*Hack* *hack* *sniff* *cough* *cough* *sniff* *cough* ‘ATCHOO!’ *smear nose on nearest available fabric* Take a thirty second break then go back to beginning of chorus.
This is the sound of our house this week, day and night.
Tis the season of tissues clogging up the tumble dryer and my shoulders constantly looking like several slugs have crawled across them.
And with two littleys in the house, whose stomach tolerance for the phlegm isn’t great, once they start with coughing fits, we often have moments in the day like this:
Richard: Am I okay to leave for work? (He’s been taking extra care of me this week as I fell on the stairs and cracked a rib)
Me: Yes, no problem. Everything’s ready except for getting Baby dressed and them finishing off their cereal. No probs!
Richard: I’m off to work then, bye!
Me: C’mon, everyone eat up, we’ve got twenty minutes till we need to be out of the house. Where’s Ace? I thought he’d started his breakfast ages ago.
Turtle: He went to the bathroom. Can I have more cereal?
Me: (up the stairs) ACE! You need to come down now or there’ll be no time for your breakfast! (to Turtle) Yes, here you go....
Rocky: *hack hack* *cough cough* *gagging noise*
Me: Nooooooo........! (grabbing the nearest empty bowl to put under his chin, but missing most of his outpouring, and knocking a cup of juice over as I do it) Noooooooooo! Turtle, quick, get a towel!
Turtle grabs one of the old tea towels we keep right next to the table because someone spills a drink pretty much every single meal we ever have, and starts to mop up the juice.
Ace comes down the stairs to see Rocky puking into not just any cereal bowl, but his cereal bowl. Usually he is very compassionate with anyone when they are hurt or sick, but on this occasion he just can’t see past the fact that...
Ace: THAT’S MY BOWL! My bowl! My green bowl! Stop, Rocky, stop! My bowl, my bowl!
Me: (bellowing over the din) There’s another one in the cupboard Ace, I’ll get you another one! Stop shouting!
Scooby: Mummy, can you give me some more cereal?
Me: Are you serious? Can you not see what’s going on?
Scooby: (blank look) What?
Rocky: *bleugh* *cough cough* *fresh wave*
Me: (through clenched teeth) How about you just help yourself buddy?
Ace: What about my breakfast?
Me: Go and look in the cupboard for another bowl.
Turtle: I’ve cleaned up the juice! (sits down) Waaah! My seat is wet! My trousers!
Me: Gah! Wipe down your seat! Then go and find some clean trousers! And can you get a clean jumper for Rocky from your room? (afterthought as he’s running up the stairs) And thankyou for being helpful!
Rocky has finally stopped coughing so I put down the bowl and start wiping up the mess on and around him.
Ace: (armed with new green bowl) Can I have some Rice Pops?
Me: You’ll have to help yourself.
Rocky: Waaah! My jumper is dirty!
Me: It’s okay, just hold still while I get it off.... (trying to peel off jumper without spreading sick in his hair)
Scooby: Mummy! Look at what Ace is doing!
I turn to see Ace filling his large bowl to the brim with milk and Rice Pops.
Me: Ace! (in that whiny exasperated tone of voice only mothers know how to use and wish they didn’t) We need to go in (quick look at the clock) - oh flipping heck – ten minutes and you won’t have time to eat that and get your coat and shoes on!
Rocky: (freshly stripped down to his t-shirt) Where my breakfast gone?
Me: You threw it up.
Rocky: My want breakfast!
Me: But - you threw it up! You’ll have to have some more after we’ve dropped your brothers off.
Ace: My breakfast!
I turn to see that bowl, the one that was almost overflowing with milk, now emptied upside down on the floor.
Me: NOOOOOOO! No no no! THIS is why I never let you pour your own cereal. Why? Why? Why? We’ve run out of towels – go and get some kitchen roll. Rocky, let’s get you ready to go, where are your shoes? Thanks for the jumper Turtle, can you get you get your shoes on?
Turtle: But I didn’t have any more breakfast!
Me: Oh right, well get your shoes and coat on then you can have some more.
Ace: I ran out of kitchen roll!
Me: But it was nearly a full one......ahhhhhh.......... (turn to see massive mountain of kitchen roll over the area where the cereal was) Never mind, I’ll sort it when we get back. Get your shoes and coat on.
Ace: But I haven’t had any breakfast!
We left the house with a coat over Baby’s pyjamas, wellies on Rocky’s feet as his shoes were still wet from the day before, and a bunch of bananas for anyone who felt that they had been short-changed at breakfast time.
This, people, is why I like half-term holidays. Because if all does all go belly-up at the drop of a hat, I have the rest of the day to recover from it. No deadlines, no rush. I can just let the chaos take me wherever it needs to go. Even if it does seem longer till bedtime.