I'm making pancakes and waffles. Youngest doesn't want a pancake or a waffle, says he's too ill for school and wants a pancake made out of waffle mixture. A wancake? Too rude. I name it a puffle. He has two puffles.
Eldest is accusing me - very loudly and from up two flights of stairs - of hiding his French text book. Middle One says his waffle isn't soft enough - freshly made mind, using the waffle iron from Lidl (only £11.99).
Shove toast into hands of Eldest and kiss him good-bye.
Juice, cereal, grab coffee, dishwasher, wipe-round, hairbrush, toothpaste, book-bag, shoes (where are the damn shoes!), hats, bit of lipstick, turn down thermostat, slam door and the three of us are spewed out onto the street shivering. It's not even 8.30 yet and I'm knackered.
Drag Youngest down the street with Middle One keeping up relentless monotone on the unfairness of life, "and the portions at lunchtime are really tiny." We dance the dog turd shuffle trying not to make eye-contact with the crazy haired cat woman from over the road (you know her, every street has one).
Turning the corner into the High Street it's like an icy Vodka Luge (I only had one once at a wedding but it made a big impression) and we're blasted sideways by lorry fumes, brake fluid and sirens. It's a cocktail for the senses. Middle One ratchets up the moaning to compete.
Joining the flow school-wards - all Boden-clad, Orla Kiely bag-clutching mums heading salmon-like up the High Street against commuter current - I won't be diverted, overcome or, heaven forbid, overtaken. Check the competition. Yes, she's on time, and that one, and that lot going the other way to the Catholic school. On schedule we can relax a bit and talk to that mum catching us up from behind.
Tit-for-tat, friendly, quick-fire banter. My screaming sub-text: so you think you're life's hard? Just listen to mine...