I should have known today was going to be crazy when Torin refused to get dressed. 

This is not unusual. In fact I seem to make boys who don’t like clothes because Llyw used to be the same.I normally put Torin in the car with no clothes on and then dress him when we get to the car park by the school. 

Then I couldn’t find his shoes. Again, not unusual, it’s like a shoe shop in this house but slightly (muchly) less organised. 

I looked in all the obvious places: under the trampoline, behind the door in the bathroom …..In the end I gave up and he wore odd shoes. One of which was too big for him. But at least they were both blue….

We get in the car. This makes it sound easy. Simple. Quick. 

You’d be mistaken. 

Getting the 5 steps from house to car is a mammoth task. If I leave ten minutes for it, we’ll probably be late. So we start getting in the car around 8.30am. 
We left the driveway at 8.50am.

Nowadays I have to bring the dog on the school run as well, because you know, he’s baby number 7. He gets in at 8.30am. He’s the best behaved baby in the house.

There’s often a soundtrack for the half a mile journey to school. Today was “Spice Up Your Life”. Adelaide has decided it’s her favourite song. 

3 times. 

I danced. (It’s pretty much the law for that particular song: slam it to the left, shake it to the right, jig it to the front, go around, slam it to the left, shake it to the right, jig it to the front, ooooooooooh Spice Up Your Life …….) 

I was told to stop. 

Adelaide asked if the Spice Girls were still alive. 

At the car park we start the “getting out of the car” routine. Again: sounds simple? Nope. 

It takes at least ten trips to the boot to check bags, coats, different coat (that one is too blue), lunchbox, another bag, reading book …. Then we do all the things that are classified as “jobs only allowed to be done in the car”. These are obvious: brushing hair, getting Torin dressed, another coat for Adelaide as this one is not blue enough …. You know, the things everyone does when they get out of the car. 

Disaster today: Torin refused to get dressed. 

By this time it’s 8.55am and the bell (if there was one, which there isn’t) has gone. So I weigh up my options and decide I’ll enjoy reminding him of the day he went to school with no clothes on and odd shoes. I lamented the lack of a camera. 

We (Adelaide, me and genie) very much enjoyed the reaction of everyone. Although I noticed most people said “Torin” has no clothes on and not “that child”. I (or he) must be famous. So he’ll REALLY enjoy everyone remembering it for the rest of his life. One of the teachers still reminds Llyw of the days he used to come to school wearing just a nappy and wellies. He enjoys those memories too, you know, now he’s 12 and absolutely LOVES standing out from the crowd. 

We get to school and the dogs lead breaks as he’s trying to talk to his girlfriend (a husky-type dog who very much enjoys her conversations with him). They start barking at each other before us human-types even realise each other is there. So I’m outside the school with a dog known for his runaway antics (and his very bestest girlfriend only a few yards away) and a broken lead (and two girls late for school and a baby with no clothes on and odd shoes). Just a normal morning. 

I wish I had brought my pliers to school to fix dogs collar (the d-ring that you attach the lead to, had come off) because why did today have to be the day I forgot. (Doesn’t everyone bring pliers on the school run?). But eventually find a life hack (did you know the buckle that extends the collar could also be used to attach the lead to) and go into school. More hilarious comments from parents, children and teachers about the baby with no clothes on and odd shoes. 

And finally the school run is done! 

Nope. It’s Tuesday. Torin goes to playgroup on Tuesday’s. I mentally wonder how much the playgroup would enjoy explaining to the other kids why Torin is allowed to have no clothes on but they aren’t and hope Torin is in a more obliging mood. He is (hooray!)

When I picked him up for playgroup I was told they were practising for sports day today. (One of Torin’s odd shoes is about 3 sizes too big for him and has already caused him to fall over three times on the way to school). So I brace myself for a “you’re a terrible mother”, “he’s lost a tooth” “he’s broken an arm” and a trip to my local friendly doctor-dentist-surgeon (my dad). But instead I get thanked because they could barely keep up with him running in odd shoes and in his “proper shoes” he would have done a good Osain Bolt impression. (Which was totally my plan all along)

Easy simple day in the house waiting for the builder to show up (who never did) and sporadically reading emails from him saying he’s been held up at another job and it’s totally someone else’s fault. He absolutely promises to be here tomorrow (after he’s taken his own kids to school of course). 

Then it’s the school run again. There’s only #6 and #7 to get in the car so it only takes 10 minutes. And then another ten to get out of the car because Torin insists on being allowed to drive the car first. (It’s the law)

I’m one of the last to pick the kids up because I left the house at 3:05 (they finish at 3.30). As soon as I do, the girls remind me we have to go and buy loom bands. Yep, they’re still “on trend”. 

Adelaide told me a couple of days ago that she absolutely positively couldn’t live without a loom band kit (a kit, not a bag). I felt very clever in telling her she must earn them and we agreed to emptying the dishwasher five times. She completed this in 3 days because there are a few of us in our house and when Doug (“worlds best cleaner”) and Maddie (“daughter of worlds best cleaner”) are in the house the dishwasher often goes on twice a day. So I was told I was the worst mother in the world when I couldn’t fulfill my contractual obligations at 8.30pm last night in time for her to take them to school today. So today after school was “it”. 
I had the normal protestations of unfairness from Genie that she wasn’t allowed to get something and that she didn’t have a job. (Try thinking of a job for a 5 year old in a house with six kids) We finally  agreed on getting dressed in the morning without being asked. 

I decide to go to the Range because it’s close, there’s parking and you know “if we don’t sell it, you don’t need it”. 

Dragging a still complaining “it’s not fair, I can’t have anything” Genie we look at the toy section. I find a loom band set and (thank you Gods) it’s reduced to 99p. But no, that would be too easy, too obvious, too quick. It’s not a set. It must be in a box! Ugh! 

