Before – Phone call from the airport
Me: Is this a good time?
Him: Mmm, I’m in the bathroom, the children are in the bath.
Me: I’ve just done a really stupid thing. I’ve taken your keys as well as mine.
Me: Accident, sorry.
Him: [Sigh] OK, we’ll manage.
Me: All well then?
Him: Well, the Princess and L put marker all over the walls.
Him: And, that nasty smell?
Him: It turned out Daniel had done a poo, there was a pellet floating in his nappy for the past couple of hours. I found out when I took off his nappy and it fell into the bath.
Me: I see.
Him: Listen, I’ve got to go the boys are starting to drink the bathwater.
After – Returning home
23.30 Return from the airport.
23.45 Stop myself compulsively tidying the house and go to bed.
00.15 Give a bottle to Michael.
00.30 Give a bottle to Daniel.
01.20 Welcome warm, miserable Michael into the parental bed.
03.20 Princess joins us.
03.30 Go to boys’ room with Michael. Daniel starts to howl. Much running around and parental cursing. Princess luxuriates in double bed to herself.
03.40 Mr. Waffle dispatches Princess to her own bed, she threatens to bring the house down. We swap children.
03.45 I go to the Princess’s narrow single bed and calm her down. She refuses to go back to sleep and keeps nudging me awake.
05.45 I storm out of the Princess’s bedroom to my own room in a force ten huff. She howls. We ignore her. She falls asleep. So do we.
06.15 Michael wakes up. Mr. Waffle takes him to play.
07.00 Daniel wakes up.
07.15 The Princess wakes up.
07.30 It becomes clear that Michael is too sick to go to the creche. We ring around for babysitters.
09.00 We sit exhaustedly at our desks and wonder why anyone would employ parents.