Last Sunday morning I wanted to steam clean my kitchen floor. Sad, I know, but we all get our kicks in different ways. We’ve had this steam cleaner thingy for a month now and because I don’t have time to fart these days I haven’t got around to using it yet. Then last Sunday whilst I was making a coffee one of the furry stains on the kitchen floor growled at me and I decided it was time I steamed the bugger off. As it was a weekend and Dan was about, I saw my opportunity and asked him to take the small people out so that I could get on and do the job. It’s now Friday and the growler is still there with a few new furry friends because I didn’t clean it as planned. Let me take you back to last Sunday morning to explain why…
Sunday morning at 10am:
Dan: Why don’t I take the kids into town so you can steam the floor without interruption?
Me: That’d be great, thanks.
I think to myself: Ha, ha! Sucker! I may be cleaning but I’m going to be all. By. My. Self! Hooray!
Dan: I’ll hop in the shower and you get the kids dressed so we can leave as soon as I’m ready. Deal?
I gladly trot into Ben’s room where the children are playing. If only I knew what was about to follow…
Me: Right then, let’s get you dressed so Daddy can take you… who’s guffed? (our family word for “farted”). Ben have you guffed or has Edi had a Poo?
Ben: I haven’t guffed!
Me: Edi, have you done a poo?
My two year old legs it out the door and down the corridor, which means she has.
Me: Edi! Edi, come back. Let’s put Mr Poo down the toilet, Edi!
She legs it into the bathroom and shuts the door.
Me: Edi, let me in darling so we can put Mr Poo down the toilet
Edi: No! Go away Mummy!
Me (whilst trying to open the bathroom door without flattening my daughter who’s stood on the other side screaming at me): Ben, please can you get me a nappy and a pack of wipes.
Ben sludges off like a depressed orangutan. He returns moments later still resembling a ginger ape that’s just been dumped to find me rapidly losing a ‘getting in the bathroom competition’. He wisely dumps the nappy and wipes and runs back into his room to play, and shortly I hear him make shooting noises.
Me, juggling the bathroom door opening competition and parenting via shouting to Ben: Ben! Please don’t play gun games, you know I don’t like them.
Ben, calls back to me: I’m not! Pow! Pow!
Me: Edi let me in
Ben: Pow! Pow!
Me: Ben, stop it! Edi! Move away from the door! I’m coming in to get Mr Poo, he’s yucky and we have to get rid of him.
Ben: Pow! Pow!
Me: Oh for…
I breathe in deeply and knock on the bathroom door for the ten thousandth time.
Edi screams at me: No! Go away Mummy I don’t wike Mr Poo! (her L’s aren’t quite there yet) No, go away! No mummy! Nooooooo!
Me: I know you don’t like Mr Poo, so that’s why I need to get rid of him.
I manage to get in the bathroom without flattening my child but she’s not giving in just yet, she puts her hand up at me trying to push me away. The battle has commenced and I pull her in to me trying to pull down the pull up as she squirms, wriggles, pushes me in the face, hits me, pulls my hair and screams – a lot. I finally succeed – Yes! No! Bollocks! I’ve smudged Mr Poo all down the inside of Edi’s legs.
Me: Ok Edi, let’s clean you up, put Mr Poo in the toilet and say bye-bye to him. No, Edi, no! Don’t touch Mr Poo on your legs, Edi, no, no, no… Edi! I said no…!
In my head I say: For fuck’s sake! Out loud I say: Oh dear Edi, Mr Poo is on your hands now, let’s wash them.
I lift the poo-smothered child up to the taps and wash her hands. I then swiftly clean her legs and change her nappy whilst she carries on squirming and screaming at me. We put Mr Poo, who by this time I have decided is a fuckwit, down the toilet, flush him away and say goodbye to him. Good riddens.
Ben comes running into the bathroom holding a yellow triangular plastic toy block thing that’s supposed to be cheese: Pow! Pow! I’m getting you with my cheese. Pow! Pow!
He gets up close to Edi and I, and shoots us with the cheese gun.
