The Longest Thirty Minutes in the World.

If Carlsberg did ‘Half an Hours’ … Not.

I was discussing recently the fact that when you have delivered both of your off-spring to school (which I am doing, for the first time ever, thanks to my youngest starting last week), your shoulders drop a tad, the pressure is off, and you can breathe again. And then, you begin to miss their little faces during the day. The ring of their arguments and infuriating squabbles have dulled in your ears, until it is but a vague buzz that memory allows to slide away. The ring of tooth marks that they leave upon each other’s limbs have faded with the school day, and you feel ready to face them again at 3pm-ish, having regained some sanity during the previous six hours.

And then – within one minute of collecting them – something, inevitably, will turn it all to shit. And your shoulders are back up by your ears, there is a new ring of tooth marks/bruise/bicker/whinge, and you’re right back where you started from. So, today, I decided to log my first thirty minutes back at home following the school run. And here it is:


The troops arrived at base camp at 3:18pm GMT. 
At precisely 3.20pm, the first blow was dealt: one swift kick to the lower shin. The kicker was the eldest child (hereafter known only as Big Bugger), the Kickee was the younger (hereafter known only as Little Bugger). The off-spring swiftly shed and dumped their motley assortment of book bags, shoes, coats and lunch bags, and torpedoed through the house in order to launch a surprise attack on the cats, who had been sleeping unawares on the dining table chairs, under the false assumption that this was a position of safety, far from enemy lines. From the cats they threw themselves upon, and wrestled with, the newly groomed puppy. 
At 3:25pm, after bestowing snacks and sustenance upon the tiny dictators, Sergeant Major Mummy (SMM) installed LB in front of the television so that BB be able to do her maths homework with a degree of peace and quiet. This is the same SMM who was once proud that her eldest off-spring had no interest in a television screen until she was nearly three years old. SMM proceeded to open the foul-smelling lunch bags that accompanied her children home, and tried hard not to gag whilst she scraped sandwich crumbs, squashed banana and dregs of sour yoghurt out of the creases of the aforementioned lunchables containers.
By 3.29pm not only had the television screen turned a mysterious shade of pink, requiring much red-faced sweating on the part of SMM and a jolly good fiddle with the scart leads (as well as a tried and trusted ‘turn it off and back on again’ technique) but, during the chaos, LB managed to escape her confines and sneak off to pester BB, who was making gallant efforts with her numeracy. This resulted in BB lumping LB, who immediately came crying to SMM with a successful attempt to suspend her entire body weight upon the little finger of said SMM. This was as painful as it sounds and a small tussle ensued, which resulted in SMM going to some lengths to bite her tongue and contain the vast array of expletives that threatened to burst forth from within her pursed, dog’s-bottomesque, lips. 
At 3.35pm, LB relented enough to watch a small portion of The Gruffalo’s Child. SMM saw her chance and seized it, slyly making her way to the kitchen to prepare herself a snack. Alas, the bat-ears of both Big and Little Bugger, and their unique in-built radar-like ability to sense when another human being is daring to partake of food consumption without them, resulted in the tiny tyrants making a swoop on the kitchen, where SMM stood, guilty-faced, trying to keep her facial muscles as still as possible, smiling falsely through a badly-concealed gobful of foodstuffs, in a bid to throw them off the scent. Mission status: Failure. SMM shared the snack (peanut butter on carrot sticks), whilst trying to consume her own as swiftly as possible before the two bottomless pits that she refers to as her children made another attack on her plate.
At 3.44pm, SMM was trying to mind her own business (read: seek cover) when she mistakenly assumed that perhaps peace had been declared for the afternoon. Both children had vacated to the front room where the play-doh (hell in pots) had been brought out. Her optimism was, as ever, premature. LB made a swipe for one of BB’s pieces, resulting in another pawing and flailing of fists, and much crying in the kitchen to SMM. By this stage, SMM felt a bit like crying herself, but maintained her role as Provider of Peace, and re-settled the small people in separate activities, having decided that segregation is the way forwards. If SMM can only keep both siblings apart for approximately another twelve years, then many issues may have been resolved by the time they are big enough to leave home.
3.48pm, both BB and LB come to seek out their SMM, wanting cuddles and bleating tiny apologies whilst doing many Princess Di-style looks under their fluttering eyelashes. The heart of SMM melted posthaste. And then LB’s foot caught BB’s face on the sofa. Seek cover.
So, first thirty minutes done. Who knows what joys the next two hours until bedtime have in store??