I am so sorry I was late for work today.
The morning started so well. I was awake on the first beep of the Greek God(zilla)’s alarm clock as usual, at 5.55am, but my daily wake-up call of ‘MUMMY!’ went off slightly later today, at 6.55 am. In theory, this should have meant that I had a full 60-minutes to get myself up, showered and dressed before having to tackle a 3-year old out of his pyjamas.
However, in reality the Greek God(zilla) snoozed for 20-minutes before finally dragging himself to the bathroom, where he spent a further 20-mins soaking in a nice hot bath. For the next 10-minutes until he left the house, I was required to assist in choosing shirt/tie/jumper combinations and then once clothes had been applied to the body, commenting positively on the overall look. Sometimes, the shirt got a bit ruffled up beneath his jumper and it was my responsiblity to straighten this out until the desired level of comfort was achieved.
By 6.50am, he was finally out of the door and on his way to work. Just enough time for me to take a quick dip in his leftover luke-warm bath water before… ‘MUMMY!’
I dripped all the way to my bedroom, which is of course where I had left the only clean towel in the house, wrapped it quickly around my shivering body and then cheerfully greeted my son.
‘Is it morning?’ he asked sweetly and I nodded. Scooping him up in my arms, I navigated an assault course of stray dinosaurs, cars and books. I then settled him on to my bed while I set about retracing my footsteps to retrieve my towel, which while valiantly attempting to cover my bulging thighs had sadly given way and recoiled to the floor in horror instead.
With The Little Princess on the TV and orange juice served, I picked my way through the basket of clean laundry waiting to be pressed and hung, realised I did not have time to iron both my clothes and my hair, so forsook a fresh outfit for a uncreased dress already hanging up neatly in my wardrobe. It is only slightly too small but heavily patterned, so stains are much more difficult to recognise. Teamed with my super sleek hair and array of accessories, I think I managed to pull the look into a more fashionable era.
By 7.20am, just as the credits to Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom were rolling, I made my first move towards the 3-year old. Sensing what was about to happen, he rolled deftly over to the other side of the bed. I repositioned myself in order to get a better hold of him, but he bounced over to the other side again. I climbed onto the bed and blocked every possible escape route but he ducked under my arms and hopped off behind a curtain.
I played along for a few minutes. ‘Where’s Zachy?’ ‘Has anyone seen Zachy?’ and I heard him giggling away in his hiding place.
I crept stealthily up to him , careful not to make any sudden noises or movements but, possibly suspecting I may have given up on his game, he peeped out from behind the curtain, spotted me approaching and darted under the bed.
At 7.30am, after my attempts to cajole him out from under the bed failed dismally, I resorted to the most controversial tactic known to parentkind. Bribery.
When even the promise of a Peppa Pig box set marathon and a bag of chocolate buttons failed to motivate him to budge, I got down on my hands and knees and I went in after him. I clasped my hands gently around his ankles and very slowly, worked my way backwards taking him with me.
Like most threenagers, my son did not take too kindly to his fun game of hide & chase being called so abruptly to a halt, and flung his arms around in protest while I tried to wriggle him out of his pyjama top and into a long-sleeved t-shirt. He then continued to kick his legs madly while I steered a trouser leg haphazardly over each one.
‘I don’t like the blue jumper’ he sobbed. So I changed him into a red one.
‘I want my Buzz socks, NOT Lightening McQueen’ he cried with bottom lip fully protruded.
By 7.40am, we were both fully dressed and ready to move on to the next stage of the morning proceedings, although I now looked as though I had been dragged through a hedge backwards and my dress looked like I’d delved into the pits of the laundry basket to seek it out.
Despite all this, I was still confident that we would be able to make up the lost time by skipping our usual mother/son breakfast together at home and letting Zachy enjoy his weetabix at nursery instead.
‘Let’s brush teeth!’ I announced.
Which was enough to make him throw himself dramatically on the floor and wail for a few minutes, until I picked him up and tried to calm him down with a cuddle and two verses of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This is not behaviour I would usually pander to, but as we were up against the clock, I made an allowance on this occasion in the full knowledge that I would pay for it later.
After brushing Bear, Tigger and Igglepiggle’s teeth, I motioned for Zachy to come and take his turn.
I took a brush lightly to his teeth and gave them a very gentle once over.
‘You’re hurting me, Mummy’
However, mission was finally accomplished and we progressed down to the ground floor.
The mention of the words coat and shoes was enough to provoke another major sulk on the stairs. I was starting to lose patience by this point so just plonked him on my lap and wrestled him into his outerwear.
By 7.55am we were standing by the front door, wearing all our clothes, with clean teeth and I mentally high-fived myself.
‘Mummy, I need a wee’
So, I unravelled the layers of clothing back off him, escorted him upstairs to the toilet, waited while he tinkled, wiped the seat after he sprinkled, assisted with relevant hand washing and drying, carried him back down the stairs, put his coat back on, zipped him in, and finally made it out of the house at 8.05am.
There were a few tense moments on the drive to nursery, especially when he dropped the yellow car and I was not quite dexterous enough to reach it from my position at the wheel.
Just after 8.15am we pulled up outside. I walked him to the door, signed us in and helped put his coat on his peg. Breakfast was just arriving so I suggested he find a seat and sit at the table.
He clung to my leg.
I bent down to face him, gave him a big kiss on the cheek (plus another one to keep in his pocket for later) and led him over to the other children.
He clung to my leg.
I picked him up and he clung tightly around my neck.
His care worker came over and tried to prise him away from me, but this just made him tighten his grip even more.
At 8.28am, I peeled him off me and handed him over to one of the staff while he sobbed ‘Mummy’ with his arms outstretched towards me.
It took me a few minutes to compose myself in the car before I could even begin my hour-long commute to the office.
But you don’t need to know all the details.
I am sorry I was late for work today.
Traffic was a bitch.