Me: Ben, please can you put the gun down and get dressed so you can go out with Daddy.
Ben: No. Anyway, it’s not a gun, it’s cheese, see!
Me: I can see it’s cheese, but you’re shooting it like a gun and I don’t like it, so please put it down.
Ben: Can you kill someone with a cheese?
Me: Um… No, I don’t think so, well actually maybe, probably, I uh…
I’m pondering different possible death-by-cheese scenarios and in my thoughtful haze I loosen my hold on the monster toddler and she legs it back into her brother’s room. I then realise my thoughtful face is contorted and Ben is looking at me confused so I crudely rectify the situation: No, definitely not, you cannot die from a cheese (you probably can, a smack on the head with a large cheddar would do it, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to go there with Ben right now).
Ben: So why can’t I play with it?
Me: Because you’re pretending it’s a gun, now, please Ben, you’re nearly 6, please can you get yourself dressed?
Ben: No. Pow! Pow!
Me: Ben, please put the cheese gun down and get dressed.
Ben: Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! Can you help me? Pow!
I submit to the power of the child with the cheese gun and agree to help him get dressed because I just want them all out the fucking house so I can steam clean the floor to a new level of pointless impeccable shine that will ruined within five minutes of the kids getting home.
We go into Ben’s room where his semi-naked sister is pulling down her brother’s art work (in the loosest sense of the word) from his shelves
Ben: No Edi! That’s mine! Stop it!
Ben storms over and raises a hand to smack his sister, I swiftly intervene and pick her up and move her to the other side of the room
Me: Edi, say sorry to your brother
Edi: Sowy (her R’s aren’t quite there yet either)
I go over to the wardrobe and pull out shorts and a t-shirt for Ben, ignoring the fact that he is picking his nose and Edi is now pulling her brother’s books off the bookcase.
Me to Ben: Right then, let’s get you dressed quickly, I can hear that Daddy is out of the shower now and I still need to get your sister dressed.
Ben: What’s she doing to my books?
Me: Nothing. I’ll sort it out later
I think to myself: Please don’t freak out. Luckily he’s too interested in picking his nose to be really bothered by his books.
Me to Ben: Sit on the bed and let’s get these shorts on you.
Ben: Silly woman! You’ve put both my legs on one leg hole.
Me: Ben! That’s rude, say sorry.
Ben: No it’s not! You’ve put two legs in one hole and that’s silly and you’re a woman. That’s not rude mummy – they’re facts.
I think: Fucking school, teaching them about fucking facts. Out loud I say: Ok Ben, but sometimes facts can be rude too and calling me a “silly woman” is rude. So please don’t say it again, ok?
Ben, sings: Silly woman, doobeedoo, put two feet in one hole, silly woman, doobeedoo shake my bum-bum, silly woman…
I wonder if my voice is on mute to the rest of the world: Ben! I’ve just asked you not to say that to me, now stop it! If you say it one more time I will take your treats away from you. Is that understood?
Ben, protesting: But I didn’t say it mummy, I sang it.
I’m showing gums now.
Me: It’s still rude, do not say it or sing it or let it come out of your mouth in any way at all, do you understand?
Ben picks his nose.
Me: Do you understand?
Ben says nothing but pulls out a massive bogie and examines it before eating it.
Me, sharply: Ben!
Ben looks up wide- eyed.
Me: What did I just say?
Ben: Don’t pick your nose?
Me: Yes. No! I didn’t say that.
Ben: Can I pick my nose then?
Me: No! Now what did I just say?
Ben: I can’t remember
Me: I said…
I hesitate because I’ve forgotten too.
Edi, giggles: Siwy woman
Me: Thank you Edi. Ben you mustn’t say that, ok?
Ben: That’s not fair! You didn’t tell Edi off. She said “silly woman” and if I say it I lose my treats!
Me, in my head: For fuck’s sake! Out loud I say: Yes, you’re right Ben, I’m sorry. Edi don’t say “silly woman”, it’s rude. Nobody say “silly woman” ok? No treats for anyone that calls me a “silly woman”. Ok?
