Wash, dress, kiss sleeping Cherubs and elicit a five minute warning. Stress levels: low.
6.05am. Feed dog, take out prepared pack lunches from fridge and put into Cherubs school bags. Unload dishwasher. Get hot chocolate underway. Give Cherubs second warning by switching on their bedroom lights. Try to feel reassured by muffled promises of ‘give me a second,’ but experience tells me otherwise. Locate husband who, at some stage during the night, has fallen asleep on the sofa watching the cricket. Need cash for the Cherubs train fare home. Spot younger Cherubs confiscated phone on kitchen table which, having promised but failed to charge, I now hurriedly plug into a socket.
6.15am. House worryingly quiet. Extract, with some difficulty, younger Cherub from bed along with duvet which younger Cherub seems to be attached to. Leave younger Cherub gazing into space and return to older Cherub who is in the corpse position. Six overhead spotlights and the on-going shriek of his alarm make no impression.
6.20am. Pour hot chocolate into flasks, let dog out for a pit stop then go in search of husband and find he has relocated to the master bed. Has adopted Older Cherub’s corpse position and seems suddenly to have lost his hearing. Younger Cherub staggers downstairs still wearing pyjamas. We should be leaving in ten minutes.
6.25am. Stress levels: elevated. Older Cherub surfaces, accusing someone of taking his trainers and, ignoring pleas to ‘get a move on’ heads for the shower. Appears to have grown three inches overnight.
6.30am. Attempts to get everyone in the car fail as younger Cherub, now thankfully dressed, returns several times to his room to get items that have nothing to do with school. Would like to think this attention to detail extended to the preparation of his school bags, neither of which are ready. Older Cherub returns ‘dripping from shower exuding the energy of a zombie.
Rule 1: if older Cherub is later than ten minutes the younger Cherub gets to sit in the front of the car.
Younger Cherub heads purposefully outside, school bags hastily arranged and happily reunited with mobile phone.
6.40am. Rain coming down hard and car windows have steamed up. Older Cherub appears barefooted, carrying his shoes and socks and tries to get into front of car. Finds that younger Cherub, who is sitting there, has locked the door; stand-off between Cherubs. Resolve this matter by accelerating slowly down the drive with older Cherub, now rather wet, running alongside and banging on the window. Finally gets in, blackly, and reaches for the dashboard to put on Capital Radio very loudly. Younger Cherub, still in the front, looks slightly smug.
Make mental note to review rule 1.
Feel volume is about 2000 decibels louder than is healthy for the human ear but attempts to switch to Radio 4 fail. Traffic lights conspire against us, turning red at every junction, along with bin men who, if we had left ten minutes earlier, we wouldn’t now be following with maddeningly frequent stops. Greeted, finally, by empty road spend rest of journey re-enacting the Charge of the Light Brigade. Arrive at school, frazzled, with minutes to spare and press money for return fare into Cherubs impatient-to-depart hands.
7.25am. Home. Stress-levels momentarily restored to normal then find younger Cherub’s reading glasses on the hall table along with the Science homework he’d stayed up late to finish and older Cherub’s missing trainers needed for cross-country race under a pile of clothes.
Today is Monday. Tomorrow will be a repeat of today.