I can not speak above a strangled hissing whisper this morning. My flu is taking its course, as I explained to my enquiring children, when the youngest asked me if I shouldnt stay at home, take the day off work. Also we have Mr. Lemsip.
In the car, on the fifteen minute drive to secondarty and primary schools I am unable to adjudicate for the usual heated arguments and I can see the terrible threesome are at a bit of a loss.
My eldest looks dreamily out of the car window, beside me. Hmm, I wonder is this a sulk? or not. She does have a lot on her mind after all. She has started transition year and clearly can 't decide whether this is a good thing or a tragic mistake. . She is doing this transition year ast my insistance, "I dont want to waste my time" "I want to get on with things, do my Leaving Certificate, go to Harvard". Harvard??? why not Trinity, or UCD which , as I said pompously, was good enough for me. Anyway, it may be sulks after all, as she was ordered to "pull down that skirt" , " pull down that skirt I said" in the driveway, by her hissing whispering mother. I got the supercilious look, "oh come on, everybody wears their skirts at this length. "Not midthigh, they dont" I hiss some more, and she looks at me in puzzled enquiry before giving in and pulling it down. Now I would have expected more argument there.
There is a low key argument between my 14 year old son and the elevan year old in the back. "today is the ten year anniversey of nine elevan" he says. "oh no, oh no, you re wrong, its on sunday, actually your confusing nine and elevan". "shut up! what do you know?". "mum tell him!" . "yes" I whisper, " "yes, its an easy mistake to make but its sunday" . And I hear some nervous murmering from the back "oh," " ok". I think they just want me to stop croaking. Its astonishing how often I have to re learn the simple fact that, if you shout you raise the sound barrier all round, and if you speak quietly (not to mention whisper), they seem complelled to lower the noise levels, to actually strain to hear what you say. Speak softly and carry a big stick I say ( now the stick is metaphor).
The dreaming one has poured herself out of the car, the boy has clamoured over the youngest one's knees and strode off towards the christian brothers and my baby is climbing in over the seat to sit with me and chat. ( "dont do that" I hiss), now that the boy is gone, on our way to her primary school. He is formally referred to as "the boy " by her, because ,she says , he gets to do the fun outdoorsey things like cutting the grass and walking the dog, while she and her sister are asked to wash dishes and the like, on account of the fact that HE IS A BOY. This I deny, though he does get asked to do some heavy lifting, on account of the fact that he has morphed into a tall and lumbering male person over the past year or so. And its his policy never to obey an instruction unless under a firm order, where you find yourself saying BECAUSE I SAID SO. Anyway the verbals between himself and the tween are legendary and they usually like to have a warm up in the car on the way to school. She brings devastating logic and implacable staying power to the table, he ,lightening darts of wit coupled with quite quite brutal insults.
My baby is the boss. she has an opinion on all matters practical, and esoteric. She departs from the car in a lesiurely fashion, talking all the while. She plants a firm kiss on my fevered cheek, as she goes and tells me to "take it easy mum, you're not well , you know"!