“I can’t find a uniform,” Miss8 announced, dumping herself into a chair with such heavy finality it seemed unlikely she’d be able to move again.
“Have you looked in your wardrobe?” I heard Tracey ask.
There was a pause.
“Can you look for me, Mummy?”
Tracey sighed and shot a look at me.
To be fair, Tracey was up to her elbows in soap suds and dirty dishes on account of us having ignored them after dinner last night.
From the dining table, where I’d dug in with a strong coffee and no intension of moving until it was time to chase everyone to the car, I assured Miss8 she was up to the challenge.
“But what if it’s not there either?” she wanted to know.
“Use your head and I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” I said, because I can read facial expressions and I knew I was expected to help – and this seemed like an easy way to accomplish that illusion with a minimum of effort. “And hurry up,” I added as she slumped off. “It’s nearly time to go.” I checked the clock on the wall. It really was. Sucking in a lungful of yell, I bellowed through the house, “We leave in five minutes!”
There was an outcry and some thumping from the nearest bedroom, and Master13’s head popped through the doorway. He was in his undies.
“Five minutes! Dad! Why didn’t you wake me!?”
“I woke you up half an hour ago,” Tracey reminded him. He claimed no recollection of this. “You went to the loo.”
Miss8 came skipping into the kitchen even as Master13 was stomping out.
I was pleased to see she was fully dressed in her uniform.
“Well done,” Tracey said. “I knew you could do it.”
Miss8 nodded acceptance of this small bit of praise and picked up her bag and a set of keys, heading to the car.
I checked the clock again.
“Let’s go!” I yelled.
There was a loud rush of kids and bags as Miss11, Miss14 and Master13, clutching toast in his mouth and shoes & socks in his hands instead of on his feet, followed their younger sister up to the car.
“Come on!” I called into the house for Miss6. “We need to leave!”
“I can’t,” Miss6 called back from the next room.
I was about to shout some encouragements when she walked into the kitchen.
In nothing but her undies.
“Why aren’t you dressed!?” I asked her.
“I was,” she said. “But Sophie said she had to wear them.”
A minute later, while Tracey went scavenging for a clean uniform I was out at the car asking Miss8 to explain herself.
“You told me to use my head,” she grinned, then pointed at her temple. “Up here for thinking.”
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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