Today I spent the whole day feeling like nothing was working out quite the way it was supposed to.
I had planned to give myself the morning off, once I’d dropped the kids at school I was going to come home and spend an hour and a half doing whatever I bloody well wanted to and then pop up to the school 30 minutes before my Canteen shift began to partake of the Helper’s Morning Tea – a thank you from the staff to all the parent who have helped out at the school throughout the year (I’ve never been available to attend before this year).
But the dog looked at me with big brown eyes, full of hope and pathos. So I let her come with us to drop the kids off and then on to the dog park for a play. On my way to the school I remembered that I really needed to sort out some jewellery stuff for Craft Group’s Christmas stall next week and came to the realisation that my morning was pretty much a gonner.
Clara got a short but satisfactory play with a lovely labrador who’s favourite game was tug-o’-war, Clara was no match for his mass but made up for it with tenacity, and then it was home to tally up bracelet and earring sales and sort out stock for the stall.
I made it to the school with 2 minutes to spare before Canteen duty, just enough time to hand over my stuff to one of the other Craft Group members and observe that I was, once again, missing the Helper’s Morning Tea.
Canteen duty was pretty much par for the course, the highlight being when I was cutting the top off a not quite frozen jelly stick (small plastic tube filled with jelly) and it spurted pineapple jelly straight into my left eye. Ow. Actually, doing canteen is kind of fun but we all agreed today that by this time of the year we are a bit over the whole thing and found ourselves a bit short on the endless patience needed to cope with every second child spreading their coin collection on the counter and asking “What can I buy with this?”
As usual, by the time I was done in the canteen there was no point in going home, so I sat in the playground and looked at trees for 10 minutes before other mums began to arrive to pick up kids.
One thing that did go right was that the kids did not fight, burst into tears or demand to know what was for afternoon tea before we’d even made it out the school gate. Most days I get at least one of those, if not the full trifecta.
At home with the kids and it was on to fielding queries about “if/when/why not?” they could play games on the PS2. I stood firm on my “no/not today/because you overdosed yesterday and I need you to help around the house” stance and made them do homework and help clean up the lounge room. Then we pulled out some of the Christmas ornaments (couldn’t find most of them, I presume they’re downstairs somewhere, hopefully they’ll turn up on the weekend) and candles and made the top of the fish-tank and the sideboard look all pretty. Caitlin and David scoured the bookshelf for Christmas books and all the kids sat around reading while I got the dinner ready.
My dad and Adam’s mum came for dinner. We had fridge frittata, mostly because I hadn’t managed to go shopping so I was making do with what was on hand. I made 2, both with potatoes, onion, red capsicum, broccoli, eggs, cream and a smidgen of grated cheese and smoked chicken in one and left-over lamb and rosemary sausage in the other. I cooked them in stoneware dishes in the oven rather than in pans on the stove and they were yum. Happily, there are left-overs, sadly I have no access to a microwave at either of my workplaces.
After dinner I was determined to get the kids to bed early, they’ve been having fairly late nights and boy can I tell. I told Caitlin and Tom to shower. Caitlin did, Tom just went and put his pjs on. Eventually they were all ready for bed and we gathered in the lounge room.
“Can we put the Aussie Twelve Days of Christmas CD on?”
“Because I’m going to read to you.”
“Can I read it?” (asks Tom)
“No, it is MY book!” (I hug it to my chest and stroke the cover)
“What’s it called?”
“A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.”
“Can we watch the Muppets one?”
“But I like the Muppets one!” (Adam, you’re not helping.)
“You can watch the movie later, tonight we’re reading.”
“Marley was dead: to begin with…”
I’m reading from the most gorgeous edition of the book, it’s illustrated by Quentin Blake and the text is large and clear enough that Tom was following along with my reading and turning the pages for me as we went. Caitlin continued to read other books as I read but the boys, Adam and the grandparents were all listening and I even got a couple of laughs for my Scrooge impersonations.
I was a page and a half short of the end of Stave 1 when we put it aside because there was a new Wallace and Gromit about to air on the ABC. It was supposed to start at 8:30pm but it was more like 8:40pm and, of course, the kids weren’t settled into bed until after 9:30pm. Again. They really need to be in bed with lights out by 9:00 at the latest, especially now as David is getting up at the crack of dawn and hauling the others out of bed so he can see what’s in the next section of the Lego advent calendar I rather indulgently bought them.
Hmmm, reading back over all that it doesn’t sound like too bad a day at all does it?
Adam just pointed out that I have a Christmas beetle on my arm. And so I do.