The first few mornings of the school run brings with it some extra frosty weather and we decide to encourage the kids to wear gloves. Mayhem declares that she has lost hers. We find a few pairs of gloves in the house that she will be able to use. “These are too long”, she says of the smallish adult gloves I offer her (she has in the past used mine when it suits her). “These don’t match! ” she wails as she rejects a pair of Happy Boy’s which are indeed not identical, but pretty similar. She throws herself on the floor at the prospect of walking to school (400 metres) without gloves. “M, please tell me what you would like me to do about it, right now, this morning, just before school?”, using my best calm therapist style voice. Remaining calm is crucial at a time like this, any sign of impatience or anger will set her off like a Body Shop bath bomb when it connects with water, fizzing and raging until all effervescent energy is spent. “You’re doing that face again!” she yells. At least now I know it’s my sympathetic face.
We manage to leave the house, but her face is thunderous.
Determined to remain in perky Friday spirits, I sympathetically ask, ” What is bothering you this morning?” She says that it is her brother’s moaning, whining and his inability to do as he is told. That pesky eyebrow of mine shoots up involuntarily. Before I can control the wayward slug, she spots it twitching. Sets her off like a hairdryer pointing directly at my face on full speed, highest heat setting. I’m beginning to think my face is my own worst enemy.
She’s in a really foul mood. Damn my inability to look after her gloves (she won’t wear anyway) 24/7. I sing the Smurf song (La La La La La La...) quietly to myself, trying a little silliness to diffuse (the hairdryer) situation. She hears me, it incenses her further and she goes Reservoir Dogs with Happy Boy in the pissy smelling alley that we use as a shortcut to get to school, even though it’s no quicker than taking the road. I deliver a warning (to no avail, the brother bashing continues), a consequence (deaf ears, they’re too busy violently shoving each other against the fence) and finally the punishment (bingo, that gets their attention) just as we arrive at school. Whilst other mothers kiss their little darlings goodbye, one of mine hangs on my arm wailing dramatically to give her one more chance. My poor parent badge is flashing in neon lights. I gently nudge her into her classroom before setting off to the shop. To buy gloves. I buy two identical pairs, one pair to keep hidden in the event of emergencies.