All the parenting books say that routine is important for kids, that consistency and repetition will benefit your child and help them to blossom. What those books do not say is that consistency and repetition may cause you to lose your god damn mind. They also require a RADA qualification to maintain the appropriate emotional response when you are doing the same thing for the millionth time. Now we are back in the school routine these are the acting marks I have to hit as if I were on a west end stage. Every. Single. Day.
1) Bemused bafflement when looking for a child who is hiding in exactly the same place for the twentieth time in a row.
2) Awe struck wonder at the brilliance of a child who has just managed to get himself dressed... even though he has done it every morning for the last six months. (Though my gratitude for him doing this is genuine.)
3) Worried confusion when my coffee cup/pen has moved even though the child who moved it saw me looking at them as they moved it.
4) Profound deafness when a child is sneaking up (like a giant in hobnailed boots) to say 'boo' to me.
5) Heart pounding shock when the 'boo!' has been unleashed.
6) Clammy handed horror when being terrorised by tiny zombies for the sixth time in an hour.
7) Decisive anticipation when buying imaginary ice cream from the imaginary shop on the way home from school. It must always be mint choc chip.
8) Child-like wonder as we walk past the magic fairy door and imagine what could possibly be behind it. The kids think it's fairies and butterflies, I know it's a rich person's walled garden. We all genuinely yearn to live behind the fairy door.
9) Unsmiling severity when confronted by an enormously long and tuneful fart from the back passage of either of my offspring. Farts are not funny (except that they are, they really really are).
10) A casual air of 'I'm totally fine' when dropping my little one at the door of the classroom she still finds daunting and scary. I nonchalantly walk away as I see the tears brimming in her eyes. This is without doubt the hardest acting I have to do.