The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

Members Musings May 2017


By Karen Haverson

We are all guilty of the busy excuse; I say it all the time.  I must text the word busy as many times as I text apologies to friends and family for not meeting up with them earlier teamed with belated Birthday/ Christmas greetings and promises to organise a day out soon.  And I run everywhere, not out of choice I hasten to add but simply to claw back some of the time I’m usually running late by.  You see the reason I’m always rushing or running late or stressed in a seemingly disorganised state most days of the week is that I have a large family.  Five children and a significant other (man I very much love but run round after) in total.  I have four children still at home on a full time basis.  Currently I have two children at Primary School, one at High School, One at Sixth Form and my eldest is currently studying Engineering at Uni.  This is a typical day for me.

5:45am Alarm sounds, I jump out of bed swearing to switch it off allowing myself until 6am as I have managed to iron some of the clothes for the day the previous evening.  I lull myself into this false sense of security that two hours and fifteen minutes is indeed enough time to get ready and leave the house by, I close my eyes and …

6.00am Alarm Sounds, this time my partner (significant other) swears and asks me as he does every other morning why I need two alarms to wake me up fifteen minutes apart.  I inform him that I prefer it that way then I can trick myself into believing that I’ve had a lie in!  I groan and switch it off whilst fighting off the hoard of cats that I’ve collected since becoming a parent as its simply not enough to stretch yourself to the limit with a houseful of children but it is essential to surround yourself with at least four needy attention seeking cats who wish to live under every step that you take!  I relent and force myself out of bed continuing to river dance down to the back door to shovel kitten kibble into their bowls but not before I have put the plug in the bath and set the hot tap running.

6.04am I tackle the laundry, folding and piling clean clothes into the individual baskets dedicated to each child, and another pile for me to iron for the day.  Mondays is swimming lessons and so that bag needs packing.  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays is football and various other sports related clubs so this needs washing and packing into another rucksack. Thursdays is Cubs, a whole other source of frustration as they change the night and/or times last minute and somehow never manage to let me know!  I load the laundry from the washing machine into the tumble dryer for the first of sometimes five that day and reload the washing machine.  I live in hope that one day soon I might actually see what the bottom of the laundry basket looks like!

6.25am I suddenly remember that the bath is still running and dash back along the hallway narrowing missing more cats before catching the bath at near brimming point.  More quiet swearing ensues as I allow the overflow pipe to take care of the excess and I dash through to the kitchen to make a start on lunchboxes.  Lunchboxes are one of my least favourite jobs.  I hate them.  With all the five a day healthy eating and nut ban it’s a complete minefield.  Don’t get me wrong I completely understand it must be awful for any parent or child who is affected by nut allergy, it’s a very serious concern with sometimes fatal consequences and this shouldn’t be ignored but I blame the supermarket packaging.  I ask you, I picked up a seemingly harmless looking, low sugar and salt biscuit alternative the other day and turned the pack over to be informed that it “may contain nuts” and that’s not all, I picked up another only to be informed that it was “made in a factory that also makes other products containing nuts.”  Seriously I do not want to be the one who sends their kids in with the “Nut Grenade” and has their child and its lunch diffused by the food police aka lunchtime monitors (the politically correct name for the more commonly known archetypal Dinner Lady!)  Anyway I make the sandwiches and add the various other items along with the accepted and expected piece of fruit that makes it way out and then returns every day for almost the week until it becomes squidgy and is chucked away but I’ve done my duty and made sure at least one of their five a day is present!

6.35am Oh No!  Litter tray has been utilised and the almost a teenage son is sauntering past it commentating with every possible rude toilet expression he can summon whilst chuckling to himself as this age group cannot resist when it comes to bodily functions!  I thank him as I do most mornings not to be quite so disgusting and asked him how he would like it if I were to make such comments when he came out of the loo.  His reply was just more chuckling; he wanders towards the direction of the telly to watch an episode of Spongebob Square Pants for the hundredth time.

6.45am After cleaning the offending litter tray and washing my hands I go in search of clean towels for the bath and make the mistake of passing my bedroom door whereupon his Lordship (significant other) as I refer to him when I’m trying not to call him a nasty name in front of the children is sat up in bed watching the news.  “Karen, can you get me some breakfast please” He asks in his sweetest voice, I’m all ready to retrieve the contents of the litter tray to serve him whilst he lavishes in bed simultaneously watching the news and scrolling on facebook!  I take the opportunity to turn on my laptop as I must check the Homework App again and the dreaded emails.  Ingenious that now I can check my entire son’s homework with a log in on the internet but alas another thing to remember as well as checking all the newsletters from all the relevant schools to make sure it’s not mufti day today!

