“Get up! Get up! Get up!”
Muffled “URGGGGH!” from under the duvet
“Get up! Get up! Come on get up - I’ve been in to your room three times to ask you to get up and you’re still not up and dressed!” my daughter then turns on her heel and, already fully-dressed, stalks out of my bedroom.
She’s up with the lark (or the stars if they’re still out at 6am) while I wait until the very last minute to rise like Lazarus, and every morning I make a promise to go to bed earlier tonight.
If we are to make it to school on time then we have to leave the house by 8:36:07 at the very latest. Working together, we have calculated this exact timing with the help of trial and error. It’s taken two years to hone it down to the last second, but we can do it if I make it out of bed by 8:01. Not a second later.
On a good day: Mummy is in the shower by 8:01 and 20 seconds. Out by 8:05 washed and shampooed, dressed by 8:07, hair dried by 8:12. Downstairs and cereal in bowls by 8:15. There’s time to listen to David Walliams reading his book or Shaun Keaveney (my choice) on 6Music. 8:25 back upstairs to clean teeth and pull hair into a ponytail (trying not to pull too much out of her head) then downstairs 8:30, shoes on, coats on, alarm on, out of the door 8:32. Turn back at 8:33, unlock door, turn off alarm, run through to the kitchen, rinse out dirty water bottle from day before, refill, turn alarm back on, lock door, leave driveway by 8:36.
On a bad day: “Come on! Stop looking in the mirror and come downstairs, you’re making me late again Mummy!” 8:32 and there she is, my fantastic little girl, fully dressed, coat on, hat on, shoes on, school bag across her chest frowning up the stairs at me and jabbing her finger pointedly at her wrist (I wouldn’t mind, but she doesn’t even wear a watch).
"Where’s my phone?
"Why are all my socks odd?
"Where are my glasses?”
“They’ll be where you left them Mummy” she shouts up the stairs. I know where she’s picked that saying up - from the man who left the house in a smooth trajectory, wearing matching socks, forgetting nothing at the ungodly hour of 7:15 with plenty of time to calmly buy a ticket and make his train.
8:35, I fall down the stairs wearing odd socks and a Hallowe’en hair-do, I look up to see her writing careful words in a tiny white notebook. “You’re in the late book again” she says with a half smile. “Sorry,” I reply and then go in search of the sodding water bottle (it’s never where we left it) to half fill it so we can carry it down the road, place it in the class trug and collect it, untouched at the end of the day. Hat, coat, shoes, alarm.
Each half term that passes, another line is added to my already heavily lined brow. What I need is a lie in….if my calculations are right I should get one in 2 years time.
Come January 2018 “one sugar in my tea please Zoë and can you please slice the banana a little thinner on my weetabix today?” I’ll shout down the stairs to my fully dressed, fantastically organised girl. I will rise refreshed at 8:15 having enjoyed breakfast in bed.
Until then, if you see me on the school run in odd socks you’ll know it was a bad day.
And to Zoë; I pinky-promise to go to bed earlier tonight……..