Part 2 F&B (that’s “Fire& Brimstone” for the non regulars)…

I have a few issues with the whole….”school run mania” that’s once again, about to kick off…

I’m actually terrified of this one thing more than a Breast cancer check up (read an old blog of mine to see how much “fun” I had the last time they checked my boobs via the “hamburger machine”…)

Sooo…..how does one make this “school run” more fun/less painful….?

My initial thought was….WALK.

EVEN IF ITS AN HOUR OF WALKING. WITH THREE, VERY DIFFERENT, MOANING, ANNOYING, HARDCORE, IRRITABLE, CHILDREN, IN THE MORNING.

LEAVE AT 8am. Be there by 8.45 at the latest….

you’d think …

(a) My son, aged 6, walks like hes 190 years old.  His walking actually makes you tired as you keep stopping and readjusting and listening to moans about feet, ankles, knees, the weather, wind, arse ache (mine), carrying a bag that weighs less than a feather….  Now, Ive always been a Mum who BARELY ever used a buggy unless the kids were really small (as in babies).  The minute those legs worked, they knew we were walking everywhere.  In fact, there were occasions, the (now ex) Captain would actually say “Why didn’t you bring the buggy you crazy massochist?!”  My response?  “They’ve got legs and need to walk”. I’m all about walking. Not talking. Just walking. I actually…I’m geekily ashamed to say, love a good walk. But only at MY pace. Slow walk = exhaustion. I walk fast. Or at least I used to, until even that part of my character got clipped too.

My kids….They are impressive actually as by 3 years old, my mini entourage were happily wandering around for approx 2/3 hours without a buggy and when they did get tired, they would be thrown into slings on our backs.  The buggy was always there for travelling and evenings out on holidays, so they could be comfortable to sleep when essential.  Anyhow…..getting back to the topic at hand…  as I’ve realised, I just went off on one again!

So….. the journey to school by foot, for me, would take 40 minutes-65 minutes, door to door.  Ive actually tested this route alone. It took me 23.

However, with the kids, this could take at least one hour twenty minutes.  My 6 year old daughter, as opposed to her twin, is very active, BUT, is very VERY clumsy.

Yes, still….she trips over her own shadow.  She’s also tripped me up, while I carried her baby sister, across the crossing right outside her school. Her response “sorry….walk faster….”.

My twin daughter, spins, bounces, tip toes, jogs, dances, twirls, chats away constantly, runs, tells fables, points out raindrops, looks at brickwork, notices, ants, but has zero comprehension of her own two feet……I LOVE HER. This child is incredibly open to the world, yet appreciates everything. Annoying at 6am, but she bounced out of my womb with the same enthusiasm.  Hence, this too is exhausting as the pavements are all a potential accident with her.  I’m constantly hyper, on edge worrying she will hurt herself, or me, us, simply because she normally does.  I dont want her too.  I’d rather wrap her in bubblewrap and ensure shes safe.  She wouldnt be too happy with that though, plus we’d stand out like a sore thumb.  She trips over constantly. CONSTANTLY.

I can actually see accidents before they happen and like a mini Michael Jackson, she will then run up to Mummy (that’s me dumbass) and say, “I need a plaster….the Hello Kitty ones are fine”. My daughter is OBSESSED WITH PLASTERS AND ANYTHING TRIAGE-y. We recently took my youngest to the Doctors after a Trampoline accident, where No 3. Told the Dr…”IT WAS HER!!! She hurts me!!!” Pointing to my non-favourite, twin daughter. the Doctor then attempted to open the bandage I’d wrapped around my youngests ankle. A little too thoroughly. It took 15 minutes of politie quietness/”what the hell”…from the GP, before told I should work in “Triage”. I was over “thorough”…apparently.

Anyhow….om hiring her youngest sibling, Twin daughters response, was “eh…she’s talking rubbish…she fell through the springs…” Before offering her little sister her Princess stickers, her Itech computer and anything else to ease her conscious. Bottom line….she was busted. She didn’t give a shite.

I carry Arnica cream (AKA “Mummys Magic Cream”) everywhere like my Barclays Debit card.  I don’t leave home without it.  Now, my youngest would be sat in a buggy during this time.  She is like an old Chinese woman in the morning (ironic as she was born in Hong Kong and has numerous traits for a local).  She begrudgingly wakes every morning to do the shitty school run, with a massssssive curly afro flying all over the place.  She wakes up, bursts into tears, then briefly accepts her fate (school run for her siblings not her), then moans at me constantly until we get in the car.  I have to arm myself with water, snacks and IPad, just in case we hit traffic.  Why?  My youngest, if she gets pissed off, will, kick off and has proven she CAN cry for over 45 minutes non-stop.  And I mean, SCREAM/CRY.

