'Be Prepared!' The well known motto of The Scouts should also be the motto of all parents. Be prepared, for anything and everything. You really never know what is going to happen.
Today was one of those days. You know those days. You plan to have a nice day with one of your brood whilst the bigger ones are at school; a bit of play, some swimming and a bit of shopping, but it doesn't all go to plan.
So we drop the big ones off at school except one of them has forgotten their football kit. That's OK, says I you can manage with your PE kit. The small crumpled face tells me otherwise. So, relishing the fact that we live seven miles away and didn't choose to send our children to the local school, I drive home, pick up the offending boot bag which I did remind my son to pick up at least ten times before we left the house and drive back to the school.
On the way home, A falls asleep which means she wakes up in a real grump. So there goes the hour of nice play. Well unless you call having a pack of snap cards thrown in your face nice.
Next stop the swimming pool for our weekly mother and baby session. We get in, I change A and she is all ready to go in when I realise that I haven't got my swimming costume. I have several swimming costumes of A's and a pair of age 7 trunks in the bag and I really don't want to have to explain to my very excited daughter that we can't go swimming as her mother is has a memory like a sieve. Instead I have to go shamefaced to the larger than life instructor who announces to the whole changing room that I am a 'silly billy' and tells me to use one of the spares hanging on the door in the shower. Ha ha very funny! I am every bit a size 16 and clearly the spare costumes are a 12 and below. Standing there in a quandary, the instructor bellows at me; 'don't worry you can squeeze in '. Squeeze was the operative word. After a half hour class I was contemplating a can opener to get myself out and I can honestly say that I never knew chafing like that was even possible.
The shopping bit passed by without any major drama. A really does love shopping, when the time comes for exams later on, if there is a GCSE in shopping, this girl will get top marks I can tell you. People often comment that I am really lucky that she enjoys shopping, but I have a funny feeling that that could turn out to be very expensive later on.
We return home and again she sleeps in the car. This time it was far worse and she turned from angelic to angry in the space of a ten minute nap. We had an hour of wrestling on the sofa. I couldn't do anything as she screamed and cried every time I tried to make a run for it. I tried sitting on the sofa and giving her a cuddle but this turned her into a raging banshee and we spent twenty minutes with me getting crosser and her kicking me in the ribs very hard.
Finally I was able to distract her from her stinking mood as it was time to pick the boys up from school. She loves her brothers and so cheered up instantly. They have football after school and so we waiting in the foyer when A started to cry and her nose went tell-tale red. She needed a number two. Urgently judging by her face. I picked her up like a rugby ball and mowed all the other parents out of my way as I rushed through the doors mouthing 'toilet' to the concerned looking teacher on the door. But alas we were too late. To make matters worse, it would seem that she had nasty case of what we call the 'runny tummy'.
Did I have anything with me to deal with this? No I did not! It was everywhere too. I managed to acquire a carrier bag and poor little A was left wearing her vest as this was the only thing that wasn't contaminated. I wrapped her up in her brothers coat and off we marched at the end of another day.
R asked me if I had remembered to book him and his brother in for the Thanksgiving cooked lunch at school as they have packed lunches normally and only have cooked on 'special occasions'. It had completely slipped my mind. He went mad. I tried to point out that I do have quite a lot going on and that I do actually remember 99.9 per cent of things, but sadly this was not acceptable t him and I am now the world's worst mother. Again.
As I sit writing this post, A is now fine and sleeping and the boys are on their way too, I have been reflecting on how today may have been easier if I had been prepared. I used to be meticulously prepared. Ridiculously. Even to the point of having a box hidden in the car with dry food, water, blankets and torches in case we broke down. Everywhere we went, I always had a bag with spare clothes, plastic bags and those all important baby wipes. The family calendar used to be full of dates and reminders so that we all knew exactly what was going in and when.
These days, it seems to have gone a bit to pot. I always manage to leave the house with my keys and my phone. Well mostly, we have been locked out a few times thanks to me. Gone are the rigidly planned days and weeks, the carrying around of everything but the kitchen sink. I make mistakes. I forget things, but then I am a busy mum and with four children, a husband, a house and all the other stuff to worry about that is going to happen.
After today though, I may pop a pack of baby wipes, some plastic bags and a spare swimming costume in the car. Just in case. Doesn't hurt to be prepared.