#devilchildren

We all love a good morning routine right? We rise quietly, bleary-eyed but excited about the potential of a new day, stumble out in to the rising sun and greet the songbirds as they sing in the new dawn.

Ha ha fucking ha.

Today I am lucky I got to school before the first bell – as it was it was lucky I didn’t run over the girls as they lined up for assembly as I sped in to the grounds much MUCH later than I intended to be on this bloody Monday morning.

I get up in the morning in a good mood. Pretty much every day without fail. It’s one of my most annoying habits. But I have spawned offspring that do not. And the GD has his own ‘routine’ that may or may not involve the rest of us depending on whether he has decided that he is in a terrific hurry that morning or not.

On days that I don’t boot-camp or run – more frequent in my old age than I’d readily admit – I get up and feed the pets, put the coffee on and I go through and wake the rest of the house. The 6 yr old gets up immediately with me and I/we make him breakfast; I go through multiple times to the bedroom and remind the 9 yr old that he needs to get up, all the while finding their clothes and shoes for the day and ‘laying them out’ for them like they are fucking little princes or some shit. The 6 yr old clings like a limpet and will often follow me through the house with his cereal or toast in hand all the while leaving a trail of food for the dog to follow. The dog loves him for this – who doesn’t appreciate a second breakfast?

Once they are up and getting dressed I make their lunches and put a piece of toast in for me. (I haven’t had coffee yet – I like to have my coffee WITH my breakfast). Then, before I get to my toast I find something that the 9 yr old will deign to eat – he is very anti breakfast – and help the 6 yr old get dressed because apparently he ‘can’t’ by himself.

Then I find my toast – if I’m not there to witness it pop my toaster flings it high in the air and it can land anywhere – and sit down to have breakfast and my first cup of coffee with the 9 yr old (who is often in the other room sulking because I haven’t found him the right tee shirt/ shorts/ shoes and he won’t eat with the food I have made on pain of death).

Then just as I am finishing up and getting ready to shower the GD will come through and announce he is getting in the shower. This is the beginning of the end.

You see, the GD’s routine consists roughly of getting up, making coffee/pouring his cup and going outside with it to have a cigarette (which actually means staring at his phone for twenty minutes), then if no one is nagging him to do otherwise (read: me asking him to either feed the animals or children etc) he comes inside and goes and sits on the toilet for half an hour (he’s staring on his phone there too), then he comes in and showers, dresses and comes in to the kitchen to announce that he’s in a terrible hurry because the motorway is ‘crazy’ and he doesn’t want to be late. Then he just leaves. Just like that, He fucking leaves with no fighting and no one screaming about their shoes or anything – it’s a fucking miracle.

Naturally at all points in his routine I am doing my damnedest to disrupt his happy little meandering, and this all comes off as me badgering him because if I can get in the shower first it will dramatically change the morning for all.

If I can get in the shower first then the GD has nothing to do while he waits so he can in fact, make sure the little Dutchmen have their shoes on, their school bags packed and are not killing each-other as they wait for me to be ready to take them to school. On these mornings we leave much closer to 7.30, have a pleasant ride to school, and I get to school before eight am with my waking morning sunshine-y ass intact.

But mostly lately, even on days that I boot camp because usually the routine starts the same way once I get home (only we’re now 45 mins behind so that’s fun) we have the shitshow that was this morning. ONCE everyone else is ready to go, and the GD is out of the shower and walking out the door – because he’s going to be so late remember?, Then it is finally my turn to start getting ready.

Now, it should be relatively simple in fact for this to happen, I shower, I get dressed, we get in the car and leave. Simple.

But as it turns out, once the #devilchildren are ready to go to school they can’t actually be trusted alone together because that’s when they go in to full hellion mode. I can bargain with them, bribe them, threaten them – or even, in an attempt to be positive, remind them of ‘that one time they played nicely together while they waited and then we all drove to school together cheerfully and it was wonderful?’ but to no avail.

Today the water wasn’t even running before the screaming started. The youngest child has a shriek that is piercing no matter how far away you are and I feel it physically. I can’t ablute with the door shut – too dangerous to not be within earshot – so it was but a matter of seconds before I had both of them in the bathroom with me listing the others crimes and trying to drown the other out with sheer volume. Banished separately – one to their (shared) room with the other to the lounge didn’t work because one’s toys were in the others time out zone and he swiftly set about breaking as many as them as possible much to the horror of his offsider who started screaming profanities that would have made a pirate blush.

Cut to me standing naked in the lounge (in full view of any neighbour who wanted to be put off their breakfast) pointing dramatically down the hallway and shouting that ‘EVERYONE IS FUCKING WALKING TO SCHOOL AND I DON’T CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR YOU TO GET THERE!’.

