There is half-eaten toast haphazardly tossed on plates, spilt orange juice and smeared Weetbix on the countertop. Crumbs everywhere. I shudder at the thought of having to clean up this mess.
“Mandy! Hurry up with getting dressed! We’re leaving in fifteen minutes!” I yell over the noise from the TV.
“I am! Stop yelling!” replies my cantankerous five-year-old.
I look down at my toddler sitting happily in his high chair, his cherubic face smeared with Vegemite. With a heavy sigh, I quickly wipe him down and go about getting his nappy changed. I sniff then peek in. No gold nuggets. A win!
While the children leisurely make their way to the car, I lug a heavy school bag, keys, jackets, Henry’s snacks and a nappy bag.
The minute I park the car, my daughter asks, “Mum, is the hundred days party today?”
A trickle of doubt seeps into my mind until I catch sight of other prep children walking to school dressed as old people.
“Yes sweetheart, it’s today,” I reply, confident.
“Mum, did you pack my hundred things?” Mandy questions.
I look at her, drawing a blank. A vague memory pulls at my subconsciousness, but I can’t quite grasp it. It feels familiar.
“I told you a few days ago? A zip locked bag of a hundred things like beads or sticks?” Mandy prompts.
Ah heck. That’s right. I finally remember. And I had completely forgotten. I frantically rummage around in the boot for this magical bag that I know doesn’t exist. Nothing. I grab Henry’s plastic disposable nappy bag. This will do.
“Honey, I’m sorry but I forgot. How about we quickly find something to put in this bag?” I say, trying to appease my daughter.
“Mum! You never listen to anything I say!” Mandy starts to grumble.
I flinch at her accusatory words and search again for a zip locked bag. Luckily I find a couple of coin bags in the console. Score! Fist pump!
We race around the car park looking for suitable things. Time is slipping. I am sweating from fluffing about like a mad chook on steroids. I silently pray that I don’t have embarrassing sweat stains visible under my armpits.
We walk to a nearby crafts store. The door is locked. Of course it was closed! With heads hung in defeat, we walk back to school. There I see a pile of small rocks discarded out front of a construction site next to the crossing level. Bent down, filled with mortification, I count and collect the rocks while other parents pass by. Mandy grabs the filled bags and without a backwards glance or thank you, races off to join her friends.
I look at my daughter’s retreating form and sigh. Some days being a mum is a thankless job. I glance down at Henry who is pointing at a dog and saying, “duck!”
I laugh, relieved to have survived yet another morning school run.
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