Sometimes in life, even the best laid plans are thrown a curveball that you could never predict. Never is this truer where children are concerned and never was this truer than one dark day in December.
Let me set the scene. It’s a Thursday afternoon and it’s time for #4 and I to go and collect the older three from school. It’s a cold, wintery day and everyone is suitably wrapped up. We’re used to logistically tight schedules and this particular day requires a certain amount of military-precise planning. We needed to hurry home, have a quick picnic tea and get #1 to church dressed as a wise man for 5.30pm for his nativity performance and then get #4 to a pyjama party. No time to hang about, but nothing we hadn’t accomplished before time-wise.
The kids were in good spirits. This was a good sign that we would keep to schedule as there was no waiting while anyone stropped out or broke down en route to the school car park. #2 ran ahead to climb a particular tree before picking up her bag and heading to the car. So far, so good. The children bundle into the car, which, as you can imagine with four children, is a cosy set-up. As I leant in to plug in a couple of seatbelts, I noticed a fair bit of mud on my eldest daughter’s coat. Her big, duvet-like Winter coat. Oh no. Oh shit. Literally.
What unravelled over the next minute was played out in slow motion. Like some kind of unbelievable, slapstick comedy. Thea screamed. Then, like dominoes, everyone began to scream. The school bag that had been plonked on the ground for the brief tree-climbing had landed smack bang on what we then discovered to be doggy do. Of course, this wasn’t a standard poop. It was a steaming pile of soft and unformed mess. To add to the ensuing carnage of crap, the messenger-stye bag had been carried cross-body, maximising the spread and limiting the ability to throw the bag out of the car. Instead, the bag was flipped open, sending a sizeable smear onto the adjacent car seat, increasing the general state of panic and hysteria. The bag was swiftly removed by my daughter who immediately threw it like a hot potato. Like a hot potato heading for the interior roof of the car. The ‘carpetted’ interior of the car. #3 began to gag. PLEASE. DO. NOT. BE. SICK.
The car is covered in dog poo. I am covered in dog poo Three quarters of the children are covered in dog poo. Everyone stinks of dog poo. I am convinced I’ve got dog poo particles stuck up my nostrils. We’ve got to get home but all the car seats are covered in dog poo. 5000 wet wipes later (this was not a time to take the global waste crisis into consideration), we set off for home. We now have only half and hour to have tea and get ready to go out again.
We made it in time. Fortunately, part of my continegency plan was making time for #1 to have a breakdown over having to wear one of my sparkly tops for his wise man costume. Poogate meant that the least of his concerns was his costume. Plus it put the children off wanting a dog for a good while. So there’s a moral to this story – it is possible find positives in even the shittiest of situations.