There comes a time when, as a parent, you feel like you've got it all under control only for something to prove you utterly wrong. Today was that day.
It started REALLY well. Martha and Ben slept until 8am! Granted, this is a rare occurrence but the fact it happened was truly a marvel. The down side with a later start is that you have to rush the school routine. Martha likes to take her sweet time with the most menial of tasks. A teeth-brushing session can take anywhere between 3 seconds and an hour and invariably involves a costume change of some type. Fancy dress or as if she's off to a regal banquet. There was no time for that this morning.
Shock horror, Martha complied. Breakfast: done, teeth: done, school uniform: done (and ironed!!!), book bag: done, hair: done, school shoes: done. Catherine marched her off to school with time to spare. It ain't no thing!
Meanwhile, Benjamin took us through his usual checklist of questions. His speech is still developing, so questions are usually in the form of a waved object, a grunt in the positive or negative form or a tantrum. The standard morning questions are...
1. Can I have some milk?
A waved milk carton, taken from the fridge. Results in a yes more often than not.
2. Can I have this for breakfast?
A waved hand at the appropriate jar or box. If it's toast, he normally waves at the Peanut Butter, if it's cereal, we must wade through the variety of reduced sugar, additive free cereals. You know the ones.
3. Can I have aforementioned breakfast in front of the TV?
A waved TV remote he has acquired from somewhere. (I try to put them up high at the end of an evening. Benji can find that remote whatever I do. If Lord Lucan were a remote, Benji would find him in ten minutes.) The response is always, 'No Benji, we must sit at the table and eat together.' This is currently having mixed success. Sometimes he's there, other's he's off down the plastic slide with a glug of milk before he plummets off the side.
4. Can I wear these clothes?
A variety of clothes in his hands taken from his drawer. Sometimes three tops and no trousers. Sometimes only trousers. We fill in the blanks and take it from there. He's going through an odd sock period. He refuses to wear an identical pair. This causes great nausea in my heart. I calm myself down and acquiesce.
5. Can I watch TV?
The remote is now so high up, it's being used by British Airways customers. So Ben normally waves at the TV in hope. No is the response. Mostly.
6. Can I go outside?
He'll grab his little shoes and try to put them on which is particularly cute. We have to defer to the timetable. If he's ready when Martha is ready for school we try to coincide a walk for the little chap.
7. Can I watch TV?
Still no Ben.
Today, Ben sat at the table for his breakfast, asked for the TV only once and although he was ready for the trip to school with Martha, he has swimming on Wednesday so we waited and went on the trampoline instead.
This morning was so successful, that I couldn't remember ever having a disastrous one. Although we have had them. A lot.
So Martha is now at school and that's her part in this complacency story complete. Upon Cath's return, she took Ben swimming. He refused to kick his legs at certain times, he wanted nothing to do with lying flat on his tummy and trying to swim forward. He wanted to sing and stand on the monster mat and fall off it. He got what he wanted. This is a pretty standard trip to the swimming pool for Benji. On their way home, Cath stood on the railway bridge to wave at trains. I was working at home. A pleasant, practical morning.
They got back, we fed Ben, he ate his food, AT THE TABLE. It's all so easy. We decided to go out. A trip to a park of some sort. Shove Ben in the car (a far away park, we're not that lazy). What a pleasant drive. We could listen to Radio 2. No complaints about the lack of cheap MP3 recordings of children's hits playing in the car.
We had cracked parenting. Cath and Greg had successfully raised two children to be able to do all the things! ALL THE THINGS!
Then Ben did a massive shit in the park and we hadn't brought anything with us and it was a disaster.
Don't get complacent people. Stay on your toes. That stealth poo is just around the corner.