It’s his birthday and he’ll cry if he wants to.

Middle son turned four on Friday. The school run was always going to be an interesting one. The thing about birthdays is that daybreak still arrives at the same time but you have added excitement and present opening to add into the usual morning routine. Plus the odd special request such as a fourth cereal in their bowl. It’s usually worth it. Seeing your child’s smile on their special day is always magical.

We took the bikes to school (middle son’s choice). It began to drizzle from the miserable looking grey clouds littering the sky. All was still good. It remained that way until we were less than 50 yards from the school gate. We’d just crossed the main road, the boys had pushed their bikes across sensibly, we’d even navigated our way past other families carefully. Now on the corner I let the boys know they can get back onto their bikes and cycle the final stretch. Except they didn’t – well one didn’t. Instead, middle son burst into tears. I asked him what was wrong and he wails. We had ‘the talk’ where Mummy told him that she can only make something better if she knows what the problem is. Still nothing but wailing.

He wouldn’t get on his bike. He wouldn’t push his bike. He wouldn’t walk. He wouldn’t even use his words to explain the problem. There was no way I could carry a bicycle and a larger than average four year old while pushing youngest son in his pram. We appeared to have reached a common scenario where I am forced to try and fathom out the problem. Putting the brakes on the pushchair, I crouched beside my sobbing child and began the guesswork. I can reveal that he wasn’t cold, he didn’t hurt his shin on the pedal while pushing the bike, he hadn’t forgotten something important and his tummy didn’t hurt. At this point, someone took it upon themselves to move my pushchair for me – presumably it was in their preferred walking line. I felt a bit inadequate, wondering why they didn’t just ask me to reposition it. Maybe they knew I had an important mystery to solve. He was still crying but as I asked him again what the problem was, I spotted a clue: a subtle glance at his saddle.

“Are you upset that your seat is wet?” He nods. We have a winner. Even better, it’s an easy fix. I use my coat sleeve to wipe it and he’s all smiles and on his way again. I’m not as lucky. As I stand up, I experience some unplanned discomfort. I’d been crouching below a community noticeboard. As I stood, the bottom corner of this sturdy board ripped a small ravine in my back. No matter. All three children we currently happy so the searing pain paled into insignificance.

I went home and started baking yummy goodness for middle son’s party. Youngest son helped by sitting in his sling and looking cute. By the time it was time to collect the boys from school I was feeling pretty positive. His party wasn’t particularly extravagant or well planned. It was only a small affair, he had one friend and some close family over for cake, presents, play and party food. But he loved every second. Sometimes it’s the simple arrangements that they enjoy the most.

How can this much go wrong already – it’s only half past eight?

When something crazy happens in my household, I never quite get enough time to fix it before the next thing happens. In fact, the problem has a tendency to grow exponentially until Mummy reaches a state of embarrassment and/or emotional exhaustion. This morning was the perfect illustration of this.

After the usual difficulties exiting the house, we arrived at our friend’s house, where middle child goes for play days on Thursdays. On the doorstep, eldest child tells me “I need a poo!”. I calmly tell him that someone will answer shortly and he can use the toilet inside. His response, “Poo is coming!” There is no time to consider an alternative. Inside, we can hear the door being opened. “Poo is out!” he shamefully tells me. Knowing there is only a few minutes before he has to go to school, I leave youngest child, still in his car seat, in the hallway and usher my eldest through to the bathroom. This was not the case of a small skid mark, this wasn’t even a regular poo incident, this was the case of the largest turd known to man! Given he apparently ‘didn’t need to go’ when we’d left home 5 minutes earlier, I have no idea how a log of this size and stature was even possible.

To make things a little trickier, eldest son does not have any spare pants. I recruit the assistance of middle son, asking him to bring in his rucksack and find a pair of spare boxers he can lend his brother. He dutifully helps by pulling every last item out of his bag onto the bathroom floor. Meanwhile eldest is being difficult with everything due to his discomfort. Realising a clean up job of this scale would probably take him at least half an hour if left to his own devices, I am forced to intervene. Besides I can hear youngest son crying outside. If you’ve read previous blog posts, you might remember that he’s not a fan of his car seat. As if the trauma of having to sort out eldest son and the guilt of having to listen to how upset youngest son was whilst doing this, you can imagine exactly how I felt when I hear middle son announce he’s been sick. I look up to assess the damage. There doesn’t appear to be much, but his aim is accurate enough to have hit at least three of the assorted items of the spare clothing now on the floor in front of him.

In the background, I can hear eldest son’s friends and their Mummy are about to leave for school. The pressure is on! Eldest appears to have worn a pair of ridiculously tight trousers which he’s struggling to pull up. Then he starts taking his coat off to wash his hands (He does this because he hates water splashing on the cuffs of his coat). Time ticking, I encourage him to wash his hands without coat removal. He screams. Middle son wants to join in with the hand washing action. Youngest son is still crying.

Finally eldest son has his hands washed and shoes back on and is ready to go, leaving me to sort middle son. Initial inspection tells me he’s his usual self, he has no temperature and feels fine. What’s not quite so fine is that he preferred the pair of trousers he’s now had to remove, he doesn’t want to go home and miss out on playing with his friends and the nappy bags I am now frantically thrusting clothing into are really not fit for this purpose.

Now was the time to thank friend’s mum for attempting to comfort youngest son, reassure middle son that we could come and play another day and make our hasty retreat. Once back in the car, middle son cried again. He’d been looking forward to retrieving a pair of gloves he’d left from last week and had forgotten to get them again. We weren’t in a position to go back, Mummy needed to set about replanning the entire day! Still it could have been worse. Had this been any other day, I would have been dealing the the poo, vomit and tears on the school playground in the cold and rain and in front of a much larger audience!

My Second Blog Post

I could edit this nice post that WordPress has constructed for me, but I’m not going to. Seems pretty relevant. And Oscar Wilde has a very valid point.

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.