There is a time of day fuelled with emotion, where speed is of the essence, infinite patience is required along with copious amounts of coffee. Yes, it’s an event we mothers dread day after day – getting out of the house in the morning. Known for my tardiness pre-kids, the very idea of arriving anywhere on time with two little munchkins in tow is simply a reality that we all have to accept will never come to fruition. None-the-less with every rising sun I optimistically attempt to beat my leaving the house (LTH) personal best (PB) with renewed vigour. My kids of course do not share in this desire and instead manage to turn the seemingly simple action of heading out of the front door into an episode of the Krypton Factor, requiring more skill and mental agility as each day passes. They’re trying to break me, and believe me some days they’re close, but sanity usually prevails and we make it to our destination, albeit far later than required.
And so it beings…nappy change x2, clothes change x2, breakfast x2, oh yes and then there is me! I have managed to get shower and breakfast consumption down to a slim 7 minutes. On the odd occasion when I am feeling a little frivolous I like to throw caution to the wind and push for a whole 8.5 minutes, but I pay for that extra 90 seconds in additional crying time so I keep luxury shower days to a minimum.
Once the three of us are fed and dressed (which can vary anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hour 20 minutes) we attempt to make it to the outside world. Each day a new series of obstacles stands in my way of reaching my LTH PB, which is often scuppered by things like last min poops (one of the boys, not me), babba puke on fresh change of clothes (mine and bubs), big bubs deciding to have a Picasso moment and unleashing the finger paints on any white surface he can find or the increasingly common ‘where are my keys’ game. Latest answer to that question was in the bottom of a wellington boot which added an extra 35 minutes to our LTH challenge.
To add to the morning drama we live in an apartment that doubles up as the world’s largest sauna thanks to a combination of wall to wall windows and Barcelona’s sunny climate. Not wanting to sound ungrateful for the weather (how very British), but when attempting to get kids ready for the outside, where the temperature is at least 10 degrees lower than inside, putting a coat on before leaving the house can feel like a mild form of torture. It is therefore KEY that coats are the VERY last thing to take place in our routine. Before you suggest waiting until we get outside to jacket them up, if you think I can get two kids outside without strapping them into a buggy you are sorely mistaken.
Finally, everyone is dressed and ready to go. Wrong. Eldest son has decided now is the exact time he has to re-connect with his animal figures and he cannot possibly be parted from them for such a minor reason as leaving the house. In an attempt to lure him to the buggy with songs and promises of all the fun he’s going to have once we actually get outside (in the background the coated-up little one is screaming from heat stroke) he will not give in and it is clear to me we are not getting out of this house without a monkey and a tiger accompanying us.
Two and a half tantrums later and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – well the beaming bulbs of our communal hallway. Front door opens and we manage to make it to the lift. Ah, the lift. Normally the presence of a lift provides one with a sense of ease and convenience, but when you add a double buggy into the picture it is simply one more hurdle in my LTH challenge. Every morning me, the double buggy – adorned with nappy bag, kids backpacks, handbag, and of course kids – squeeze our way (and I really do mean squeeze) into the small metal cube and pray it will transport us down to the ground floor trouble-free. Entering the lift involves new and exciting ways on how best to contort ourselves to ensure that the sensor allows the lift door to close. On this particular morning having manoeuvred myself into a space between the buggy and kids legs my eldest son spots a leaf (this week’s obsession is leaves) on the floor and cries out as loud as he can for that leaf. Noooooo. I had almost reached my PB when of all things a leaf throws me off course. “FISH, FISH, FISH MAMA” (oh yes, I should have said he calls leaves fish). Not wanting to ever deny a boy’s love of nature and happy he’s craving contact with mother earth over the iPad I decide I must get this fish, sorry leaf, at all costs. In a move that would do a Russian gymnast proud I grab the foliage as the lift doors open and we are on our way. As we step outside I check my watch and think to myself not quite the PB I was hoping for, be we’ve made it with minimum tears. As this point my phone rings and after rummaging around one of the possible 17 places it could be, it’s hubbie on the other end: “running a bit late are we…”