Can you hear that? Nope, I didn’t think so. That, my friends, is the sweet sound of silence.
Bliss, just bliss!
In a house, so quiet I could hear a flea sneeze, I holla over to my only companion, “Alexa, play Kool and the Gang!” Suddenly, my living room is alive with 80’s electro beats. I quickly peek out of my window to see if anyone is watching. The coast is clear. It’s time for a celebratory dance!
‘Celebrateeeeee Good Times, Come On!’ I howl, feeling the music taking over my body. I’m grooving now. Slippers moonwalking across the living room floor. Hands in the air like I just don’t care… heck, I don’t … I’m living the Vida Loca!
If anyone were to catch a glimpse of this stark raving looney – crab dancing across her living room floor and singing screeching at the top of her lungs- they would think that she had lost her bloody mind. (Maybe I have?)
I hope I don’t seem too excited that my kids are back at school? I mean, as darling as they are, I would be lying if I told you that I needed to take moment to process my devastation. I would also be fibbing if I told you that I shed a tear. And my nose would be circling the globe – three times over – if I told you that I wasn’t looking forward to a peaceful, child-free house.
“Is it me, or did mummy seem a little too happy about our first day back at school?” my children whispered, as I booted them through the gates. One foot to their backpack, “Off you trot now! Toodle-loo!”
I was elated. Nothing could disguise the sheer delight on my Cheshire Cat face. Some might say that there was even a skip in my step.
But what does one expect after experiencing the horrific ordeal that is the dreaded half-term. In England, we have one too many of these ghastly holidays. It’s like the summer and winter holidays aren’t enough to drive mum and dad up the wall, so let’s sprinkle some holidays in between and really kick up a storm.
Although, I wouldn’t exactly call them a ‘holiday’. You can wipe that ‘lying-on-the-beach-sipping-margaritas’ image from your mind, right away! Plonked ‘splat bang’ in the middle of February, it is almost guaranteed to pour down the entire 7 days, resorting in a week of cabin fever *shudder*. Does this sound like a holiday to you? A ‘HELLiday’, more like! Especially when three winey-ass children are involved.
Not only is it a logistical nightmare, but it just doesn’t make sense to me? Why would you subject us to such torture? Is this merely a test of our sanity? Or are you trying to break us?
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few perks to having the kids at home. Spending quality time with them no more making school lunch boxes, for one. That deserves a happy dance of its very own.
And, even more exhilaratingly, no more early mornings…
“Great! It’s the half term. I don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn!” I smile to myself, as I settle down for the night. But after, what only feels like a few moments later, there’s a child standing next to my bed, staring at me. Startled, I sit bolt straight in bed. “Hungry!” The little creature says, a scowl upon its face. Now a professional at reading the faces of small children, this roughly translates into “Get up and make me breakfast… NOW!”
“Half-term, I’m ready for you!”
Or so I thought.
It’s only a few minutes past 9 and I’m already sobbing in the shower. “Pull yourself together woman!” I tell myself, trying to hold back a barrage of tears. But as I realise that in, as little as five minutes, I’ll have to climb out of this heavenly shower and face reality, the floodgates unleash once again.
As the water beats down on my tired body, I reflect on the joys this morning’s antics have already brought me…
It’s fair to say that breakfast went down like a …umm…burnt waffle! A squabble of ‘who spilt the Coco pops?’ soon broke into World War THREE. And suddenly, I felt like I was in a battlefield; ducking and diving through belligerent bodies. Deafened by the sound screeching and rattling bowls.
“I don’t care who spilt the damn Coco pops! Just shut the *insert profanity* up!” I wanted to shout. But, instead, I took refuge under the table and quivered in fear whilst the children battled it out in a sea of soggy spheres.
I have three children. All difficult in their own unique way. My eldest is 12 and is very much ‘owning’ her ‘pre-teen’ status. If she’s in a good mood, you’ll find her lounging around like a sloth in a onesie.
“Mother! Would you pass me my milkshake?” She asks, holding her hand out piteously.
“Oh! You couldn’t possibly mean the milkshake that is at arms-length away?!” I grumble, ignoring her ridiculous request.
It’s true. Too damn lazy to reach her own drink, let alone pick up after oneself.
If she’s in a bad mood, she will be slamming the doors off their hinges and shouting about how life is “Just so unfair!” I sometimes wonder what she will tell her own kids someday… “It was so rough back in my day, I didn’t get a phone until I was 8 years old and sometimes … *dramatic pause* …the WI-FI didn’t always work upstairs!
