The 24 Stages of Leaving The House With A Child

#1 Inform child that you will be leaving the house in thirty minutes time, and that prior to that they will be required to get ready, which will involve getting dressed, brushing their teeth, brushing their hair, and putting their shoes on.

Twenty minutes later…

#2 Call up the stairs to ask child if they are ready yet.

#3 Call up the stairs again.

#4 Repeat the same question at the approximate decibel level one would use if wanting to communicate with someone wearing earmuffs while surrounded by a circle of operating pneumatic drills in order to elicit a response.

#5 Watch child appear naked on the stairs holding a collection of Lego bricks and asking you if it’s necessary for you to shout quite so loudly.

#6 Ask child what part of ‘getting ready’ was unclear.

#7 Watch them stomp back up the stairs as you repeat “get dressed, brush your teeth, brush your hair and put your shoes on”.

Five minutes later…

#8 As child has not yet emerged, head upstairs to their bedroom.

#9 Find them sitting on their floor, still naked bar one sock, engrossed in a fight between Lego Batmobil and the Lego car from Ghostbusters.

#10 Lose your shit and ask them in what world they think putting one sock on is classed as ‘getting ready’.

#11 Shout orders at them. “Put some pants on. CLEAN pants. Now trousers. No, you can’t wear shorts. Because it’s November and approximately minus three degrees outside. Find a top. Preferably one which doesn’t look like you’ve already been wearing it for three weeks straight.”

#12 Leave them to finish up as they promise faithfully to wash their face, brush their teeth and hair and get their shoes on.

Five minutes later…

#13 Loudly proclaim that it is LATE, that you are LEAVING, and that they need to be ready NOW.

#14 Watch child amble down the stairs telling you to “calm down, woman”.

#15 Decide to save the reprimand for the inappropriateness of this statement for another day, as if you waste valuable time extolling the importance of good behaviour and polite manners you are going to be, frankly, completely fucked.

#16 Ask them if they have brushed their teeth and hair.

#17 Write ‘FML’ repeatedly on the roof of your mouth with your tongue as they respond with “What do you mean, brush my teeth?”

#18 Screech “We are going to be SO late,” followed by “Teeth! Hair! Shoes!” on repeat.

#19 Hear silence from upstairs. Shout “Teeth! Hair! SHOES!” a few more times for good measure.

#20 Watch child return down the stairs, assuring you that they have absolutely brushed their teeth and hair. Realise what this actually means is that they have gone into the bathroom and looked at their toothbrush, but decide that you are too late to care.

#21 Ask child to put their shoes on.

#22 Realise they are still wearing only one bastard sock.

#22 Lose the fucking plot.

#23 Watch child leave the house and get into the car wearing a T shirt covered in tomato ketchup, a pair of shorts, in November, one sock, with teeth that are unbrushed, hair that looks like they’ve done twelve rounds with a Van de Graaff generator, and with a pair of shoes that are three sizes too small on their feet.

#24 Count it as a success.

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