It seems to me there are many mornings when, by the time I've returned from the school and nursery drop off, I feel a bit, well, frazzled.
I open the door, stagger into the kitchen, switch to autopilot to make coffee, then sit down and stare at my computer screen, wondering why I can sense the whites of my eyes are showing – at 8.30am.
So I decided I'd really think about what happens, of a morning, in this house.
In my head, it replayed rather like a comedy sketch. It's a comedy sketch that happens with only minor variations every morning. In fact, I guess every morning a bit like the movie Groundhog Day, except no-one gets punched in the face.
So, this is pretty much how mornings go:
I wake up at about 5am when Ruby (who has snuck into bed) accidentally kicks me in the face (because when she's in our bed, she likes to sleep sideways, if you please).
I can't get back to sleep, so I get up and make some tea.
Ruby senses I'm up and comes sleepily downstairs for breakfast. Despite being fast asleep, Ava senses she might be missing out on something very important, like a waffle, and also comes downstairs, quite often with her eyes closed.
Half a waffle in, both girls emerge from sleepy, floppy state and start talking.
At the same time.
About completely different things.
For example, while unloading the dishwasher, I'll hear:
Ava: "Mummy, can I tell you something...?"
Ruby: "THERE'S A CAT IN OUR GARDEN..."
Ava: "Well, yesterday at school there was..."
Ruby: "A CAT!"
Ava: "And he said he liked..."
Ruby: "Licking his BUM! HA HA HA!"
Ava: "But I said he shouldn't..."
Ruby: "Go outside and stroke it."
Ava: "So I told my teacher and she..."
Ruby: "CHASED A SQUIRREL!"
The surreal conversation varies, the varyingly appropriate noises I make at intervals remain the same.
Breakfast done, it's getting dressed time. There will be an argument about who has their eczema cream put on first.
In unison: "Her first!"
In unison: "I went first yesterday!"
In unison: "No you didn't! I always have to go first!"
After a brief stand off, someone does go first, and the other goes approximately 30 seconds later (quietly fist-pumping their victory).
"Time to get dressed!" I'll say. "Ava, get your pants and socks on while I iron this supposedly no-need-to-iron school dress. Ruby, go and put on some leggings and a T-shirt."
Ava puts on her socks and pants as slowly as humanly possible. Ruby puts on a plastic glasses/knobbly nose combo, and a feather boa.
"Teeth time!" I say.
On to the next Groundhog Day conversation:
"I've got the pink one!"
"I wish I had the pink one."
"You've got the green one, I've got the pink one...!" (to the na-na-na-NA-na) tune.
When one has happily brushed, and the other has begrudgingly brushed, we get our shoes on and, in all hope, leave.
And this is the bit that gets me every time.
We have lived in this house since the girls can remember, they were tiny when we bought it. We've made many changes to the place – but one thing we have not changed is the front door.
The front door to this house has always, ALWAYS opened inwards.
Yet every morning, without fail, when I say: "Let's go!" Ava and Ruby both run to the front door, and stand there, with their noses almost touching the glass.
Every morning, we engage in the same comedy manoeuvre of me reaching over/through them, turning the handle, and very gradually opening the door, the bottom of it bashing the toes of their shoes, as they awkwardly back up, treading on each others feet and, quite often, falling over.
It's monotony gone MAD!
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