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I have been invited to a sleepover. It’s on Saturday with daughter three. It arrived in the form of a card with an attached cut-off invitation. The card was addressed to “the best mum in the universe, world, infinity, space”. Inside were some golden tickets. 1. Massage [looks tempting, but could end up with me lathered in an assortment of home-made remedies, being jumped on by only son] 2. Day out “with only me”. 3. Movie night (“with only me”) 4. A cuddle on the sofa on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I can select. Attached was the sleepover invitation. Dear Mandy, Come to my sleepover! From…night to morning. On…27th June or 29th [why a Monday?] RSVP. There was a cut-off strip at the bottom: Yes, I can come and No, I’m sorry I can’t.
I am still deliberating over which of the golden tickets to take, although maybe I can have more than one. I may need to get in training for the massage, though, judging by past experiences. It looks to the outside glance as if she is trying to get some alone time with me, but really I think this is about doing me a favour because I am missing out on the sleepovers she has with her gran. The problem is movie night with just me is slightly problematic when there are three other children in the house.
Only son is a case in point. He zoomed out of school the other day, shirt covered in his lunch as per usual, because he wanted to get out before his best friend Marcel. Sadly, he had forgotten that we have to pick up daughter three too. So he zoomed around the playground instead with his top lifted above his head in the manner of a superhero cape and shouted a merry – but very loud – goodbye to all his classmates. He then has this habit of going up to the car park by squeezing his body behind the school sign and the fence and running through a shortcut in a hedge to the car park. I basically have to sprint round the corner to ensure he doesn’t run into oncoming traffic in his exuberance. He then has to – every day – climb up the mound of dirt in the car park and walk along the top of it and come down through the nettly bit to prove his superhuman powers.
So when he finally got to the car, daughter three was waiting patiently. He then got out some paper and told me he was going to write down all the days of the week and cross them out as they came and went. I was trying at this point to talk to daughter three whose voice is quite quiet compared to the megaphone which is only son. “How do you spell Monday?” he yelled. “I’m trying to hear what daughter three is saying,” I replied. “He had a bad day,” said daughter three in an almost whisper. “He broke up with Marcel.” Oh dear. “It’s OK. He likes me again now,” yelled only son. “What went wrong?” I inquired. “I punched him in the face,” he said. “But it was an accident, mum.” Hmm. He went back to his spreadsheet. “I know how to spell Tuesday, mum. It’s T-U-S-D-A-Y.” “I’m trying to talk to daughter three,” I replied. “You always only talk to daughter three. No-one listens to me,” he said. It is virtually impossible not to listen to only son. On our return to the house he ordered three pancakes piled up and got a glass of water to put some flowers in it. “I want to be like Matilda,” he said. Matilda is his all-time favourite film.
Ten minutes later daughters one and two came in. “You said you were going to get Greek yoghurt,” said daughter one. “Do you hate me?” She then brought up events of the night before where I had mildly chastised her for not helping her sister download itunes, mainly because I have no idea how to do it and it takes way more time than I have on the schedule to work it out. I was trying to deal with only son’s homework at the time. He had to describe how he gets to school and what he sees on the way. A lot of chimneys apparently. Daughter two said she would like a “healthy” pancake with fruit on and retired upstairs to do some artwork. “Good day?” I asked. “Nope” came the reply.
I fear alone time is going to be a pretty hard one to swing.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: “Crystal Lake Phuket 6” by The Crystal Lake @Phuket, Thailand – Own work. Licenced under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.