I’m sorry, this is not the kind of post you think it’s going to be.
I am not going to appear on your computer screen like a paragon of virtue shining radiantly from YouTube, mixing kale and chia seed smoothies in my Nutribullet whilst simultaneously performing a sun salutation (multi-tasking!) alongside my identically attired and perfectly behaved yoga-baby, and telling you all how I fit in a round of tennis at 5am like Anna Wintour, a daily meditation session to calm myself ready for the day ahead, eat five activated almonds and listen to six self-improving podcasts on the way to work. And all without any apparent distraction from my adorable four year old.
That is not how we roll in the mornings.
We (well Piglet, not me) prefer to resist all attempts to get out of bed and wail continuously at the outrage of it all for five minutes until literally dragged kicking and screaming down the stairs and plonked in front of Raah Raah The Noisy Lion, whereupon some kind of cereal is proffered. Despite all reasonable attempts to get this bit right (Paw Patrol bowl and matching spoon carefully washed each night and retrieved from the dishwasher first thing; just the right amount of milk added) there is always some unforeseen problem with the food, and your friendly neighbourhood waiter (Muggins ‘ere) is the one who takes the flak. One day the spoonful will be too small, another day too large. One day he wishes to sit on my lap, another day on a very specifically-placed cushion. Nothing is too much trouble for Prince Piglet, and nothing is ever quite right.
Like clockwork, The Routine is the same every day. The first rule of The Routine is that when Raah Raah gives his final raah and the credits roll, we leave. There is no room for manoeuvre on this one. The train, I remind Piglet in tones of increasing hysteria, waits for no one. And certainly not a small child who has previously been carried off it in disgrace after persistently screaming in a high pitched manner through everyone’s morning commute.
This is the moment when the battle really starts to get interesting. Positions are marked, trenches dug, limbs flail about in an irritatingly effective way that stops trousers or school jumpers from being applied to one’s person.
“I’M LEAVING!” I shriek.
“I’M LEAVING WITHOUT YOU!”
“IF YOU DON’T GET YOUR CLOTHES ON I’M CARRYING YOU INTO SCHOOL NAKED!”
And the final plea
“I’M GOING TO LOSE MY JOB IF WE DON’T LEAVE RIGHT THIS MOMENT AND THEN WE WILL LOSE OUR HOUSE AND BE LIVING ON THE STREETS!”
Surprisingly, none of these melodramatic empty threats have the desired effect. Piglet is resolute. Every morning without fail, the drama comes to town-or more accurately, to my sofa. And every morning without fail I absolutely lose the plot. It’s as though he does it deliberately, determined to thwart every effort to get the both of us to our respective schools. Is he desperate to salvage some semblance of control over the situation? To stop me from going to work so that I can be his “mummy, and not a teacher,” as he recently informed me? I heartbreakingly interpreted this as meaning that I had failed as a mother by having a job and neither the money nor the desire to stay at home with him all day and “play cars” (I stress that this is his idea of what the stay-at-home mum version of me would be doing, not mine. Me as a stay-at-home mum without the ability to go to an actual workplace, sip coffee and talk with actual adults would be a terrifying, frazzled version of me on an average weekday morning, but TWENTY FOUR HOURS A DAY).
I don’t know what causes these early-morning outbursts. Maybe, like me, he’s just not a morning person; but I do know that I hate the way I react to them. And so this is my attempt to throw myself on yet another hopefully sympathetic audience, the likes of whom usually consist of whomever I happen to meet on the train or at the school gate and exchange weary glances with, and say that I hope I’m not the only one.
And I also hope I can become as calm as a Zen Buddhist in the face of this sort of morning stress, whilst still being able to get us both out of the house and onto the train at the apportioned time. Perhaps if I got up three hours earlier and did a bit of meditation, yoga and listened to some calming podcasts…?
Forget that. Maybe I just need more sleep.