Genie spots something she absolutely cannot live without: a set that you can design your own t-shirts with. Because when is it not safe to give children fabric pens? So we’ve agreed: get dressed five times without being asked and she can have it. She starts complaining about how long that will take. And what if she forgets that it’s a school day? 

Of course the Range have already fulfilled their obligation of “if we don’t stock it, you don’t need it” s no other loom band sets are for sale. 

Meantime I’ve started asking them what they want for dinner. What about baked potatoes?  Genie doesn’t like baked potatoes (I think someone else doesn’t either but I can’t remember who it is). I’m sick to death of thinking of food to feed them. My dad used to say that he begrudged feeding us EVERY day and I finally understand what he meant. “Well what do you want then?”. Ham and mini roast potatoes it is decided. But I have to make baked potatoes as well for Adelaide (and Mack who is always forefront of my mind when it comes to food because he’s 16 and eats enough for about 3 football teams and makes me feel I done good when he piles his plate high. And I know he likes baked potatoes: he normally has 4 and then maybe another 2 at 1am). So I start planning a trip to Tescos as well. Would Tescos sell loom bands? Sorry loom band kits in a box? I suspect they’re not current enough. But the mother who helpfully supplied her child with a loom band kit  in a box to take to school to make Adelaide know they exist and want one must have bought it from somewhere. I regret not asking her but I didn’t expect the dishwasher to get emptied once, let alone five times! 

I decide on Home Bargains because it is close, has a car park and near Tescos. 

It’s also next to Pets at home. 

Adelaide gets out of the car and says she wants a pet. (I’ve mentioned we call her Queen Adealide right?)

I say no and we head into home bargains. I love Home Bargains. I want everything in Home Bargains. Because everything is a bargain. And you need everything. Because it has everything for a home. What on earth was I thinking? 
So now I’m dragging three children around the most inticing shop ever created. They want everything. Adealide wants a “bride to be” pair of pyjamas, genie wants a tambourine she once bought for a friends birthday and OMG the shop’s been designed especially for frazzled mothers dragging children around …. There’s an entire shelf of Peppa Pig toys just as Torin height. He picks up Peppa’s house and then gets upset because he can’t carry peppas house and George’s rocket at the same time. How on earth to distract him? I find a set of three cars for £2 which I’ve sort of been on the look out for for a while for the plane on holiday. Yes! It works! He puts back peppas house and George’s rocket but they absolutely MUST be in the right place on the shelf. Now Genie is crying about how unfair it is that everyone else is getting something. I wrestle with the guilt of knowing she is absolutely right and that to give in now would be self-destructive. 

Adelaide has found exactly what she wants. Loom band kits in a box that cost about £5 completely forgotten; A £12 electronic dog. “I said I wanted a pet, didn’t I?” I want to scream but decide Home Bargains personnel are not trained for mothers having nervous breakdowns. (Most of them are about 13, it seems unfair to scar them at such a tender age)

So off we go to Tescos. 

It’s now 4:20 and I think Maddie (who must know where I am every minute of every day) will be worried so I text her. We have a text conversation about where am i? Why am I taking so long? Why can’t I get back quicker? You know, the normal conversation you have with your daughter (except I’m 14 and she’s the mother) . So I start trying to get done quicker. And you know the old saying “more haste, less speed”: totally my life. 

Unfortunately Torin knows Tescos as “the brum-brum shop” because they have the trolleys with the cars that kids go absolutely crazy for (and then lose interest in within about 2 minutes so you are left pushing the must un-wieldy, noisy trolley ever invented, and a toddler who you still have to find ways of entertaining). So we spend 5 minutes looking for a Brum brum trolley. There aren’t any. 

We may have a mutiny on our hands. 

I distract him by getting a scanner. An action I immediately regret because they start fighting over who is going to hold it and who’s going to scan first. Torin wins. He’s 2. His scream could frighten a banshee. 

I remember I need a trolley. I go to look for a trolley. I only want potatoes and a few other bits but I think for potatoes I need a trolley. I get a little trolley. 

Torin is now having an argument with Adelaide because we’ve accidentally taken to scanner out of the shop. Thinking about it now, there was no security telling me off for that: they must have been too scared to approach a frazzled mum with a Torin, a Genie and a Queen Adelaide.

 Torin starts holding the side of the trolley so I lift him into trolley and he screams even more. No no no no no. A small trolley absolutely WILL NOT do. The trolley MUST have a seat that can be sat in for 30 seconds and then be asked to get out of. So I take small trolley back and get big trolley with seat. Torin is happy. 

My life is definitely NOT ruled by a 2 year old. 
We get everything. Genie asks for custard creams. My guilt at the car/dog misjudgment wins and she is allowed them. 

Then I say we need wine. “Why do you always want wine” Genie asks. “Because you drive me to it” I say. She accepts this explanation. 

Get to the checkout and quelle surprise “you have been randomly selected for a check today”.. Perhaps it was the one bottle of wine, perhaps I should have got my normal 10. 

I wait what seems an age for the assistant. In the end I turn and stare at her chatting to her friend until she comes over. 

She completes the check and I press the next few buttons on the screen. 

“You have an age restricted item, please wait for an assistant”. 

I bang my head on the counter (but not too hard in case it thinks I’m an unexpected item in the bagging area). Another few minutes wait till she comes back from wherever it is the one assistant for eight checkouts goes when it’s busy. 

We get back in the car. 

There are about 10 blissful seconds of quiet when Torin and Genie are eating custard creams and Adelaide is playing with her dog. 

It’s like everything I’ve read about a heroin hit: it’s like nectar, but each time it’s harder to get there and ends quicker. 

Yes I should have known today would be a crazy day. But, crazy days are normal …. 

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