Imagine driving, at speeds of 10 mph, and being stuck in traffic with 3 kids, first thing in the morning and one child is going NUTS.  You cant move as you’re driving (kinda), and every word I’m saying just winds her up more.  I know shes annoyed as all she wanted to do was sleep (this kid, if not disturbed, can sleep until 10am sometimes).  Its her older siblings (the freaks) who wake her early.  Weekends too.  Shes basically channelling my internal fury, openly!

While we’ve all learned to ignore bad behaviour, even my 6 year old daughter has turned to her and shouted “ENOUGH!!! I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!” after listening to her younger sibling scream for 30 minutes, without taking a breath.

Another thing to mention is that you must be incredibly prepared for all situations that may arise.  This could be anything  from having snacks & water in the car in case of a traffic jam (3 times out of 5 weekly), to spare clothes, a carrier bag should one of the kids decide they want to be sick randomly (horrendous and harsh), to making sure Ive got a cup of English Breakfast tea in my portable mug.

If I don’t have a cup of tea in the morning, my day doesn’t work.  Not coffee, never liked it much …unless its super strong and smooth and has cream and half s sugar added to it…plus needs to be made in America (they make great coffe). Or Columbia…

Anyway… in my road, ive noticed it turns into something from the film, The Truman Show (with Jim Carey) at the start of school term. When all cars zip put their driveways around the same time.  Monotonous. Text book. Predictable. At the start of the film, you see all the cars in most driveways in his street, pull out at the same time to go to work.  Almost synchronised.  Well….my street resembles that scene.  Numerous Range Rovers, Audi’s, BMW’s, Nissan Qashqai (some poor cows husband convinced her to get this car, which to be fair, won best 4×4 in 2015, but is STILLL NOT one of the main contenders in Mummy Mobiles/private licence plates (don’t get me started)….I’m just saying….. whenever I see these cars, or the Hyundai Sante Fe…I feel like these poor women have been given these try hard, “wish I could be a Range Rover” vehicle as the others cost too much….. Id rather go for a nice hatchback if I had to pick between that and a Nissan.  One of those truck/4×4 car van things that normally sexy builders/project manager dudes drive….you know the ones…they have room for 6 people at least, AND an open boot for machinery.

Yes I sound like a loaded posh, dick, but I assure you,  I’m not.  I just find those cars kinda “nothingy”. The Nissans, The Hyundai’s, the 4×4’s you would never chose unless you had to….well…..despite being brilliantly made, having amazing reviews, being low maintenance etc….I just find them very, errr, generic.  Expensive by any standard, yes. But generic all the same.  Saying that, Ill probably be driving one by next year.

Anyway, in the mornings, Ive noted my neighbour across the road, shouting and using her arms/hands/feet, in flailing, over the top gestures, to get everyone into her car.  She kinda reminded me of those men in bright neon orange coats, holding torches/light sabres, helping pilots know where the fk to land their planes on the runway.  She is, literally, incredible at this horrific, exhausting (mentally as well as physically) daily morning task. She has 3 kids in her car by 7.25am.   SEVEN TWENTY FIVE IN THE MORNING.  And before you ask, no, they don’t work in the City.

They apparently all wake at 4am to get ready and have breakfast before they head off a few minutes up the road. For school. Not the airport.  Not a school miles away.  But shes soo adamant in not getting caught in the school run mayhem, that she takes them in super duper, crazy, jetlag, early. She also has to drop them off at different, yet local, schools.  While she has got a Nanny, which of course helps hugely in the mornings, I have no idea how she manages to get them up at silly O’clock.m apparently nanny and husband help her. This idea sounds horrendous to me. I remember those Hk days…with help, non help, help. No ones helping. It’s delegating and stress.

Another neighbour of mine who lives 4 doors away, leaves her house at 7am.  SEVEN IN THE MORNING….her youngest is 5 years old.  That child apparently has to sit in the car for over an hour during the school run while her older siblings get dropped off. Plus the gates don’t open until 8.30am and children cant go into school before then. These kids attend local schools and are not really required to be there before the cleaners have finished their shifts.  Again, she too has a nanny which helps in the mornings but …. 7am?!  Nightmare or what??  I’m finding it tough now, leaving at 8.10am, yet how the hell will I cope when they start attending different schools and have additional after school clubs etc.  Its going to require organisation (and possibly a team) on a whole new level.

