The alarm goes and before you even open your eyes you know you’re late. Yep, you should have stayed up and got the kids ready when they woke you in the middle of the night wanting breakfast (quarter to six is the middle of the night and if you disagree then you need to see someone).
My alarm is a funny old soul. It’ll go off continuously until you press the snooze the button, and then again once seven minutes of ‘snooze’ is up, and then again seven minutes later, but press snooze for a fourth time and that old soul will go back to sleep itself, as if saying, ‘fuck you, I’m trying to do my job here and you’re completely ignoring me, well two can play at that game.’
And so for another hour I get to sleep…until another alarm springs into life. This alarm is my oh fuck, I’m late alarm, it’s now half past eight and I should be setting off with the kids fully dressed and fed. They don’t have to even be fed that much as long as they’ve stomachs full of juice so their bodies can kid them into thinking they’re full, but dressed and heading out of the door with me towards schools and nurseries they must be.
‘Fuck we’re late,’ I tell Jen and she’s up and out of bed as though I just defibrillated her.
‘Are the kids dressed? What’ve you been doing all morning Rob? I need coffee!’
‘Sleeping Jen, remember? They woke up at stupid o’clock and I made them breakfast and then gave them chocolate.’
She stops in her tracks and turns to me, ‘chocolate? Are you right in the head? You don’t give kids chocolate at seven in the morning.’
‘But you high-fived me, and it wasn’t seven it was sixxxx…doesn’t matter, lets get them ready quick and I’ll ring a taxi, we can still make it on time.’
She pulls on some jogging pants and a top, still shaking her head and muttering, ‘fucking chocolate,’ as she leaves the room.
I lie back down on the bed. She’s up with them, she’ll get them sorted…
‘Don’t think you’re going back to sleep, oh my god have you seen the state of them?’
I get up and also put some pants on. From the other room Jen shouts, ‘Rob they’ve got caramel in their hair. What kind of idiot gives a seven year old, a four year old, and a two years old…it’s in her eye lashes, how has she got chocolate in her eyelashes?’
‘She was trying to look through it,’ I hear my seven year old Sophie announce helpfully as I step into the carnage which once used to be the living room.
Upturned bowls of cereal, thousands of chocolate wrappers instead of carpet, crushed biscuits sprinkled and ground into the couch, it’s as though the witch in Hansel and Gretel snuck into our living room and began fattening these lot up for her oven.
I laugh, looking at their chocolate smeared faces and caramel laced hair, ‘hey Jen, it’s as if the witch in Hans…’
‘The what?’ She snaps back, desperately hacking at Sophie’s hair with a brush to try and loosen the brown goo which has begun to form dread locks in her locks. Sophie cries out as the brush pulls.
‘The witch,’ I try again, and she turns and glares at me. Undeterred I continue, ‘you know, with the house made of cake and sweets?’
‘Rob what the fuck are you going on about?’
‘Ommm, you sworered,’ my four year old boy tells her as he picks jammy dodger from out of his ear.
‘What witch, what? Rob just get those two dressed while I try to rescue your daughter’s hair ok?’
I obey, making a mental note to read the family favourite fairy tale to her when we get back from the school run. She’ll see the funny side then.
Ten minutes and hundreds of tears from all three of them getting their hair brushed later and I’m in a taxi ready to do the morning school and nursery run, grateful to be out of the house and to leave Jen to the mess. If she hadn’t have hi-fived me I’d have never let them have chocolate so early in the morning. (Yep, I’d have travelled back in time and not given it to them and then gone back to bed and not told her I’d given them chocolate and that is why they’re all so quiet at six o’clock in the morning).
Twenty minutes and one telling off from a year 2 teacher after Sophie blurts out upon our late arrival to school the real reason we’re late, later, and I’m back home just in time to say goodbye to Jen who passes me at the door. She quickly kisses me and then tells me she’s going for breakfast with a friend before they start work at ten.
‘And when I get back I hope that mess you created has disappeared,’ she says lie smiling. This isn’t really a smiling moment at all. Stupid lie smiler.
