“Do much on your day off?” A (fresh-faced/well-rested/child-free) colleague asked breezily as I sat down at my desk this morning…
To clarify, I work four days a week and am lucky enough to spend the other day at home with Miss O. But, as much as I appreciate being able to do this, there is NO WAY that what transpires every Wednesday could possibly be described as ‘a day off’.
And on days like yesterday, when Miss O essentially dicked about from sunrise to sunset, it’s about as ‘on’ as it gets. Here are some highlights:
- Indignant wailing kick-starts the day at 5:30am – an hour earlier than usual. We still have 30 minutes until Chris and Pui show me show me exactly why they’ve been given the CBeebies graveyard slot, so we’re stuck with Postman Pat repeats whilst we both wake up a bit.
- Get Miss O dressed, which takes twice as long as usual because she refuses to let go of the assortment of spoons, crayons and car keys (mine) she’s currently clutching. Realise I’ve put her dungarees on back to front. Bollocks. We start again.
- She ‘helps’ me do my make-up, which mainly consists of sitting on my lap and jabbing me in the face with those sodding crayons. Someone gets poked in the eye, someone loses their shit a bit, make-up is swiftly abandoned.
- After a productive 15 minutes spent scraping scrambled egg out of the rug, we head off to our nearest soft play hell hole. Well, we do once I’ve found the bloody car keys, which after an extensive search turn up in the washing machine, along with my bank card and a spatula. FFS.
- Soft play starts well – she gets up and down the big slide all on her own for the first time, and is so delighted with herself that I nearly cry. Things go rapidly downhill when she uses the foam cubes to barricade all the other children out of the Wendy house, which, whilst resourceful, does not go down well with the other mums. Cue major tantrum when the tiny dictator’s fortress is breached. Whip out the chocolate buttons to avert a full-on meltdown. She deliberately misunderstands the trade-off that’s taking place here by eating all the buttons and then resuming the snotty screamy malarkey. Time to leave, methinks.
- It’s naptime. Naptime still takes place on me, as I don’t have the willpower to repeat the shenanigans it took to crack the night-time sleeping, and I keep telling myself that we only have to put up with it for ‘another year or so’… Ten minutes in, am enjoying having quiet cuddles and revelling in how beautiful she looks when she’s asleep. An hour later, my arm has gone completely numb and I’m Googling the possibility of hiring someone purely to hold my child during naptimes for me, which is clearly the easiest solution to this problem. Seems like an untapped market…phone dies before I can make any progress. Damn it!
- Rejuvenated by her nap, Miss O embarks on a solid couple of hours of mayhem and destruction, including, but not limited to, book ripping, drink spilling, ramming anything on wheels into my shins, hiding anything important that’s not nailed down, and turning the TV off in such a way that I cannot for the life of me work out how to make it work again (how do they do that???). More tears, more chocolate buttons. Text J to inform him that his daughter is being a total knob, and he is also a total knob for not being here, even though this is both unreasonable and impossible…
- After dinner, 50% of which I’m wearing, with at least another 20% of it down the sofa, we tackle ‘the bedtime routine’ which results in a flooded bathroom and a minor heart attack on my part after chasing a soaking wet, giggling toddler around the house before finally wrestling her into some PJs.
- 30 minutes until bedtime / wine o’clock. She’s being absolutely frigging delightful. I don’t know where this child’s been hiding all day, but we’ve got kisses being blown, cuddles left right and centre, the whole cutesy shebang. Feel a bit guilty about the knob text.
- It’s 7.30pm. My gorgeous girl is in bed, my wine glass is full; we’ve made it! J comes home from work, walks into the kitchen I’ve somehow managed to clean, sneaks a spoonful of the meal I’ve somehow managed to throw together one-armed whilst holding a chocolate-covered toddler in the other, and asks if I’ve been up to much today.
- Knee J in the balls (metaphorically, obviously). Down the wine and stomp off to the kitchen for a top-up. And every chocolate button I can lay my hands on.
“So how was your day off?”
“Oh, fine thanks, you know, pretty uneventful!”
Said no mum, ever.