My partner has been ill for the last 10 days. Essentially he’s had a cold, but with a bad cough. He initially thought it was something terminal, but the fact that daughter three had had a really bad cold meant that a cold was a slightly more plausible possibility. He has been looking very sorry for himself and groaning a lot, but forcing himself into work. Unfortunately, there is not much time to empathise and I do empathise because it is usually me with the bad cold and the cough that never stops. It is quite odd being on the other side.
But having four children means you can’t do much more than pass the paracetamol and a duvet and make the odd cup of tea. I can try and keep the noise levels down, but it is a losing battle. Only son has gone into dance overdrive. He appeared the other day with pink ear muffs sellotaped to his shoulders to do Just Dance Four. Apparently he was being Nicki Minaj in Super Bass. He has now passed several of daughter three’s scores and, in one number, he has even topped the almighty daughter one’s score. Daughter one’s approach to Just Dance is very strategic. She basically just moves the hand with the remote in it and barely breaks into a sweat whereas her mother does all the moves to Ra-ra-Rasputin, including the Cossack dancing, and ends up in a heap on the floor with just an OK rating.
I think her actual dancing is probably more energetic. She was at a party on Friday night where there was dancing. The party ended around 11pm and was in some distant part of Essex. Due to my partner being ill and no-one else being old enough to drive, it fell to me to pick her up. It wasn’t looking good. On Thursday night I had fallen asleep in mid Question Time so I had to take emergency action in order to stay awake. I had a bath, which may have been a bad move. I decided to have a mini nap at around 9pm, but only son was doing the Ketchup song and daughter three was doing SATs practice so needed some guidance. I opted for slapping myself in the face a few times and got ready to go out at around 10.15. “I’ll come with you and keep you awake,” said daughter three, who had refused to go to bed. Daughter three likes an adventure. “Wow, I’ve never been out at this time of night,” she said as we got in the car, armed with a hot water bottle, a torch and several SATs test papers.
True to her word, she kept me awake, talking about the book she is writing and fractions. I fear this may become a regular occurrence so I need to go into training.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.