There are things my children do that really make my teeth clench; make me grip at the chair arm I’m sat next to; make me seethe until I begin to shake very slightly.
Dumping every toy they own on their bedroom floor to find one, tiny, pretty rubbish toy – and then leaving everything lying there like a sea of primary-coloured plastic is one.
Going to the toilet and never ever flushing is another.
But one of my real pet hates, the one that gives me a slight tic in my left eye is when my 7-year-old son yells at the top of his lungs from somewhere in the house: “MUM!”
He can’t be bothered to come and find me. He will sit there glued to the TV or his DS and without so much as raising his eyes, shout for all his lung capacity will allow: “MUUUUM?”
Somehow the move to ‘mum’ from ‘mummy’ makes it even worse.
I ignore him for as long as I can. In fact, I’ve been known to hide.
But usually I’ll go and find him because I’m just about fit to burst and quite calmly I’ll say: “Dan. If you want me come and find me. Do not yell through the house.”
“Ok. Sorry. But can you get me a smoothie now you’re here?”
The fridge is mere footsteps from where he’s sat making bum-shaped indentations in the sofa.
This weekend it slipped up another notch. Another notch which could see me self-combust.
I hear the familiar screech through the house – only this time it’s his sister!
Ye gods, she’s picked up his habit now.
I can’t have both of them doing this, for my sanity’s sake, plus coming from a 4-year-old it sounds strangely demonic.
I hunt her down to put a stop to this once and for all.
“Mia . . .”
“But mummy mummy . . . “
“Mia, you cannot yell through the house if you want me. I will not accept this. It’s . . .”
“But mummy, Daniel asked me to call you for him.”
Hmm, getting someone else to do your dirty work? You’ve got to admire his enterprise!
Now if I could just get him to adopt this innovative thought process to the toilet issue . . .