I’ve read a few blogs recently about how you can make the morning school run a stress-free operation.
I found that on the whole I was already putting into practice much of the advice.
But as many of you will no doubt agree there are some mornings where, despite your best efforts, you end up swimming against the tide.
Mine reared its ugly head today – at 1am to be precise.
Every now and again my three year old daughter will cry out for me to sleep on the floor next to her bed.
I grab my pillow and the spare single duvet I use for such occasions and head into her pink palace.
As I lay next to her she gives me a satisfied grin.
If I wasn’t half asleep and desperate to return to the land of nod, I’d have questioned her motives for calling me and asked whether I’d just been played for a fool.
At 5.30am I hear her coughing loudly, which is then followed by a choking noise and then sick – right by her pillow and next to where my head was resting. Oh the joy.
I clean up the mess and the subsequent noise wakes my one year old boy.
The tag team are up and ready to go.
Naturally my first thought had been that my daughter was ill.
Turns out she’d coughed to the point of making herself sick and was in fact very much her normal self, barking out her breakfast order when we headed downstairs.
The kids eat, we wave mum off to work and the tide is starting to turn.
I get dressed while the boy is happily playing and we are on course for a record time school run departure.
The holy grail of parking spaces – right outside the pre-school gates – was going to be mine.
The girl had chosen to wear her Princess Aurora dress for the pre-school’s World Book Day celebrations, with her favourite pink, sparkly party shoes perfectly rounding off her Disney outfit.
But where were the shoes?
No sign of them on the shoe rack or in her dressing up box. They’re not under her bed or in her toy kitchen which has become her favourite hiding spot.
I ask her where she has put them as I only saw her wearing them yesterday when she was playing in her Cinderella dress.
Ironic eh? Cinderella. Lost shoes.
Anyway, I waste 15 minutes trying to locate them by which time the boy is screaming for attention and to add insult to injury has lost his dummy.
My kids are like magicians – shoes and dummies vanish into thin air on a regular basis.
By sheer luck I find a dummy, not the one he’d lost this morning, but another that has been AWOL for a week. It was wedged into a toy.
I text mum in the hope she can shed some light on the disappearing shoes or simply tell me what to do.
She says go with the pink sparkly pumps instead.
They’re not quite princess shoes but the girl goes along with it and we’re ready to go.
She’s decided to have a hot dinner today so I don’t need to worry about a packed lunch. Things are looking good again.
I’ve accepted that the best parking spot will have been snapped up long ago but the main thing is we’re on time so I should be able to park fairly close.
This helps because I have to carry the boy in his car seat as well as hold my daughter’s hand and the many bags and folders that accompany her.
It turned out that every parent was on their best school run form today and I ended up parking a record distance away from the gates.
Oh, and then it started chucking it down.
Soaked and annoyed, I managed to juggle my school run load to the gates.
With my daughter being sick in the night I wanted to make the staff member aware, but be able to explain that she is fine and not unwell.
This meant I couldn’t do a quick drop off so we stood getting drenched while another parent enjoyed a good chinwag with the staff member.
The rain really didn’t seem to bother her and she wasn’t in much of a hurry. Great.
Eventually I waved Princess Aurora off and began my long, wet trek back to the car.
Back home for a strong coffee I thought as I turned on to the main road just before our street.
But what’s this now popping into my head? You didn’t give the staff member the girl’s dinner money? Surely not.
An expletive or two later (don’t worry the boy is asleep in his car seat and still is while I’m writing this blog) and I return to deliver the cash.
The one positive is I can now park right outside the gates – I knew I would!
Sadly that doesn’t disguise the fact that everyone else has long since gone, basking in the glory of their perfect school runs.
As for me, I’m still waiting to have that bloody coffee!