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VIEW FROM HERE: Happy children, tea sorted, where am I?

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I’ve just walked into the wrong house. Can’t explain it as we’ve lived here for almost 19 years but I’ve no other explanation, I must have. There are happy children here collaborating on the design of this week’s blackboard. There is a plan for tea. The dogs have been walked. The living room doesn’t look like a WWE wrestler and his mate have popped round for a rumble. School work has been done and there’s a wash on in the machine.

What. Is. Going. On??? I’m feeling a little freaked out by it if I’m honest. I’ve been told just to go through, sit down and get my column done. They will sort out the tea. Who are these people and what have they done with my teenagers? The mister is late shift and I’ve just come in from work so am I a bad mother for wondering what’s happened? OR what request am I about to be hit with? I never believed I was this cynical. I like to think not only is my glass half full but it’s also refillable. However, it’s not my first rodeo and I didn’t just float up the river in a bubble. My “mammy senses” are tingling and only time will tell which of my gang of three will burst first. I dread the day when they realise that as a group they have more chance against me than individually, but for now I’m safe and can spot the weak cracks. Divide and conquer, I’m sure there will be an explanation soon enough.

Too quiet?

Biggest kid is refreshing her email every half hour waiting on a much-coveted acceptance to university (or not). I don’t have any words of comfort or wisdom, I can’t quite remember the period between school and university. One second I was sitting exams in our high school gym hall and the next I was dancing on the sticky floor in the students’ union. Lots of questions being asked about the practicalities of going to university and being a student. I’m not sure I’m entirely qualified to dole out advice. How do I explain that I can remember next to nothing from my degree but I am able to sing, word perfectly, the back catalogue of Phil Collins in the baking aisle of Tesco on a Wednesday morning?

Middle kid assures me all home schooling deadlines have been met and continues building a gargantuan castle on Minecraft. I suppose at a push this could be seen as an engineering assignment. Smallest kid has disappeared upstairs. I just cannot fathom what is going on one bit.

There has been one incident which has caused some discontent between the gruesome threesome. Middle dropped a pint glass of juice on the kitchen floor. It didn’t break but instead landed right way up and all the juice splashed back up soaking her glasses, the inside of her baseball cap, the cupboards, the worktop and even the ceiling. In our pre-pandemic world this might not seem like a big thing, however during Lockdown 2.0 this was huge. An event of epic proportions, momentous even. And nobody, not one of us, was there to see it. Not even the dogs.

You haven’t been framed

We did have the good grace to check what the noise was and confirm she wasn’t injured. We even helped clean the ceiling. The other two could just not find it in their heart to forgive her. I couldn’t grasp the reason for this level of annoyance being conveyed. The juice wasn’t for them. It wasn’t even that big a cleaning job all things considered. So why this displeasure? Answer? £250. The grand sum of £250 seemingly to be split equally between them on any occasions such as this. Had they caught this on camera and sent the footage into You’ve Been Framed they’d have been quids in. Accusations were thrown about until the realisation that middle couldn’t have done this if she’d tried dawned. And no, Mum was NOT in the mood to let them try to recreate it. The rage I feel when people are in the kitchen at the same time as me isn’t normal. Turning my precious kitchen into a film set isn’t on my Tuesday night agenda.