Introducing our new blogger
‘Don’t forget the pillow spray!’ are my husband’s last words as I run through the house - dodging one porridgy face, one enormous puppy, another child demanding I give her a piano lesson/make an origami owl/watch other children make slime on YouTube with her, and about a thousand discarded dolls and other trip hazards.
In the car I feel guilty that I didn’t kiss the porridgy face, get us all up earlier so we could have played the piano/done origami/watched other children make slime on YouTube, or, indeed, speak actual words to my husband.
Having parked the car at work, I go straight to the Co-op for some lavender pillow spray. Deceptively Angelic Looking Child 1 (DALC1) currently has a very rigid and lengthy bedtime routine that involves, amongst other things, lavender pillow spray, a sleep mask and meditation music on YouTube. Co-op don’t sell lavender pillow spray. Apparently it is not so crucial to the lives of other people.
At work I get through about twenty of the avalanche of emails that I have received since my last working day, before I go to meet my client. I am already chastising myself at the very small likelihood of me remembering to time record them.
The day is to be spent in mediation with the client, who is a claimant under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. A week ago I was ready to submit my client’s position statement, but the other side weren’t.
I suggested we exchange statements on the morning of the mediation. How reasonable of me! Bearing in mind I am prepared and they are not. My opponent suggested we could exchange statements the day before mediation (ie yesterday)- on my day off- because ‘surely I have emails on my phone’.
Sure, I have emails on my phone. I also have DALC1 to get to school and back, which leaves six hours in which I have to endure DALC2’s swimming lesson. The latter still involves me going in with her and getting changed in a very confined space with five other mums and their kids. Then there is the lesson itself, which feels like spending 30 minutes wrestling an octopus as DALC2 insists she doesn’t need my help, oblivious of the fact she can’t actually swim unaided.
I also have to reply to messages from 14 Whatsapp group chats - most urgently to my friend Julie, who is perpetually scared stiff of freezing and defrosting food, but has utter faith in my advice on the subject. Then there is spelling with DALC1, who has just learnt the trigraph ‘igh’, and is now convinced ‘kite’ and ‘bite’ and presumably ‘dynamite’ are spelt ‘kight’ and ‘bight’ and ‘dighnamight’.
I think maybe my opponent doesn’t have young children- or maybe she has and can just juggle all the balls better than me. Because I’m obviously shight.
My client has brought her son along for moral support. He is a financial adviser of some description and this seems to make him think he is basically a solicitor. My presence is almost superfluous: except for, like, them having the benefit of my law degree, training, various practitioner memberships and years of relevant experience that I’m fairly sure he hasn’t gained from advising people on their mortgages.
At one point he asks me if we can resolve a particular issue with a ‘statty dec’. Ugh. In 13 years I have never heard a statutory declaration referred to in this way. He also has an annoying habit of using the NATO phonetic alphabet to spell out words when it really isn’t necessary. It just makes him look like a Tango Whisky India Tango.
The matter settles and my client’s son is suspicious about how well we have done. I tell him I’m just really good at my job. He replies by asking who is picking my children up from school. I say ‘their father, like every Tuesday’. I stare and he withers.
I get home after bedtime and am racked with guilt. I check on the sleeping children who are, of course, lovely and snuggly and…silent. It is immediately apparent to my nose, on reaching the top of the stairs, that my husband has been able to convince DALC1 that air freshener will do instead of pillow spray. He is my hero. I come back downstairs and ask why DALC2 is not wearing pyjamas. ‘Because her new pyjamas have two fairies on them,’ he says, ‘and she is three’. Of course.
We break our resolution not to drink midweek and pour ourselves a glass of wine.