Are all children like mine? Asleep, like sweet cherubs, their rosy cheeks shining in the light of dawn. But as soon as they awake, the opening of their bleary eyes act as a trigger to launch their mouths. Mouths that start up like rusty machines, newly oiled and coiled, ready to burst into life. Bickering and fighting, squawking and squabbling, turning the bedrooms into a no-man’s, a bloody battlefield of petty altercations.
“where did you put my woodwork apron that you borrowed the other day?”
“That’s my blouse, get it off, I wanted to wear that today!”
“Mam, where my football boots?”
“Tell her Mam, she’s doing it again. Tell her stop looking at me”
…. float down the stairs to mingle with the clanking of the old washing machine that has already started its daily routine. Clinks and clangs, bumps and bangs as shoes and bags are moved around on the bedroom floors as they scrabble to find missing objects.
“Mam, tell him to get off, he’s pulling my hair”, follows the bloodcurdling screams that vie for my attention and struggle to compete with the three different tunes floating on the air, a cacophony of aural bombardment guaranteed to wake up even the deadest of door nails.
they could agree on one tune in the morning, or wear earphones.
they would get dressed quietly then eat their breakfast like civilised beings. Or are such mortals a myth invented by people who would never admit their children were also morning monsters? Appalling aliens?
But no, they fight over the bathroom space; about the towels, of which there are many; over their own tiny portion of the mirror. Why do girls need five feet of personal space each before they feel they can brush their hair to some degree of tidiness? Why do boys need such a huge amount of elbow room to brush their teeth.
they were more tolerant of each of other.
they could see they all have needs and weaknesses. Every morning, seven days a week, 365 days a year without pause, as regular as clockwork they never fail to perform the alien invasion of the ‘war of the worlds’. Orson Welles would applauded their production, and revel in the originality of their histrionics.
Eventually, seated silently at the kitchen table they eye each other with all the warmth of a cobra poised to strike at the first opportunity. But the silence is short lived, the cease-fire shorter, than a 70’s mini skirt, over too soon, and battle is resumed. Everyone wants the same cereal, but the amount in the box is insufficient to satisfy them all.
manufacturers could squeeze just a bit more into the box, then there’d be ample for everyone and there wouldn’t be a problem. Life would be easier, quieter, more civilised.
There should have been more than plenty milk for the morning meal, and there was till one of the girls decided to drink it by the glassfull. No milk, no cornflakes, no problem. If only…..
they had not been raised to communicate with each other at meal times.
they been taught not to talk at the table.
Eventually, the front door closes and peace reigns, and I sit savouring the stillness in the air. A huge intake of breath and it’s time to tackle the rest of the day. As I stand and move toward the kitchen to empty the now silent washing machine I glance out of the window to see a group of children I barely recognise, as they make their way up the garden path.
Having walked over the pristine step at the front door, through the magical portal that turns monsters into laughing happy children, the siblings were revelling in each other’s company, united as one to the outside world.