Sunday, August 24, 2008

a close shave

I'm often running late. Not more than five minutes usually, but just a wee bit late. If I set my mind to it, I can be perfectly on time, of course. It's sheer laziness when I time things too finely, not allowing for lost hats, the applying of sunscreen, or the kids' last-minute toilet stops.

My running-latedness extends to school drop-off, too. I'd say fifty percent of the time I'm just 2 or 3 minutes late dropping off Ben (he starts earlier than his sister). Usually there are other kids still arriving, and the teacher is still chatting to parents or children. I tell myself it's not such a big deal.

My children, however, are not impressed when we are running late. They hate being bustled along, and they hate the thought of not being punctual. (Bloody neurotic kids - where do they get that from? Don't answer that please it was a rhetorical question) Laura once asked me plaintively, "Why are we always late for school?". I snapped, "We are not always late for school! And anyway, if you stopped dancing around in your underpants instead of getting dressed, we'd probably be on time!". Suitably chastened (or perhaps just frightened into submission), Laura gave up her protest as we pulled up to the school. Three minutes late.

The truth is that it's usually my fault when we're late. I get wrapped up reading blogs, or I take too long to make the lunches (do these kids of mine really appreciate my fancy salad wraps? I sincerely doubt it), or I just can't get my hair to look fit for public viewing. So I try to admit this to the kids, and apologise.

Last Friday, we were properly late. I'd taken extra time to wash my hair, and to shave my legs (lest I turn into some sort of hairy wildebeest). We arrived to find the class seated, and the roll being taken. I kissed Ben and told him to have a good day. He scuttled in, anxious to be marked as present.

I was chatting quietly with another mother when the teacher aide burst out of the classroom. She was breathless and laughing.

"Ben just told us it wasn't his fault he was late - it was because his mum had to shave her legs".

I think I may have been taught a lesson.

Shave your legs in utmost secrecy.


Last-minute addition: Feeling somewhat shamed by all these very punctual commenters, I must add that I am never late for work (in fact I always get there early to check results etc), and I am never late if meeting someone out somewhere. So obviously I am capable of being efficient, if I only shave early enough!!


thisisme said...

Oh Jelly, thank you for such a wonderful giggle. Ben is just gorgeous

Remiman said...

I certainly sympathize with your kids. I detest tardyness. I'd rather be 15 minutes early than even 15 seconds late. But then I don't shave my legs!
Your are delightful, just simply delightful.

Stomper Girl said...


And the moral of your story is? Not that you're going to be a more punctual mother from now on, it's don't tell the kids why you're running late. You are hilarious.

Also *ahem* speaking as the child of slightly late parents like yourself, I am pretty good with punctuality and in 3 years of schooling have never missed the line-up.

Heidi said...


Fine story here... Children certainly put us in our place from being serious people, don't they?

Love it, Jelly!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I also sympathize with Ben & Laura. I'd rather be early than one minute late, and it's not because I like being on's because I hate everyone turning around and looking at me. hehehe

Puss-in-Boots said...

Oh dear, I'm an on time freak, too, Jelly. It's so bad, my stomach starts churning if I think I'm going to be late. Sad, isn't it?

Oh, I love your about out of the mouths of babes. Kids can always bring us back down to earth, can't they?

Never mind, Jelly, enjoy your week.

Elaine said...

I am like puss in boots there; recently I was at a baptism in the big city and my sister drove me there. I started to get anxious about the time BEFORE she popped into the supermarket to get a bouquet for the proud mother. All the time I was "hoatching" from one buttock to the other until she got back to the car.

Of course we were in plenty of time.

On my own I have been able to catch the flight before the one I was booked on....

Susan said...

Well if you are going to be late, at least you had a good excuse!

Great story as always!

Flossy said...

Yep, I am ALWAYS early - my kids are always said we were leaving at 9, it's only 8.30, we aren't even ready...

I am perpetually early :( Poor Ben, I sympathise lol.

fifi said...

ha ha, I am always late at the moment!
and i don't even DO my hair.

I did shave the legs for the first time in 6 months this week though. There are boundaries not even I will cross.

My children are quite good at hustling me out of the house....they know I get distracted!

TUFFENUF said...

Jelly, I will tell you a little secret about leg shaving. By the time you have time to leisurly shave them - you don't have to! When you get old hair hardly grows on 'em anymore!!!

mackey said...

Maybe if you made lunches the night before you could SHAVE a little time off of your morning schedule=P

John Cowart said...

It throws me late every time I shave my legs too!

meggie said...

I burst out laughing! Our kids always keep us honest.

Mimi said...

And the truth will set your free, or embarrass you, definitely one or the other.