Although the numbers of grandparents and other family members who help with childcare...read more
Every week there is a day when it seems as if the world is about to crash in and you want to go back to bed and never emerge. Last Wednesday was that day for me. It began badly. It was the first week back at school and hippy daughter – soon to be renamed goth girl – had been saying she had a tummy ache all week. I had had lots of heartfelt sessions with her about whether everything was okay at school – she says all is fine and “stop asking me, mummy”. I have searched the internet for possible reasons and ascertained that it is definitely not appendicitis, but it could be migraine [apparently it shows in the tummy first in small people], constipation, allergies, or a long list of other things. Anyway, I have decided it is in fact due to indigestion because she stares at her breakfast for hours on end while I build up to a crescendo of ‘eat your breakfasts’ over a 40-minute period before she ends up bolting it in the last five minutes.
I am devising a strategy for dealing with this. It’s called yoghurt. It’s light, it’s easy to eat [especially in handy Frube format – though hideously expensive] and I can squish it in her mouth while I am doing all the 700 other things I have to do in the morning despite being, of course, incredibly organised and doing at least 10 of them the night before as organised mothers tell you you must. Anyway, we eventually got into the car with the toddler one streaming snot out of every orifice and the bonkers one wanting yet another hair clip [she has finally renounced the big red hairband she has been wearing ever since she chopped all her front hair off in an effort to make said hairband lie flat. It is very good to see her hair again. I have been singing ‘welcome back’ songs to it. Even at night she has refused to take off the hairband and she has been found wearing it over her eyes whilst snuggling up to her torch. Don’t even begin to ask why].
There was a huge tailback through Epping Forest and I thought I was going to have to ditch the car and run with the toddler one all the way to the nursery, but I was put off by the thought of having to carry the bonkers one [I know she would complain of TLS – “tired legs syndrome” – within seconds of getting out of the car and would ham act complete collapse if I pleaded on my knees for her to run with me. She will one day make a great actress, if not a first class walker] and spur on goth girl, who is in a world of Avril Lavigne [the Sisters of Mercy are “boring”] and skateboards.
Eventually after much gripping of the wheel on my part, we got to the nursery and then hurtled back to the school to drop the girls so I could head off to work on time. Work went quite peacefully, despite none of the technology at the office actually working. We have no IT person, but we are all supposed to be “our own IT person”. Anyway, as I was saying, nothing was working so we all had a rest. I rushed back at school leaving time to pick up the girls and went home to join toddler girl with my mum who left very quickly after a vigorous playdough session.
Everyone was tired. Everyone was hungry. I made several rounds of sandwiches and got everyone ready to go out again to see a new nursery [the old one only does full days or half days and I need school hours]. Unfortunately, I went upstairs before I left to find the cat had been sick all over the floor. I closed the door and resolved to deal with this later/in another lifetime. The new nursery had a rabbit, which apparently you can take home at weekends [hurray…]. It also has an after school club which is handy and is very flexible. All the children there, though, looked like caged animals waiting for their parents to free them. I guess they were just tired. I just find I feel more and more anti-childcare the older the children get. It all just seems an expensive way of managing the children, a waiting room for an adult world with which I have grown increasingly disillusioned. But, unfortunately, it has to be done unless we run away to Azerbaidjan or somewhere substantially cheaper than England.
We returned home, minus rabbit, to the cat sick. Bonkers daughter volunteered to do the washing up. However, she got too excited. She called me over and said she had had an accident and pointed to a pool of water on the ground. I thought it was the washing up, but it wasn’t. At the same time, toddler daughter, who is still potty training, had a slightly different version of the same accident. Everyone was in meltdown and hungry and thirsty. The washing needed doing. Goth girl was on the computer and wanting help. I’m not sure why because she seems to understand it much better than I do. She has installed some sort of cyber pet on the system which I cannot delete and which keeps asking me to feed it and take it for a walk while I am trying to do my work.
In the middle of all this, my partner texts me that he has been dreaming of apple crumble. Dream on, I say. Toddler girl wants to make party invitations for her High School Musical birthday party. We do two for her friends Natasha and Kitty at nursery. It’s the limit before all hell breaks loose with the glue and glitter. I take them into the nursery the next day only to discover that Natasha is one of the careworkers. She is very pleased to have been invited, but all the other careworkers are a bit peeved. I had anticipated a small party, but it is growing by the hour.