I'm wondering something. How many times a week is it normal to look at your children and think: 'Oh my God. What have I done?'
On rare occasions, I can zone out and let the chaos wash over me in rather the same way a Sunday night David Attenborough documentary might: 'And observe here how the infant of the species smears banana all over her brother's head..'
But other times I feel myself being sucked in and no amount of deep breathing or visualisation ("You are lying under a palm tree sipping a Lychee Martini..") can stop the steam whistling from my ears.
Take a recent trip to buy school uniform. The 11-year-old is looking horrified at a pair of black shoes I've selected as if I'm holding up the decapitated head of a puppy. 'They. Are. Revolting. You're joking, right?.'
I can't tell you how much I relish this mother/daughter shopping excursion to merrily debate the merits of lace-up versus velcro and how a three inch heel is completely inappropriate for Year 7.
Out of the corner of my eye I spot daughter number two happily creating a Tracey Emin-style masterpiece by removing the right arm off every mannequin on the shop floor and adding it carefully to her pile of other dismembered parts. It reminds me how murderous I'm starting to feel and then the husband says: 'Where's Monty?'
We all stop and swivel. The boy has been quiet. Too quiet. He suddenly appears, naked, from a changing room. And a little part of his anatomy is standing proudly to attention.
Everyone freezes. We all stare at Monty and he stares back, hand casually, on hip. Then the husband erupts. 'Monty!' he splutters, just a bit too loudly. 'Have you EVER seen Daddy do that??'
'Not nearly often enough,' I think, laughing so much I return the shoes and we all hastily retreat from the store empty handed.
We'll try again another day. Or perhaps buy everything we need online and never leave the house again.
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