Don’t you just love half term? All those family days out, idyllic selfies with your children, relaxing days with the special little people in your life. Bliss. Sound familiar? No? Me neither. Half term can piss right off.
I love my children dearly, but a newborn and a 3 year old for 5 whole days is one hell of a combo. Feeling a bit brave, I thought I’d take both children out for a walk and to run a few errands. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot, as it happens. The walk is slower than it ever needs to be, because Bear wants to push the buggy. That in itself is fine, but as she insists on looking behind at me all the while, we have close encounters with walls and hedges, and near misses with parked cars for the duration of the walk. A walk which takes forever.
The errand-y bit was fine, in fact to the outside world I had this 2 children malarkey nailed. I was a pro, you might say (or you might not, whatever). The Post Office was a breeze; someone commented on how content the Boy was, and Bear didn’t rearrange the card display today so it was a success all round. Bear dragged the basket round the Co-Op, we escaped without comics that never get read or crisps that she doesn’t like but insists on me buying. Then we headed home, and in my smugness at having a helpful toddler and a sleeping baby, I suggested the park. This, my friends, is when all hell broke loose.
In what I can only assume was over excitement, the suggestion of the park prompted Bear to need a poo. Could she wait until we got home? Could she hell. And let me tell you people, when she’s been on Movicol for the last 3 days that is never going to be an ideal situation for outside the Co-Op. The buggy board came into its own as she stood stiller than she has ever stood as we hot-foot at breakneck speed back to the house.
The Boy is still sleeping soundly so we leave him in the buggy in the porch and proceed to ‘deal’ with the situation we’re in. I’m having a hot flush as I realise I don’t really know where to start. Bear is screaming because she wants to go to the park, and I am trying my calmest to explain that now is not a great time for the park, as another pair of pants bites the dust. The doorbell rings (of COURSE it does) and that wakes the Boy up, and the postman is ever-so-polite in his small talk as I sign for a parcel and Bear stands screaming and pant-less in the doorway. The Boy is screaming just because he feels like joining in, and I am only too aware than I am bright red and sweating profusely as I respond with “yeah everything’s going great, thanks!”
Then my mobile rings. I’ve been waiting for this call for days, and NOW my phone rings. Goodness knows what she thought was going on in the background while I tried to make a calm and “nothing to see here” impression on the lady I’m speaking to. Truth be told, I am looking back on this afternoon with much the same bafflement as she must have had.
So the next time I see idyllic photos on Facebook of people enjoying some solo parenting with their children, and I feel a bit guilty that I am not yet ready to brave much of the outside world with them both in tow, I will remember today. Because while all those people in the Post Office and Co-Op might think I have got this mummying lark off pat, the reality is that my house wreaks of poo and I am Googling “from what time is it acceptable to drink gin?*” until I find an answer I agree with.
*Now. Now is a good time.