I finally showered with the 6 yr old sobbing piteously outside the glass, the 9 yr old in his bed refusing to come out (blankets over his head and blinds drawn – shades of his teen years I fear) all the while cursing my beloveds name.

We all sulked on the way to school. No mindless chatter about whatever is in the 6 yr olds head (I’ll give you a clue – it’s usually poo) or any deeper (more worrying) questions from the 9 yr old like ‘WHY did the Americans vote in Trump and does this mean all the black people are going to be shot now?’ for example.

I drove to school feeling guilty for getting so mad and hoping that they wouldn’t have a shite day at school as a result of our bloody awful morning.*

There are ways to mitigate this madness. If I break the ‘no screens before school’ rule they will stare like zombies at their chosen screen while I shower and dress and get myself in the car – but as soon as I turn the screens off so begins the 20 minute meltdown over putting a pair of shoes on because the flickering blue lights have taken away their ability to determine between a reasonable request i.e. put your shoes on and get in the car and that tantamount to pain and torture and endless suffering.

Some mornings I get home from boot camp and run to the shower while no one is looking and issue instructions from inside my watery haven. Those are good mornings.

And if I have to be fair, and godamnit the GD reads this so I have to be, some mornings he has fed one of the children by the time I get back and might have started a lunchbox or two before he sees me and skedaddles. To be fair he goes in the opposite direction of the kids school so dropping them off doesn’t make sense. But I’m not in the mood to be fair and it’s not that part that fucks with me.

It’s the way he just GOES. ‘Oops I’m going to be late!’ he sings out gaily and runs out the door. As if somehow me being late to work every single fucking day isn’t as bad as if he was ten minutes later. Don’t forget that I stop on the way with the kids too, and although I basically slow down, kiss them and drop them off, more often that not lately I have to get out and walk them in because they are so tired and sad about mornings (normal end of term stuff). This adds a good fifteen minutes to an already to-long routine.

I know this is end of term stuff and everyone is exhausted. And I know that some people will be reading this and thinking WHY don’t they make their lunches the night before, and foster more independence in their children to make their own breakfasts and all that happy helpful shit that I would mutter under my breath too. And I do mutter that shit under my breath at me. But tbh at the moment I am hanging out until JUST AFTER my kids have hit their pillows before I collapse in to mine. Our routines go to hell when we’re tired and that’s just the sucky, sticky reality of it.

Just the freedom of being able to leave when I’m ready like that. The miracle of it. I’m always reminded of this bit by Michael Mcintyre about Leaving the House.

Little do the #littledutchmen know that I have plans to ride my bike to my new job next year. I wonder if that means the GD will be dropping them off and I can just leave when I’m ready? Huh.

*They had a great day and all of the mornings dramas were forgotten in minutes as soon as they saw their friends of course, it was just Mummy who thought about it all day and felt like shite. Happy lads upon afternoon pick up. Because I knew you were wondering.

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166 – default position

Are you the default too? Do you know what I mean?

Example; This weekend there was an event that the grumpy Dutchman and I had planned to go to together. We were quite excited about going out together for the first time in a long time. I had my outfit all planned out and everything (totes most important bit) and I had practised in my head saying ‘No I’m not pregnant, just not drinking’ and sneaking out for coffee as I got more tired (because I am a Nana and past 9pm is waaaaaay late for me). But our babysitters (The GD’s folks) couldn’t do it for us in the end and we couldn’t afford both a babysitter and the gig. (you feel my pain I know you do). Sad face.

Should have been the end of it right? Stink buzz we can’t go out. Damned kids ruining our social lives all the time.

But somehow…. The GD went to the gig anyway. Because the fact that WE couldn’t get a babysitter didn’t mean that WE didn’t have to stay home apparently. Somehow all it meant was that I couldn’t go out because I needed to be at home with the little Dutchmen. And that sucks balls. Now, the GD will justify his attending the event to you if you ask him about it by saying that he had volunteered to be the pizza boy for the bands so he needed to go. Which, you know, is bullshit because pizza places have their own delivery boys to do that for them…

stock-photo-22362145-smiling-pizza-boy

And to add insult to injury I had to cook dinner for the children too, and like, parent them and shit. Grumpy mockingbirdgrrl.

It reminds me of when the kids were babies and I was the ‘default holder of the babies’. I distinctly remember this one time needing to go to the toilet when holding baby – so I handed baby to the GD and went to the bathroom – the GD followed me to the bathroom and stood there while I weed and waited to hand baby back. I realise that I had the boobs – you couldn’t miss them I was like a dairy cow – but I also needed to not hold babies for a few hours a day and this wasn’t really a thing. I think too that this is the norm for most Mums.