*Gasps in horror*
I know, right? Totally unfair! And if I hear the words “My friend has an iPhone 7!” One more time… *starts hyperventilating*
21st-century kids, eh? They don’t even know what hard is! In my day, there was no such thing as a mobile phone. We had to go out of the house, walk down the road, and, God forbid, talk face-to-face with our friends. Now, that’s what you call ‘tough’!
Next up, there is the middle child. As sweet as sugar and as cute as a button …until he gets angry! When he gets mad, the whole world knows about it. His face glows an alarming shade of red, steam shoots from his ears and the room begins to shake. *And cue the five-minute meltdown* Afterwards, he’ll scurry sheepishly under the church pew and huff like a horse with a fly up its nostril. Meanwhile, I must stifle an uproar of impending laughter. Serious face, mummy. Serious.
And just as I couldn’t get any crazier, I went and had another kid. Like, what the heck was I thinking?
Child Numero Three. I have a soft spot for this little fella, I must say. But, Oh Boy, does he sulk like his father! He’s been known to give me the silent treatment for THREE WHOLE DAYS. During which, he communicates solely through basic sign language and finger pointing. He’s not an easy nut to crack, but come day three, he became so frustrated when I couldn’t quite grasp what he was trying to articulate, he broke his silence and screamed….
“YOU PUT MY PANTS ON BACK TO FRONT!”
For the most part, my kids get along …so long as they aren’t near each other, looking at each other, playing a game together, or breathing the same air … they’re all good. Otherwise, I’ll have a stroppy sloth-tween snapping at her brothers every two seconds for, God forbid, making a noise whilst they play. I mean, how dare they?! One must be silent always.
“Are you going out today?” I query. “A sleepover at a friend’s, perhaps?”
“Maybe you could stay for the week?” I ask.
“Or maybe until you’re 20?”
“You really want to get rid of me, don’t you?!” she laughs.
Yes. Yes, I do. I think silently.
“No, of course not! I love having you here; snapping relentlessly at your brothers and leaving a mess everywhere you go!”
Oh! The mess.
I usually spend around two hours cleaning the house only to watch the humans ‘I created’ destroy it within ten lousy minutes. It’s soul-destroying, to say the least. It’s almost like they deliberately think, “Let’s take all our toys back out, and leave them all over the place for mum to pick up again! Wouldn’t want her getting bored!”
Bored? Me? The only thing I’m getting bored with is being ignored!
What’s with kids and not listening to their parents? I mean, if they would just listen to me and do what I said the first time I ask, I wouldn’t have to lose my shit now, would I? My kids always ask, “Why do you yell so much, mum?” I smile and reply “You call it yelling, I call it motivational speaking for the selective listener!” A prime example of this ‘selective listening’ would be when I tell my son to get dressed in the morning, only to find him twenty minutes later, standing naked in front of the television with one sock on. “Please get dressed!” does not mean putting on a sock and having a cheeky TV break. Chop, bloody chop!
I once considered myself a patient person, but that was before I became a parent and watched my son try to do up his own jacket.
“Oh! For crap sake! Just let me do it!”
I was also unaware that I could ruin someone’s day by simply requesting they do something helpful…
“I’m sorry I ruined your life by asking you to put your shoes away, but please stop pretending to be a plank in the doorway!”
It works both ways, I suppose…
When I tell my kids, I’ll do something in a minute, what I’m really saying is, “Please forget!” But, these kids, they NEVER forget. EVER! And so, I find a little person poking me in the arm… “Is that a minute?” and two seconds later, another poke, “Is that a minute?” ….and the pattern repeats itself until I’m on my hands and knees with a child on my back, doing the bucking bronco. Can I get a “Yeeee… seriously, just shoot me now!”
I hate it when I play with my kids for six hours, but then it turns out it’s only been 20 minutes. Especially when my backs about to give out and my knees are bleeding.
Damn you, giddy-up Horsey! Damn you!
I don’t know why, but time seems to travel at a snail’s pace when the children are at home all day. Every time I look down at my watch, the hands have barely moved … “9 hours until bedtime, are you kidding me?” I sigh, wondering if my kids would notice if I broke loose for a few hours.
I better not. Instead, I opt for a brief rest in my armchair. But then I hear my child utter those three dreaded words no mother ever wants to hear…
“Mummy, I’m bored!”
