"Where's the lid to the saucepan?" my partner inquired yesterday. "I'm afraid they are all being used as driving wheels in the cheerleader tap dancers go to the cafe game," I replied. He gave his normal response to such news - a kind of hopeless shrug which said 'my life is out of my hands'. This is usually followed a few days later by some futile attempt to impose order by suddenly deciding that he will throw, for instance, all my piles of work-related materials in the bin if I don't clean it up "in the next five minutes". He believes my work station is a mess. I prefer creative chaos.
His Sunday had not begun well. As usual, it had started several hours before he had ideally envisaged. He had awoken to find the wall opposite our bed bedecked in breast pads. Apparently, daughters two and three were making breast pad art. He was not entirely sure he was seeing things right as we had had a somewhat restless night. We had hoped to make it through our first film night. Normally we put on a DVD and are comatose after the first 15 minutes or lose the track of the plot and have to switch to 100 most awful zombie films night. I was pretty sure I had chosen a film which would break that cycle. It was a horror film about the Devil sucking the souls out of people. At least I think that's what it was about. The baby woke up about 10 minutes into the film. He was slightly groggy so I thought he might go back to sleep. No such luck. Every time the Devil music came on his head popped up and he started chatting. We switched over to 100 dance film classics.
A night of not much sleep is not perhaps the best preparation for tackling homework and daughter one's ongoing project. We were sat upstairs trying to get through the planning stages which went very slowly as she kept interrupting me with important questions, such as which member of JLS was my favourite and who was my first crush. "Get that project done," I said as sternly as I could muster. "You'll only have yourself to blame if we're up till midnight the day before it's due." At that precise moment, we heard a rustling in the attic. I fear the Christmas rat was not alone. Her entire family appear to have moved in. In the meantime, the back tyre has got a puncture and daughter two has disabled the internet function on the back-up laptop after a furious game of Moshi Monsters. On the up side, the house is almost clean because we had friends round on Saturday and subjected it to a 30-minute cleanover, inspired by 60-minute makeover, daughter two's favourite programme of the moment [besides endless repeats of Ronan Park's highlights on Britain's Got More Talent repeat].
So this week although I won't have to clean the house again until someone else comes round, I have a long list of extra things to do that I had not earlier anticipated. I think it may be payback time as I was beginning to think, towards the end of the week, how very smoothly things were going after I had finally caught up from half term and the flood of demands for money for various school activities [why do they leave them all till the summer term?]. With four children, you can never assume any small period of plain sailing.