Time for the stunning conclusion of a day in my life. Read on for fascinating insight.
The boys now all sit gape jawed looking at the tv. "Do your homework." I tell them.
"Not now!" shouts Master 8 "later!"
"But my favourite shows on!" roars Master 10
"When does that finish?" I ask, patiently.
"Half an hour."
"Okay." I comply.
Half an hour later. "Do your homework." I tell them.
"But I'm going on the trampoline!" Master 10 says frantically, trying to shut the back door so his brothers can't come out. He wants alone time. Master 3 starts crying at the door. Master 8 tries to placate him unsuccessfully, receiving a thump to his stomach for his efforts. So he then proceeds to kick him in the shins in return.
Another twenty minutes of wailing and shouts of "He started it!" ensue, while I try to comfort and smoothe over the argument. Master 10 wanders back in from the trampoline.
"Homework!" I remind them. Mick chimes in too. Reluctantly they get their homework and sit at the table. "What's twelves times nine?" asks Master 10, scrunching his face up in concentration. I rack my brains and come up with.....nothing.
"Ummm..not sure," I reply, feeling stupid "ask Daddy."
Mick prattles off the answers immediately, unwittingly doing Master 10's homework for him. More grumbling, shouting and arguments errupt as Master 3 tries to scribble all over Master 8's homework. Finally it is done. Now for the next battle.
"You have to have a bath. " I tell them.
"But I had one yesterday!" howls Master 10
"Later!" declares Master 8. Master 3 is already half naked. He loves baths.
"Bubbles!" he says in excitement.
"I don't have any."
I squirt shampoo in. I try to coax Master 8 or 10 into the bath also. The door bell chimes.
It is their friend, Miss 9, from next door, asking to play. They scurry off, happily, dodging a bath. Master 3 comes running out swathed in nothing but bubbles. "Want go plaaaay!" he cries. I wrestle him to get him dressed.
They all go out and start jumping on the trampoline, bouncing around blissfully and playing 'tips'. Next they decide to play hide and seek. Suddenly the back yard is left in eerie silence. "Where are they?" Mick asks, looking up from the computer in alarm.
I rush out to the front of the house and scan the street, panicked. Nothing. Then I hear a giggle over the fence. They are hiding next door at Miss 9's house. "Play in the back yard only." I order. They scowl and sulk, then obey and start playing on the swings. Master 3 demands to pushed. "Higher!" he orders, giggling.
Miss 9's Mum hollers over the fence for her to come home. She skips off. The boys and I trudge back inside. I realise I should start dinner. Suddenly, I remember they still haven't had their baths.
"You have to have a bath after dinner." I warn them.
Mick grills the chops on the bbq health grill while I boil baby potatoes and corn on the cob. I cut up salad. Master 3 strolls into the kitchen. An overwhelming stench emanates from his direction.
"Did you do a poo?" I ask, frantic.
"No!" he denies it vehemently, but the smell is all too obvious. I drag him to the bathroom. It's everywhere, in his underpants, down his legs and up his back. "Arrrrgggh!" I yell, while the smell over powers me.
"It's not poo, it's chocolate!" Master 3 declares, defiantly. I am forced to give him another bath, this time putting a nappy on him afterwards.
I then set the table. The food is ready. Master 10 puts one chop on his plate and tries to skulk to the living room with it. "Sit at the table!" Mick and I chorus. He does so, glowering. All tv and play stations are switched off.
Master 8 gobbles everything in sight. Except anything green, that is. "Eat this." Mick says sternly, putting a tiny amount of salad leaves on his plate. "NOOOOO!!!" he yells, as if we were forcing him to eat dog poop. He manages to swallow a small piece, but not before turning nearly as green as the lettuce.
Meanwhile Master 3 is howling over his potatoe. "TOOO HOOOOT!!" he wails "BLOW IT!"
I blow on it half-heartedly. "TOOOO HOOOOTT!!" he keeps on howling. Master 10 eats his one chop and picks at a piece of corn before announcing: "I"m full. May I leave the table?" PlayStation goes back on.
Master's 8 and 3 start arguing again, this time over lego. There is now more washing up to be done. It's all too much. I retreat to my room and put on a Carpenters Cd instead.
Master 3 bangs on the door, crying over some new injustice from Master 8. I comfort him then go back to my Carpenters. Master 8 bangs on the door. "Mum, can you scratch my back?"
I scratch it and then go back to my Carpenters.
Bang, bang. Master 10 this time. "I'm starving. Can you make me some noodles and a cup of tea?"
I give up on my Carpenters and traipse back to the kitchen, which now resembles a war zone. I make two minute noodles, and cups of tea and coffee for everyone.
With grim determination I start washing up, when I remember they still haven't had their baths. I sigh. Oh well, one day without a bath won't hurt I tell myself. I need to reserve my energy. For it is time for the mother of all battles.
"Time for bed!" I announce, cheerfully.
"NOOOOO!!" they shout at ear splitting volume, just as if I had announced "Time to sever off your dangly bits with a sharp instrument!"
"Five more minutes!" they yell simultaneously.
"Alright." I give in, feeling that familiar throb at the temples again. Half an hour passes.
"Right, time for bed!"
"NOOOOO!!" they bellow, just as if I had said "Right, time for your colonic irrigation!"
"Five more minutes!"
"Alright." I retreat, feeling tired and defeated. Half an hour passes.
"Bed time!" I try, hopefully.
"Strewth, is that the time!" says Mick, looking up from the computer in a daze, where he is blasting Iron Maiden on Youtube. "Get your pyjamas on." he orders. They do.
"Can we sleep in your bed?" they both ask, smiling, cherub like.
"Ask Daddy." I reply. They do.
"Ask Mummy." he says. They come back to me.
"No, go in your own beds." I say. They sulk and head to their room.
"Can we read a book first?" Master 8 pleads, clutching a Where's Wally book. My heart sinks.Those books take approximately twenty hours to 'read'. By which point you still haven't found Wally. I suggest a different book to no avail. I try to skip pages, but they are too smart for me. Finally Master's 10 and 8 get into bed.
"Can you pat me?" sobs Master 8
"Mum, come in my bed?" begs Master 3, pleadingly. I sit and pat Master 8, while Master 3 tugs at me to come with him.
Suddenly, Master 10 springs up out of his bed with a great "RAHHHHHHHHHH!" deliberately scaring the bejesus out of us, a charming habit of his. I rouse on him and comfort the other two, then say goodnight and take Master 3 to bed.
"Lie down on my bed." he instructs me, solemnly.
"No, I'll just sit and pat you."
"Lie down on myyy beeed!" he is crying. I lie down. After 15 minutes or so he starts to fall asleep. The other two start giggling and talking across the hall. "Shhhhhh!" I hiss, afraid they will wake Master 3 up. I lay there for another 15 minutes or so, at which point, I nod off.
Half an hour passes. Mick finds me there, snuggled next to Master 3, comatose, snoring.
So endeth a true saga.
Stay tuned for more musings.