I pick Aoife up from school every day at 3.15pm without fail. I’ve never forgotten her and I’ve never been late -though Aoife argues that the day I was stood at the wrong side of the gate I was late and she went on about it for weeks.
Aoife goes to bed at 6.45pm.
That gives us 3 1/2 hours to catch up and spend time together.
I do as any parent does and ask all the probing questions
“What did you do today?”
“I don’t remember”
“Who did you play with today?
“I don’t remember”
“What did you have for lunch today? Did you eat it all up?”
“I ate it all, I don’t remember what I had though”
We attempt this very conversation every day but she’d much rather watch a Disney film or do some colouring.
However, the minute I finish her bedtime story and am ready to go downstairs to prepare our dinner – we don’t eat as a family on weekdays, we are bad people – she’s a proper Chatty McChattyson.
She has all the tales to tell me about the writing she did, the picture in the creation station, the funny thing the teacher said.
I listen attentively as a good mummy should.
Aoife then moves on to how she isn’t liking being alone (I’m stood there) and how she wants me (I’m still stood there, dancing a little now because I need a wee). I explain that, as much as I love hearing about her day, it’s getting quite late and I must go to the loo then go cook dinner (quick discussion on what we’re having and how she hates that. “That’s fine, you’re not eating it”).
As I make my way downstairs I hear the rumblings begin, it starts quiet but promptly ramps up to hollering
“I HATE BEING ALONE. I HATE GOING TO BED. I HATE GOING TO SLEEP. I’M BORED”
(Here is where Seth wakes up, thinks it’s a game and joins in shouting).
I try to stay calm, really I try.
I try to explain that it’s naughty to wake Seth up and that maybe I should be allowed to have a little time to myself sometimes (it always happens when Rory is at football, maybe there’s actually a link here – no more football!).
After exhausting all the Super Nanny advice I can think of I lose my shit and shout, really shout“IF YOU’RE SO BORED JUST BE QUIET AND GO TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW”
The neighbours must think me terribly common, I sometimes feel like Andy Capp’s wife!
Yes, my joining in shouting isn’t practising what I preach but there it is, silence!
I get on with making dinner and then the guilt kicks in.
I really shouldn’t have got cross.
Maybe she did need me.
Maybe she’s lying there sobbing because I’m a horrid, neglectful Mummy.
I sneak upstairs to check on her, she’s facing the wall asleep. Like a tiny (if a little sweaty) angel.
I turn to sneak out.
“I think I’ll get a Mathletics certificate this week Mummy and probably some house points”
Once again she’s successfully snared me with a conversation that I feel bad walking out on.
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