Don’t get me wrong – It’s not like the GD doesn’t do ‘his fair share’. And ‘his fair share’ is such a bullshit term because he parents his children. He does it well and he does it more than me during the week because I work longer hours usually. It’s not an issue of equality at all in our house. But I still don’t like being the default.

I been mithering on it since Saturday night. I was SO looking forward to going out, and I was SO disappointed that I didn’t get to go but that he did. Right now the most social I get is boot camp. Between family on the weekends and work in the evenings and it getting darker earlier I feel quite hemmed in. I need a movie date or something. A reason to wear some of my fabulous shoes ha ha

Anyway. Now that I’ve had a whinge I can get over it.

Which will be good news to all the boys in the house!

Day 60 – Another month, another day

Master 4 wants a glass of milk to have with his dinner. We are all refusing to get him one because I want him to finish his dinner first. So, of course, being 4, he goes to get his own. He comes back triumphant, glass of milk held high and proud.

Did you shut the fridge? nods.

Did you put the milk back first? nods.

Did you spill the milk? nods.

Did you clean it up? Shakes his head.

Well – go and clean it up then! He shuffles off drinking his milk. He shuffles back in moments later, trailing a towel and crying into his milk. What happened? He walked in to the door frame. And hit his head. It’s been one of those days.

We laughed. Because we are assholes.

The GD has a hangover. Quite a significant one. I didn’t know where he was until he knew where he was, and that wasn’t until 9am this morning  – and by that time I was mad. I’m all for celebrating your friends lifetime commitment to each-other with a good party but when you have a (sleeping, sexy, patient – but don’t rile her) wife and home and no kids you should be getting back to her for alone time, breakfast and stuff, you know what I mean… Before the kids get home.

As it was I spent the night in a fur-child sandwich.  I slept with the dutiful dog on one side and Molly Motorhead purring away at top volume on the other. (Don’t worry – I stripped the bed this morning – and I’d like to add that the dog is almost never allowed on the bed, only on change-the-sheets-day really). They couldn’t believe their luck! Normally the bed is too full of children.

The kids spent the night with their Oma and Opa and had a blast, as you do with your grandies. They came back exhausted and touchy, as you do when you have that much fun. And they made this clear to us on the motorway, stuck in traffic, at the top of their lungs.

You know the refrain; He’s LOOKING at me! He hit me! Because he was LOOKING at me! He’s looking out MY WINDOW! MUM HE’S LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW! The GD had hit the wall of course – this happened when we were visiting my Nana at the nursing home and I turned to see him in the foetal position on the floor. Which left me to deal with the carnage in the back seat. I turned the stereo up so I couldn’t hear them and lowered my foot. WE ARE NOT GOING TO THE BEACH NOW! I may have shouted at some point. STOP LOOKING AT YOUR FUCKING BROTHER! may also have come out of my mouth – but I will deny it if anyone asks. It’s a shame it’s illegal to drink wine while you drive. I think that there’s an argument for it. Maybe a special permit for mothers?

And then all of a sudden I found my zen; and the constant repetition of complaint and outrage in the back seat simply became another pattern in the white noise that was The Muttonbirds top volume and the GD snoring next to me.

Once home I made a delicious ‘summer chicken casserole’ and kumara mash for dinner care of IQS, and got prepped for the week. Now I am writing this and ignoring my children ‘playing trivial pursuit’ in front of me – Mostly this consists of Master 7 reading an answer of the back of the card and directing the nearest adult to read the question to him so he can be right, while Master 4 picks up all the of the cards and drops them in a dramatic heap on the ground. Over and Over again.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

I am tired, but tired happy. I got to go out TWICE this weekend and spent time with lovely friends and family. The grumpy Dutchman just took the rubbish out and declared dinner delicious so I might consider forgiving him for leaving me to ‘eat breakfast’ alone. Everything is how it should be – even the lads, if they weren’t trying to kill each other they wouldn’t be my lads.

Day 60 already. Only 305 to go.

Day 38 – The beast is awakening.

I ate half a pineapple today. I picked fights with the family. I lay down for a nap and didn’t sleep because nobody would leave me the fuck alone. No I don’t want a cuddle goddamnit. The boys were so scratchy and irritable that I won’t be surprised if Master four bleeds before me. The grumpy Dutchman lived up to his name. Our cycles are synced. All four of us and three of them have no uterus.

Probably yoga would have helped? Nah – I would have been dangerous around all those heavy breathers and grunters. No patience for ponsnobby wankery today mister. But our family bike ride was really good and I was able to drag my sorry ass up the hill – with the extra weight of master 4 on the bike – and that felt good.

No Ma’am, it ain’t no fun being a woman on the eve; I have a sore tummy – admittedly that could be the pineapple that I’m not supposed to be eating – I am cranky, I am hard to live with and there is no chocolate in the vicinity.

But, you know, at least I’m not pregnant!