I’m upstairs in the bathroom and half way out of my nightee when I hear feet thumping on the stairs. I brace myself.
‘Mum, do you like my picture?’ asks the Bombshell breathlessly.
I look at the explosion of colour in front of me and admire it appropriately.
‘Why is the Mop crying?’ I ask.
‘She asked me if I liked her picture but I was working so I ignored her.’
‘But you then come all the way upstairs and interrupt me so you can ask me if I like your picture?’ I point out.
‘Oh,’ she says. The Bombshell turns and leaves.
I struggle into my dress when I hear thumping again.
‘Mum! She hit me,’ the Mop cries indignantly. I peer around the door, where the Bombshell is sitting contritely on my bed. I respond with a vague threat about taking away her canteen money and to stop hitting her sister, yada yada. I am standing with my dress bunched around my shoulders, otherwise just in my knickers. I am sick of this.
‘But she hit me first,’ yells the Bombshell, whacking her sister in the arm.
‘Is that true?’ I ask the Mop, who has the decency to look appropriately ashamed.
‘So you came all the way up here to dob on your sister when you started the fight? Grrrr,’ I finally pull my dress on.
‘I love you, Mummy,’ purrs the Mop.
‘Get out, both of you,’ I tell them. Someone punches someone else and the shrieking starts before they even walk out of my bedroom.
‘If you two wake the baby up, I am going to… to... I’m going to ban Christmas!’ I threaten wildly.
As if. Sometimes my mouth works much faster than my brain, but still, the idle threat did the trick and they make it downstairs with only minimum ruckus.
‘She’s already awake,’ the Bombshells yells helpfully up the stairs.
I figure I have about one minute to finish getting dressed before things implode downstairs so I whack on some deodorant and wave a mascara wand near my eyes.
A scream from the stairs.
‘I’m going to tell Mum,’ a voice threatens. ‘She’s gonna KILL YOU.’
I walk out of the bathroom and lock the bedroom door, then go back to the bathroom, and lock that door as well.
My own private panic room. Sometimes it’s the only way.
All mums should have one.
* apologies for the obscure reference, but I'm guessing most of you got it http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258000/