Staying awake


It’s one of those weeks where I have to stay awake more than usual. As with all things, it all started with a plan. I was going to go to bed early every night of the week to prepare for a series of meetings and a very early morning long-distance trip midweek, made worse by the hour going forwards. I got to bed just after midnight on Sunday. It wasn’t a good start.

When I picked up daughter three on Monday she flopped into the car and started writhing around in pain clutching her stomach. There appears to be a stomach bug going around…again. Daughter one and only son had it at the weekend, but soldiered on. Daughter three is feeling a bit end-of-termish so was milking it for all she was worth. She was angling for a day off and by Tuesday morning she was unable to move at all. As I had to be in London first thing for a meeting I didn’t have the time or energy to drag her out of bed. I had already forewarned my mum who was, fortunately, able to step into the breach.

I dropped only son at breakfast club and headed to London with daughter one who was on an Ucas day event, followed by meeting up with some friends in Stratford. “My phone isn’t working because the Sim card is too big or something,” she said casually. “I can whatsapp you when I get near wifi to let you know when I’ll be coming home.” Daughter one is usually on airplane mode so would there be much difference if her phone didn’t have a Sim card, I wondered, though I did think the wifi plan sounded a little optimistic. She threw in the fact that she had been invited to do some voluntary work the following day which meant she might be home late, after the buses stop late, meaning her parents would have to stay up for pick-up duties.

I rang daughter three on the way home. She was feeling “slightly better”. Could I bring some salt and vinegar crisps to aid her recovery? I had just unloaded at home when I noticed six missed messages from daughter one, mainly because I had turned off the volume during my meeting. “On way home. Nearly there. Are you there? I’m here, etc.” The messages were from 20 minutes earlier. I rang her phone. It went to answerphone so I jumped in the car with only son as I had no idea if she had any money for the bus. I was just pulling out of the end of our road when daughter one came strolling round the corner.

The plan of the week envisaged an early night on Tuesday so I could get up at 5.30am [4.30am in real time. I have not adapted yet]. However, I was so behind due to the meeting that this was looking unlikely. I got an email from only son’s dance teacher. Had I booked tickets for his dance extravaganza? The problem is that the dance extravaganza was announced in December. My brain has completely wiped December out. I have no idea if I booked the tickets. I seemed to remember something about a website, but it turns out, after having to explain my memory problems to the dance teacher, that that was from early in 2016 for the last dance extravaganza. Am I getting to the age when things that are in the more distant past appear more current than something a couple of months ago?

I booked the tickets and tried to transfer money to the dance teacher for the costume. “Your bank will ring you to confirm the transfer code,” said the website. The only problem was that it was ringing my mobile and my mobile has patchy reception in the house. After several minutes I decided to take it outside and wave it around a bit. The phone rang and I entered the code. All done. Only son has three shows taking up the entire weekend. For the Sunday one he has to be at the dance venue at 9am. I recalled the old pre-children days when I used to get up early, commute all over and stay up late all the time. The days when there was time for recovery, where Sunday morning lie-ins were a regular feature. Those Sunday mornings still linger on in the memory as if in some sort of parallel world.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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