When I was left in charge of getting both children out of the house today, all was going really well.

Both Sophie and Harry were dressed, fed and watered and were all set for Sophie’s dancing class. We were well ahead of schedule and set to actually be early for an organised event.

(This was made all the more remarkable by the fact my wife – normally our chief family organiser – was out doing Park Run for the first time since Harry was born)

As I put Harry into the car seat in the living room in preparation, I smiled to myself in a congratulatory way.

How overconfident can you get…

Me: (buckling Harry’s car seats straps) Right then young man, nearly ready to go. You just sit here for a second while I grab the last bits.

Harry: (beginning to cry) Goo goo ga ga

Sophie: I need my socks on…

I look down at the socks I’ve brought for her. They are cow socks with a little rattle inside. Perfect for dancing. Unfortunately, when I try to put her feet inside her shoes, the socks stick out and don’t fit.

Me: I need to run upstairs and get you some. Hang on.

I had not anticipated a battle over socks

I go upstairs as Harry realises he is now trapped in his carseat and can’t see me anymore. His cross shrieks shatter the previously tranquil atmosphere. Meanwhile, Sophie tries to put her feet inside her shoes without any socks on.

Me: (bounding downstairs, brandishing pair of pink socks) Here we go, Sophie.

Sophie: (takes one look and her bottom lip quivers) I don’t want that one….

Me: Well, this is what you’re having. Come on, let’s get them on your feet.

Carefully, I slide her socks onto her feet, reminding myself of the few bits I need to pick up before we’re finally ready to leave

Me: Bottle of water for you Sophie, your coat, your hat and Harry’s changing bag. Don’t let me forget them. (I manage to put her sock on successfully and start putting on her shoes)

Harry: (continues to cry, steadily getting louder) Waa waa waaa

Sophie: (wails) It’s not on right.

Me: Yes it is, come on I need to get these bits.

Sophie: (louder) It’s not!

(I turn away and walk to the kitchen as Sophie bursts into angry tears) 

Sophie: My sock! My sock!

Me: (grabbing the bits from the kitchen I’m amazed at how quickly things have gotten out of hand) What’s the matter with it?

Sophie: My sock’s broken!

Me: OK, come here. (I realise the heel is not quite in the right place and I sort it out for her.) There you go. Now, here’s your phone (a toy plastic one) and I’ll just put Harry in the car.

Harry: (louder) Waa waa waa!

Sophie: (tears running down her cheeks) That’s not the right one.

Me: It has to be. What do you mean?

Sophie: I want the other phone.

(I look around frantically. There is no other phone)

Me: Come on, let’s get in the car.

Sophie: (in a high-pitched squeal) Daddy I need the other phone.

Me: (bundles her out of the house) We’re going. You’ll have to use that one.

(I put Harry’s car seat in the back. Sophie continues to look sorrowfully at the phone I’ve given her to play with. I open the door and she clambers into her seat).

Me: There. All is OK.

Sophie: (tears suddenly stopped) Can we listen to my CD?

Me: (not wanting another battle) Yes lovely girl. Of course we can.

(A wry smile on my face I walk back to the house, put the alarm on and check my watch. 9.55am.)

Me: I guess we’re going to be late then…