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The secret diary of a demented mother aged 36.5.

Byline: By Jenny Lesley

We've been having one of our chaotic weeks this week. Actually I can't think when there wasn't a week recently that hasn't been chaotic, particularly since Fergus was born.

Whilst he is a lovely, smiley little boy, he is every bit as demanding as any other baby.

I could probably cope with this if everyday life wasn't quite so demanding too. Take Monday for example. Raymond had to go to a meeting in London so left the house before daybreak I think. Fergus apparently waved an arm at him as he left the marital and baby bed but I was apparently dead to the world. In fact so dead to the world that I missed the alarm and overslept.

I couldn't shriek at the children as I might once have done in times past as it frightens Fergus so I have now developed the ability to breastfeed whilst standing in the middle of the kitchen issuing orders with the sibilant hiss of a sergeant major with laryngitis. It just about worked and we were all strapped in and ready to go to school when Emma reminded me we needed to take her bike to school as they have a course all week in what used to be called cycling proficiency in my day.

I shouldn't have forgotten about the cycling course really - we had spent the whole weekend trying to find a helmet that she would agree to wear once the course was over. I refused to buy her one that she would leave in the shed or take off once out of eyesight which was the plight of the last one.

Anyway, once reminded I had to leap about cramming a bike into the back of the car which involved messing about with the rear seats. Needless to say we were late which Kieran hates because "everyone looks at me" and Carys hates because "I don't get to choose my activity". Somehow this was All Mummy's Fault.

On Tuesday I thought I would be supremely well organised and send Carys into school with her ballet bag, complete with full kit, magic wand, hair bands and a hairbrush, so that all I had to do when I collected her was to deliver her to the hall, calmly change her and do her hair. No running about back home to collect her things, no rushing in through the doors late.

All was well until, as I smugly waited with Fergus in the school playground, one of the other ballet mums told me it was ballet mufti day. They had to go dressed as a "character" or as a fairy. I would have screamed but it frightens Fergus and he was already screaming anyway.

So I rushed them all into the car, screeched to a halt outside home and sent Emma off in search of Carys' Cinderella ballgown while I tried to save time by putting her ballet shoes and socks on in the car. We did make it on time but I had to sit down for a while to recover.

On Wednesday things went far too well and I was deeply suspicious that I had had a calm uneventful day. Fergus even went to sleep early and let me watch Big Brother in peace. My suspicions were proved entirely correct when I found I had forgotten that they were supposed to take in cakes for the school fair the next morning!

I have a desk diary with five columns. It is sold as being the answer to frantic mums who are collapsing under the stress of remembering everything in their busy lives. I have discovered three major flaw in their sales pitch. Firstly, I need to find the diary which goes missing for days on end. Secondly, I need to remember to look at the damn diary several days in advance of things happening rather than noticing them on the day. Thirdly, I also need to have a thirty six hour day in order to fit in everything that needs doing.

I phoned my mum, who lives in Spain, to have a moan. "Never mind dear" she said, trying not to let the ice in her drink clink annoyingly down the phone, and failing.

" One day they'll all be grown up and you'll be able to move abroad and enjoy yourself." Cheers Mum!
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 27, 2003
Words:727
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