I won't keep you in suspense as I scooped that one last night. Never mind that we had had seven weeks of summer holiday for me to label up the million new items of school uniform required by my two sons, or to get my eldest to do his homework, or to find all the lost school kit that had wandered off during the break. I still found myself running around like a headless chicken trying to fit all these tasks into about five minutes last night.
I am quite surprised that this only resulted in me leaving two of my sons in tears, I expected the full quartet to be in hysterics just like me. The fun kicked off when I finally opened up my seven-year-old's neglected book bag to discover what fiendish task had been set for us by his sadistic teachers as a goodbye gift from Year 2.
It was some nonsense about researching a famous Victorian, which naturally I could do in about five minutes with the aid of Google and Wikipedia, but when I suggested this course of action to my sanctimonious son he prissily pointed out that this was cheating and not something a well educated child like him could condone.
Instead of screaming "So what? We only have about 10 minutes before you have to be in bed, let's just get this done" like I wanted to. I bit my lip and waited while he torturously read and wrote out Isambard Kingdom Brunel's life story. Then I went into a tailspin when I realised that the twins had decimated our paper supplies with their obsession with drawin' and we had no A3 paper left with which to create his masterpiece. I was tempted by my friend's suggestion that an A4 poster would be more than sufficient, but we had already printed out all our pictures, which were too big to fit on A4 and the printer was predictably out of ink.
An emergency call to grandpa delivered us a pristine pad of A3 paper on which to glue my boy's tearstained work. My excuse for reducing him to tears with my banshee screams to hurry up is that the stains gave his work an authentically antique Victorian look. Not sure that covers making the two-year-old wail by yelling at him for innocently touching the homework in progress.
In the end I felt that my presence was perhaps not helping and I retreated upstairs to start labelling uniform. My god this is a thankless task, even though I have got being a lazy mum down to fine art and use stick on labels, whatever the manufacturers promise I know I will find all those painstaking attached name tags floating in the washing machine the moment I put any of the uniform into it. And even if they do stay stuck no one ever returns lost uniform anyway, whether there's a name in it or not, so really what is the point?
When I finally finished this Sisyphean task it was onto the next one which was actually tracking down all the mass of kit the boys need for school from book bags (fallen down behind the hall chest), to PE kit bags (buried under the coat mountain next to the front door) and their school coats (shoved at the bottom of the wardrobe).
Last but not least was finding some suitable object to send in in my younger boy's Talk Bag. I tried to get him to select something vaguely educational. "Why not take something from our holiday?" I suggest, trying to make up for my previous cheating lapse. But no, he was adamant that the only thing that would do was a yellow and pink spotted foam octopus bath toy. I was too worn down to argue, but there's a lollipop in it for any of his little friends who correctly identify the contents of that particular bag.
Still at least I was one step ahead of the friend who posted on Facebook as I virtually gnashed my teeth about homework. "What there was summer holiday homework?" Perhaps I should hand her the top spot on the podium after all.