However, there’s another Mum. The one I’m actual mates with. An Israeli. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS…. LATE. LOOK, she’s full of good intentions, but one text read (on her turn to collect kids), “can you get them, I over slep”. It was 2.45pm.  She said the same thing at 8am when it was her turn to do the Tuesday morning shift. First…I felt so much happiness know I, this bird, does not give a shiiiit how late she is, EVER. SECOND. NO ONE ELSE CARES EITHER. Her child, who I have collected from school, is hardwork…as in, lay on the floor in the playground and refused to leave. My mum had the joy of getting out my car that time to get the kids for me as I couldn’t park. Had it been me? I would have had any child I was collecting suitably accosted to my vehicle, and told to “behave”, before doing what I do brilliantly…..JOINING IN ADULT STYLE. TRY IT.  not only does it scare the shot out of kids if we “become them”, but it also shits everyone up, and I can continue my strict Margaret Thatcher Parenting style….before anyone notices….or the Brexit chavs enforces me hippyish “cuddle and nurture them with love” system….

Now I have a process in my house. There are 3 loud, ruthless, kids. No nanny. No husband. Just ….well….me. And …errrrr….fear of the unknown Hampstead traffic.

Now every night, I’m packed for school, bags at the front door, school bags checked, homework always done, uniforms ready, breakfast at the front of the fridge, tea flask with tea bag and sweetener in situ…. All guns blazing. Shoes waiting, toothbrushes sat outside bedroom doors (ok not really but you get the gist)…

 

Our day begins with…

6.30am ….alarm

6.34am… Alarm

6.40am….alarm

6.45am….alarm

6.47am….alarm

6.55….alarm

6.58a,…human alarm….twin daughter..,.fully dressed… enquiring as to whether I wanted eggs poached or scrambled.

Telling me her twin brother was taking a dump but had managed to put his school trousers on the correct way but she helped him “fix his tie which was around his head”, and her little sister was insisting on a “boycot, no school”….morning, and also reminding me to take some money for a Jene charity, it was “French Day”, she needed extra cash for her teachers cakes, some extra cash for her mates collection on a charity relating to a “Moth called Mosey” and also to make it “sharp Mummy….you don’t want to break your record”…

Ive never been late. In fact…my new Taxi Mum skills are soooo OTT…thanks to sat nav, a competitive streak I blame my culture for, and also a huge fear of being late which causes physical nausea/panic attacks…I arrive at airports one day before my flight ……I know every single route to their school, even if someone blindfolded me and said “drive bitch”. Piece of cake.

7.46…alarm….

7.60am… Alarm

When end my mum stays , all hell breaks loose. Suddenly everyone’s chilled. The kids are eating sugar by the spoon, with coffe and ice cream. No one wears a uniform, and listening to me is irrelevant. My mum also keeps saying”calm down”. Infuriating. Yet when we had

8….am …alarm…

Even now, my Mum, who used to drive us to Chelsea every morning, mentions how bad the school runs were. She said she used to dread them daily.  Almost hoping we were ill so she wouldnt have to do the horrific journey in crazy London traffic.

8.10am…alarm

8.15….alarm

Day after day, doing a crazy round trip from Putney to Hans Place (off the Kings road) was a mini hell for my Mum.  I recall hearing her groan at the sight of Putney High Street in the morning which was always gridlocked en route to school.  She used to turn on Capital Radio to listen for traffic reports on the “Flying Eye“which gave Londoners a good idea of what crappy traffic they would hit that morning from a helicopter (you could hear the propellers during the segment….I loved it).  I, on the other hand, used to chill in the back seat, and happily listen to Kenny Everett do the morning show en route to Chelsea.  I LOVED Kenny.  His shows would have me in stitches before 8am.  Great comedian.  His “leg crossing” moment on he Kenny Everett Show (BBC 1) back in the 80’s, was beyond brilliant for me, aged approx. 9 when I became a huge fan of comedy.  Benny Hill was too slapstick for me. Also too sexist and a bit paedophilic for me.  I loved Kenny though.  It was his voice in the mornings that made me love, and always love, Capital Radio in the morning.  No Radio DJ has beat him since, in my opinion, aside from Chris Tarrant, and his partner during the morning show, Kara Noble.  I LOVE their show.  Brilliant radio for London in the morning, and something I still actually miss and wish for when I put Capital on during the school run to this day.  Don’t get me wrong. Dave Berry has me laughing A LOT out loud….but the old way of presenting is sorely missed by me.  Kenny & Chris were great radio presenters.  They knew how to deliver. I must, however, mention Marvin Humes…..hes a dark horse in my opinion and one to watch.  I enjoy his show, his tone, his delivery. He seems to understand his audience and whats expected.

