixed-with-coffee halitosis and provide a shot of sugar. Start the engine. Engage reverse. Let the clutch out a millimetre. Car goes sideways. Engage brake. Brake fails to work. Pump harder. Brake fails to work. Disengage reverse. Pump brake. Brake fails to work. Friction starts to operate. Car halts. Expletive leaves lips. Minxes immediate silence selves. Midi looks gleeful. Turn steering wheel. Engage first gear. Let out clutch a millimetre. Apply brake. Success! Let out clutch 2 mm. Apply brake. Success! Shout YIPPEE! Cows in the barn look amused. Slowly crawl to junction with now thankfully very quiet dual carriageway. Thank kids for silence while I wrestled with the car. Three sniggers/giggles.
The 2 right-hand turns go without incident because I’m able to drive very slowly over to and past the icy reservation and not actually stop. Bonus! I spend the rest of the journey apologising for being so angry, and explain why I lost my temper. Tell the kids I love them. They tell me they love me too. Feel even more guilty. Lots and lots of hugs and high 5s at the school, back on the dual carriageway to drive to the next town, drop off a now-very-late Mini at nursery. Warn the staff she’s now better after a huge tantrum, but that any mention of sleeves might trigger it again.
Back home, ready to relax with a coffee, only to discover a puddle of smelly cat pee on the carpet. Use up the last of the kitchen roll on it, and decide to chance using Zorb on non-colour-fast carpet. Scowl at cat, who’s now sleeping like a dreamy kitten.
Go to make coffee. Phone rings. It’s the estate agent telling me that the house we think we’d actually really love to buy has had an offer put in. We need to go and have a second viewing tomorrow and put in a pronto counter-offer in the blind or we’ll lose it. I’m not sure that we can afford to go any higher than the asking price. Rats.
And now the ‘k’ button on my keyboard is playing up! (took 8 presses to make it appear there. And 3 on the-word-between-to-and-it-in-this-sentence…).
I’m going to go make a coffee. I may be some time…
(and the title? It’s because me and The Boss have gotten into a habit of making a glass each of gluhwein every night. So yum! Kicks wine o’clock into a cocked hat).