Having just finished a weekend of solo parenting on account of my husband working nights, I thought I would begin to write some diaries of my escapades. This is mainly because I realised that the whole experience has been totally crazy and hectic and that instead of doing an excellent job at this whole parenting malarky, I instead struggled and just about managed to keep us all alive (but that is a victory in itself according to me- I don’t have high standards). So, if you feel like you are struggling slightly with this whole motherhood thing, you are most definitely not alone. Anyone who tells you they have everything under control is most likely lying. If they are not, then just ignore them for the sake of your own sanity and read on.
On Saturday morning, my permanently semi-zombified state caused me to once again “sleep in” until 07.30 (for those of you that “know”, this is LATE). I had good intentions of getting up and showered before there was a peep out of either of the kids. Instead, I jerked awake when I heard some muffled grizzling coming through the baby monitor. Wiping the trail of drool from the side of my mouth and smearing the remains of yesterday’s mascara under my already purple-circled eyes, I went in to Henry’s nursery to see to him. He of course came round very quickly, and was standing, jumping up and down on the spot squealing “hi Mummy, hi Mummy, hi Mummy!” I managed to mutter “morning” under my breath, still half-asleep. How these kids have so much energy immediately after regaining consciousness, I will never know.
My plan to dress Henry and clean his teeth as quickly as possible was quickly quashed when he refused to allow me to put each item of clothing on until he had named all body parts mentioned in the song Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes several times over. He also decided that today was the day that he was going to attempt to clean his own teeth for the fist time in his life (usually he screams and tries to grab the toothbrush from me and puts his dummy in his mouth so as to prevent entry of said toothbrush). These activities obviously delayed things significantly and before long Edward began stirring next door. Leaving Henry securely behind the baby gate in his nursery, I went to attend to Edward. Whilst getting him ready I started to hear the familiar admixture of bleeping sounds as Henry wandered round his room turning off all the baby monitors that he could reach now that he was able to roam freely at ground level. Usually, with him trapped in his cot, he is unable to tamper with any of the switches.
Having eventually got the boys ready and leaving Edward lying in his sleep pod, I managed to jump in and out of the shower at lightening pace (something I have mastered since having children). I then went about trying to organise breakfast once I had relocated the troops from the bedroom to the kitchen (a military operation in itself). Edward politely had some pureed apple and his usual tipple of choice- milk. Henry demanded chocolate (as usual) but was instead presented with a plate of toast. Following a few disgruntled mouthfuls, said toast ended up on the floor, as many meals frequently do in my household.
After breakfast, Nanny arrived. Once I had finished packing what looked like a luggage load sufficient for a 3 week long holiday in the Siberian wilderness (it was an especially rainy summer day and you know, kids require A LOT of supplies), we were ready to head down to the cricket club. Just prior to leaving, I summoned Henry to me so that he could be wrapped up warm in his cricket hoodie. Following a struggle that lasted several minutes, during which I endeavoured to force said hoodie over his “abnormally large head” (as I kept saying in frustration), I gave in and defeatedly admitted that we should try a different jumper. This was not until after Nanny and I had used scissors to try and widen the head hole to accommodate his “abnormally large head” and made him cry by flogging the process for a bit longer than we probably should have. If only I had checked the label inside the jumper, I might have realised that it was in fact a jumper that would have fit a 6-9 month old like a glove and so trying to squeeze a 20 month old in to it was almost certainly going to result in failure. I sheepishly apologised to my 20 month old son for accusing him of having an “abnormally large head like his father”, threateningly whispered to Nanny “don’t tell James (my husband) about this”, and then proceeded to load the party in to the car. As usual I underestimated the time taken to get two kids under two out of the house poo free, adequately fed and watered, and dressed with shoes ON. We got there eventually though.