Ben, slumping: Ok Mummy.
I dress him swiftly and then abandon him in a rush to get Edi dressed. I am desperate to be on my own with my new steam cleaner, a coffee and a large chunk of chocolate. I pick her up kicking and squirming and carry her into her room.
Me to Edi: Shall we put a pretty dress on you?
Edi normally loves a “pretty dress” but not then it turned out
Edi: No! I don’t want pwitty dwess!
I grab a pink one and show it to her
Me: Look Edi, it’s pink and it’s got pockets on the front
Edi: No! I don’t wike pocKETS!
The last part of “pockets” is screamed, she turns red and arches her back in anger. I attempt to put the dress over her head, but she retaliates and hits it away
Edi: No! Don’t you dare Mummy!
My own words from a previous ticking off I gave the kids ring back at me as I end up playing tug of war with a two year old trying to get the bloody stupid pink dress with pockets on the front, out of her hands and onto her body.
Me: Let go and give it to me, Edi, let go.
Edi: No. I don’t wike it. I don’t wike it. I don’t wike it. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam!
Ben runs in: Mummy look at my new Frisbee.
A paper plate that has been scribbled on in a lack lustre attempt to colour it in flies across Edi’s room and smacks me in the face.
Ben: Sorry Mummy. It was an accident.
Me, trying not to cry and still trying to prise the dress from Edi’s surprisingly strong fingers: That’s ok (it’s actually not, it fucking hurt). Please can you go downstairs with Daddy and get your shoes on.
Ben: No, because Daddy’s fixing the bed.
Me: What the…?
I drop the fight with my two year old (who runs back into her brother’s room) and go into our room. The mattress is off the bed and propped against the wall and Dan is doing some extremely badly timed D.I.Y to our bedframe.
Me, in a very high-pitched voice that has a strong undercurrent of “you fucking idiot”: What are you doing?
Dan: Tightening our bed because it squeaks.
Me, high-pitched: What now? Really?
Dan: Well you seemed to be taking ages getting the kids ready, so I thought I’d do this whilst I could so it stops squeaking.
He winks at me and I want to kick him in the balls. But instead of causing permanent deflation to my husband’s knackers, I take the quicker, peaceful route and say: Please can you help me get Edi dressed, she’s refusing to put her dress on. Ben needs to get his shoes on too.
Dan: Yep, let me just finish doing this.
I breathe fire watching Dan pootle along with the bedframe. The longest two minutes of my life later, Dan jumps up all spritely and happy: Finished! Right then, where’s Edi?
Me: In Ben’s room.
Ha, ha! I think. This’ll teach you to fix the fucking bed whilst I’m being physically and mentally abused by our children. I know it’s wrong, but I really want Edi to produce another Mr Poo and smother it on Dan’s face whilst he’s being held to ransom by Ben with his cheese gun whilst both kids repeatedly call him a “stupid bed-fixing ass”.
Dan crosses the corridor and goes into Ben’s room where I can hear the cheese gun being fired at Spiderman and the sound of books hitting the floor. I wait smugly for the chaos to ensue.
Dan: Hello my gorgeous girl, shall we get a pretty dress on you?
Edi: Yes Daddy, with pockets?
Dan: Yes, what about your pink one?
Edi giggles: I wuv pink Daddy. I wuv you, Daddy
Dan: Ah, I love you too Edi. Ben can you please put the cheese down and put your shoes on down stairs? There’s a good boy.
Ben: Yes Daddy. Daddy, I love you too.
Dan kisses Ben on the head: I love you, Ben.
I mentally pack my bags and get in my car to do a Thelma and Louise off the duck bridge in the park as I watch the three of them lovingly and calmly saunter down the stairs together on their jolly way. I breathe deeply trying to dispel the murderous thoughts going through my head and I get another waft of Mr Poo. I look around for any of Mr Poo’s children that may have escaped and then I realise I have a Mr Poo smudge on my forearm. Mr Poo had the last laugh.
The kitchen floor can go screw itself, I’m off down the duck pond…