Monday, April 18, 2005

Just another spastic Monday

Today is rubbish. Proper rubbish. I had a patchy night’s sleep again…. I must hold the record for broken nights – Small Person is nearly five and has slept through the night since she was nine weeks old. I, however, haven’t slept through since I was five months pregnant. It drives me mad and seems to be an irreversible thing. Admittedly I “slept” on Friday night, but that was after a great deal of beer and some light violence in town. Nice. So anyway, back to the Monday morning from hell. I was doing excellently – Small Person was up, had been nagged through her breakfast, and we’d achieved clean and tidy and full school uniform in time to go through her reading books before we left the house. I was even organised enough to have labelled her wellies and umbrella, as it appears to be monsoon season in south-east England. So, off we went, all secure in the knowledge that we’d cracked the Monday morning thing. We arrive at school bang on time at 8.45am, and in my head I’m already thinking ahead to my schedule once I arrive at work nice and comfortably just before 9am. As Small Person clambers out of the car and starts to wrestle with her umbrella, we have the following conversation:

Me: “Where’s your book bag?”

Small Person: “Mummy, you forgot my book bag”

Me: “It’s your book bag. Why didn’t you bring it?”


Me (gritted teeth, happy sing-song voice, conscious of other parents’ bad-mother radars lighting up like Christmas trees at this exchange): “Come on darling, let’s get you into class”

So now it’s all sliding rapidly out of control, like a nightmare elephant/roller skates/steep hill scenario. I’m mentally calculating exactly how late this is going to make me, and wondering if anyone will notice me crawling to my desk on hands and knees in an effort to remain undetected by my boss. So I smile manically at the teacher, explain the situation and leg it back to the car. Ten screeching swearing gesticulating minutes later (I know it SAYS thirty miles an hour but please, I’m in a hurry here…….) I’m pulling up back at the school with the offending book bag. Back into the classroom, big smile and a cheery wave. At this point I notice the pile of envelopes on a table with dinner money in them. My internal monologue switches from that’s-it-I’m-done-I-can-go-to-work-now to oh-FUCK-IT-I-forgot-to-do-the-dinner-money-she’ll-starve-and-the-police-will-come-to-work-and-arrest-me-and-I’ll-be-on-the-local-news-and-she’ll-be-taken-into-care-and-grow-up-mentally-scarred-and-end-up-a-drug-ravaged-mother-of-twelve-on-a-sink-estate and I turn on my heel and sprint back to the car to get my cheque book. As I skid into the classroom for the third time in twenty minutes my trousers are splashed with mud from the puddles in the playground, my hair is frizzing up like Diana Ross (that’s Miss Ross to you..) in a sauna due to the pelting rain, and lovely Mrs Clifford is developing the fixed smile of someone who is witnessing a nervous breakdown at close quarters and trying to decide whether to humour me or call an ambulance. I scribble out the cheque, and even as I visualise my desk shining like a golden beacon of sanity in the midst of this utter disaster, I find myself embroiled in an in-depth discussion of Small Person’s homework. How much is there to say about a picture of a daisy that she scribbled in five minutes yesterday afternoon because she wanted to watch Little Mermaid 2? Apparently, a great deal. After an appraisal of said picture that would have had Brian Sewell wincing at the pretension, I make my escape. I finally dropped into my chair, wild-eyed and panting, at 9.15am, and my boss hadn’t even noticed I wasn’t in on time. Which is a dilemma in itself – should I be pleased at getting away with it, or slightly concerned that I’m so insignificant I can apparently come and go as I please without fear of reprisal?

Suffice to say, Small Person will now be carrying her book bag around like a double-dealing diplomat smuggling nuclear secrets…..I’m going to handcuff the fucking thing to her wrist, and if she doesn’t like it she can damn well go out and get a job and start contributing something to this household.

Note to any social workers who may stumble across this – I love her really. She’s ace.


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