In "Sons, Scrapes and Love", I described a disastrous day when Callum got himself into yet another scrape. I wrote the following story shortly afterwards for the "Keeping in Touch" newsletter.


Troubled Mother wakes up. It is 5 am.

What are you doing awake so early, Baby? We didn’t get much sleep last night.

Troubled Mother thrusts baby into arms of Teenage Son and rushes into the shower.

Stop knocking! I am not coming out until I’m ready.

Troubled Mother greets Troubled Teenager.

Good morning…What are you wearing? Does that top match that skirt? Uh-Oh… Wrong thing to say!

Troubled Mother runs through the house noticing the mess.

Have we been burgled? Where has the carpet gone? I must do some ironing! We can’t homeschool in this mess. We’ll have to do a big clean-up.

Troubled Mother settles down to homeschool with the house clean and tidy. The phone rings.

No, you’re not interrupting. We haven’t started work yet.

Troubled Mother finally puts down the phone.

Right, back to work…What? It’s morning tea time? But we haven’t done any work yet. Well… a cup of tea does sound good.

Troubled Mother gets Baby to sleep and starts to read to children. Troubled Toddler feels left out and starts to cry.

Stop making so much noise, you’ll wake the baby.

Troubled Mother asks Teenage Son to remove Toddler from the room. Toddler screams. Baby wakes up crying.

It is impossible to read with all this noise. Go and start your maths.

Troubled Mother catches sight of Troubled Teenager.

What have you been doing all morning…Is that all? You won’t finish your English in time at this rate… Uh-Oh… Should have been more encouraging.

Troubled Mother glances at clock and notices it is nearly lunch-time.

Morning prayers? We’ve forgotten them again. Better say the Rosary.

Troubled Mother leads the Rosary. After one decade Baby starts screaming and Toddler is singing at the top of her voice.

We can’t pray with all this noise. One decade will have to do. Let’s get some lunch.

Troubled Mother feels exhausted and is hoping for some quiet time to settle Baby to sleep.

Go outside and get some exercise. Don’t look so pained, Troubled Teenager. Exercise won’t kill you!

Troubled Mother starts to doze with Baby. There is a blood-curdling scream. Troubled Mother grabs Baby and flies outside.

How many times have I told you not to race around on your bike when your little sisters are near, Nearly Teenage Son! Look! You’ve ridden over my darling’s ear and crashed both bikes.

Troubled Mother scoops up Younger Sister leaving Nearly Teenage Son to pick himself up and untangle the bikes.

My poor baby! Where does it hurt?

Troubled Mother notices Nearly Teenage Son who is pale and shaking.

What? You think your arm is broken?

Troubled Mother rushes Nearly Teenage Son to the hospital.

Ice? No, I didn’t think to put ice on his arm. Painkillers? No, I didn’t think to give him any.

Troubled Mother is feeling like the worst mother in the world.

I’m sorry, Nearly Teenage Son. I shouldn’t have shouted at you. It wasn’t your fault. Anyone can have an accident.

Troubled Mother arrives back home, Nearly Teenage Son’s arm in plaster, Baby screaming. Is greeted by Troubled Teenager.

Why are you looking so tired? It was me who had a bad afternoon! What?…. You’ve made dinner and tidied up and got the girls ready for bed? Oh, you’re the best daughter in the world!

Troubled Mother is led to the sofa. Young Daughter pours her a glass of wine. Teenage Son takes screaming Baby and soothes her to sleep. Toddler cuddles up to Nearly Teenage Son and asks if he feels all right. Troubled Teenager offers to read the bed-time stories. Younger Daughter gives Troubled Mother a hug and a kiss.


Father arrives home from work.

Had a good day? How did the homeschooling go?

Troubled Mother looks around at the children.

We had the usual sort of day… and the homeschooling is going fine…Just fine!

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