School mornings are about waking up and swearing that tonight the kids really will go to bed before stupid o’clock and that you will not sit up watching Nashville and checking FB until 1.30am.
It’s about repeatedly shouting ‘get dressed’. It’s about breaking up arguments over ‘who is sitting in the wrong chair’ but above all, school mornings are about the school run. For the record: I am not a fan, in fact if someone come along and offered me the choice of either:
- the school run or
- swimming with sharks
My pen would be happily circling B. My reason? Name me a shark whose bite is worse than that of a teenage kid who hates school!
When I plumped for taking my two teenagers over my two younger ones to school. I was, in my mind, picking the easier option. I figured not having to get out of the car, was a win win situation, enabling me to wear my fluffy PJ bottoms without justification, face free of make-up and hair scraped up any ‘ole way. Plus:
- It doesn’t matter if it rains I don’t have to get out.
- I can avoid the boredom of Parental cliques & fair-weather mothers.
- I don’t have to drive around in circles, getting dizzy just to find a parking space not more than 5 feet from the school gates.
THE ACTUAL SCHOOL RUN
Since the beginning of time Ciara has always strived to be first, so it’s no surprise when it comes to first out gets the front seat she nails it every time. It’s been going on so long , the others have just admitted defeat. Besides if you look closely enough the seat bears the ingrained outline of her arse cheeks.
With her usual entourage aka dad & siblings otherwise engaged, she comes out into the fresh air juggling bag, phone and coffee. Gliding over to the passenger side she begins nodding her head up & down towards the door handle, which, in layman terms, simply means – open the door and let me in.
Duly abiding, I lean across stretching my arm further then it’s really designed for, practically dislocating it in the process as I manage to fling it open with the tips of my fingers.
Getting in, her eyes narrow looking at me ‘what the hell are you wearing?’ she asks handing me her coffee to hold ‘and what is going on with your hair?’.
Throwing her coffee at her – ok so I don’t – but believe me it crosses my mind. ‘I ignore her asking ‘Where’s Keelan’? ‘where do you think!’ she answers tersely.
Instantly regretting asking, I jump out leaving the echoes of ‘how I could be parenting better’ behind as I go to hunt him down.
‘Will you hurry up’ – I yell as I open the door to see a lost soul in school uniform wandering around.
‘I can’t find my phone’ he says scratching his head looking no-where in particular. It’s at this moment I know that:
- There will be no leaving until said phone is found
- I am now heading this search party
- It will be my fault if he can’t find it
‘Have you looked in your pockets?’ I ask ‘No, because I haven’t put it in there’ he says, throwing his eyes skyward. ‘OK, but just check’ I suggest.
One minute later and panic over. The finder of things was correct, it was in his blazer pocket. Strange though, as he swears he doesn’t remember putting it there! Oddly enough I believe him.
‘Right come on then, move them legs’. Dragging his feet, he reluctantly follows.
“I hate school, why do we have to go?‘ he argues as he climbs in the car. Conditioned to the back seat he shuts the door. With repeated digs to my back and arse through the seat, he finally positions his clodhoppers and we can go.
And then it starts: “Have you SEEN the time, now we are late leaving because of you’ she barks, she can’t help herself, it’s as natural as breathing to her.
‘Mum, he hasn’t got his seatbelt on’-
‘Put it on’ I shout –
‘For god’s sake does she have to tell you everything?’
The school run arguments are off to a flying start and I’m only in 2nd gear!
Changing the radio station temporarily diffuses the situation, ‘what the hell is that? the chorus of protests ring out. Hurriedly flicking through the channels and back again Ciara finds a suitable station to listen to, one that I always find unsuitable.
Not feeling it, my first instinct is to turn it over, but knowing that this it’s not worth the bother I merely enquire as to “What sort of bloody song is that, and the lyrics…wtf?’
‘Mum, we know you don’t like this song you tell us everyday! but we like this music’ she says sharply.
“fair point, but I beg to differ on your use of the word music, I believe what we are listening to is talk-your-way-through-a-song-with-shit-rhyming-lyrics – ‘how much do they get for this shite?’ I wonder out loud.
‘You’re always moaning,’ she complains before busying herself again with hair flicking and selfies.
‘How many streaks you got now Ciara?’ a mumble from the back sounds out.
‘More than you have I would think’ she says cutting any hope of conversation stone dead.
‘God what’s with you, must be your period? He replies, laughing.
Shaking my head typical bloody male, I want to shout always thinking it must be period time. I keep quiet not wanting to make an already bad situation worse.
Unbelievably, she ignores him turning to me instead ‘Why don’t you go in that lane, its quicker’ she says, ‘I’m fine in this lane thank you’, I reply as I wonder why I am actually in the lane of slow moving traffic. Not one to admit defeat I simply remind her I can make my own decisions. She is having none of it. According to her, my 5 most common driving habits are:
a) I randomly grip the steering wheel for no apparent reason.
b) I hit kerbs, a lot so would be better suited to a bumper car.
c) I like to pull out in front of other moving vehicles.
d) I spend a lot of time in the wrong lane.
e) I complain about a lot of other drivers with occasional hand gestures.
Reminding her she doesn’t actually drive yet usually puts paid to any further discussions.
Without warning, a shout from the back sounds out “Crap, I think I have PE today? breaks this morning’s driving lesson. Craning my neck upwards, I send him the dagger stare via the rear-view mirror whilst shouting:
‘For f@’ks sakes, clearly that means you DO have PE today!’.
‘Can you bring it in for me? he asks ‘Nope I can’t’ I say firmly, my lips tightly pursed.
‘Great thanks a lot mum, now I will get into trouble and it’s all your fault!’ he yells.
‘Of course, it’s my fault, I will make sure to have my psychic powers back up and running for tomorrow’ I screech.
‘Mum, please’ he shouts ‘you have to, otherwise I will be forced to wear someone else’s skanky, dirty kit, from lost property!’ –
‘I wouldn’t worry too much son, you might be lucky and find one of your 3 kits that went AWOL in there! –
“Fine, I’ll text Dad then” he says defiantly.
Soaking up the sudden onset of silence, I hit a lane of slow moving traffic. Cursing, I inch forward maintaining bumper to bumper position with the car in front, there is no way anyone is getting in front of me.
Crawling up the road it becomes obvious that half term is over as the ‘Men at work’ signs are up. Inching closer there are no visible signs of any workmen working, but they are definitely there, I can see them all standing on the side-lines in their ‘cooey we are here’ jackets, looking happy enough chatting and drinking tea.
If that isn’t bad enough I can see in the distance someone approaching the pedestrian crossing ‘god no’ I plead, don’t press the button. Fighting back the urge to shout out the window, I just sit and snarl at the sheer gall of them pressing the button.
Gripping the wheel (she’s right!) like I’m at the start of Mario Kart Races. I bring my eyes back from boring into that person’s head to the lights. Shouting at the lights to hurry up and turn green, I wait.
Finally it twinkles green and with pedal to the metal we manage to get through before anyone else decides they want to cross the road!
Bringing the car to a stop in the drop off zone, its goodbyes and see ya’laters as Starsky and Hutch jump out into a fog of teenage kids.
With a few hours off from parental dictating, I drive off, Chris Country playing, vocal chords dancing, home to, in the words of my kids, sit on my arse and do nothing all day while an unseen entity cleans up, washes, irons, shops, and preps dinner.