Mummy is going out (part 2)

Last time, on What Mum Should Have Told Me… I’m dressed up for an evening out, I’ve endured the swimming lesson from hell and somehow got my 3 children strapped in the car ready to hand them over to Daddy at work.

What could possibly go wrong?

‘Get that minced beef off your sister’s leg, or so help me I will crash this car trying to do it myself!! PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP PICK IT UP!!!!’

Stepping back and looking at it objectively – it’s a pretty impressive overreaction. You could even say it’s laughable. But when you’re driving down the dual carriageway at 70mph and a fraction of a second glance at the little circular mirror; that allows me to see my youngest in her rear-facer reveals that it is all of a sudden smeared with what can only be described as the contents of a nappy – that alone can start  whole catalogue of disasters.

I’ll admit, my first thought was; can I leave this for husband to sort out? The images that subsequently flashed through my head in response to that thought quickly helped me realise that that, was almost as good an idea as the time I thought it would be ‘festive’ to make homemade Christmas cards at 9 months pregnant with my first daughter, helped by my then 2 year old son. Only this was potentially much smellier and less socially acceptable to pop in an envelope and expect my relatives to display on the mantelpiece. With that thought I realised – if she had somehow smeared poo on the mirror it would a) smell horrendous and b) invite SO MUCH potential for dobbing-in from the sister sat in the next seat to her. This led me to the only conclusion I could reach: it was not poo. Daughter 1, was obviously responsible in some way for the entire incident…

Meanwhile in the front: My son was sat in the passenger seat fidgeting within an inch of his life. On the floor by his feet was one of 2 carrier bags I’d filled before the swimming debacle, full of croissants, brioche and many bags of Haribo sweets for my classes at school the following day. We were celebrating the end of year exams being over- and what better way?

‘Mum, you know what you told me to do earlier?’ He was past fidgeting, into squirming territory now.

‘Do you need the loo?’

‘No.’

‘Do you feel sick?’

‘No!’

‘Then why can’t you sit still?’

Suddenly his little face was crestfallen ‘I’ve lost it Mummy.’

Rewind 3 hours, I collected him from school, with an accident report and a ‘present’ wrapped in a paper towel.’

‘He’s had a little accident I’m afraid.’ Forlorn look from the boy to up the sympathy. ‘He was accidentally head-butted and he’s lost a tooth.

‘Gracious!’

‘Nothing alarming – just an over-enthusiastic puppet show.’ Only my child…

Obviously I’d told him to put the tooth in his pocket, obviously I’d told him how important it was not to lose it… obviously: he hadn’t listened.

So, 15 minutes into the 25 minute journey I’m faced with the dilemma of which child needs the most help; do I A) pull over sedately and resolve the smeared mirror/child combo and then deal with the tooth. B) Encourage and sooth my son, gently question my daughters as to the source of the mess in the back and have a good old laugh about it later. Or C) Scream irrationally at a pitch only audible to dogs and fix absolutely nothing, whilst upsetting everyone in the car.

Yeah, I know.

So we’re almost where we began; my older daughter (sat next to the other carrier bag of shopping) had helped herself to a minced beef and onion pie intended for my husband’s dinner. As is custom, conspiring with (possibly encouraged by) her younger sister the pie ended up half eaten, mostly worn across the two car seats and the back seat.

‘Get that minced beef off your sister’s leg, or so help me I will crash this car trying to do it myself!! PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP PICK IT UP!!!!’

Their brother, had potentially lost a tooth, in the treats I had bought my pupils to celebrate a year of fabulous work and was now crying at the prospect of the tooth fairy missing a visit where it was due.

As I rolled into the car park by my husband’s work, sweating, hoarse, partly deaf, probably smelling like a gravy factory and still soggy from the swimming shower episode… I decided whatever treat my lovely friends had organised for the evening – I would be enjoying it with a large glass of chilled white wine.

The tooth was in the bag of goodies, so the tears soon stopped. I applauded myself for always having a spare pack of wet wipes and a roll of bin liners in the car whilst I cleared up gravy-gate. And when my husband asked ‘All ok?’ as I left them all happy and smiling once more after the drama, I resisted temptation to lose it all over again and simply said:

‘Not too bad! Think the girls could do with a bath before bed, if you get chance.’

And with that, heels on, head held high, I kissed them all goodnight and walked across the car park to meet my friends swinging the bin liner of decimated pie nonchalantly. I remember thinking to myself… Well, that could’ve been a lot worse.

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