After living in Hong Kong (where a 20 minute traffic jam was considered diabolical/sacrilegious….especially if you were driving through the Aberdeen Tunnel), I had no idea of what I was about to embark on, for, well, the next 10 years at least.

The roads of Hampstead are narrow, and forever have roadworks during peak rush hour (London eh?).  These roads, are usually gridlocked by 8.15 am and are ferrying numerous children to school.  The vehicles carrying these kids are almost always massive, 4×4’s.

When I first did the NW London school run, I was stunned at how unbelieveably “military” the school run is in London.  I mean, it’s ansolutelty a hardcore exercise.  You have to not only get your kids up, fed, dressed/ready/teeth/hair/numerous schools bags ready/forms filled in/hair in perfect place/bla bla, for school.  You then have to get in your car (without losing your shit because one of your kids is pissed off, tired, doesn’t like how their sibling looked at them, someone is “winding” the other one up, someone touched the others sock while eating breakfast, someone, laughed while the other screamed (and screamed and screamed for 55 minutes, almost making us late!) over putting their school tights on simply because they were tired, despite going to bed at 7pm.  I’m mean….these kids get a good 11-12 hours sleep a night.  How much would I love to sleep 11 hours every night!?  I’d look 15 years younger. or would at least be smiling!! These kids fight over everything and as a parent, you need to manage everything as they struggle getting into the car despite doing it a 10000000 times before.

8.35am…alarm….

You then have to drive, and find an alternative route last minute, that will avoid road works, with roads that are sometimes clear, sometimes gridlocked, and all this while driving a car the size of an ambulance in roads that were made for bycicles.  During this whole journey to school, you need to keep your mouth shut and not get pulled into the potential conversation/winging that occurs in the back seats from your kids.  Even though I say this….its not always easy. Somehow, I get involved in conversations I dont actually know Ive somehow been pulled into.  These discussions involve things like “Mummy, what is inside that pond over there?” “Mummy, what colour is the sky when its rained?”  “Mummy, why is my brother touching my shoe?” Mummy, when unicorns were born, who are their family?”, “Mummy, when I go to school, will the fish in the pond go to school too?” (my son, of course).  Dont ask me WHY, but I STILL answer these questions.  During this whole time, my youngest will say approx. every 5 minutes, “Mummy?”, “Mummy?”. No question, just over and over and over again, “Mummy”.  When Ive finally managed to arrive at school, I then need to park somewhere that isn’t going to (a) block a driveway, (b) have restrictions (Ive seen traffic wardens slapping tickets on Permit Holder spaces as these are a NO NO at ANY time apparently, despite signs. Single Yellows are ok if you find a Warden while parking and BEG (we do this often, all four of us while I attempt to somehow park my HUGE car between a tree and driveway), (d) Keep everyone happy with music on the radio while trying not to get wound up by drivers who have ZERO idea on the width of their car and hold up traffic.

I HATE THE SCHOOL RUN.  If I could walk the journey to school (I FRIGGIN LOVE A GOOD WALK), I would.  I have a few issues with this though.  (a) My son, aged 6, walks like hes 190 years old.  His walking actually makes you tired as you keep stopping and readjusting and listeniong to moans.  Now, Ive always been a Mum who BARELY ever used a buggy unless the kids were really small, as in babies.  The minute those legs worked, they knew we were walking everywhere.  In fact, there were occasions, the Captain would actually say “Why didn’t you bring the buggy?!”  My response?  “They’ve got legs and need to walk”.  They are impressive actually as by 3 years old, my kids were happily wandering around for approx 2/3 hours without a buggy and when they did get tired, they would be thrown into slings on our backs.  The buggy was always there for travelling and evenings out on holiday though so they could be comfortable to sleep.  Anyhow…..Ive realised, I just went off on one again!

