Oh no the keys!

Yesterday we had one of those mornings. You know, the kind where the older kids have woken up way too early, forgotten how to whisper and hence woken everybody else up - way too early.

Yes, our house really is, where the wild things are..

So that by 9am Arch had emptied his box of 100 Thomas the Tank Engine pencils (whose stupid idea was it to give a three year old so many? Oh that would be me) across several rooms; tantrumed long and loud about not eating the two weetbix he'd insisted on having; tantrumed about getting dressed, cleaning his teeth, putting his shoes on... 

The others were generally ratty, the house was a mess and I fantasised about a world where no parent had to endure eight weeks of school holidays in a row. Ever. 

So at 9.30am as I frustratedly grabbed the irate toddler and wrenched him out of the house to join the other arguing kids in the car, I felt some satisfaction in slamming the front door behind me.

Satisfaction that was instantly regretted as I realised I had left my phone on the bed together with the nappy bag and house keys. We were now locked out.

There wasn't time to dwell on it, we had overdue books to return to the library and twenty minutes to deliver Ellie to her holiday craft lesson at Top Ryde.

This is your fault, I railed at the older kids. You woke Arch who is now way overtired. We're locked out, Arch is in undies (did I mention we're toilet training?) without a change of clothes (or three) as backup, I can't ring anyone and the day is already feeling like a disaster!

I don't think I was overstating it. The kids seemed chastened. Possibly. It was hard to tell over Arch's yelling.

We made it to the craft class and Ellie settled in to a morning of felt, buttons and stuffed owls. The rest of us had two hours to fill in (or a whole day, depending on how you looked at it) so we headed for the bathrooms.
"Any wee Arch?"
After waiting hopefully for ten minutes with no result we left. Ten minutes later.
"Mum! Wee!"
Aghhh! We made a mad dash for the next set of bathrooms. Result. 

Next we visited two supermarkets, the bathroom, the Reject Shop, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the bathroom and the toy shop. Finally it was time to pick up Ellie. Apparently the hot glue gun wasn't working and the craft lady looked harried. The minutes ticked by and our free parking ran out. 
"I need the bathroom Mum" said the ten year old. 
"Of course you do, I snapped. We've only been like, what? Twenty times this morning?"

We left the unglued craft with assurances we could pick it up another day (if this one ever ended) and rushed to the nearest amenities.

As my parents-in-law have our spare keys we drove to their house. They weren't home. Neither were our other relatives close by. We couldn't ring anyone for help so after a quick dash into the grandparent's backyard (for you guessed it, another wee stop - not by me!) the afternoon stretched out before us. 

"Let's try the children's bookshop, I ventured. Who's feeling brave enough to browse?"
"Could we get a milkshake too?" Someone dared to ask.
Yeah right, like you all need more liquids..

We got a car spot near the bookshop straight away. Unusual. Once inside, Jesse and Mim did a quick recon and appeared looking excited. "There's cupcakes and juice!"
"Oh. There must be something on." I looked around vaguely as one of the assistant's caught my eye. 
"There's an author's event upstairs," she smiled. Two children's authors and an illustrator. It's just started. Get some cake and juice on the way. It's all free." She gestured for us to follow her.

The older three squeezed into the crowd of kids seated on the floor as I scanned the back row for a seat. There was one. Next to Michelle, my best school Mum friend. Like she'd been saving it for me.

For the next hour (or more, who cared?) we sat entranced as two wonderful authors spoke and the illustrator drew dragons and dinosaurs. Arch sat on my lap without a murmur. Then it was back downstairs for book signing and free pizza. Plus we got free book journals and bookmarks from Random House. 

I didn't stop smiling, even when Arch wee'd in the hallway on our way out (sorry bookshop). Michelle lent me her phone and I rang my parents-in-law. They were home!

So seven and a half hours after we left the house in a tumultuous rush of angst and recriminations we arrived home. 

As we pulled into the driveway, Jesse apologised "Sorry about this morning Mum."
"That's all right," I sighed. "I'm the bozo who locked us out." 
"You know what Mum? Jesse continued. "Even though some things went wrong today, a lot of things went right."
It was exactly what I'd been thinking too.
Arch only had one accident in a whole day out. Ellie had fun at craft. I had a coffee. We got a car park straightaway in Beecroft. We had met some inspiring and creative people at an event we'd stumbled upon by accident. We'd eaten cupcakes and pizza with friends and had the spare set of keys in our hand.
There was a lot to be thankful for. 
And we were.


  1. Sometimes at the end of day, I have to stretch my mind to find the highlights, but they're always there if looked for!


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