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The other day my mum was looking after the children while I went to work. I had prepared a sausage casserole [despite the suspicious comments I get every time I go near the slow cooker] and had done the Tesco order for later than usual to ensure either my partner or I was at home to take it. I was hoping that it would be a fairly unproblematic afternoon. Maybe they could all sit down with a DVD and cuddle up.
Unfortunately, I was home later than anticipated and my partner stopped en route to pick up his nephew. The Tesco delivery was, naturally, very much on time. My mum was in the kitchen surrounded by groceries looking slightly spaced out when I arrived. It emerged that the following unanticipated things had happened over the course of the afternoon: toddler boy had fallen asleep during the school run – my mum finds him very hard to carry; daughter two emerged from school limping, complaining of growth pains [and concerned that she will grow into a giant]; daughter three had had a bad day with a so-called friend. Daughter three decided to make ice cream in five minutes which she had seen on Youtube [daughter three, thwarted in her search for junk food, has resorted to Youtube and selected websites which tell you things like how to make a McFlurry and Fanta]. The ingredients of said five-minute ice cream – double cream, ice, vanilla essence and salt – went all over the wall and other surface areas.
Meanwhile, during this process toddler boy, dressed in a pair of tights which had required darning, two pairs of socks and some knickers on top had done a big wee. In the potty, to be sure, but he had tried to clear it up all by himself with the drying up cloth so there was wee all over the floor, requiring extensive cleaning. Daughter one then returned home ravenous, so ravenous that she was indeed the only child to agree to eat the sausage casserole. Daughters three and two had retired to the sofa, tired because they utterly refuse to go to bed on time despite constant exhortations. The Tesco man arrived. Due to my guilt over having too many children and therefore polluting the planet, I do not have bags with my Tesco delivery. It comes in crates which you have to unload at the door. Daughter one helped my mum and toddler boy took a few things to the kitchen despite the potential danger that he would open them/break them. Daughters three and two were too tired to move, apparently.
I have to say that this is a fairly standard afternoon [indeed daughter two’s offer of helping with the Tesco delivery usually involves her crawling to the kitchen with selected items on her back], but you need to harden yourself to the experience over weeks of training. I was not perhaps as understanding as I should have been because I had fixated on the fact that Tesco had yet again substituted hazelnut yoghourts for toffee ones [why? because they are both in brown cartons? Is it likely that a person who likes hazelnuts also loves toffee?]. Random, I know, but hazelnut yoghourt is one of those small crutches that gets me through the week. Having said that, I realise that Tesco are probably on the point of withdrawing it from the shelves as happened with the much missed carrot and butterbean soup for which daughter two and I have written a song.
As soon as my mum had left for a much needed lie down in a quiet room, daughter three went into freefall as the remains of her five-minute ice cream had not worked so we had to find another recipe on Youtube which took slightly longer than five minutes and is in the freezer now. It was washing night plus bath night, not a good combination, but one which I reserve for the middle of the week because it gives the impression that the weekend is beginning early once they are over. There were school papers to check, school clothes to get ready for the next day and the usual round of dancing, bouncing, guitar playing, recorder singalongs, spellings and brief chats on the hazards of adolescence. The following day, after not enough rest, began not too well. Toddler boy whipped off his nappy and a giant poo splodged onto the chair. Unfortunately, the chair is kind of wicker look thing so there then followed a rather lengthy attempt to de-poo it with a scrubbing brush and some Dettol. Lovely.