So….. the journey to school by foot, for me, would take 40 minutes, door to door.  Ive actually tested this route alone. However, with the kids, this could take at least one hour twenty minutes.  My 6 year old daughter, as opposed to her twin, is very active, BUT, is very VERY clumsy. Yes, still….she trips over her own shadow.  She spins, bounces, tip toes, jogs, dances, twirls, chats away constantly, runs, but this too is exhausting as the pavements are all a potential accident with her.  I’m constantly hyper, and on edge worrying she will hurt herself, simply because she normally does.  I dont want her too.  I’d rather wrap her in bubblewrap and ensure shes safe.  She wouldnt be toohappy with that though, plus we’d stand out like a sore thumb.  She trips over constantly. CONSTANTLY.  I carry Arnica cream everywhere like my Barclays Debit card.  I don’t leave home without it.  Now, my youngest would be sat in a buggy.  She is like an old Chinese woman in the morning (ironic as she was born in Hong Kong and has numerous traits for a local).  She begrudgingly wakes every morning to do the shitty school run, with a massssssive curly afro flying all over the place.  She wakes up, bursts into tears, then briefly accepts her fate (school run for her siblings not her), then moans at me constantly until we get in the car.  I have to arm myself with water, snacks and IPad, just in case we hit traffic.  Why?  My youngest, if she gets pissed off, will, kick off and has proven she CAN cry for over 45 minutes non-stop.  And I mean, SCREAM/CRY.  Imagine driving, and being stuck in traffic with 3 kids, first thing in the morning and one child is going NUTS.  You cant move as youre driving, and every word I’m saying just winds her up more.  I know shes annoyed as all she wanted to do was sleep (this kid, if not disturbed can sleep until 10am sometimes.  Its her older siblings (the freaks) who wake her early.  Weekends too.  Shes basically channelling my internal fury, openly!

While we’ve all learned to ignore bad behaviour, even my 6 year old has turned to her and shouted “ENOUGH!!! I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!”

and you must be incredibly prepared for all situations that may arise.  This could be anything from having snacks & water in the car in case of a traffic jam (3 times out of 5 weekly), to spare clothes, a carrier bag should one of the kids decide they want to be sick randomly (horrendous and harsh), to making sure Ive got a cup of English Breakfast tea in my portable mug.  If I don’t have a cup of tea in the morning, my day doesn’t work.  Not coffee, never liked it much (unless its super strong and smooth and has cream and whisky added to it…anyway… in my road, ive noticed it turns into something from the film, The Truman Show (Jim Carey).  At the start of the film, you see all the cars in most driveways in his street, pull out at the same time to go to work.  Almost synchronised.  Well….my street resembles that scene.  Numerous Range Rovers, Audi’s, BMW’s, Nissan Qashqai (some poor cows husband convinced her to get this car which to be fair, won best 4×4 in 2015.  Saying that, whenever I see these cars, or the Hyundai Sante Fe…I feel like these poor women have been given these “try hard, wish I cold be a Range Rover” vehicle as the others cost too much.  Id rather go for a nice hatchback if I had to pick between that and a Nissan.  Yes I sound like a loaded dick, but I assure you,  I’m not.  I just find those cars kinda “nothingy”. The Nissans, The Hyundai’s, the 4×4’s you would never chose unless you had to….well…..despite being brilliantly made, having amazing reviews, being low maintenance etc….I just find them very, errr, generic.  Saying that, Ill probably be driving one by next year.

Anyway, in the mornings, Ive noted my neighbour across the road, shouting and using her arms/hands/feet, in flailing, over the top gestures to get everyone into the car.  She kinda reminded me of those men in bright neon orange coats, holding torches/light sabres, helping pilots know where the fk to land their planes on the runway.  She is, literally, incredible at this horrific, exhausting (mentally as well as physically) daily morning task. She has 3 kids in her car by 7.25am.   SEVEN TWENTY FIVE IN THE MORNING.  They apparently all wake at 4am to get ready and have breakfast before they head off a few minutes up the road. For school. Not the airport.  Not a school miles away.  But shes soo adamant in not getting caught in the school run mayhem, that she takes them in super early. She also has to drop them off at different, yet local, schools.  While she has got a Nanny, which of course helps hugely in the mornings, I have no idea how she manages to get them up at silly O’clock.

Another neighbour of mine who lives 4 doors away, leaves her house at 7am.  SEVEN IN THE MORNING.,,,her youngest is 5 years old.  That child apparently has to sit in the car for over an hour during the school run while her older siblings get dropped off. Plus the gates don’t open until 8.30am and children cant go into school before then. These kids attend local schools and are not really required to be there before the cleaners have finished their shifts.  Again, she too has a nanny which helps in the mornings but …. 7am?!  Nightmare or what??  I’m finding it tough now, leaving at 8.10am, yet how the hell will I cope when they start attending different schools and have additional after school clubs etc.  Its going to require organisation (and possibly a team) on a whole new level.

