Leaving the house

Anyone with toddlers or babies will know that leaving the house is virtually impossible.

Last week, Mole won an award for causing the most stressful and time consuming ‘leaving the house’ experience I have ever known. This was also on a day when Mr M&H was home and she still managed to outwit us, so she gets double points.

We were on our way out for her swimming lesson, which she always protests about, right up to the minute she sees her teacher by the pool side, and then she transforms into an angel child.

I’d got to the stage of getting all our coats and shoes on, got Mole and Hedgehog out of the door, and was rummaging in my bag for the car keys. Then I rummaged in my coat pocket. Nowhere to be found. I have a back-and-forth yelling conversation with Mr M&H who is still indoors, telling him where in the house to search for the keys.

I turn round to find Hedgehog toddling towards our car, and Mole is out of sight. I pick up Hedgehog and walk around the side of the house to find Mole bouncing on the trampoline, which is sat in the middle of our new muddy garden that the builders haven’t turfed yet.

Hedgehog gives an excited squeal that seems to say “I want a go too”. Mole is wearing her new boots that she got for Christmas, that are now covered in mud. She stands expectantly, waiting for me to come and get her, I give her a ‘You’ve got to be joking’ look. She climbs down from the trampoline and runs happily towards me. We go back round the front of the house.

If we could open the car I would strap Mole and Hedgehog into their seats where they can't escape, but they are running round in opposite directions like hyperactive minions. Mr M&H still hasn’t found the keys, so we swap and I look in all the same places again.

The clock is ticking. The swimming lesson starts in less than half an hour. The keys are NOWHERE.

After another 10 minutes, Mole decides to tell us where the keys are.

Mr M&H calls “She says the keys are in her cupboard”. I run upstairs, looking in the toy cupboard. Mole appears in the doorway. “Noooooooo mummy. THAT cupboard” pointing to the airing cupboard. Of course. Every cupboard in the house now belongs to Mole, and just about ANYTHING could end up in them. I find the car keys inside my tortoise shell earing box, in the airing cupboard. The most logical place for it really.

We all pile in the car, and Mole walks all over the front seats in her muddy boots, before being yelled at by Mr M&H and submitting to her car seat. She will do anything to sabotage going to her swimming lesson.

We drive in silence to the leisure centre, me swearing to keep my handbag and all its contents about 6 feet off the floor and out of reach for the next 20 years.

Once in the water and with teacher, she becomes 'angel child'. Mr M&H sits in the café with Hedgehog, watching Mole through the glass and laughing about the whole thing. I take a swim myself just to let off some steam, doing about 4 lengths of front crawl.

Was putting the keys in the airing cupboard a deliberate attempt to avoid her swimming lesson? or just one of the many ways that she likes to organise the stuff around her? I suspect the latter. I’ve been organising stuff all week, having recently moved house, so I guess she learns by example.

For instance she decided that the airing cupboard was the ideal place for her dolls to sleep, so she stacked them up in there, carefully and deliberately. When I later found them and moved them back into her soft toy basket, there were tears and screams. There is only room for one organiser in the house it seems.

I foresee this will only get worse when she hits adolescence.