British Summer Time

I don’t know the person who sets British Summer Time.

What I do know is that they don’t like their mum.

0605hrs is when this happened this morning.

Thoughtful? Yes. Punctual? Yes. Achieved maximum impact? Yes…but not in the way idealised by Clinton Cards. I don’t object to Mothering Sunday. In fact, seeing Rowdy & The Bobcat’s excited little faces (in extreme and unnecessary close-up) in presenting their school and preschool gifts respectively actually lends weight to the argument for keeping it. (Rowdy, in particular has come on leaps and bounds since arriving home with a brown paper bag containing a cereal bar with the sellotaped label ‘Breakfast in Bed’. Before sitting down and scoffing it right in front of me.) 

The one day where media (in general) supports mums nationwide in having vast amounts of chocolate just because AND an extra bit of kip and BST scuppers it good and proper.

Add to this that I was then barricaded from the kitchen while their creativity was spontaneously retriggered into more gift preparation (what mum does not favour a glue&feather parrot mask? TWO parrot masks? Bring it on). 

THREE HOURS they were in there. Their dad tried to lob tea and biscuits in my general direction to placate the beast (the PMT, carb-deficient, early-roused beast) but to no avail. The cry of “Just 5 more minutes, Mummy!” didn’t offer any consolation either as their grasp of the concept of time runs roughly parallel with their grasp of the concept of where cows magically turn into beef burgers.

Bedtime should be oddles of fun.

Naivety nativity.

Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people. All at the same time for Rowdy and The Bobcat and probably many other under 10s. Really, there’s a proper amount of information to take in, isn’t there? Advent calendars; Christmas cards; carols; tombola; everything gets very shiny and sparkly; guy with beard and sock fetish careering through the night with magical flying wildlife.

The nativity (do they rehearse this from September?) is another seasonal adventure. Costumes; lights; action! Especially if your progeny has a speaking part. Or a shouting the songs part. Or a picking their nose centre-stage part. And then start a straw fight, steal a sheep and start a pop-up enterprise vending angel dust out of the manger. Primary teachers must live off Rennies by November 3rd.

Joyfully, at home Rowdy feels she can juggle both front and backstage roles. She is a born assistant stage manager. And, to be fair, as AmDram newbies we do need a lot of guidance particularly when the script is a moveable feast incorporating many varied sources and influences and the scriptwriter (also Rowdy), set designer (Rowdy) and Wardrobe (Rowdy) is on set. 

We’re fast learning that this is becoming an annual family tradition.

Rowdy: “Daddy is a king, The Bobcat is Captain Hook, Mummy is The Beanstalk, Stan is The Baby Lowgeez* and I’m Elsa. We’re all having a lovely picnic. GO!”

The Bobcat: “Excuse me.”

Rowdy [festive rolling of eyes]: “Whaaaaat?”

The Bobcat: “I no have a hook.”

[Rowdy glares at him momentarily before rummaging in the ‘Kitchen and Dented Softplay Balls’ section of the room and thrusting a miniature spatula at him.]
*It took us two weeks to work out that The Baby Lowgeez was The Baby Lord Jesus.

The first day back…

By parental agreement one of us took the day off work today to ease the kids back into their respective childcare/education opportunity emporia.

“Ease”.  What a lovely word.

“Ease.”  What a lovely…hilarious…word.

The first emotional hurdle was actually seeing Rowdy first thing in the morning as she appeared to have actually turned into a full-grown teacher overnight.


It was only a matter of time.  (Her teacher is the same height and looks like her tenth birthday is rapidly approaching so it evens out.)

Speaking of time, we’d lulled ourselves into a cosy, traditionally-misplaced sense of security the night before by getting everything prepared for this morning.  Bags packed, lunches made, clothes laid out, pep talks… VG tick.  What we hadn’t banked on was outright, witless sabotage.

Is there actually an Olympic event for the under 7s where the 100m equivalent is putting your socks on whilst pretending to be a pygmy sloth?  Because our two were going for gold.

Mummy: “What do you want for breakfast?”


Muesli?  MUESLI?!  Is there any breakfast requiring more time?!!  Muesli is not even a human breakfast.  It requires eight stomachs to digest muesli including regurgitating to chew.  This means that to effectively eat muesli you have to be a 2xcow.  And have no pressing engagements.  Like SCHOOL.

Mummy: “Put your shoes on please.”

Rowdy: “I can’t find them.”

Mummy: “They’re laid out by the door.”

Rowdy:”Ooooh.  I found OTHER shoes.”

Mummy: “NO, not those shoes.  They’re for when you’ve gone up a size.”  (See? PREPARED.)

Rowdy: “But I like them.  They’re pretty.”

Mummy: “How did you even find them?  You couldn’t find the ones by the door but you found these on top of a wardrobe?  In a box.  Under several boxes.”

The issue here is The Concept of Time.  Although SHE KNOWS that she can’t wait to see her bestie after summer break, SHE KNOWS she has the excitement of a whole new (child-sized) teacher and SHE KNOWS (based on the contents of her schoolbag at the end of last term) that the school Sparkly Creative Play Treasure Trove (beads/stones/feathers/pens/sensory tent) will be left unguarded once again and prey to her inner kleptomaniac magpie and ALTHOUGH she knows this she and The “Why eat the shreddie in one go when you can dismantle it and ponder upon its fragility and accompanying metaphors” Bobcat have zero…NIL…concept of time.

Not even a concept so far as to relate when Mummy says”Hurry up, we’ll be late” to the act of avoiding at all costs removing each and every jigsaw from the shelf and seeing if you can just make one great, lovely, giant one from all of the pieces.

The irony is that on this day on which there is quite a demand to behave like an adult this is what happens:

Rowdy:”Uhhhh…WHY are you jumping up and down in one place?”

Mummy:”Because swearing burns fewer calories.”

And then we get to school and we drop off Rowdy.  In stages.  Because despite the brief about being a “big girl” and all the AMAZING things that are waiting for her on her return the LIMPET EFFECT takes place.  Predictably.  So there is de-suckering, steering in the direction of the peg…the blasted peg has moved…where is the peg?  Finding a friend, clamping Rowdy to friend, giving a quick, deft smooch, doing that eye contact thing with the TA which can be loosely interpreted as “My offspring is here, in my general vicinity. I’m scarpering before it kicks off.  Have a good one.”

Then it’s Operation Drop-Off Two.  For The Bobcat this is more of a dealy-oh because he’s changing his early years site.  It’s better in terms of distance because it’s within sight of his sister’s school (which he’s very excited about).  So this bit (with a sprint and some enthusiastically projected motivational quotes) should be in the bag, baby.  The building, the very door, is within our sights, the clock is ticking, the pittle-pattle-scuff of little tiny feet making their way in…


And then this.

The Bobcat: “Ooooh.  A thssslug.”

At this point (after a short parental conniption) lying was resorted to.  Of the There-Are-A-Million-Slugs-in-Preschool-and-If-We-Are-Quick-Maybe-We-Can-See-One variety.  The outcome, happily, was The Bobcat in preschool with staff very conscious that it was his first day with them and parental advice about lobbing a few dinosaurs in his direction if he started looking wobbly.

And then home.  A very empty feeling home.  Everything still.  No evidence of the former maelstrom.  And then memories of them as babies flashing up on my Fb timeline just to rub salt into the wound.  I’m such a slug.