Even now, my Mum, who used to drive us to SW1 every morning, mentions how bad the school runs were. She said she used to dread them daily.  Almost hoping we were ill so she wouldnt have to do the horrific journey in crazy London traffic.  Day after day, doing a crazy round trip from Putney to Hans Place (off the Kings road) was a mini hell for my Mum.  I recall hearing her groan at the sight of Putney High Street in the morning which was always gridlocked en route to school.  She used to turn on Capital Radio to listen for traffic reports on the “Flying Eye” launched in 1976, which gave Londoners a good idea of what crappy traffic they would hit that morning from a helicopter (you could hear the propellers during the segment….loved it).  I, on the other hand, used to chill in the back seat, and happily listen to Kenny Everett do the morning show en route to Chelsea.  I LOVED Kenny.  His shows would have me in stitches before 8am.  Great comedian.  His “leg crossing” moment on he Kenny Everett Show (BBC 1) back in the 80’s, was beyond brilliant for me, aged approx. 9 when I became a huge fan of comedy.  Benny Hill was too slapstick for me. Also too sexist and a bit paedophilic for me.  I loved Kenny though.  It was his voice in the mornings that made me love, and always love, Capital Radio in the morning.  No Radio DJ has beat him since, in my opinion, aside from Chris Tarrant, and his partner during the morning show, Kara Noble.  I LOVE their show.  Brilliant radio for London in the morning, and something I still actually miss and wish for when I put Capital on during the school run to this day.  Don’t get me wrong. Dave Berry has me laughing A LOT out loud….but the old way of presenting is sorely missed by me.  Kenny & Chris were great radio presenters.  They knew how to deliver. I must, however, mention Marvin Humes…..hes a dark horse in my opinion and one to watch.  I enjoy his show, his tone, his delivery. He seems to understand his audience and whats expected.

After living in Hong Kong (where a 20 minute traffic jam was considered diabolical/sacrilegious….especially if you were driving through the Aberdeen Tunnel, I had no idea of what I was about to embark on, for, well, the next 10 years at least.

The roads of Hampstead are narrow, and forever have roadworks during peak rush hour (London eh?).  These roads, are usually gridlocked by 8.15 am and are ferrying numerous children to school.  The vehicles carrying these kids are almost always massive, 4×4’s.

When I first did the NW London school run, I was stunned at how unbelieveably “military” the school run is in London.  I mean, it’s ansolutelty a hardcore exercise.  You have to not only get your kids up, fed, dressed/ready/teeth/hair/numerous schools bags ready/forms filled in/hair in perfect place/bla bla, for school.  You then have to get in your car (without losing your shit because one of your kids is pissed off, tired, doesn’t like how their sibling looked at them, someone is “winding” the other one up, someone touched the others sock while eating breakfast, someone, laughed while the other screamed (and screamed and screamed for 55 minutes, almost making us late!) over putting their school tights on simply because they were tired, despite going to bed at 7pm.  I’m mean….these kids get a good 11-12 hours sleep a night.  How much would I love to sleep 11 hours every night!?  I’d look 15 years younger. or would at least be smiling!! These kids fight over everything and as a parent, you need to manage everything as they struggle getting into the car despite doing it a 10000000 times before.

You then have to drive, and find an alternative route last minute, that will avoid road works, with roads that are sometimes clear, sometimes gridlocked, and all this while driving a car the size of an ambulance in roads that were made for bycicles.  During this whole journey to school, you need to keep your mouth shut and not get pulled into the potential conversation/winging that occurs in the back seats from your kids.  Even though I say this….its not always easy. Somehow, I get involved in conversations I dont actually know Ive somehow been pulled into.  These discussions involve things like “Mummy, what is inside that pond over there?” “Mummy, what colour is the sky when its rained?”  “Mummy, why is my brother touching my shoe?” Mummy, when unicorns were born, who are their family?”, “Mummy, when I go to school, will the fish in the pond go to school too?” (my son, of course).  Dont ask me WHY, but I STILL answer these questions.  During this whole time, my youngest will say approx. every 5 minutes, “Mummy?”, “Mummy?”. No question, just over and over and over again, “Mummy”.  When Ive finally managed to arrive at school, I then need to park somewhere that isn’t going to (a) block a driveway, (b) have restrictions (Ive seen traffic wardens slapping tickets on Permit Holder spaces as these are a NO NO at ANY time apparently, despite signs. Single Yellows are ok if you find a Warden while parking and BEG (we do this often, all four of us while I attempt to somehow park my HUGE car between a tree and driveway), (d) Keep everyone happy with music on the radio while trying not to get wound up by drivers who have ZERO idea on the width of their car and hold up traffic.

