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Saturday, 24 July 2010

My Weekend

OK, let’s get this straight. You have a baby, they are small, pink and they cry a lot. FACT. You get through that by reading instruction manuals that tell you to put the baby in a totally dark room, wrap them in muslin and sing rare Armenian folk songs to them every hour. You get through that bit. They learn to crawl, then walk, then eat solid food and they call you “Mummy”. All fine. They decorate their cot with their own pooh, not once, or even twice, but so many times you dread going into their room first thing. Then they get their first big bed, and hooray, the pooh smearing ends, but so too does the staying in one place all night, now, your baby has discovered freedom, and she’s not afraid to use it.

All of that I understand, I have two children so I have been through it before, (apart from the pooh-smearing bit, my son never did that so it was a bit of a shocker.) Amy Jane is three and a half, and when she is good she is very very good, and when she is bad you don’t want to be within reach or earshot. All of which is fine, as long as I get a good night’s sleep. I can cope with most things on a good night’s sleep. The world is a lovely place when I have had a good night’s sleep. But I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since 1997. That was when I started working in breakfast television and had to get up at 3:30am in the morning, which we all know is ridiculous. Fast forward to now, and although I have left the warm, fuzzy world of breakfast TV, I am still in a permanent fog of sleep-deprivation because of the short nocturnal person who lives in my house. Some people have Dream Catchers, you know, those strange broken tennis racket-looking things that you hang up in your room to catch all your lovely dreams. I have a Dream Snatcher; a small child who wakes me up just when a dream is getting interesting…

I have started a reward chart, to convince her that it is a good idea to stay in bed all night. Sometimes it really works, and she will do anything for a sweetie and a sticker. Other times, she pretty much blows a raspberry in my face and tells me to forget it. Then I can’t sleep just knowing at some point she will appear… my ear feels like a periscope on a submarine, constantly up and swivelling, listening out for tiny enemy footsteps.

Tomorrow is the weekend, so I am actually going out tonight, and I may even indulge in a few white wines. I very rarely bother because being sleep-deprived AND hungover is a double whammy. I’m going to have fun tonight because the husband is home this weekend, after a week-long trip to Spain for a friend’s stag do. During which he didn’t call home for 48 hours, and then finally made contact in the form of a short, raspy-voiced call in which he asked for some money to be transferred into his account… I didn’t ask, I just did it. Why? Because now he owes me major brownie points, and this weekend it will be HIS turn to respond to the sleep monster, and after last weekend I deserve a treat. My weekend went something like this…

On Friday night Amy actually slept through the night! The whole night, from 7pm until about 6:30am; amazing… The only problem was that our dog Jackson went mad at 2am and decided to eat his bed, which gave him a bad tummy. He barked until I eventually came downstairs, to find the biggest, nastiest puddle of dog sick in the world… I won’t say any more as it was too horrible.

The next morning, Amy was very pleased and proud of herself that she had been a ‘big girl’ and had stayed in bed all night. So I let her play on the Playhouse Disney website on my laptop while I had a shower, and stood and dozed upright while pretending to wash my hair. As I was getting dressed I heard a sing-song “Oh, no…” and then quiet. The kind of quiet that only mums can hear; the calm before the storm quiet where you know something terrible has happened. I made my way downstairs, calling “Aim-meee… Whatcha do-ing?” She ran out my office and into the kitchen, shouting “Nothing!” I walked into my office and towards my new laptop… She had removed EVERY SINGLE KEY from the keyboard. I didn’t even know you could do that. Now I was quiet, the way you are when your scream is silent…

Later, after the carpet on the Naughty Step had been worn very thin, I decided to take the kids out for the afternoon as we were all getting cabin fever. The local garden centre beckoned, as they have huge tanks of fish and Amy thinks it’s a zoo. I filled the trolley up with plants to kill, and the kids tried to smuggle on board SpongeBob Squarepants figures for our fish tank. I smuggled them back on to the shelves when they weren’t looking. After cake, drinks and struggling back to the car with things that will never grow in my garden, we headed home. Amy yelled all the way back that I was going the wrong way. She is a backseat driver at 3, because she insists on having the sat nav on for every journey and setting it herself. She then gets very cross when we don’t end up in Blackpool.

The next morning at 5:12am, after visiting me twice in the night to tell me her bed was funny, Amy thundered in shouting that it was her birthday and she wanted fireworks and her face painted with the England flag. She did not take kindly to being refused. By 5:23am we were sitting downstairs watching Peppa Pig on SKY Plus. I watched the Nick Jr healthy eating advert and felt my eyeballs twitch. No children will happily eat olives and lettuce; I just DON’T BELIEVE YOU Nick Jr.

Spurred on by the need to cook something for the children’s breakfast to prove I wasn’t a bad mother, I waited until Finlay got up, and then made them a lovely pile of pancakes. Amy drowned hers in maple syrup, and then tried to drink it off the plate by tipping it into her mouth. She missed, badly, and dribbled most of it over herself, the table and her chair. Finlay inhaled his and muttered “Thanks Mum” before rushing back into the living room to watch I-Carly, and Amy ran behind him. The kitchen looked like it had been overrun by a child and pancake tsunami.

While bending down to wipe the floor, my hair got stuck to the maple syrup covered table; I looked like Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary; without being a blonde Hollywood bombshell, just with the sticky fringe. Coffee was the answer.

I noticed a tiny crack in the cafetiere as I poured in the ground coffee and added boiling hot water. I thought to myself that we must get a new one, as it is the most used piece of equipment in our kitchen, after the bottle opener. I wondered quietly whether it was safe as I pushed the plunger down, and BAM! The glass cracked and I was showered in boiling brown grainy water, all down my front. I leapt back and it bubbled out onto the kitchen surface, down the cupboard door and onto the floor. Thank God I need help in the chesticle department and was wearing a padded bra because it could have been really nasty, not to mention time consuming, having to take two small children to A&E to explain third degree burns and a LaVazza smell to a doctor. I ripped off my clothes and threw kitchen roll at the mess. At the same time, Amy came roaring into the kitchen, having fallen off the sofa and bumped her head. I cuddled her in my damp Italian coffee smelling bra and pants, and tried to stop the flow of brown molten water dripping onto the floor, while she wailed and clung on. Eventually she got it out of her system and padded back into the playroom, leaving me sitting on the floor in my pants surrounded by pancake mix, maple syrup, soggy kitchen roll and a steady drip of leaky coffee.

So that’s why I am going out tonight, and it will be down to the large snoring man to pick up the pieces tomorrow, while I lie in bed, hopefully feeling hungover and remembering the wild and crazy things I got up to the night before. That didn’t involve children, dogs or kitchen roll…


  1. You deserve a night out after that

  2. Enjoy your night out and hopefully a lie in, Amy sounds so mishchevious :)
    Its nice to know someone else is up early, my 7 month old little boy thinks that 5.30am is the best time to get up and play !

    Keep the posts coming

  3. That was fantastic to read, hope you enjoyed your night out and your hopeful lie in. xx

  4. my son sounds just the same every day i wake up thinking maybe just maybe he'll behave today and everyday by 8am i realise thats just not gonna happen!

  5. Ha ha, this is hilarious - have you ever thought of writing a magazine column as I reckon you'd be gr8. Hope you had a really good night out and managed to sleep in past 5am . . . . . .
    My 4 year old niece is a bit like that with the bed hopping - she came downstairs last night after being in bed for 1/2 hour and declared that she wasn't tired yet and would stay down there for a while, then at half 4 this afternoon she is asleep on the front room floor 'watching' Pippin lol x x