6.50am I gather the clothes for the day and switch on the iron whilst begging almost teenage son to find himself some clean underwear and eat his breakfast without slurping and finally belching as loud as he can.  He rewards me by congratulating himself on the loudest yet!  I firmly reiterate the disgusting nature of his behaviour and insist he finds his clean underwear immediately.

7.05am I am still ironing and more of my cherished offspring are awake.  My already teenage daughter has her first meltdown of the morning because her white jeans aren’t clean.  Aaarrrggghh I calmly invite her to take some responsibility for the washing herself but my comments only seem to light a fire under her already irritated state and so I choose to make a very parent choice and “pick my battles wisely.”  This is Mummy language for a total shocking cop out and is a choice motivated solely by fear!  Anyone with a teenage daughter will know that she is either building up to, during or getting over her monthly cycle and there is no good time to tackle a difficult moment because they are all mostly difficult and unavoidably it will blow up in your face spectacularly!

7.15am Ironing for the day is complete and another bed headed sleepy child has emerged demanding weetabix with milk!  Our youngest child is just five and started school last September.  Being my fifth child I thought I had this education thing licked and couldn’t wait for him to be bringing home his first reading books from school with the same word on every page.  This was until last month when he started bring home a homework book on Mondays that is to be completed by Friday each week.  Every week we get tasks such as “read these words with your child and then stick them into the book on the learning wall when your child is secure in reading them.”  We had a whole sandwich bag full of words!  Our son has come home and told us that the other boy in his class has learnt them all and so we have to stick in all the words too.  Except that our son is not secure in reading them, he is still sounding out his words “Cer Aaah Ter errrrrm I know Mummy Tock!”  The other day I mislaid the words and was still swearing and cursing the other clever reader child and his smug mother at nine o’ clock the other evening until I found them in his bag wedged in his oversized library book all about the in and outs of the Millennium Falcon!

7.25am Weetabix prepared with milk and another child emerges and manages to be in the way of Teenage Daughter still swearing under her breath, I know she is, and manages to step on the toe of newly emerged sleepyhead who then makes Oscar worthy performance due to the pain of his swashed toe.  Teenage Daughter leaden with bags of cosmetics and deodorant and hopefully coursework hastily apologises whilst she flies out of front door claiming she is late for the bus and they all should get out of her way!  As she slams front door and other son is still wincing and complaining I sigh.

7.40am I have lost fifteen minutes somewhere and I cannot find them much to my distress as I’ve not yet got into the bath and almost teenage son has decided to try to engage me in a conversation about a video on Youtube that his friend showed him all about Coconuts.  He still isn’t in anyway dressed and has forgotten to find clean underwear; I am concerned over the content of said video and ask him to show me.  Fortunately it is just a harmless random video all about coconuts and I am left wondering who on Earth has the time to spend making these mindless videos complete with theme song all about coconuts and the morons didn’t even check the spelling of the word coconuts before they made the video live spelling it with a “K”.  I am bemused.

7.50am I am coaxing my youngest three children to get their clothes on and clean their teeth if they’ve finished their breakfast.

7.59am Weetabix with milk is finished but youngest child has informed me that he has spilt a bit on the floor and one of the cats is now helping himself.  I try and tackle the task of getting him into his school uniform.  I have a set of underwear for him that sports a different day of the week.  This was a big mistake because now I am dashing round the house trying to track the correct pair of pants as he has worked out that today’s pants should have a picture of a fire engine on them.  I am still very aware that I have not yet got into the bath.

8.05am My youngest child is now dressed in correct underwear and full uniform and is sat watching the news with his father in bed whilst I run the cold tap in the bath.  I remember that I still need a towel having been distracted earlier and dash off whilst the tap runs unchecked for the second time this morning.

8.07am I plunge into the bath and start washing my hair at record breaking speed whilst now barking one word commands at the children still bumbling about in various states of undress.  “Shoes, Coats, Homework, PE Kit!”

8.10am Shivering in a towel, looking like Alice Cooper sporting yesterdays mascara smudged around my eyes I hastily apply the cleanse, tone and moisturising routine.  It looks so refreshing and glamorous on TV but I am against the clock now very aware of the fact that almost teenage son has to catch his bus at 8.25am and I still need to drive him out of Narnia where we live to his pick up point.

8.15am “Pack your bags into the car, please come here so I can fix your tie” I have the hairdryer blasting in one hand whilst helping my youngest son to get his shoes on.  My other children are oblivious to what I have asked and are still checking out the internet for other videos about coconuts!