I HATE THE SCHOOL RUN.  If I could walk the journey to school (I FRIGGIN LOVE A GOOD WALK), I would.  I have a few issues with this though.  (a) My son, aged 6, walks like hes 190 years old.  His walking actually makes you tired as you keep stopping and readjusting and listeniong to moans.  Now, Ive always been a Mum who BARELY ever used a buggy unless the kids were really small, as in babies.  The minute those legs worked, they knew we were walking everywhere.  In fact, there were occasions, the Captain would actually say “Why didn’t you bring the buggy?!”  My response?  “They’ve got legs and need to walk”.  They are impressive actually as by 3 years old, my kids were happily wandering around for approx 2/3 hours without a buggy and when they did get tired, they would be thrown into slings on our backs.  The buggy was always there for travelling and evenings out on holiday though so they could be comfortable to sleep.  Anyhow…..Ive realised, I just went off on one again!

So….. the journey to school by foot, for me, would take 40 minutes, door to door.  Ive actually tested this route alone. However, with the kids, this could take at least one hour twenty minutes.  My 6 year old daughter, as opposed to her twin, is very active, BUT, is very VERY clumsy. Yes, still….she trips over her own shadow.  She spins, bounces, tip toes, jogs, dances, twirls, chats away constantly, runs, but this too is exhausting as the pavements are all a potential accident with her.  I’m constantly hyper, and on edge worrying she will hurt herself, simply because she normally does.  I dont want her too.  I’d rather wrap her in bubblewrap and ensure shes safe.  She wouldnt be toohappy with that though, plus we’d stand out like a sore thumb.  She trips over constantly. CONSTANTLY.  I carry Arnica cream everywhere like my Barclays Debit card.  I don’t leave home without it.  Now, my youngest would be sat in a buggy.  She is like an old Chinese woman in the morning (ironic as she was born in Hong Kong and has numerous traits for a local).  She begrudgingly wakes every morning to do the shitty school run, with a massssssive curly afro flying all over the place.  She wakes up, bursts into tears, then briefly accepts her fate (school run for her siblings not her), then moans at me constantly until we get in the car.  I have to arm myself with water, snacks and IPad, just in case we hit traffic.  Why?  My youngest, if she gets pissed off, will, kick off and has proven she CAN cry for over 45 minutes non-stop.  And I mean, SCREAM/CRY.  Imagine driving, and being stuck in traffic with 3 kids, first thing in the morning and one child is going NUTS.  You cant move as youre driving, and every word I’m saying just winds her up more.  I know shes annoyed as all she wanted to do was sleep (this kid, if not disturbed can sleep until 10am sometimes.  Its her older siblings (the freaks) who wake her early.  Weekends too.  Shes basically channelling my internal fury, openly!

While we’ve all learned to ignore bad behaviour, even my 6 year old has turned to her and shouted “ENOUGH!!! I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!”

and you must be incredibly prepared for all situations that may arise.  This could be anything from having snacks & water in the car in case of a traffic jam (3 times out of 5 weekly), to spare clothes, a carrier bag should one of the kids decide they want to be sick randomly (horrendous and harsh), to making sure Ive got a cup of English Breakfast tea in my portable mug.  If I don’t have a cup of tea in the morning, my day doesn’t work.  Not coffee, never liked it much (unless its super strong and smooth and has cream and whisky added to it…anyway… in my road, ive noticed it turns into something from the film, The Truman Show (Jim Carey).  At the start of the film, you see all the cars in most driveways in his street, pull out at the same time to go to work.  Almost synchronised.  Well….my street resembles that scene.  Numerous Range Rovers, Audi’s, BMW’s, Nissan Qashqai (some poor cows husband convinced her to get this car which to be fair, won best 4×4 in 2015.  Saying that, whenever I see these cars, or the Hyundai Sante Fe…I feel like these poor women have been given these “try hard, wish I cold be a Range Rover” vehicle as the others cost too much.  Id rather go for a nice hatchback if I had to pick between that and a Nissan.  Yes I sound like a loaded dick, but I assure you,  I’m not.  I just find those cars kinda “nothingy”. The Nissans, The Hyundai’s, the 4×4’s you would never chose unless you had to….well…..despite being brilliantly made, having amazing reviews, being low maintenance etc….I just find them very, errr, generic.  Saying that, Ill probably be driving one by next year.

