Two thirds of fathers of premature and sick babies says they have felt under pressure to...read more
So there I was the whole week waiting anxiously for the weekend to come and it turns out that so was daughter three, but for entirely different reasons. I was thinking sleep. She was thinking sleepover [ie no sleep]. I had somehow or other got out of a sleepover last weekend [I think I pleaded illness] so she had taken this simply as a rain check. From around Tuesday, she began bombarding me with emails and then little notes and then pulled me aside for whispered conversations. She invited her big sister and bribed her with a promise of chocolate to pile on the pressure. On Thursday she said “so what are you most looking forward to this weekend, Mummy?” to which, of course, the answer was “the sleepover” [lie]. I am thinking Obama needs this girl for his political campaign.
She had drawn up sleepover plans with different columns representing food, drink, stories, games, bedding and sleepover partners [eg the baby for me, a stuffed bear for her].
I spent Saturday “preparing” apparently and also chatting to my partner about the unemployment situation in Spain and how several of his friends are considering leaving Spain to look for work. Ironically, my brother’s wife is Argentinian and arrived in Spain, where he met her, in a great wave of Argentinians only a few years ago. Many are now heading home. The future looks very bleak, particularly for young people. The knock-on effect of young people leaving is that there aren’t so many of them anyway compared to old people since many of my partner’s generation have either not had children or only had one. The generation below are often still living with their mum and dad.
Conversations in our household don’t last long and this was a small oasis of conversation in a day full of activity and it was in any event broken up by my partner’s attempts to teach me to make ravioli. I remember ravioli from school, and not fondly. He was determined to make me look at it in a new light. The problem is we have very different approaches to cooking. His style is very Masterchef. He takes his cooking very seriously. Mine is built around speed [children having no patience]. He complained bitterly that my ravioli were not totally sealed and made me do them again.
I retired to contemplate the sleepover menu [sweets, popcorn and, bizarrely, cucumber. My healthy eating messages are starting to make some inroads].
On being woken up to come downstairs for the sleepover at around midnight, daughter one decided she’d rather stay in her own bed. So wise. Daughter two was ill and dosed up on Calpol. So that left daughter three and the baby. By circa 6am [it could have been earlier, I was trying to keep my eyes shut] both were awake and tucking into the Haribo-inspired feast with gusto. The baby does gusto very loudly. He was running around the lounge screaming. The kittens were queuing up at the door to go outside.
About an hour and a half later after feasting, telling stories and having crisps inserted in my mouth, I must have dozed off for a nano-second, as did daughter three. I awoke suddenly to see the baby on his tiptoes on the tv table reaching up for the Wii remote [my partner managed to get the mini-disc the baby had inserted in the machine out and now considers himself a DIY expert].
My partner came downstairs around 10ish with a pitying look on his face. He had heard the ruckus at 6am, but had merely closed his door. “You bring it on yourself,” he said. I tried to explain how hard it is to resist daughter three’s multi-pronged campaign and the feelings of guilt it inspires [“you only love the baby now, don’t you, Mummy?”]. I am currently fending off an equally dogged, but slightly more dramatic campaign by daughter two to go swimming next weekend [appeals to fitness, neglect, global injustice, etc] plus a subtle, but ongoing attempt by the fiendishly intelligent daughter one to get me to allow her to dye her hair purple.