The School Run: A Slacker Mother’s monologue

(My humble tribute to the late, great Joyce Grenfell 1910-1979)

Hello William, is it really morning already?
Can you whisper, please, Scarlett is still . . . oh, now she’s awake too. Any chance you two want to go and play quietly downstairs whilst mummy lays here for another half an hour and waits for the alarm to actually go off?
Just an idea.

Right, what would you like for breakfast?
No, ice cream is not a breakfast food.
No, neither are Haribos. What about Weetabix?
You want Cocopops. How about Weetabix with a handful of Cocopops?
Because Weetabix is better for you.
It is not more disgusting than eating poo, actually.
No I haven’t ever eaten poo.
Because I just know.

If you eat your breakfast nicely, you can watch a DVD at the same time.
Yes, you can have Spiderman, William.
But you want Minnie Mouse, Scarlett. OK, how about we compromise and watch something else that you both like?
Do I take the fact you have thrown yourself onto the floor as an indication that you are rejecting that proposal?
Shall I just put the news on?
So we can agree on something then.
Are you really sure you want Mister Maker?
Both of you?
Well, you can watch it but there is zero possibility that we have time to do any craft this morning so if I let you watch it, you can’t even ask. Agreed?

What do you want in your sandwiches William?
No, not jam. You can have ham or cheese.
Yes, I know I let you have jam yesterday but that was because I hadn’t been shopping and there was nothing in the fridge.
Yes, that’s also why you had two Bourbon biscuits and a handful of Pringles. We are aiming for healthy today.
No, we can’t make a Mister Maker googly-eyed monster. We’ve already discussed that.

William, can you get dressed please?
Yes, Scarlett, I know you are a big girl and can dress yourself but trust me that putting both legs through the neckhole isn’t the best strategy.
William, your clothes are here, please can you get dressed? And if you could stop huffing at me that would help my mood quite considerably.
Scarlett, I am letting you do it. I’m just helping.
OK, you don’t want me to help. But when you garrotte yourself with your tights, you can deal with the social worker they give us.
William, if you don’t get off the sofa and start getting dressed this second, I am going to give away all the toys you have or will be given for the next ten years.
I do mean it.
Daddy will mean it too.
Yes, Scarlett, it really would be marvellous if you could put your mermaid costume over the top of your regular clothes.

What’s this in your school bag?
Homework? How did I miss this on Friday? When’s it . . . dammit, it’s due today. Right, William, I need you to draw a picture of all the fruit you’ve eaten this week, here’s the pens and paper.
I am aware I said no craft this morning but this is an emergency.
I have no idea what fruit you’ve eaten this week, which ones can you draw?
A banana and an apple would be fine. Here’s a red pen, do a strawberry as well. What about some purple grapes?
It doesn’t matter that you’ve drawn them as big as the apples, just say that they’re plums.
I know you haven’t eaten plums but they don’t know that.
I did say it was important to always tell the truth. How about I buy you some plums later and we can put the drawing in your bag now with a clear conscience?

How did it get to be 8:40? Shoes and coats. Shoes and coats. Where are your school shoes?
Well, where did you leave them?
Could you help mummy to look for them, please?
William, laying on your back and staring at the ceiling is not looking for them. Here’s one, under the sofa. The other one should be nearby.
Yes, it is entirely possible that the shoe fairy has taken the other one but it strikes me as unlikely. Here it is! Can you put them on?
No, your shoes are not stupid, you just need to undo them before putting them on your feet.
Fantastic, Scarlett, one Wellington boot and one dressing up shoe was exactly what I had in mind for you today.

Let’s get in the car.
Your teacher is absolutely right that it is better to walk to school but that would require us to be ready to leave more than two minutes before the gate closes. Don’t worry, we’ll park around the corner so that everyone will think we’ve walked.
It is kind of like fibbing, yes.

William, I’m going to let you out of the car first because I know that I can trust you to wait patiently on the pavement whilst I get Scarlett out.
William, can you get off that wall?
William, can you stop trying to rescue that dirty bird feather from the gutter?
William, don’t do that.
You’re completely correct, spoiling your fun is all I have ever wanted to do.

Let’s go. Looking where you’re going would be a real benefit right now. Stop at the kerb, please. Is there anything coming?
Then we can cross. Looking and listening.
That’s not looking and listening, that’s just shaking your head.

Scarlett, please keep up.
I know you like to do fairy steps but we’re on a tight schedule here. Can you be a fairy who takes big steps?
I’m sure they do when they’re in a rush to take their brother to school.

Here we are at last. Good morning Mrs Jones! Yes, we’re running late again!

Give mummy a kiss goodbye, William.
Get your hands out of your mouth please.
And out of your trousers.
Have a lovely day.

I’m just off to lay down in a dark room ‘til it’s time to collect you at three o’clock.


6 thoughts on “The School Run: A Slacker Mother’s monologue

  1. I think you must have a special camera into my house. Laughed out loud at all of it. Back to school on Tuesday. Preparing the darkened room in anticipation. 🙂


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