9pm. Arrive home after many hours of driving Older Cherub to various sporting commitments and help carry plethora of bags into house. Older Cherub disappears hastily into bedroom to be reunited with I Pad and takes up horizontal position on bed. Am tempted to do the same. Contemplate, instead, sea of school/kit bags in hall and experience moment of admiration for older Cherub who has to lug them round all day; there are enough to accommodate a family of four on a two week stint to Marbella.
Make a start on swimming bag and discover that metal drinks bottle, club hat and new (expensive) goggles, which replaced the goggles lost the week before, are missing. Find Aga has switched to sleep mode and so casserole meant for supper is only half cooked. Older Cherub, who is always hungry, sweeps into kitchen and removes half the contents of fridge. Hastily switch to plan b and unearth sausages and pasta.
9.20pm Husband and Younger Cherub return from cricket match an hour late. Neither sunscreen or hat have featured despite earlier soar in temperature and so husband, who umpired, now resembles a red Indian. Make mental note to buy factor 50 as this is not a look to repeat. Older Cherub, having eaten most of the fridge, now proceeds to demolish family size yoghourt pot, half a packet of Alpen and four crumpets. Am no longer impressed by capacity of Older Cherub’s non-existent stomach but am resigned to doing yet another food shop in the morning.
9.35pm. Younger Cherub and husband alternate trying to lob a T.bag into a mug from a distance of four feet. This is a regular pastime and provides husband much entertainment. However, am not inclined to join in as am juggling three saucepans and rack of sausages that remain stubbornly underdone.
9.40pm. Feed neglected dog, throw on wash and call swimming pool about the lost kit which, unsurprisingly, hasn’t materialised. Attempts to get Older Cherub to help unpack remaining bags are received with distinct lack of enthusiasm but Older Cherub does concede to carrying one bag into bedroom where it will remain, untouched, for the rest of the week.
Serve supper and eye kitchen clock warily. Older Cherub starts taunting Younger Cherub about his lack of revision and how he’s bound to fail impending exams. Recall plenty of sleep and doing well in exams go hand in hand and decide to forgo crumble which will take too long to heat up and instead offer fruit for pudding which is met with indignation.
10.15pm. Husband reports of cricket selection meeting he is expected at which started an hour and a half ago. Feel this is an opportunity to avoid washing up and general chaos in kitchen. Husband offers to clear up later as he leaves house but am not reassured by this as previous promises have not been followed through.
Cajole Younger Cherub upstairs to brush teeth and, given late hour, to apply some urgency to the task. Investigate progress ten minutes later and find that Younger Cherub has taken apart the innards of a cricket ball and used half a tube of hair gel to create Elvis Presley quiff.
‘Have you done your teeth?’
‘Yes.’ His response is instant and empathic.
Regard Younger Cherub with skepticism. Suspicions further heightened on entering bedroom which exudes strong smell of sweets. Discover large lump of chewed bubblegum under pillow and duly dispatch red-faced cherub back to bathroom.
10.30pm Attempt to tackle emails are foiled as Younger Cherub reappears despite strict instructions not to. Sudden request to keep light on longer to revise for exam is rejected and Younger Cherub dispatched unceremoniously back to bed with threat of punishment. Threats make no impression as said child returns with complaints of growing pains; thirst; feeling cold, request for hot water bottle. The threat of Harry Potter Audio CD being removed from room, however, does the trick and all goes quiet.
10.50. Older Cherub, last complaining of chronic fatigue, has taken on the demeanor of an aerobics instructor and transformed bedroom into a gym. Music pulsates. Remind older Cherub that Younger Cherub is now in bed asleep and to turn the music down. Receive snort of derision at the mention of Younger Cherub’s name which gives rise to new suspicion. Peer upstairs and notice faint, eery light coming from corner of Younger Cherub’s otherwise darkened bedroom. Confiscate computer and remind younger Cherub that Facebook does not count as revision.
10.50pm. Clean kitchen, make packed lunches and put out bins for morning collection along with dog for evening’s constitutional. Dog reappears after long delay looking suspiciously sheepish. Suspect foul play at hand but cannot give this due attention as still have Older Cherub to contend with. Return to recently cleaned kitchen to find milk, butter smears, crusts, cereal, spilt yoghurt, empty chocolate wrapper and debris of crumbs adorning the surfaces.
11.20pm Try not to dwell on there now only being six and a half hours until the morning’s alarm and make mental note to get to bed earlier tomorrow. Switch off all lights, lock back door and leave phone charging. Meet older Cherub on landing who has sudden urgent need to print out work for school. Leave him with solemn promise to turn lights off, close door to dog’s room and not to eat any more food.
6am – next day. Descend stairs to find the ground floor unusually bright. Quickly realise this does not mean the promise of a lovely sun-filled day but that the older Cherub has left enough lights on to power half the national grid and the dog’s been sick on the floor.