Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Ice, Ice Baby: The Best Laid Plans...

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Ice, Ice Baby: The Best Laid Plans...

Things I have learnt since my husband went away for 5 days:

1. 5 days is a long time
2. My husband does a lot of laundry
3. 5 days is a long time
4. Elsa's palace would have been warmer than our house with no central heating
5. 5 days is a really long time.

It was an ominous start when my first night, rather than being spent alone, was spent in the company of my rather willful son. Having taken a late nap with his designated childcare provider that afternoon, his usual bedtime came and went while he furiously pedalled his Scuttle Bug in laps around the room, leaving utter destruction in his wake and pausing only to issue a bark or a roar (with accompanying clawed hands pose) in my general direction. Books were pulled from where they had been neatly stowed for the evening, before being hurled around the room as he took part in his own personal shot-put competition; the noisiest toys were plucked from their hiding places and simultaneously activated creating an almighty cacophony which he then appeared to conduct like a symphony orchestra. It was mayhem.

Hand selected toys for the ultimate cacophony
The Thursday and Friday were to be much as normal with me having my working day sandwiched between nursery drop offs and pick ups leaving me hot, sweaty and disheveled before 9am and stressed, tired and wrangling two highly emotional toddlers after 5:30pm. Just to add an extra layer of excitement to my day, for some ungodly reason, this particular morning my youngest chose to kneel down in a puddle before throwing the muddy rain water above his head like he's Howard Donald in Take That's Back for Good video. I despaired; Gary was always my favourite.



Now, due to me being laden down like a pack mule with my work paraphernalia, the children's nursery "essential" extras and one wiley two year old with a taste for danger upon my shoulders when my four year old fell and grazed her knee on the walk home it was pretty much the worst thing that could have happened. She refused to walk, citing her scraped limb to be unable to bear weight and demanded (through the flood) to be carried home. Despite being able to see my front door from where we stood, it may as well have been light years away. I tried every possible combination; backpack on back, toddler on shoulders, paraphernalia across each arm with preschooler on hip; backpack on back, paraphernalia in hands of errant children and progeny on either hip; backpack on front, preschooler on back, paraphernalia on one arm and toddler like a rugby ball under the other. We were like a geriatric circus troupe trying to re-enact the routines of their youth. We managed to shuffle 20 yards in each position before they began to slip from my grasp with wails of displeasure being only momentarily appeased with promises of previously prohibited treats. Eventually, somehow, we crossed the threshold, a little bit older, a little bit broken and forever just that little bit changed.

So close and yet so far
While previously I had been known to count down the time to Husband's return, I entered the weekend with great optimism with my weekend of solo parenting having been planned with military precision. I genuinely love my children and have the best time when we are all together as a family but there are times when, having been consistently alone with them for an extended period of time, I struggle. I struggle hearing my voice utter the same commands again and again without being heard, I struggle to satisfy all the role play required to appease my eldest, I struggle with not having the freedom to toilet alone never mind exercise and I struggle to keep the fun alive. I want them to have the best time with me (and me them) but when you are lone parenting there is so much life admin to keep up with that there seems so little time for enjoyment.


So a plan was formed for the weekend; Saturday morning would involve a first-time trip to the cinema followed by a visit from the beloved Moomie (grandmother) then Sunday morning would be free play (check me, so relaxed) with a firm promise of a playdate at one of those friends' houses where you can just sit back, drink coffee and watch as the children play beautifully together. Before you ask, no I won't tell you where they live and no I do not wish to share them.

The first part went pretty well; the cinema trip could almost be classed as an unmitigated success. They were only terrified for an hour of the 80 minute film, they spoke at full decibels throughout and ate their bodyweight in E-number infested treats but no one had to leave and no one pooped. I would even go far as to say that I would do it again. It was all they could talk about for the rest of the day. I was a super star parent. I was maintaining the fun despite being on my own. I was winning at life.

The first cinematic experience was an unmitigated success.
Then the boiler broke.


Then it snowed.

Then they couldn't fix the boiler.

Children don't cope well with the cold but they also don't cope well with being told to don extra layers. It's not the best mix when your house is colder than an igloo's icebox. They were miserable; cold and miserable and with the good tradesmen of Edinburgh otherwise occupied for the weekend the countdown for Husband's return was on again.

Huddling for warmth



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