The scene is a hallway. The shoestore is open and a harrassed looking woman is rifling through impatiently for a second red welly boot. A 17 month old girl-child is sitting on the stairs. The boy-child is off scene.
Mummy: R--- I'm getting shoes out. I need you down here ready to go out as soon as you've finished looking at that book.
Boy-child: Yes Mummy!
Mummy: That's what I like to hear.
Girl-child: Boots! Boots! Boots!
Mummy: Yes poppet, time for welly boots.
Mummy: It's in the cupboard... let me get them.
The woman darts to the cupboard under the stairs. She squeezes past a hoover to reach out three coats of various sizes and returns to the hallway. The girl-child has tried to follow her, so the woman nearly falls over her as she comes through the lounge doorway.
Girl-child: Toat! Me! Me!
Mummy: Yes, that's your coat. Is it cosy?
Girl-child: Yes. Toat. Hawp!
Mummy: Yes, I'll help you. Wellies first.
The woman helps the girl-child get her feet into her bright red wellies. She's jiggling with anticipation.
Mummy: How are you getting on with that book, R---?
Boy-child (from offscene): Nearly finished!
Mummy: Jolly good. We need to be at school in (she checks her watch) gosh! Fifteen minutes. We're ahead of schedule (she performs a small victory dance).
Girl-child: B---! Soes!
Mummy (putting on the girl-child's coat): He's coming O---. You are coming, aren't you, R---?
The woman collects key from the family organiser and hands them on the door handle, gets her own shoes from the shoe store, and brings the girl-child, who was attempting to scarper up the stairs, back to the hall. Boy-child appears at the top of the stairs and stars ambling down.
Mummy: Great! You'll need to do a wee before we go out.
Boy-child: I don't need a wee.
Mummy: I'm sure you don't, but it's a good idea to squeeze a drop out before we go out. Then you won't have to think about it for ages.
Boy-child: I don't NEED a wee!
Mummy: I hear you. But I have to insist.
Mummy: R---, let's just do it quickly. Come on! Won't take a minute! O---! Come back from there - you have your wellies on!
The woman brings the girl-child back from the kitchen.
Girl-child: Pawter! Pawter!
Mummy: Water? Oh for goodness sake! (she nips to the kitchen and fetches a bottle) There you are.
Mummy: Quickly then R---.
Mummy: Quick quick, no fuss. It'll be done so quickly.
She ushers the boy-child into the downstairs bathroom. A battle ensues, but eventually she gets him onto the toilet.
Boy-child: Oh! I DID need a wee! (he giggles)
Mummy: What do you know?! Mummy was right.
Girl-child: Pawter! Pawter! Hawp!
Mummy: But I gave you... oh. You put the lid down. (she pulls the nozzle up) There you go.
Boy-child: Finished! I've done a wee AND a poo.
Mummy: Well thank goodness we went then! (she attends to the business of bottom wiping) Super. Pants up, trousers up, wash hands.
She washes her hands, while boy-child pulls silly faces at girl-child.
Mummy: R---. Pants!
Boy-child: Water? Can I have some water please O---?
Mummy: Hands! You need to wash your hands first. Pants up please.
Girl-child (holding the water far away from her brother): Pawter? Mine!
Boy-child: You need to share, O---.
Mummy: And YOU need to get your pants up. (checks kitchen clock while pulling his clothes on) Oh my giddy aunt. Now we're not ahead of schedule. Right. Hands.
She pulls the boy child to the sink. Then she puts her shoes on in the hallway. The boy-child plays with his hands under the running water.
Mummy: R---. What are you doing?
Boy-child: I'm washing my hands.
Mummy: Well hurry up, we're going to be late at this rate. (she picks a wrap from the floor and starts to wrap it around herself.
Girl-child: Nooooo! (runs to the lounge)
Mummy: No! O--- you have wellies on! (she tiptoes into the lounge and picks up the girl-child, who goes rigid and starts thrashing her arms and legs in rage) You need to go in the wrap. I don't want to be late.
Girl-child: NOOOOO!!! NOOOO!!!
Mummy: Ok! Fine! But you'll have to walk fast. (she unwraps the wrap and flings it on the hall floor) R---, have you finished?
Mummy: (looking) Have you used soap yet?
Boy-child: Not yet.
Mummy: What?! What on earth have you been doing?! (checks kitchen clock again) We're going to be late!!
The woman rushes into the bathroom and puts soap on the boy-child's hands. She rubs them quickly, rinses them and thrusts a towel at him. Then she collects the girl-child who is trying to sneak upstairs.
Boy-child: I am READY!
Mummy: Good. Let's get your shoes on.
Boy-child: Can I wear my wellies?
Mummy: I'm afraid not. No wellies at school nursery.
Boy-child. Oooh. Why?
Mummy: Because at school nursery you wear uniform and smart black shoes.
Boy-child: Am I a smarty pants?
Mummy: Yes, absolutely. This foot first. No, THIS foot!
She helps him on with his shoes. Girl-child is trying to reach the door handle, where the keys have been hung.
Girl-child: Teees! Teees!
Mummy: Yes, we'll need those in a minute. Then you can hold them. As long as you don't drop them again. Right. Coat now.
Boy-child: I don't need my coat. I have long sleeves.
Mummy: You do, but it's REALLY cold today. You'll need a coat.
Boy-child: But I don't want a-
Mummy (firmly): You will NEED a coat!
She forces the boy-child into a coat. Girl-child is becoming hysterical about the keys.
Mummy: ALRIGHT, O---!!
The woman thrusts the boy-child's rucksack on, shoots another resentful glance at the kitchen clock and grabs her coat.
Mummy: Ok... let's go go go! (she opens the door, but only a fraction because two children are standing on the mat directly next to it. A pause.) Mind out the way please. (The children shuffle a small distance. The door opens an inch wider.) Come round! Come on, I can't open the door!
Eventually she manages to squeeze the door open round the children. Everyone steps onto the doormat fantastically slowly. Boy-child is fascinated by a child on the other side of the road outside. Girl-child suddenly makes a beeline for the road.
Mummy: O--- stop! That's the road. Wait!
She launches herself to the girl-child, grabs her by the arm and steers her back to the door. She pulls the door closed. The keyrings prevent it from closing. While still maintaining a grip on the girl-child, who is struggling, and her coat, she lifts the keyrings and pulls the door closes. Then she yanks up the handle and tries to turn the key in the lock. No joy. She yanks the handle up more. Finally she can turn the key in the lock.
Mummy (to herself): I need to put WD40 on that door before we get locked out.
Boy-child: Look, Mummy, he has a spiderman bag.
Mummy (distracted): Does he? Lucky him. Are there any cars coming? No. Let's go.
They cross the road, the woman putting her coat on as she walks and guides the girl-child with one hand. She checks her watch.
Mummy (despairing): Ugh, we're going to be late!
They hurry off. Well, she hurries. The children saunter casually.
Me. Every damn day. Twice on Tuesdays. Sheesh.