8.18am With fresh Mascara in hand and wiggling my feet into a pair of shoes I check the mirror to see if they match my outfit when almost teenage son stumbles in claiming that he has forgotten to make the invention he created in his lesson last week.  I sigh loudly and ask him as calmly as I can whilst grabbing my coat and leading him to the front door simultaneously checking the windows are shut and the straighteners have been switched off in teenage daughter’s room, turning lights off as I go.  Almost teenage son informs me that he invented an electric Taser pen to help combat bullying and he had to mock up a prototype of it for today.  I pass my laptop inwardly groaning that I should have checked the Homework App earlier.  He has a pen in his hand and fortunately at the last second finds a hairclip and a roll of electric tape to construct his invention in the car.

8.20am The car is sailing up the road packed with children, homework and various sports kits as I pass all the neighbours bins neatly wheeled to the kerb and shake my head that it will be another month before the already putrid black bins will be removed, I must write myself a note for next week’s recycling!

8.25am Almost teenage son has been successfully dropped with his newly fashioned Taser pen at the bus stop just as the school bus is emerging, a small but very valid triumph for me and I cheer much to the bemusement of my remaining children.  I turn up the radio and sing like only mothers do to Tiffany; “I think we’re alone now” as ironic as this sounds.

8.40am Park up at the school, the nearest parking space at this time in the morning is miles away and so upon vaguely hearing the bell ringing in the playground I jump out of the car, unload the two youngest children with all relevant equipment for the day and start to trot with them towards the school gate.  My youngest son is intrigued by the recently cut grass on the verges and kicks this at his brother on his way.  My other son is annoyed with my younger son and so grabs him and tells him in no uncertain terms to stop it.  I intervene pulling them apart whilst still jogging towards the school gate aware that it will be shut any minute and I will have to do the walk of shame around to the office where I will be asked to explain to a rather aggressive Rottweiler in a skirt who has never been late for anything why it is that I am late.

8.50am With the two youngest safely deployed to their classes just before the gate is closed I am back in the car and on my way to a mummies gathering that I have been invited to.  This is one of the major perks to being a mummy with children of school age, your social circle widens and occasionally you are invited to go along and indulge in cake with a hot mug of tea and a catch up with other women who share your pain.

10am Time to leave the mummy gathering as the conversation has progressed to swopping birth stories and other fanny anecdotes.

10.10am On the way to the supermarket to purchase more of the five a day goodies and nut free offerings that may be on the BOGOF deals of the week.  Also to find interesting and new ideas to cook for tea, they will of course only be met with “I don’t like that” by my children.

11.50am Finally back on the drive to unload the shopping and not quite sure how I managed to spend so much time doing it but now for the task of getting it to fit in the fridge and freezer.

12.25pm Sat in the front room with another cup of tea politely ignoring the ironing board as it nags me to get ahead of myself for tomorrows onslaught.  I also notice the dust on the telly and the Lego scattered on the floor.  A list starts to form in my mind as I remember that it’s another family birthday tomorrow and I’ve forgotten to buy a card or present for the proceedings.  I hastily write a list down and remember that I’ve still not checked my emails.  With that the door bell goes and as I open it I see my rather tasty window cleaner is standing there, “I’m doing your area today shall I make a start?”  He has no idea!

As I retreat from the door I suddenly remember in horror the complete devastation left after this morning’s school run.  We live in a bungalow and so it’s now a race against time to get each room clean before he cleans that window.  Fortunately he starts with the front room and I resign to the fact that he couldn’t possibly see the dust on the telly from the window so I dash into the dining room.  The sewing machine is out and the off cuts of fabric left over from my daughters latest sewing project are piled high on the table, the sun is shining through the window and one of the many cats is lounging on top of it all turning to look at me as he stretches and yawns.  He has a rude awakening as I hastily shoo him off and launch the fabric mess into the bin in the kitchen.  The sink is piled with breakfast dishes stuck fast with Weetabix!  I rush on to the boy’s room rushing to make beds tidy and place their colossal pile of teddies neatly on them.  I open the wardrobe and hoof the pile of recent dress up outfits’ strewn over the floor from a previous playing session into the abyss along with anything else littering the floor.  After jamming the door shut I rush into my room grateful I got there before him to remove the dirty washing left on the floor by his Lordships side of the bed, tugging the duvet over the bed and smoothing it just as I hear him clatter round with his bucket and squeegee.

I open the door to teenage daughter’s room; it looks like a crime scene!  I resolve to tiptoe carefully across the ransacked space only to shut the curtains of this room, it cannot be rescued so quickly!

On to the kitchen now to empty the sink and fill it with fresh water in the hope of at least submerging the concreted Weetabix bowls, I leave the tap to run over the ample squirt of Fairy liquid.  I grab the recycling and whisk it out to the green bins.  On my way back in the house I dive down to the utility room to swap the washing. I spot the cat bowls with more kibble on the floor now than in the bowls and swoop for the hoover to remedy this.

