It’s 2008 and it’s time to go back to work. I can’t believe there is so much activity leading up to and during Christmas and New Year time, no apparent respite and then you have to gear yourself up to life all over again. The girls have had a great Christmas with lots of relatives and friends around. We are surrounded by toys that don’t work because we couldn’t figure out how to put them together or bits of them have broken. Eldest daughter got a guitar and spent most of Christmas strumming it in her bedroom in an offkey sort of way with a bandana round her head and flower stickers stuck to the guitar. She is definitely in the wrong era. She takes it all very seriously and was apparently making up songs about how to look after your pets. Yet another step in her very clever and relentless campaign to get a rabbit/kitten/puppy.
Undaunted by the fact that two strings broke in about 15 minutes of her starting strumming [okay, okay, it was a cheap guitar and was meant as a more imaginative, creative – cheaper – etc alternative to a robot parrot called Squawkers McCall], she has also declared herself to be a rebel. She is 8 [just]. I was quite pleased about this at first – have been going on and on about not being a sheep – but am now beginning to worry that have created a bad precedent. Added to this her first ever conversation in life was with my brother when he sang her an anarchist marching song and her name means ‘with no leader’. Meanwhile, I feel I have watched High School the Musical 2 more than is medically safe. Smallest ‘toddler’ daughter had me up in the early hours on New Year’s Day doing the dancealong version, including the new extra song which sounds something like wakkawakkanakkanikkipoopoo, with, in our family, an extra emphasis on the last two syllables. Having done the early shift on New Year’s Day, I retired to bed at 11am.
Unfortunately I was followed by bonkers daughter who wanted to play families in her ‘office’. I said I would play on the condition I was the sleeping grandmother who stayed in her bed. Sadly, although she went along with this, she managed to co-opt the toddler one into a game of doctors and nurses which involved covering me in a very wet flannel, force feeding me water from the plastic kitchen thing toddler daughter was given which is full of soap and other unknown substances and then we all had to run into the office after a monster forced my doctor to put me in a volcano.
Anyway, it’s back to work on Thursday and with the new year comes a new dilemma. I have been offered a full-time job with a three-hour daily commute. It would be more money and paid holidays, but less time with the kids. The whole purpose of the last year has been to try and knit together something that works around the children. I put off any decisions till the new year as every day is full of decisions and I think my brain has got decision block. However, it is now the new year. How did that happen so fast? Maybe I could argue for more flexibility or part-time work? I’m not great at fighting my own corner, though. I need some sort of personal advocate. Perhaps I could give the job to rebel daughter. I am sure she would broker a fantastic deal or otherwise sing her song about how to look after a kitten and force them into submission.