I head back into the living room to survey the damage and find it looks a lot worse than before. Did she create more mess for me to clear up while I was out depositing each of the children at their day prisons? Probably not, but still, more messy it does look.
There are chocolate wrappers all over the floor, crushed biscuits in the upholstery, lumps of caramel infused blonde hair my a hairbrush on the side, and upon closer inspection one of the kids has written R O B I N in chocolate sauce on the back of the kitchen door. Which child did this I’d not like to say with 100% conviction although I could venture a guess that it was neither Sophie or Elsie. Where the fuck did Robin get chocolate sauce from? We didn’t even have any in the cupboards.
I quickly pick up all the wrappers, biscuits crumbs, anything lift up and put in the binable really, and then hoover up around the couch. She’d check I’d not just swept the crumbs underneath the rug so I lift the rug and hoover all the crumbs I’d swept under there too. Ha, that’ll show her.
With the lounge area now in reasonable order I turn my attention to the shit fest which is the dining table and the upturned cereal bowls. All three of the little darlings decided this was the correct way to end breakfast time and test gravity with the remnants of their breakfast bowls.
I once again survey my surroundings. Coco Pops fucking everywhere. More, it would seem, than you actually get in a box.
What is it with Coco Pops, or Sugar Puffs, Cheerios, or any other cheerfully named kids cereal? Why do those little round, brown, or oval shaped little shits find themselves all over your living room/kitchen floor moments after you’ve set down a bowl of them for your kid’s morning nourishment?
Today was a chocolate coated exception to the rule but regardless of that every morning I walk through a battleground of the little sweet, crispy, brittle, rabbit droppings. Some are laid out in the middle of the floor (decoy shits) which you dance around, silently swearing at your kids for not being able to keep them in the fucking cereal bowl for once in their pitifully short lives.
Then you feel the crunch under your foot.
Another kamikaze shit has laid itself to rest. You can feel it all dusty and squashed cocopoppy under your bare foot. You step step back to inspect the remnants of those who sacrificed themselves and that is when they pounce, the huge squelchy blob of frog spawn like wet cereal right in between your toes.
‘Who spilt this cereal on the fuuc…on the floor,’ you scream, bending down to peel milky congealed shit out of your toes, but no one answers, the house lays silent, for they are laughing at you from their playgrounds, knowing you’ll have forgotten all about it by the time you pick them up at the end of the day.
Hopping to the kitchen with the bowls you scrape the remaining cereal out into the kitchen bin/food bin (if you think this will really save the planet)/dog bowl (well the dog has to eat too). What is this though? Half of the morning’s cereal has now bonded with the bowl. You end up bending three spoons, cutting yourself with a kitchen knife, and widening the prongs on six forks trying to prise the hardened shits from the bowl before washing up.
Desperate, and with no more cutlery left, you resort to using your nails to try and get those little bastards to part with the bowl they were so eager to jump out of all over the floor just half an hour ago.
‘How is dried milk and Rice Crispy now tougher than cement and steel?’ You cry out in frustration, considering getting the hammer but already knowing you would just break the bowl, the cereal would still remain on the broken shards.
You slip. A sharpened Sugar Puff slices your wrist. At first you ignore it. You will not be beaten, you will not be mocked by rice and air, but it is already too late. You start to feel a little woozy and decide it is because you have been awake since quarter to six with only an hour and half sleep due to you not going to bed until four. Maybe you should just lie down for an hour…just an hour. You can always come back to the bowl later, soak it, rent a jackhammer maybe.
You lie down and close your eyes.
That feels nice.
The blood slowly escapes your Corn Flake shaped wound and it feels nice to finally have some peace and quiet.
Just an hour.
You can buy new bowls.
Maybe tomorrow just make them toast instead of asking them what they want for breakfast.
Or send them to school hungry. They get food there at some point during the day.
Oh this is nice.
Nice and warm.
Fucking cereal.
Your last living thought is, ‘fucking Cinnamon Grahams, pretentious, over priced Shredded Wheat.’
Then darkness
Killed by a fucking Coco Pop.