There are many days of motherhood that are exciting, full of tummy filling laughter and immense proud moments that are overwhelming. There are also ordinary days, but the type of ordinary that you crave. Then there are days like today…and it’s only 9.30! I should say ‘day’ that started last night at 8.45pm when Rebekah shouted from her room that she needed her uniform washing. I answered her quite clearly that no I couldn’t do it, but that I was putting a whitewash on the timer so that it would be ready in the morning. She interpreted this as ‘of course my sweet child I will wash the uniform, which has been on the bedroom floor all weekend. I will not sleep so that when it has been washed I can then dry it before finishing it off with a quick iron’. To be honest my answer of ‘no’ was then quickly forgotten about because in my mind no meant I was unable to do it and therefore would not be doing it. This is obviously not what she thought. Well I am now interpreting that this is what she thought as she stomped around the house this morning in complete surprise that her uniform was not washed…but how can this be! Surely, she must have thought, if I actually put it in the washing basket it will automatically be washed…is that not what happens when you drag your clothes off your bedroom floor and put them in the basket? Do the cleaning fairies not then make the magic happen, I mean she did make the effort of putting her uniform in the basket last thing at night on Sunday? She wasn’t very impressed with the cleaning fairy comments, but she did have a little smile as she packed her ‘magic packed lunch’ in her bag and so I am thinking when she gets home all should be well. I’d also say she might have learned her lesson, but I am also thinking there’s a few years left of this yet!
Then there was this morning…Andrew renamed Monday morning meltdowns to Thursday morning meltdowns, which must have caused Hannah to reclaim the old title as she had the most marvellous meltdown on the school run. I am not sure it surpassed the one she had last Thursday as she did actually go into school by herself, but then maybe I am a little more used to them than Andrew so calmed it down a little quicker than he could. It is only a mile to school…a simple mile. The meltdown didn’t begin until we were near the 1/2 mile mark. I saw the meltdown coming and I helped it along because I was faced with a choice and I chose Hannah! So this is it in a nutshell….Elizabeth, who has been absolutely no trouble this morning (apart from getting out of bed at 7.45), mentioned that she knew how her wardrobe door had been broken. It was a plausible story, she had climbed up to get a box off the top and used the door to steady herself, which had swung and then broken. This was ok as it happened along time ago and Elizabeth sounded as if she had learnt her lesson. All was fine. Then Hannah said that it wasn’t the way it had happened at all and that it was Seth and Adam’s fault. Now, to be clear, I have no idea how it happened and neither do I really care. It is repaired and it was so long ago and I don’t see the importance. But Hannah sees the importance and did not like Elizabeth explaining, still quite calmly that it was in fact her. This began a small argument of ‘it was, it wasn’t’. I offered a little alternative…maybe Elizabeth had done that and then maybe Seth and Adam did it too and then properly broke it. Elizabeth was happy to accept this explanation and Seth was too. But Hannah wasn’t. Hannah wasn’t at all. Instead, now Elizabeth had never in her life even touched the wardrobe, but Seth and Adam had swung on it for days with the intention of making the door break. And here I was faced with the challenge of deciding who was going to get upset. Did I stop the ‘no it didn’t, yes it did’ argument by distraction or by pointing out that one of them was wrong. Distraction, my first choice was unsuccessful. So I had to decide who was going to be wrong so to speak. Now my first thought was Elizabeth. She’s logical, the argument would have ended quickly and we could have got on with the games on the way to school. But this would have left her with the feeling that she was not valued and she is massively valued and to be fair in the right as her description was far more real than Hannah’s ever growing story. So it had to be Hannah. With a deep breath I tiptoed and then to be honest jumped feet first into telling Hannah that she has got to stop telling Elizabeth she is wrong all the time.
By this point we were near the Barnes roundabout and I knew we didn’t have long left to calm Hannah down after her explosion and seething looks at Elizabeth. By this point I also let go of Hannah’s hand, which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best thing. This led to me being the worst mother ever in the history of the world as by letting go I was making her hand cold. How could I do that to this sweet chilled out little girl? I explained, calmly, that I didn’t want to hold her hand anymore because we were running late and I needed my arm to help me go faster rather than dragging two children to school. This led to, I kid you not, at least 30 cries of successive ‘mummy mummy mummy mummy….’ This was not a calming sound at all. There were some small intermissions of ‘but mammy’ and a couple of ‘you’re not listening to me’ and ‘I want to hold your hand’. I explained, still calmly, that I know she did, but I didn’t because it was hard dragging two children to school. This led to even more successive mammies as I also explained I wouldn’t answer her until she changed the topic of conversation. She eventually did…to we haven’t even played any games. At this point a very big breath was needed as my adult understanding recognised that it was her stopping the game, but also understanding that her Hannahisms meant this would never make a reasonable argument. And so I simply started playing the games and Seth and Elizabeth happily joined in. Hannah then spent about 3 minutes screaming that there wan’t now enough time to play the game as we were nearly at school. By this point I actually wanted to shout, but I knew that is what Hannah wanted and then she had a reason to be upset. So I stayed calm, to keep her calm and then explained in the school yard that she could have a turn on the way home. Of course this led to how we’d forget etc etc, but it calmed her down enough to say that she couldn’t go to school because the top of her ear was burning. She wanted me to come and tell the teacher…this was a ploy…so I just said I would phone school and tell them. This was enough and off she went to school. I cannot describe the sense of relief I had watching her go in knowing that it could so easily have ended with me having to take her and hand her over to the teacher in floods of tears.
It did mean I never got to say goodbye to Elizabeth and I only just got to wave to Seth in time for him going in. I needed that fast walk home to calm down!!!!!!!
Should I write about this? Will Hannah go mental reading it? I don’t know the answer to either, but I think it is good to remember all of family life, especially for when the kids are parents themselves. Our family are not perfect. We have mental moments and we have amazingly triumphant moments. We are normal and that’s a good thing. I should counter the meltdown school runs with the many fun school runs and to be fair this is only the second meltdown this half term.
The washing machine has stopped and since we don’t really have cleaning fairies (and if we did they are rubbish!) I have to put the washing out on the line and being another wash…that will still not contain Rebekah’s uniform as she is wearing it! Let’s see whether it makes it to the washing basket tonight or whether it has a sleep over on Rebekah’s bedroom floor…oh the excitement of seeing what might happen.