The first step is deciding to leave the house. The last step is sobbing quietly into the steering wheel….
Start preparing about an hour before you need to leave the house. You’re feeling smug about how much time you’ve given yourself because you are so super organised.
SPOILER ALERT: it’s never enough time.
Tell the two-year old you’ll be getting in the car soon so it’s time to get dressed, which is toddler code for “start running around the house naked with the speed and fervour of a thug outrunning the cops.”
Contemplate whether it’s strictly necessary he wear pants and/or shoes. Weigh up the time-benefit vs. public ridicule. Decide to fully clothe the child and brace yourself for a battle in which you’ll lose part of your soul and possibly chip a tooth, but he will have pants on.
Pick up the baby who’s been screaming for a full five minutes while you brawled with her brother. You silently ask for forgiveness and hope she’s not mentally scarred for life but tell yourself she’s learning independence and resilience.
Run upstairs to get her dressed. You manage to pull something out of the drawer before you hear the crash downstairs. Pick up baby and run back down to see the toddler has decided to raid the pantry for crackers. He’s also taken off his pants.Breathe in. Count to five very slowly. You can do this.
Negotiate a deal in which one cracker equals five minutes of sitting still. Put baby on the rug so you can change her within eyesight of toddler.
But first you decide to quickly clean the crackers off the pantry floor.
Turn around to find toddler trying to sit on baby.
Pull toddler off baby and explain why we don’t use infants as floor pillows.
Turn back to change baby and find her clothes have disappeared. Start tearing house apart as exasperated tears sting your eyes because you KNOW you put that outfit right next to her.
Ask toddler if he knows where the baby’s clothes are. He happily replies that he put them in the laundry. Which means he’s just thrown her outfit in the tub that’s soaking her shit-stained clothes.
Close your eyes and pray to Saint Monica, the patron saint of patience and disappointing children.
Tell toddler not to move because you’re getting in the car in FIVE MINUTES. Run upstairs to find second outfit. Run back down and start to change baby before you realise the toddler’s not there. See something flash past the back door.
The toddler is now outside, riding his bike. In the rain.
Drop some language that’s highly unsuitable for young ears. Decide to let him stay out there while you finish organising yourself.
Dress the baby and throw some pants on yourself. Pack the bag with 18 spare nappies, wipes, nappy bags, snacks, water, toys, phone, keys, book, spare clothes, hats, sanitiser, more nappies, dummies, Panadol, wraps, your sanity…
You are now officially running late.
You run outside and wrestle toddler off the bike amid ear-splitting screams and thrashing legs. Drag your bucking child down the hallway until he goes boneless and drops to the ground in a puddle of fury and futility. Step over him in your grim mission to get to the car.
You open the front door and immediately realise your mistake, you haven’t got hold of the toddler. It’s too late; he’s sniffed the breeze and has made a break for freedom.
He’s deliriously rolling on the wet lawn, contemplating the exact moment he’d like to make his victory lap down the middle of the road.
You’re now standing in the driveway, holding a crying baby, screaming, “GET IN THE CAR!” while throwing furtive glances up and down the street to see if the neighbours are watching/judging.
Finally wrangle the toddler into the car. Feel the will to live slowly leave your body as he escapes your grasp and hurtles into the front seat because, “I driving, Mummy!”
You’ve almost got him into his seat after an unedifying display of ugly-screaming, coercion and bribery, when your baby pulls out her ace card. It’s a category 5 poonami that will require a full hose down and outfit change.
Burst into hysterical laughter. Or is it tears? You can’t tell.
After half a lifetime and thirty return trips to the house for forgotten items, you are all in your seats with seat belts fastened. Allow yourself two minutes to put your head on the steering wheel and quietly sob. It’s only 10am.
This post was first published on Kidspot