Yesterday, I went out to dinner at a friend’s house. My father often remarks that my mother has no appreciation that time is finite – I am like her.
17.30 Run out of my office to go to my husband’s office to drive together to the creche to pick up the boys (please add driving rain to get a full picture).
18.00 Arrive at the creche, pick up the boys who are cranky.
18.10 Install boys in the car. Put on “Il etait un petit navire” on the stereo at Daniel’s request.
18.15 Pick up the Princess from the childminder. At the childminder’s request, agree to drop home a little friend who has been there for the afternoon and lives near us.
18.30 Realise that I have promised to bring birthday cake tonight. Why did I do this? Any of the other attendees would have had more time. Why am I always trying to do the impossible? Brilliant husband spots an open patisserie and I zoom through the rain to snap up their two last cakes.
18.45 Drop off little friend. All three of our children begin to wail, calling her name and demanding her return.
18.50 Emerge from car in garage.
18.55 Get to lift with children and gear. Daniel becomes hysterical because he wants to push the button in the lift. Lift him up to do so. His sister becomes hysterical because she wants to do it. Put him down. He pushes her, she bites him.
19.00 Emerge from the lift into the flat. The severely reprimanded Princess retires to the “coin colere” in floods of tears but not before attempting to whack me. Daniel shows everyone his sore finger. Michael begins to demand orange juice. Mr. Waffle goes into the kitchen to cook dinner.
19.05 I comfort the hysterical Princess who is gasping between sobs “HE started it”, Daniel goes off to play peacefully on his own, grateful, doubtless, that the bite marks don’t appear to have broken the skin. Michael comes back with orange juice.
19.10 Michael is keen to avenge the wrong done to his brother and comes to lord it over his hysterical sister. “Mechante!” he says pointing an accusing finger. Then he pushes her. She pushes him back causing him to douse himself and Daniel in juice. Both begin crying hysterically. “HE started it” says the Princess, crying herself for good measure.
19.15 I wipe up the orange juice and change clothes. Daniel calms down and trots off to the kitchen to see how dinner is coming along, the other two continue to howl. I take them both on my lap and each makes spirited efforts to knock off the other while crying hysterically. Daniel comes back with some smoked salmon and solemnly hands each of them a piece. They both stop crying and start eating. I give Daniel a round of applause.
19.20 Dinner is served. It is largely tossed on the floor. I give both boys fruit puree which they let fall on their bibs on the way to their mouths. They angrily demand it be wiped up before they take any more. Daniel is particularly concerned that the large gobs he lets fall between each mouthful be speedily cleaned.
19.30 The bath! Michael comes in first saying “Pipi, pipi” and, when we have removed all his clothes, sits down on the potty which we have just installed in the bathroom in delight. He does not wee in it. After some time, Daniel arrives in and says “Pipi, pipi”. I remove Michael from the pot and put him in the bath where he stands, red in the face, bawling and gasping “Pipi, pipi”. Daniel lowers himself on to the pot with a contented smile. Michael tries to climb out of the bath and fails. The Princess is unwilling to undress and I have to pull off her clothes and put them into the laundry basket.
19.30 Michael finally sits down in the bath and wees in it. We put Daniel in with him (we have NO standards). The Princess gets into the shower. It is too hot and then too cold and we fiddle with the sensitive dial while she abuses us for our ineptitude.
19.35 Michael stands up in the bath and starts saying “Pipi, pipi”, I take him out and wash his teeth despite considerable opposition. I take him to his room while he moans “Pipi, pipi”. While putting on Michael’s pyjamas, I hear a crash from the bathroom and a wail. There was a time I might have run straight away but I am older and wiser now and I put Michael safely into his cot before running to investigate thereby denying him his chance to explore further the charms of the potty.
19.40 The Princess is howling, her father is grim faced and Daniel is gurgling happily and washing his teeth. She slipped in the shower. “Daddy was cross (waaah) with me, even though I slipped (waaaaah) and he said a bad word”. Her father points out, through clenched teeth that, if she would stop dancing in the shower this would never have happened.
19.45 The Princess is wrapped in a towel, Daniel is put to bed. Lights out for the boys.
19.50 The Princess is put into her pyjamas and comes to sit on the couch to discuss today’s smiley face. “I don’t want a smiley face”. Just as well.
19.55 Mr. Waffle puts the Princess to bed, I run to the computer to put up a post for NaBloPoMo. While it is cranking up, I clear the table and sweep the floor (yes, I have a PC, why do you ask?)
20.05 I write my post interrupted only by a trip to the boys’ room to hand a bottle to Daniel.
20.15 Mr. Waffle emerges from the Princess’s room, I go to make myself beautiful. I ruefully contemplate my filthy top and decide (after dabbing at it with a facecloth) that I will have to change it before I go out. Spend some time considering options.
20.25 I emerge and kiss goodbye to my poor husband who is doing dishes. “I’ll put out the bins later” he says sadly while I rummage in the cupboard looking for birthday candles.
20.30 I scoot along to my friend’s house which is mercifully close rehearsing my excuses for my late arrival.
20.35 I arrive. I am first.
NaBloPoMo – Welcome to G
But first, I forgot Joshua Ferris under F. “Then we came to the end” was a great first novel. It was funny and (I would love to say zeitgeisty here but I am worried that my father would hear of it and disinherit me) very contemporary evoking the rhythms of modern office life in a hyper real way (goodness, that could go straight into the LRB, I am so proud).
I also forgot John Connolly. I bought “The Book of Lost Things” as a present for my husband thinking that it was about a boy’s youthful reading experience. He didn’t like it. I picked it up and discovered it was a fantasy story – not Mr. Waffle’s cup of tea – about the interpretation of fairy tales (it reminded me a bit of Angela Carter and also “Pan’s Labyrinth”). I really loved it and I will be getting to the rest of Mr. Connolly’s work on the strength of it.
Sorry, let me reiterate – welcome to G.
G is for Gaskell. Mrs. Gaskell, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways – for you are Victorian and believe in long books, for your plots are interesting and your characters engaging, for “Cranford”, in particular. I think I almost forgive you for not finishing “North and South”.
G is for Graham Greene. There are a lot of converts to catholicism among the authors I favour. I read Graham Greene in my late teens and early 20s because my parents had a lot of them about the house. “Brighton Rock” is genuinely creepy and though I know that Graham Greene is regarded as a bit passé, I think that one really stands the test of time. I also have a weakness for “Travels with my Aunt”, so sue me.
G is also for Greer. I have never read “The Female Eunuch” but I will, really. In the interim, I enjoyed “Daddy, we hardly knew you” but no one else did, as far as I can see.
Stephen Jay Gould is an entertaining and accessible science writer and is responsible for almost everything I know about science. I rate his efforts as superior to the not inconsiderable labours of my teachers, parents and siblings. “Eight Little Piggies” is probably my favourite – it’s clever.
Last but not least is Stella Gibbons. I have only read “Cold Comfort Farm” but how I have read it. This book is anything but cold comfort, I have read it when I was sick, when I was sad, when I was desperate, when I was bored, when I was restless. I love it and it still makes me laugh. In fact, I think I might just pick it up now and head off to bed with it.
Can I say how much I appreciate your suggestions? I’m hoping to have a reading list at the end of this, you know.