Dear (slightly allegorical) diary…
Time unknown – let’s call it 6.45: Peel open half an eye as I hear Little Miss Just-Turned-Three get out of bed. Her footsteps skip across the carpet to the bathroom. Moments pass, breath held in, waiting for her next move. She goes back to bed, the breath releases.
Indeterminate time later, 7am?: Footsteps pepper the hallway again, the bedroom door swings open an inch or so, a face peers in. “I can’t get back to sleep mummy” “That’s OK, sweetheart, come and have a snuggle” (translation: “I cannot be upset that you woke up to use the potty but I am not ready to stop being horizontal”) A few minutes pass in blissful silence but the frequency of elbow/ knee strikes to the ribcage increase over the next 10 minutes until she announces that she is hungry and it’s time to get up. Just as I am coming to terms with the imminent change of position the sound of a car pulling up behind the house heralds the arrival of Daddy, home from his night shift. “Quick, hide” squeals LMJTT Dutifully flick the duvet over our heads as the front door swings open.
7.30: Following our usual (for our family, weird to most) pleasantry exchanges : “Good morning “ “Sleep well” The two of us head downstairs – we’re on the clock, today is a trial run to see if I will be able to get us out the door on time for work/nursery next week. Preferably without getting up at 5am.
8.18: We did it; fed, washed and dressed in less than an hour – I was up until 1am washing and drying my hair to avoid having to do it ‘in the morning’, granted, but let me have this victory?
8.32: Small issue, the carrot used to chide LMJTT through this speedy stick of a morning is a trip to the soft play. It doesn’t open until 10. Somehow have to kill time without diminishing the importance of getting ready quickly.
9.30: Somehow blustered through the past 58 minutes. One foot out the door to collect reinforcements – no mummy should face the potential horrors of soft play in the final week of a miserable grey ‘summer’ holiday alone – the phone rings. It is my mother, after customary greeting and discussion of general wellbeing (in French, neither of us are remotely continental?!) it is arranged that we will visit her after our trip to the padded fun emporium/ forgotten circle of hell (it’s all about perspective)
10.05: Bloomin’ late. Again. Not by much, I suppose, and the car park is reassuringly empty. Bracing self, we go in. Score! There are maybe half a dozen children rattling around and the sofa by the baby section is free. Establish base camp. LMJTT happily bumbles about, mummies chat, sip tea. This isn’t so bad after all.
11.22: Child complains of hunger, takes me by the hand and leads me to the counter (she’s a little too au fait with this process for my liking). Chooses an apple over the buttercream cloud-topped cupcake (weirdo, bless her) steals my place on the sofa and devours her fruity prey.
11.46: Hungry again, now interested in the shared tea cake I suggested 24 minutes ago. Stand firm, packed lunch in my bag – she can have a ‘car picnic’. Proud of self but also a little disappointed, quite fancied a bite to eat.
12.41: Lunch demolished before friends were even delivered home. Arrive at Nanna’s House. Pavement is being patched, van parked over the edge of the drive. Execute rather tidy (if I do say so myself) reverse manoeuvre, avoiding gravel pit between parents’ and neighbours’ properties, cable box at the top of the garden and wheelie bins in front of house. Stop with mm to spare between bumper and porch, tyres perfectly aligned with edge of path. Tarmac chap no. 1 apologises: “Sorry love” “It’s OK” I smile – I can tell he’s impressed. Ring doorbell. No answer. Ring landline. No answer. Ring mobile. You guessed it. Tarmac chaps starting to give us odd looks. “Where’s that Nanna got to?!” I ask in a stage whisper, “Come on, lets go up to the playing field round the corner.”
13.03:Relocated car to more conventional position on driveway. Sitting in shade of driver’s seat, listening to radio when mother finally returns. The afternoon passes in a blur of bubbles, coffee, fruit (for LMJTT), the last of the birthday cake (for us) and hide and seek – I win.
16.38:Home in time to wave Daddy off to work. Set about preparing as nutritious a meal as one can manage given a fridge in which upwards of 50 percent of contents are leftovers from a pre-school birthday party. Imagine this is a Masterchef challenge to make it a bit more intetesting.
18.09: Dinner is served. Omelette mixte de lègumes, de jambon et de saucisse avec pomme frite (mixed veg, ham and sausage omelette with oven chips – perhaps I’m more like my mother than I like to admit)
20.12: Little Miss Just-Turned-Three is finally asleep…nappy free for the first time, she’s been dry for the last 2 – 3 weeks but apprehensive of ammonia-soaked mattress in the morning – will cross that bridge when we come to it (bicarb?) All that remains is to get set up for another streamlined morning routine…but first maybe just a little glass of something? Surely it’s Wine-o’clock by now?