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Monday, 13 January 2014

Some Days Are Just Like That

At 5.45am EB was ready to start the day. I snuggled him into the bed next me in the hope of an extra forty winks. We lay cuddling in the dark, EB’s body still heavy with the residues of slumber, murmuring slightly. I sensed sleep may still be within his reach.  Optimistic, I lay silently stroking his hair, praying for an extra half hour before we had to descend into the fridge like zone of downstairs.  It was not meant to be. At 6am Pip entered the room clutching a small glow in the dark globe of New York City.  "Is Daddy in bed or getting up yet?" "Where exactly is his office?" "Is his hotel here near the park?" Questions and more questions. EB and I squinted in the white glare of Pip’s orb. 

"Would you like to go downstairs and play Snakes and Ladders, Mummy?”

Not really.
 
But, by 6.30am that is exactly what I was doing.

Husband normally plays with the kids for the first hour of their day, it’s often the only time they get to see him as EB is usually in bed by the time he gets home, Pip sometimes too.  They love their time with him, but when Daddy’s not at home, Mummy is expected to fill the breach - and it seems, in exactly the same way.

I was quite enjoying myself until 7am.  At which time, Pip decided to have the mother of all strops because he hadn’t won the game. "Ah well, it’s only a game; time to tidy away and have breakfast". Pip was having none of it.  In the end I left him to it, sat on the sofa in his helicopter pyjamas elevating himself into a frenzy and took EB into the kitchen.  Fifteen minutes later, after an explanation that Snakes and Ladders requires no skill whatsoever and is a game of luck, plus a further stand off involving a brioche, Pip finally ate some breakfast.

The morning continued in the same vein before school. Tears, strops, meltdowns over the tiniest of things. "You haven’t warmed my clothes on the radiator, Mummy" (I never normally do that) but still, that was a cause for tears today. By 9am when I dropped Pip off,  I felt frazzled.

“He’s been a bit teary” I said to the teaching assistant as I handed him over. To my horror, I found myself welling up too. Not for the first time since Pip started school; there was a similar incident at parent’s evening, when they told me what a 'well mannered, thoughtful, kind child' he was.  The school must think I’m the most emotionally overwrought mother they’ve ever come across. 

Post drop off, I spent an hour and a half tidying the house. In the meantime, EB toddled round like a miniature wrecking ball - causing havoc in his wake.  Shredding toilet roll into a million confetti like pieces and trying demolish Pip’s Lego train - the one that took two days to build over Christmas, before making a secret mission to the small cloakroom and attempting to sabotage the toilet brush, en route, emptying all the waste bins he could find.

Meetings aplenty to have regarding Faulty Towers, I left the house at 10.30am, hoping that EB would sleep as usual, in his buggy. Which he did, for precisely fifteen minutes. Pressing on, I hoped he would go back to sleep. Stressed and desperate to sort out my kitchen worktops I proffered a croissant from a bakery.  He proceeded to cover himself in a million flakes of pastry as he got slowly more and more tired and fed up, whilst steadfastly refusing to go to sleep.  By the time I got to the shop to discuss the worktops, EB was in no mood to listen to the benefits of quartz vs corian. Ratcheting up the decibel level he ensured it was impossible to have a conversation. 'I really don’t mind' said the shop owner, clearly desperate for business. But I did. I couldn't even hear myself think. Plus, EB was shedding croissant all over his immaculate showroom floor.

Mission incomplete (and wondering how I was going to square that with the builder) we made our way out into the cold. As we walked back down the High road, EB put on the show of all shows for all and sundry to see. Passers by didn’t even attempt to avert their eyes.  Removing him from the buggy only made matters worse and I couldn’t carry him all the way home.  So I soldiered on. And EB carried on and on and on; until he was beside himself. Each pair of eyes that passed us, I felt judged by.  Mother guilt scorched my every step. For whatever reason, the normal routine hadn't worked today. It wasn't my fault, but it wasn't his either.

In the supermarket, the mature checkout lady and the woman at the front of the queue exchanged knowing looks. The cashier on the checkout next door swivelled in her seat to see what all the fuss was about. I felt like shouting. MOVE ALONG. NOTHING TO SEE HERE. JUST A CRYING BABY AND A STRESSED OUT MOTHER.  I felt like leaving, but I toughed it out, all the time feeling like they thought I was the worst mother in the world because I couldn’t stop my son crying.

