It’s the week for Christmas plays, Christmas parties and tests. People are already wilting from what seems to them like a very long term. Daughter two says she can’t face another day and withdrew into her room last night with the white emulsion. Never a good sign. It turns out she has painted everything but the walls, including the frame around her bed and a bin.
Daughter one has a controlled test this week which counts towards her GCSE. She seems to be very together about it, but is still worrying about the art project. Apparently you get extra marks if you show you can “finesse” your masterwork. She was all for starting all over again, but when I saw her with the flour and water glue, a newspaper and two hangers I called a halt. “That is not finessing,” I muttered. “That is starting all over again and this family cannot endure another round of wing creation.” I told her to get her teacher to detail in full what she meant by finesse. I am envisaging a mild touch of paint and perhaps a tiny bit more glitter. Daughter one, naturally, accused me of not understanding and living my life in the 80s. She also keeps telling me that John Lennon was “problematic”. She seems to think I grew up with the Beatles, which, as I have stated many times, were 20 years before my teenage years. Plus it’s not as if I am a cheerleader for John Lennon. I merely pointed out that I have never forgiven Paul McCartney for Mull of Kintyre and the Frog Chorus.
Only son has been starring as lamb number six in his Christmas play. I was in the third row miles from where he was sitting so had to try and catch a glimpse of him through the underarm of the person in front of me. From the angle I got, he looked like he was baa-ing perfectly. But then again I had not had a good night’s sleep – only son was up wheezing in the night and to get to him we had to step over daughter two who had decamped to his room because hers was full of paint fumes.
The day of the test and Christmas play began badly. My partner was due to leave early for work. The car had frozen solid. Everyone was very slow due to it being cold, the Christmas holidays not having begun yet and I’m a Celebrity being over. I was doing sausage cassoulet [it’s Tuesday, it must be sausage cassoulet] and the packed lunches. Half the packed lunch boxes appear to have gone missing somewhere between school and home. I was trying to catch up on some work in order to carve out some time for the Christmas play. Daughter three was complaining of a sore stomach, possibly a migraine, and refusing to eat her breakfast. Only son was full of cold, but had woken up with gusto because of the advent calendar. No-one could find 9. Only son decided to write a book about numbers on the back of not being able to find 9. My partner helpfully offered to wait five minutes to take the older two to the bus stop. Daughter two had left her coat in her locker so took a raincoat. Daughter one complained that I always shout at her in the morning [I do begin with gentle encouragement, but it does not have the desired impact] and asked for the 40th time why no-one could see that John Lennon was problematic. I said I was more of a George Harrison fan, but we could discuss in full later when she got home.
With half the family gone, I focused on getting daughter three to eat breakfast. I fear she is worried about getting fat so I included a short but concise chatette about eating disorders with particular reference to the Carpenters. Only son was preparing his three – count them – schoolbags. They include his actual schoolbag, a DVD case with the new ICON book catalogue inside it [which I need for work] and a “toolkit” in which he has placed his extra writing book. The phone rang. It was daughter one. “The bus hasn’t come and daughter two is freezing,” she said. “Can we come home?” I rang the bus company. There was a massive accident on the M25 so everything was running 45 minutes late. Still, on the up side, they had been waiting for 35 minutes so it was only 10 minutes longer and only son wasn’t dressed yet. No, sirree, he was bouncing on the sofa giggling which makes putting his trousers on rather more complicated than it might be. Eventually, we got to school where the play started 20 minutes late due to the traffic problems. Apparently Mary and Joseph were somewhere up the M11.