‘I need to see an updated copy of the kids’ term-time weekly timetable. Can you print them off and put them on the wall? Laminated, obviously. Also iCal me all their new appointments,’ says American Mom waving her iPhone as she breezes out of the door.
Managing the Brats’ diaries would be a challenge even for the most efficient PA. I’m not sure I’ll ever master it. No matter how expertly I co-ordinate three school pick-ups, clubs, music lessons, sports and tutors, something, somewhere slips under the radar. As long as it’s not one of the Brats, American Mom doesn’t tend to notice or care. Occasionally she’ll display an interest in their after-school activities, resulting in elevated stress levels for the entire household. Alternatively, she’ll announce that she’s taking them out for supper, with no regard for the running order of the day and still expecting everything else on the list to happen. She hasn’t threatened that today but it’s still early.
The Small One finishes school first and has a swimming lesson programmed five minutes after his lessons end. Unfortunately, that five minutes, which is allocated walking time from school to the pool, is taken up by his teacher filling me in on how naughty he’s been today. Late, apologising and scoffing seaweed as a snack, we arrive at the pool. It seems The Small One has no intention of confining his naughty behaviour to the classroom. To be fair to him, I packed the Eldest’s swimming trunks by mistake. Backstroke is hard enough without having to simultaneously hold on your dignity. He’s not remotely interested in backstroke anyway, as it happens. The swimming teacher is the second person to tell me today how naughty he is. I sympathise with the Small One. I’d be naughty too if I had a schedule as jam-packed as his. I don’t hold much hope for the piano lesson.
We pick up the Middle One on the way back. The piano teacher and the tutor are waiting on the doorstep. I deposit one child with each and cook supper while they have their respective sessions and then swap. The Eldest is dropped off from his play-date as the plates are put on the table. ‘I ate at Ludo’s!’ the Eldest says quickly, pushing my latest culinary experiment away from him. ‘I need to use the computer to do my homework,’ he continues, sliding off his chair. I manage to get him to sit for a whole ten minutes before he escapes. To my surprise and relief, he does seem to be doing actual homework. The Middle One does hers while the Small One has a bath. I only just get them all through the bedtime routine before American Mom arrives back from her wine tasting club. ‘Did you not take them to the park after school for a run around?’ she asks. ‘You didn’t have time? What have you been doing?’