Last week while Mr. Waffle was away, I had to mind all three children overnight. Our babysitter came and helped me to bath them all and put the boys to bed. When she left, I fed the Princess and put her to bed. And she got up again and again and again. As it got later and later I realised that the interval between her finally going to bed and the boys starting to wake up was likely to disappear. I got desperate and called her father in Luxembourg to talk to her. He threatened not to bring a present unless she was good. She treated him with laughing disdain. Finally at 10.30, I said to her that I was going to bed. She was absolutely exhausted and lying on the bean bag playing in a desultory way with the boys’ toys but she gamely said to me “you go off to bed Mummy, I’ll sit here and play quietly on my own”. So I conceded defeat and asked whether she would like to sleep in my bed thereby, as my mother and sister both pointed out to me, rewarding poor behaviour. As she climbed into bed beside me, she said “ring Daddy in Luxembourg and tell him I’m a good girl”. “I will not ring Daddy in Luxembourg, he’ll be asleep”. “No, he won’t, he’s working in Luxembourg”. She should meet my former boss, they have such similar ideas on working hours. In any event, on his return from foreign parts, Mr. Waffle brought no present. The Princess expressed neither surprise nor indignation.
As ill-luck would have it, my esteemed husband is away this week also. Tonight, not only are we all home alone but the babysitter couldn’t come at the last moment. I got home about 6.30 and put them all into the bath which I had let run a little deep which they all enjoyed very much. Hysterically so, in fact. Nobody got hurt but I got very wet. Then I got out the two boys who instantly began crawling around the bathroom dragging their little towels behind them (making for the bin and the potty respectively). I got out a somewhat reluctant Princess also. I corralled all three of them down towards the boys’ bedroom where the Princess jumped up and down on the large bed, somewhat taking from the soothing end of the day quiet I was aiming for. I wrestled the boys into nappies as speedily as I could and nobody weed on the floor. Result, as I understand the young people say. At a somewhat more leisurely pace I got them into their pyjamas and sleeping bags allowing Daniel time to try once again his trick of trying to catch his finger in the drawer while Michael invested his not inconsiderable energies in pulling himself upright and falling back on his bottom. He performed this trick for the first time on Saturday but, so far, it shows absolutely no sign of palling. They were both in bed sucking on bottles by 7.10. Did I hear a peep out of them thereafter? No, I did not. Let us hope and pray that Daniel will equal the feat of sleeping 12 hours which he managed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night but most certainly did not last night. Since Michael has yet to wake up fewer than three times in any given night, I suppose it would be futile to hope that he might sleep through. Let us pray also that the Princess does not wet the bed. In the past week she has taken to wetting the bed half an hour after going to bed. This is some feat since she always goes to the toilet before going to bed. We think she does it on purpose because a) she has confessed to her father that she finds it funny and b) she wails when we put her back in her own bed “but before when I wet the bed, you let me sleep in your bed”. Just once. Never again. Mind you, friends of ours who came to the boys’ bash at the weekend pointed out that things could be a lot worse. Their little girl has only just been toilet trained and she tends to poo in ther underpants (which the Princess never did, mercifully) and then poke around in there (ditto, especially mercifully). Her father says that the other day it was like a dirty protest in their bathroom. Lovely.
I do feel a little bad that this evening I spent exactly 40 minutes with my sons, time which they had to divide with their older and somewhat demanding sister. Oh well, I daresay they will have plenty of time with me during the night. On the plus side though, the Princess was phenomenally well behaved. While I made dinner for us, she tidied away all the boys’ toys (by tossing them into the playpen which has become a vast untidy toybox rather than somewhere to put the boys) and we sat down and ate together and she said to me “Now Mummy, isn’t this pleasant?” Yes, indeed. And then she went to bed. No problems and she asked me “can I get up, if I want to do a wee?” ” Absolutely sweetheart”. And, finally, just before I turned out the light she said anxiously “Daddy will bring me a present, won’t he?” That’s my girl.
As young people say; Result. I’ve come to the conclusion that we’d all be fantastic mothers, if only our children would let us.