At 10am this morning, whilst other people were going about their daily business, I was forming a human barricade across the bedroom door to prevent my children from entering. It is worth noting that I was doing this with legs akimbo, holding up my dressing gown round my armpits, whilst a generous amount of Veet got to work shrivelling my pubes.
As I heard their collective approach, I tried to shove the door closed with my bare bum, but not before their little (but surprisingly strong) arms and legs started to snake through the small gap they had managed to create, not unlike a bad zombie movie. I was half-expecting an axe to splinter the wood above my head and a face to appear in the gap, claiming, ‘Heeeere’s Johnny!’
In the meantime, with my mouth pressed against the wood and trying to avoid adhering my dressing gown belt to my fanny, I desperately shrieked, ‘Go away! I’m doing my bikini line!’
My children don’t even know what a bikini line is and quite frankly, they don’t give a shit. They wanted to tell tales on their brothers and they wanted feeding (again), neither of which, in their opinion, should have had to wait for the seven minutes remaining of the time when I would be sans spider legs.
Living in a house full of males, I may have avoided the synchronisation of menstrual cycles but sadly not, it seems, the synchronisation of toilet cycles.
No matter what time of day or night I try to use the bathroom, their Spidey senses start to tingle and they appear in the doorway like some unwelcome apparition.
At four in the morning they are trance-like, as though their bodies have been automatically and involuntarily drawn to interrupt me mid-piss, before their minds have caught up to make it into a conscious decision.
During the day they will saunter in to take a leisurely poo, often with lengthy reading material or an electrical gadget, not caring and sometimes not even noticing that I am already in there, using the bath or the shower.
It has become a routine part of my ablutions to trouble-shoot near fisticuffs, counsel both sides of an argument, put plasters on cuts, rub bumped heads, inspect Lego creations, praise pictures, accept stickers, check that shoes are on the correct feet, fasten belts, adjust trousers, assist with homework, gel hair, put on socks and receive cuddles and kisses that simply can’t wait (why would you want to hug someone when they’re having a poo?!).
I have also been called upon to answer both essential questions about what we are having for the next meal (regardless of how many hours away that may be) and existential questions about where people go when they die, or just to be told something hilarious that happened on the cartoon they have been watching.
Sometimes they come in especially from playing out to interrupt me. Often this involves bringing their friends along so they won’t be left alone, unaware of the fact that sometimes all people want is to be left alone. I will suddenly hear the thud of several pairs of feet on the stairs and have to precariously balance to hold the door closed against invasions from other people’s children, sometimes wanting to use the loo but more often than not just wanting to have a catch-up, shoot the breeze, put the world to rights, discuss the weather.
Why must laces always need tying when I have just painted my nails and times tables practised when I am bleaching the hair on my top lip? Then they sit on the bed as I apply makeup, picking up palettes and tubes and asking ‘What’s that for? Why are you doing that? Is that to make you look younger, Mummy?’
They barge in as I am straightening my hair then tell me to be careful because the straighteners are hot, oblivious to the fact that it is only the distraction of their untimely entrance that has caused me to almost lose my eyebrows.
But when I try to wash my hands in the sink whilst they are on the loo, all hell breaks loose. The door is slammed firmly shut in my face with indignant cries of, ‘Mum! Get out! I’m trying to have a poo! Can I have some privacy, please!’ FFS.