Thank God for iPad, that’s all I’m saying!
It’s amazing what a little piece of technology can do! Hours and hours of peace and ‘beautiful’ quiet. But, as much as they can be a God Send, they can also be the spawn of the devil. We have a time limit on all electronics, because, ya know, I try to be a good parent. Three hours max. When those three hours are over, let me tell you, it’s not pretty. In fact, all Hell breaks loose! It’s like they enter a period of technology-withdrawal. They are grouchy. They are irritable. They are … pining to feel those buttons beneath their fingertips. And then, in sheer desperation, they decide to turn on each other and the bickering continues. And that’s around about the time I find a nice cupboard to go hide in and I start to repeat ‘The Mummy Mantra’ over and over…
I love my kids.
I love my kids.
THEY’RE DRIVING MY f*CKING CRAZY
I love my kids.
And as I listen to what sounds like someone killing a cat in my living room, I think to myself… “Yup! It’s time to fake my own death, move to Mexico and live off tacos and tequila!”
One can wish. Eventually, they find me… They always do.
“Mummy, I need a poo!”
Ah yes. My favourite time of the day. Accompanying my son on his trip to the toilet (bearing in mind he is 4 and perfectly capable of handling his own business!) “But I love you!” He says, those big doe eyes staring up at me. “I get lonely!” I can’t help but pull up a pew and endure the putrid air fumes while he witters on about whether he thinks batman or superman is the strongest, between strains. Why do the male species have to dilly dally? Just do your business, wash your hands and leave. Simply, no? 30 minutes later… and we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of who is the strongest, but it certainly isn’t my gag-reflex, I can tell you
… will you just hurry up already?
The walls are closing in on me. There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Even the wet park is beginning to look appealing. Anything other than enduring this chaos that surrounds me. One child is running naked with a box on his head, another is up in the bathroom using my tampons as fishing rods. And then there is my eldest who is blissfully oblivious to it all as she blocks out the world in one crank of her headphones. Yup, she’s got the right idea!
I know what you’re thinking, why don’t you do something creative? Paint bread? Make elephants out of milk bottles? Monster feet out of tissue boxes? Homemade bird feeders, perhaps? Give me a break!
The rest of the day passes by in a dizzy-headed haze and, finally, my break arrives in the name of ‘bedtime’.
Do these kids ever go to sleep?
It’s 9.0 clock at night and I’ve just settled deep down into my comfy armchair. The joss sticks are burning, the Himalayan salt lamp is glowing and I’m ready to relax. One can wish! No rest for the wicked. I’m on my hands and knees, under a bed, searching for a Lego person gone AWOL like my life (and sanity) depend on it. Once I find this lego person, he’s bound to go to sleep, I reassure myself, as I hit my head for the umpteenth time running.
Ah, finally, I’ve just put my feet up and now I can…. Just kidding. They are up again!
Why is it at bed time, my children are suddenly the dehydrated victims of stuffed animal theft? That, or they suddenly want to know the ins and the outs of the world in what seems like a bazillion questions… “I don’t know why ducks don’t have arms… but, please, let me mummy rest!”
“Mummy, mummy… can zombies kill you in this world?”
“They will, if little boys don’t get into their beds!”
I think I speak for every parent when I say that all we want, is for our kids to go to bed, so we can watch a show with naughty words and eat ALL the hidden snacks.
But as I finally wind down to watch that TV show with the swear words in it, all is so blissfully quiet. So blissfully quiet that I start to hear the guilt murmuring in the back of my head…
“Maybe I shouldn’t have been so harsh on them?”
As much as they drive me bat sh*t crazy, I kinda miss them when they’re not around. It’s true. Children are the only people who can bring you to the brink of insanity and you still love them tomorrow. And as I reflect on the hellish day I have just encountered, I realise…
This is my life. I chose it. Nobody else.
Sometimes I need to just remind myself how much I really love it…even when they do drive me up the wall, I still want to kiss their beautiful chubby faces. My kids are the reason I wake up each morning, the reason I breathe …and the reason my hair is falling out, my house is a mess and I’m bat sh*t crazy.
Roll on Monday, I sigh.
Come Monday morning, I can’t contain my excitement. The kids are back at school … or so I thought. As I glance at the calendar on the wall, my jaw plunges to the floor. To my absolute horror, they have an…
Throws arms up in despair and yells …“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”