Youngest son has his taster day at his new secondary school today.
6:10; switch on iron, kettle, computer; iron school shirts (it's something useful to do while I wake up and gain the power of speech); log on my account; make two teas one coffee; put away iron and ironing board; check email and trains website - trains all running OK.
6:30: wake up THREE boys instead of two; distribute socks, underwear, freshly ironed shirts; check trains are still running, in particular that their train has set off on its inward journey.
6:45: explain to youngest son that Daddy always tries to be entertaining in the mornings (youngest doesn't normally get up until 7:30) and he gets in a bad mood when everyone's too busy to pay him lots of attention; make sure youngest and middle are set up for breakfast; sort out youngest's dinner money and train fare and get him to pack his bag; run upstairs to persuade oldest that having three large pieces of homework not ready for handing in today doesn't make him actually dead, just metaphorically. (He has ASD, he's doing his Duke of Edinburgh Award, his group leader told him yesterday that it was already too late to start his skill - it's not - and he started his skill, archery, last night, hence too much going on to think about homework.) Switch on eldest's laptop; OH announces he's going - he does like a bit of attention in the mornings; back to the kitchen to get eldest son's breakfast and take it up; get youngest to pack his bag.
7:00: try to get middle son to stop talking (he's excited about youngest going to school with him) for long enough to discuss arrangements for the end of the day; run upstairs and make sure eldest is getting up and doing the reading I think may defuse the teacher for one of his pieces of homework (battle tactics in WWI); chat to him about the battle for a few minutes to help him get it straight in his mind - yes, and to check he's actually done the reading. Battle of Cambrai, apparently, November 1917, first use of massed tanks in a battle - broke the Hindenburg line, whatever that was, so presumably that was considered a success. I never studied that period of history, because when I did 'O' Level it was going to be Education Acts and Factory Acts which I didn't fancy at all so I gave it up. I'd find them interesting now because of family history but there you go - at least history is a subject you can do all by yourself at home. Check the train is still running OK.
7:15: Suddenly realise I have to brush youngest's hair an hour earlier than usual - it's nearly long enough to need tying up again - and somehow it's twice as tangly as usual. Make him double check he's got his pencil case and dinner money; send him upstairs to get an emergency fiver (in case he has to catch the bus home) because he lost the one I gave him the other day and I have no more cash on me. Check the train has arrived (it sits here at our station for 23 minutes before going back up the line).
7:23: Running late now, middle son normally likes to go out at 7:20 on the dot; give middle son a hug, youngest has already started down the road, call him back for a hug - yes, just like Gene's mum in Coronation Day, don't think about that one too much; watch youngest and middle walk down the road until they disappear round the corner. Weirdest feeling ever, my littlest going off to catch the train without me.
7:25: Back indoors, hurry oldest son up; Friday of week two is his heaviest bag day and I certainly wouldn't want to walk a mile up a steep hill with it; try to give him some useful sentences for the various teachers who are going to be angry with him today; give him a hug and wave him off.
7:28: Back indoors; check the train is still labelled "on time". Stop.
Oh, what was that last bit? Stop? That's confused me. Normally at this time I'd be getting youngest up and starting the process of getting him to school, going out at 8:25 and arriving back just before 9. Dunno what to do now. Oh I know, I'll wash their gi's ready for grading on Sunday, and start planning the phone call I'm going to make to the council DoE coordinator about how unhelpful and inflexible oldest son's DoE leader is being. Check their train has left on time - it has - and keep a check on it running OK up the line. Check calendar - oh yes, find middle son's t-shirts for his four-day trip to Normandy next week; realise youngest has gone off without giving me his SATs results that he was given yesterday; discover there's a lunch today for Year 6 mums who are leaving the primary school this year.
Yes, I do know that I have it easy, because many people at this moment would be running around getting themselves ready for work, if they weren't already on their way, having dropped off kids at the child-minder's first. But I don't find it easy, somehow. I never get enough sleep, and oldest son being the way he is means that evenings can be extremely hard work; I never actually get to a point where I can think - that's it, I'm done for the day. OH normally gets home just as the youngest and middle ones are going to bed and oldest is finally starting to accept there is homework to be done, so I have to leave all that and run around being Mrs Good Wife (I'm useless at it, but I always figure I ought to try because, you know, home all day and all that while he Goes Out To Earn The Money as he likes to put it) and then I go back to trying to get youngest to shut up so middle one can get to sleep, and then talk to oldest about his homework without him getting loud enough to keep the others awake.
And this is the first day this week I've got up as late as 6:10, because oldest has been getting up at 5:30 to get some homework finished, which means I have to get up at 5:15. He's so difficult to get up in the morning - if I call him too frequently or too angrily he won't get up at all, and if I call him too infrequently or too casually he...doesn't get up at all. A constant balancing act which normally ends in him coming downstairs thirty seconds too late to run for the train, so I have to drive him round there. Which is completely unfair on middle son who walks it every day. Well, maybe being ASD is unfair on eldest, and I do try to remind myself of that quite frequently.
Anyway, enough of all that. Suffice to say that being partway ASD myself - I've come to realise over the past three years - I do find it all quite hard to cope with. So many things to think about all at the same time, so many bits and pieces to have bought and ready for three different people, sleep patterns forever dependent on what's going on in other people's lives rather than mine.
And now it's 8:04, their train has arrived at their station and now I'm trying not to think about my eleven-year-old walking uphill for a mile alongside a very busy A-road (and crossing it under the tutelage of my frankly not-always-quite-all-there thirteen-year-old).
And the bang on the (open) back door followed by something hitting the kitchen floor turns out to be the first greengage of the year falling off next door's tree *sigh* At least they're not soggy yet.
So, first day of the next seven years of my life. I haven't coped very well with the past fifteen years organisation-wise, and there are ravages to be repaired, to me and the house and how I support and guide the boys. I think I need a cup of tea now and I'll try to spend my extra hour thinking about how I'm going to get things back on track. At least the sun's shining so the gi's will dry.