Anyway, in the mornings, Ive noted my neighbour across the road, shouting and using her arms/hands/feet, in flailing, over the top gestures to get everyone into the car.  She kinda reminded me of those men in bright neon orange coats, holding torches/light sabres, helping pilots know where the fk to land their planes on the runway.  She is, literally, incredible at this horrific, exhausting (mentally as well as physically) daily morning task. She has 3 kids in her car by 7.25am.   SEVEN TWENTY FIVE IN THE MORNING.  They apparently all wake at 4am to get ready and have breakfast before they head off a few minutes up the road. For school. Not the airport.  Not a school miles away.  But shes soo adamant in not getting caught in the school run mayhem, that she takes them in super early. She also has to drop them off at different, yet local, schools.  While she has got a Nanny, which of course helps hugely in the mornings, I have no idea how she manages to get them up at silly O’clock.

Another neighbour of mine who lives 4 doors away, leaves her house at 7am.  SEVEN IN THE MORNING.,,,her youngest is 5 years old.  That child apparently has to sit in the car for over an hour during the school run while her older siblings get dropped off. Plus the gates don’t open until 8.30am and children cant go into school before then. These kids attend local schools and are not really required to be there before the cleaners have finished their shifts.  Again, she too has a nanny which helps in the mornings but …. 7am?!  Nightmare or what??  I’m finding it tough now, leaving at 8.10am, yet how the hell will I cope when they start attending different schools and have additional after school clubs etc.  Its going to require organisation (and possibly a team) on a whole new level.

Even now, my Mum, who used to drive us to SW1 every morning, mentions how bad the school runs were. She said she used to dread them daily.  Almost hoping we were ill so she wouldnt have to do the horrific journey in crazy London traffic.  Day after day, doing a crazy round trip from Putney to Hans Place (off the Kings road) was a mini hell for my Mum.  I recall hearing her groan at the sight of Putney High Street in the morning which was always gridlocked en route to school.  She used to turn on Capital Radio to listen for traffic reports on the “Flying Eye” launched in 1976, which gave Londoners a good idea of what crappy traffic they would hit that morning from a helicopter (you could hear the propellers during the segment….loved it).  I, on the other hand, used to chill in the back seat, and happily listen to Kenny Everett do the morning show en route to Chelsea.  I LOVED Kenny.  His shows would have me in stitches before 8am.  Great comedian.  His “leg crossing” moment on he Kenny Everett Show (BBC 1) back in the 80’s, was beyond brilliant for me, aged approx. 9 when I became a huge fan of comedy.  Benny Hill was too slapstick for me. Also too sexist and a bit paedophilic for me.  I loved Kenny though.  It was his voice in the mornings that made me love, and always love, Capital Radio in the morning.  No Radio DJ has beat him since, in my opinion, aside from Chris Tarrant, and his partner during the morning show, Kara Noble.  I LOVE their show.  Brilliant radio for London in the morning, and something I still actually miss and wish for when I put Capital on during the school run to this day.  Don’t get me wrong. Dave Berry has me laughing A LOT out loud….but the old way of presenting is sorely missed by me.  Kenny & Chris were great radio presenters.  They knew how to deliver. I must, however, mention Marvin Humes…..hes a dark horse in my opinion and one to watch.  I enjoy his show, his tone, his delivery. He seems to understand his audience and whats expected.

After living in Hong Kong (where a 20 minute traffic jam was considered diabolical/sacrilegious….especially if you were driving through the Aberdeen Tunnel). I had no idea of what I was about to embark on, for, well, the next 10 years at least.

The roads of Hampstead are narrow, and forever have roadworks during peak rush hour (London eh?).  These roads, are usually gridlocked by 8.15 am and are ferrying numerous children to school.  The vehicles carrying these kids are almost always massive, 4×4’s.

 

bottom line….I HATE SCHOOL RUNS.

ITS ABOUT TO START AGAIN SOON.

9.05am alarm….

BE AFRAID.

BE VERY VERRRRY AFRAID.

9.25am….alarm

About Fruitlessbloom

Rock n Roll meets Martha Stewart (pre prison) ...on Red Bull

One response to “Part 2 F&B (that’s “Fire& Brimstone” for the non regulars)…”

  1. natasham says :

    Hahaha I lovee a good walk and I could walk to S’s school in 23 minutes but he would stop to look at a lady bird, pick up a stick, ask me to carry his bag, etc etc…so I drive! It takes me only 5 minutes, I could do it with my eyes closed…but at least my mornings are calm! And I only have one! *I take my hat off to you*

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