The trip to the cricket club on a Saturday allows Nanny and I to chat to other adults so that we may avoid going stir crazy over the weekend, which frequently happens after we have sung the same songs repeatedly, read and re-read the same books over and over, and watched the same programmes time and time again. Even when my husband is working and so not playing in the match, we still drag the kids along to get them out and about, give them some fresh air, and force them to participate in our cunning ploy to exhaust them so that we may attempt to have a moderately peaceful evening. The day also consists of doing however many laps of the pitch it takes to get them both to fall asleep at the same time (even if just briefly) so that we can enjoy a cup of tea undisturbed. On this particular Saturday, we needed to do 9 laps of the field to achieve our goal and the children slept for about 10 minutes at the same time. We managed to down the cup of tea before we saw Edward peering bleary-eyed from the buggy, ready to cut through the peaceful atmosphere of our tea party with a piercing “GIVE ME MILK NOW!” style cry. Henry slept for a bit longer and by the time he woke up, it had started to rain heavily, leading play to be suspended. Whereas the damp climate encouraged most to retreat to the safety of the clubhouse for tea, Henry was not deterred. He loves running out on to the pitch even more when it is raining, and so shortly after he woke up, I found myself madly chasing after him as he galloped off on to the now sodden pitch.
Once I had succeeded in capturing Henry and carrying him back into the clubhouse using the fireman’s lift technique, we gathered some of the food set out for the cricket tea. It became apparent that the deluge was set in for the foreseeable future, and so we decided to start preparing to head home after the kids had been fed and watered. “You’ll be ok with both of them whilst I load the car, won’t you?” Nanny asked me. “Oh of course, piece of cake!” I exclaimed confidently. Obviously, as soon as Nanny left the building to put the many bags in the car, Henry made a break for it and walked rapidly in the direction of the changing rooms. With Edward firmly wedged between one arm and one hip, I chased after Henry. When I caught him, I realised after a few awkward twists and turns that I couldn’t lift him and march him back to the table whilst holding Edward. Instead, I had to drag him across the floor in a manner akin to that of John Sergeant in Strictly Come Dancing, when he hauled his partner over the dance floor during his infamous attempt at the Paso Doble (if you haven’t seen it, watch it, it is worth it). This attracted some surprised and disapproving looks from others in the pavilion, and so as soon as I spied Nanny coming through the doors, I thrusted Henry into her arms, grabbed the remaining bits of gear, and beat a hasty retreat into the torrential rain.
We arrived home resembling a bunch of drowned rats. I unloaded the kids and plonked them inside in front of the first kids’ TV show I could put on and went back for the bags. As I made my way back into the property, loaded up to the gills with plastic tat and baby related paraphernalia, I was taken aback suddenly by the sound of a dog barking aggressively behind me. I turned sharply, poised to see a hound dashing towards me. However, I was surprised to see that there was nothing there. After surveying the surroundings carefully with my heart still racing, the penny suddenly dropped. There were no canines after me, the sound I had heard was in fact coming from the Noisy Farm book that I had in one of the bags! Relieved, I headed inside.
Evening was upon us when we had assembled in the living room. I heard the distant tune of my husband’s alarm going off, signalling the start of his “day” and so I took him a cup of tea in bed. I then began to prepare some dinner for Henry and some breakfast for James. Henry was sat in his high chair with some pasta-type concoction in front of him when James sat on the sofa nearby with his breakfast. “Toast!” Henry exclaimed as he peered over the top of his high chair towards James’s plate. Yes, the same dish that he had thrown over the floor in rejection that very morning was now seemingly all he desired in place of the carefully planned dinner I had prepared him. Look, toddlers are weird, ok? We will never understand them. Meanwhile, Edward had (in)conveniently nodded off and was peacefully asleep, just in time to be woken up again for the bath and no doubt be fractious as heck as a result.
James left for work at around 7pm and the boys were just finishing in the bath and being put to bed at this time. The cat was discovered slumbering in Henry’s cot and was promptly exiled from the inviting mattress. Despite the fact that I felt as though I had been run over by a steam-roller, my hair was crazy and frizzy as a result of the humid conditions of the day and just general stress and rushing around, and that by the end of bath time I felt as though I had just run a marathon, it all suddenly felt worth it when I looked at the boys peacefully sleeping (funnily enough, it always seems worth it when they are peacefully sleeping in comparison to when they are screaming the house down).
I headed downstairs for some dinner and a bit of relaxation time. The living room was in total disarray. After having cleaned up yet another mess courtesy of the cats squabbling and knocking over a vase of anniversary flowers and disposing of a rotten apple that I spied under the sofa (goodness knows when the toddler rolled THAT under there), I sat in front of the TV that was still playing kids’ programmes for a good 15 minutes or so before I realised that my children were in fact in bed and I didn’t actually have to watch that any more.