The real mother grabs an extra ten minutes in bed, then spends another ten minutes trying to find something, anything, vaguely clean to wear, throws it on haphazardly whilst tripping over the cats who are fighting each other through the dressing gown she is still wearing. And then sits down again thinking about starting the day until realising just how late it is and racing through to check if over-sleeping small child has in fact suffocated overnight.
Score one for the real mother; she did make porridge.
Now the perfect child would be grateful for the porridge and eat it rapidly leaving time to get dressed before being
The real child goes on strike and is adamant only toast will do, and will even consent to the last slice of bread which is inevitably a crust; but only if the crusts around the edges are still cut off.
The perfect mother is deeply sympathetic to the older child who is clearly unwell, makes alternative arrangements to enable the child to stay warm and comfortable in bed, and creates a loving and soothing environment in which they can recover slowly.
The real mother gets her dressed in school uniform just in case she should manage to feel better in an hour's time. Once this is evidently not going to happen, she bundles her up in a blanket, grabs a handful of suction catheters, and trundles her to the youngest child's school muttering about fresh air and bumpy roads doing her chest good. Or something.
The perfect mother manages to push one wheelchair whilst holding the hand of the other child and never once causing a collision or getting tangled wheels. She waits patiently for the green man at the crossings, is enthusiastic about all the many sights on the way to school, and unflustered because she isn't running late in the first place, and, if she is, it's the first time ever.
The real mother spends half the trip trying to catch the catheters which won't stay put whilst shrieking at the younger child to keep up and keep moving. And whereas the perfect mother would have praised the child for stopping and waiting instead of crossing the carpark in front of the giant lorry, and taken the time to explain that it wasn't going to move, the real mother shouts so loudly that the child is more scared of the mother than of the impending death by giant lorry and scurries past at speed.
On arrival at school, the perfect child puckers up her lips for a kiss goodbye, gives her mother a hug, waves to her sister, and wheels herself over to the classroom.
The real child? Well, in this case, the real child is the perfect child and does just exactly that, leaving the real mother rather ashamed of her lack of perfection and not terribly comforted by the thought that a day at school probably seems more attractive than a day spent with the harridan who seems to have replaced the parent this morning.