In the past three weeks we have been to Spain, I have travelled for work, twice, I have had three delegations in Brussels and I was at work dinners on Monday and Tuesday night. On Monday I had a migraine (I should have cancelled, why didn’t I cancel?) but I took two paracetemol and struggled on. Stupid. More particularly since I had the rather alarming experience of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say (“pass the salt”) but couldn’t say it (“pash, the thank you”), it was a little alarming and it made me uncharacteristically silent and probably not the best dining companion for my colleagues.
On Wednesday, Mr. Waffle was travelling for work, so I picked up the boys and herself and brought them all home, fed them dinner which they refused to eat, tucked them into bed (the Princess holding out to 9.00 much to my chagrin), cleared up dinner, swept, put away toys and clothes put on the dishwasher, put on the washing machine, put on the dryer (I know, I’m pushing the climate change doomsday clock all by myself here) and at 10.30 sat down to have a nice cup of tea. Watched some dreadful television and went to bed at 11.30 to polish off the Sunday papers savouring the unusual pleasure of being able to read in bed (I am the owl in our relationship). Overdid the reading in bed and only turned out the lights at 12.20 and gave the boys their first bottle at 12.40. Then all was silent and the house slept.
At 5.30 yesterday morning, I heard the patter of little footsteps. The Princess was wandering round the house hysterically looking for her father. “He’s away” I said. “I want Daddy,” she said at the top of her voice. She was red in the face with tears streaming down her cheeks. Given the combative relationship she and her father usually enjoy in the morning, I can’t imagine why she felt he would welcome this were he, in fact, home but I suppose she was hysterical from lack of sleep. She would not go back to bed and the boys were now roaring for my attention. When I got into their bedroom, they were standing up in their cots chatting loudly to each other across the room (mostly they chat in animal noises – moo, ack ack, I know, baa, neigh). I tried to persuade them back to bed but it was a forlorn hope. There we were, all up to face the day at 5.45. The children, their evil demands granted, were in great form and played quite happily together. I wept bitter exhausted tears in the shower listening to their happy squeals from my bed next door which, as one, they had determined was the best place to burn off their excess early morning energy. I comforted myself with the recollection that the childminder would be coming at 8.00 and, at least, I didn’t have to get the boys dressed and heft them to the crèche. Well, I did until she rang at 6.30 to say that she was sick (for the first time ever) and wouldn’t be able to make it.
So, we all got dressed and prepared to leave. Just thought I would mention that when I drew the curtains in the Princess’s room they fell down, and when we came to the lift some idiot had left the door open downstairs so I had to walk down 2 flights of stairs with a boy on each hip – 22.5 kilos altogether, since you ask – and their various accessories clamped in my jaws; it was that kind of morning. As well as being the lark in our relationship, Mr. Waffle is also the ant to my extravagant, heedless grasshopper. This is why it is necessary for him to say to me, every Wednesday when I have a half day from work “will you buy some bread this afternoon?” Since he was away, I had not bought bread the previous day and the Princess needed sandwiches. I packed the boys into the buggy and we all went to the bakery on the way to school. It began to dawn on me that though we had been up since 5.30 in the morning we were still going to be late for school which must be something of a record. The Princess was so tired on the way that she bumped into a lamp post and a post box and I had to carry her (15kgs) weeping for much of the journey while pushing the double buggy with my other hand. I delivered her to the relative safety of the classroom, took the boys home and strapped them into the car to go to the crèche. Although we have a childminder three days a week we pay for the crèche five days a week as back up, just in case – alas, we have no relatives in Belgium. Possibly not alas for them. I allowed myself a moment’s smugness somewhat undercut by reflection on the Princess’s very just observation that someone would have to collect her from school, if the childminder was not there. I contemplated leaving her in the after school “garderie” but knew that she would be horrified so, dutifully, rang around babysitters until I found one available to collect her.
Finally got into the office at 9.45, bright eyed and bushy tailed and more than ready to do a full and productive day’s work. Ahem. Is it any wonder that I decided that I’d better take today off.