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We’ve got to a time in our lives when, come the holidays, everyone wants to stay up. This means that instead of having meaningful conversations and watching high quality tv [Eastenders repeat] the living room has been taken over by Psychopath night or Bring Me The Horizon on a loop. This is a step up from Disney Channel and Psychopath night does sound kind of interesting, but, as my partner would argue, it’s not Rick Stein. Fortunately, only son does still go to bed at a reasonable hour, although he is not a big fan of tv, preferring to limit his screen action to When Sundaes Attack, a game of skill involving killer ice cream sundaes. He has written a book on it.
There is a bit of a struggle among the other three for who gains control of the remote. Currently, daughter one is winning. Hence Psychopath night and tortured music. She is reading a book on Psychopaths and keeps coming out with interesting facts about psychopathic tendencies. She thinks she might have some [she’s a teenager after all], although the rest of the family are probably exempt. I have placed a ban on psychopath programmes while daughters two and three are up. Daughter three freaked out at an Agatha Christie film. We are still only able to refer to it as the AC programme – and in a whisper.
This divergence in taste becomes slightly problematic when negotiating a film choice. Daughter one wants to watch a 15 on something complex and psychological, daughter two doesn’t really care as long as it’s not complex and psychological [she doesn’t really watch – preferring to make flowers out of supermarket bags and the like], daughter three wants to watch Teen Beach Movie [again] and my partner wants to watch something either Depeche Mode-related or political. It is not easy to find a compromise, but yesterday’s was “Walking on Sunshine”, during which my partner retired to his tablet. Daughter one watched it in full ironic mode as some kind of comment on the 80s, a decade she has a love hate relationship and which I think is unfairly summed up by The Power of Love. Daughter two decided she was Leona Lewis and daughter three just sang along.
Another problem with everyone staying up is that no-one goes to sleep, except me and my partner. That means we have to force ourselves awake in order to get people to bed around half an hour after we have dropped off. Because I have drilled teeth hygiene into every child since their teeth first appeared, it takes some time for them to all get their teeth brushed, flossed and whatever. I’m not entirely sure what daughter one is doing in there, but it seems to take an age. “You’re only going to bed. No-one will see you,” I say daily. “There is no need to moisturise your legs.” But such is the pressure of modern life that she feels this is a basic necessity of life. “We have been pushed out of our own lives,” my partner said the other night as we shuffled past each other in the hallway, me on a toilet run with a sleeping only son. From the bottom of the stairs I could hear the cat miaowing.
*Mum on the run is written by Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.