1.05pm Suddenly remember tap is running and dash back to kitchen only to be greeted with puddle forming on the floor and the window cleaner pointing through the window stating the obvious as I make polite smile and try not to swear.

1.20pm Window cleaner is paid and on his way still chuckling at my expense, washing up still not achieved and Weetabix still firmly attached.  I am rescued by a nice lady from a Cancer charity who has called on the phone to see if I will be holding another coffee morning this September, it’s only April.

1.50pm Phone rings again but this time it’s my youngest son’s teacher just to inform me that my son has been a bit silly with one of the other boys in the toilets and now he is dressed in his PE Shorts as the other boy had weed on him.  I am not really sure what to say except to reassure her that I would talk to him about his behaviour when he got home.  I wonder how he came to become weed on but this train of thought will get me nowhere!

2.10pm I remember whilst polishing the dust from the telly that has annoyed me so much that I’ve forgotten to have lunch.  I will do it in a minute after I’ve checked those emails.

2.30pm Managed to iron clothes for tomorrow, this is a major break though and should be celebrated with a cup of tea.

2.35pm Kettle is on and a couple of bits of toast to inhale before the school run.

2.45pm Back in the car to pick the two youngest up from school.

3pm I’ve managed to bump into the mother of the child who has weed on mine earlier and managed an embarrassed smile as I collect my youngest donned in a full winter coat and a pair of shorts sporting his skinny pale legs black socks and shoes; he looks like he lives in a shopping trolley under a bridge somewhere especially since he now sports what looks like a large yoghurt stain down his jumper. My older son eyes him suspiciously and asks me why he is in his shorts.  I begin to reply when my youngest son announces to the entire playground that he got weed on today.  I escape by the quickest route.

3.15pm we park in town to purchase the present and card I had forgotten earlier.  We are in hurry and so rush into the local card shop only to see the most obvious transvestite stood looking at the card display.  I snatch a look at the boys to see if they had noticed and both were eyes wide and mouth agape.  I could hear my older son’s mind ticking over as he was about to ask the most awkward question whilst this poor person was in ear shot and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to answer it without dying of shame, not to mention the person whom the question would be about.  I just knew as my younger son’s face broke into a cheeky grin that I needed to leave quickly to bat the questions in a more controlled place.  Without thinking and as if in slow motion I swooped down and grasped their hands in each of mine and informed them that we must get some sweets and as I rose again I managed to knock a card stand sending it sailing towards the floor I grab it with master precision and leave before any further issue much to the stares of the counter staff.

4.20pm With present purchased and a promise to make a card with the boys we are driving to pick up almost teenage son from the bus stop.  As he jumps in the car both younger boys chime “We saw a man dressed like a lady!” and they fell about laughing.

5pm Swimming lessons.

6pm Home again to start making tea.

6.30pm I suddenly remember that it’s the Easter Garden on a Plate competition for the Primary school and all entries must be entered tomorrow.

7pm Tea is served, teenage daughter is scrolling on phone whilst my two younger boys are colouring in paper plates in preparation for sticking on fluffy chicks and almost teenage son is completing some homework that I finally managed to print off the App.

7.05pm Eldest son video calls to catch up with the family whilst we are shovelling our tea down.  The bath is running again, the washing machine is spinning and the tumble dryer still going strong whilst the washing up is still soaking in the sink.

7.30pm Two boys are in the bath, water all over the floor.  Teenage daughter is still laughing as the boys regale their eldest brother with the story of the Man dressed as a lady and that the youngest got weed on.  Eldest son shares his news of the week, another great grade on his coursework and he has been to work the past two evenings at the pizza place.  He then proceeds to tell us how one of the lads who lives on his floor in halls has gotten into the habit of washing his face in my son’s sink whenever he comes into the room, my son thinks this is most odd behaviour and explains how uncomfortable he finds it but his face suddenly forms a grin much like my youngest son had earlier when he tells us that he then dries his face on my son’s towel.  My son tells us that the funniest thing is all he can think of is “I wiped my arse dry on that towel this morning!”

8pm The boys are all in their pyjamas and are getting into bed.  My Daughter has now hijacked the bathroom and we have all bid my eldest son a good night.  I read them a story and turn out the light.

Washing up and laundry is a work in progress and more ironing must occur either this evening or in the morning.  I reflect on the day and the job that I’ve done, I’m not always perfect but I love them all. One day they will all be grown with families of their own and if I am very fortunate I will still be a good part of their lives and hopefully they will look back on their childhood with fond memories and their children will give them as challenging a time as I have with them!

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