Back home, lunchtime was a disaster. EB threw most of his food on the floor and decided to use his sippy cup as a watering can.  After lunch he still refused to sleep so instead, I found myself reading Dear Zoo on repeat.  Husband rang up from New York, having viewed various emails about the house and we argued the toss about the optimal dimensions of the kitchen sink. (I wish I were joking).

As I picked Pip (in a better mood) up from school, the heavens opened and we got drenched. I felt that this was not one of my best days ever.

Some days are just like that.

Yet as the day wore on, there were silver linings.  Post school we dropped in to a friend’s house for tea and cake.  It turned into an impromptu gathering of a few more friends and their kids. Bedlam and chocolate brownies. An hour of much needed company. Friends who can make you laugh. Mothers who understand other mothers.

At bedtime, EB placed his arms around my neck, shut his eyes, nuzzled in tight and in his sleepy voice murmured; 'Mama, Mama, Mama’.  The stress of earlier seemed miles away.

As I cuddled up to Pip in bed, we continued to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tonight, in chapter 11, Charlie Bucket found a golden ticket. Pip’s engagement with the story was a joy. As he bounced on the bed with excitement, I found myself choked - yet again. The morning’s outbursts long forgotten.

As I sit here now, home alone with two sleeping boys in bed, and a glass of wine in hand. I conclude, that some days are just like that. And tomorrow is another day.

10 comments:

  1. Children forget all the stresses and strops so easily don't they? Wish it was like that for us mummies! I remember my son loving Snakes and Ladders at that age, it brought back some lovely memories. I often found him playing it all by himself - taking control of 2 counters, cos no one else would play with him! Poor lad :( There's always a silver lining if we look hard enough, I think that's often the trick x

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    1. Yes, thankfully they do forget the strops quickly - a good thing - as I hate animosity, it really gets to me. I like a happy house! x

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  2. I've toughed it out too many a time with both children, but at the end of a weary day all is forgotten when all calms down. The strops are supposed to stop at 2yrs 11months and 30days, but instead of the terrible two's I have a threenager! I have wine too *chink* lovely lovely post to read xxx

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    1. I wanted to write this to remind myself when I look back that there were hard days! It's so easy to forget the difficult bits :0). Ah, the joys of a threenager - I remember them well. *chink indeed*. x

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  3. Oh dear. Tomorrow is another day indeed. In the absence of a husband I found a glass of wine at tea time a bit like one of those friends you luckily found yourself among that evening. It really does get better. Deep breathing and a long hot bath before bed really help. They shrug off the trauma we're left with, don't they?! I can't imagine you going through all this with your house renovation project and needing to engage your brain. It'll all seem better when you can catch some more sleep somewhere, somehow, anywhere, anyhow and well done for your pragmatism!

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  4. Thank you for your supportive comment. Am failing miserably on the early nights front. Must try harder!

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  5. Oh no, what a terribly fraught day you had.... I think you managed it all incredibly well, tantrums and tears from both boys. Sounds like EB had a whooper tantrum though, it's horrid when they keep on an on and on, and there's nothing you can do to quell them. Well, if I had been in the supermarket, I would have asked you if you were okay, that I totally understood what you were going through.... I have sometimes said those things to mothers in the queue with a demanding baby, it's worth it just for the smiles you recieve, nothing worse than a mother feeling judged.... But glad it eventually all came good, friends and a glass of wine! When Little A wants to put on a riled show she starts getting particular about things she ordinarily has no interest in too, and delights in telling me off, 'you're being naughty mummy.' X

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    1. Love it when they get to the age when they tell you off! Something so cute about it. If you'd been in the supermarket I am sure everything would've been a lot better - you could've dealt with EB whilst I headed off to the wine section to procure a bottle of wine! x

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  6. Oh we all have days like this don't we and then feel bad for feeling that way when the kids do something very small that makes everything that has happened feel like nothing. EB sounds very similar to Sam-especially the toilet roll, lego breaking and screaming shops down! Hope you enjoyed that glass of wine sounded like a day it was definitely needed! x

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    1. Yes, we do. Although sometimes it doesn't feel like anybody else has them!

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