There may be a tiny bit of moaning in this post, a bit of more-than-usual whinging about the children, mostly due to my terrible advanced pregnant-ness and the hormones and the tiredness and the ligaments and the endless demands for toast and the constant maiming… Just a heads-up. Feel free to read no further and go find a pleasant blog with nice stories to tell and photos of creative ways with origami paper. I would.
My breakdown has slowly unfolded since we returned from Turkey – The Land Of Husband-On-Holiday-&-No-Domestic-Crap-To-Deal-With. It is still school holidays, and the weather has been gorgeous, and mostly I really like the kids, and spending time with them and doing holiday stuff and sleeping in and bumming around, doing touristy things and watching movies and mainlining ice cream. But then,at some unspecified moment, the goodness/badness delicate balance topples over spectacularly and you find yourself weeping by 9am.
Yesterday, in a typical almost-good-day we walked back from the park where there had been no sand-throwing or dramas with strangers or lost children requiring the help of the police over a decent period of three whole hours, and so we walked to Oddonno’s for gelati as a high-five to us all. We got there, the kids order raspberry and mango sorbets, vanilla and salted caramel, we sit at our usual booth overlooking the ice-cream-makers through the big windows, and then Casper starts kicking the other kids’ legs and then they kick back, and soon they are all on the floor, writhing and kicking and yet, skillfully, attempting to finish their ice cream, all at the same time. So we leave immediately, I tell them off in my now-usual-public-shouty-voice and I take them to Marks & Spencers for milk, because we have none, and we need some for the morning, as they do love their cereal. We get as far as the first Fruit On Offer aisle, and soon they have tackled each other to the ground and they are kicking and there is a security guard looming over them and then a checkout lady rushes up and looks around for the mother (who has lost her sunglasses in the violent fall-out and is actually primarily concerned with gathering them up, because they are a very nice Tom Ford ebay number and it is glarey outside) and then I notice the scuffle and the crowd and I pull them apart, like you have to do with locked dogs, grab as many hands as I can and we march out, but not before shouting at them (again, all loud and spittle-fuelled) that they will not get ANY CEREAL IN THE MORNING! At least, it shall be DRY MILKLESS CEREAL! And you will all be going into your room and there will be no TV and no iPad and there will be NO CHOCOLATE AND CHURROS TOMORROW FROM THE SPANISH CAFE BECAUSE YOU HAVE EMBARRASSED ME ONCE AGAIN BY BEHAVING LIKE BRATS!
Fairly Accurate School Holiday Good/Bad Maths Involving Percentages:
65% awful, soul-destroying, sob-making, heart-rate-raising and potentially dangerous owing to the cortisone levels
30% neutral (mostly because of TV)
5% of those moments where everyone is being charming/cute/funny/intelligent and compliant. Like below, a snatched snap of happy kids in the Portolbello Road sunshine eating nutella and strawberry crepes in a “rockin’ your neighbourhood” kind of way. And here, in the garden, when nana and granddad sent balloons and stickers and baby blankets for all, and they were enchanted and distracted from the usual default position of wrestling and crying.
But thats a scarce 5% over 7 weeks. Think on that, fellas, think on that. And there has been one solitary but fairly dramatic incident of dog-and-kid-walking that went wrong, involving the usual supermarket shopping traumas and one lost kid and the others who fight in front of oncoming buses which resulted in me getting home, running to the bedroom and sobbing and muttering “little bastards!” in a soft, defeated, choked up way. And, incidentally, wondering where my audience was, because what’s the point in meltdowns when you are on your own? But I did tell everyone about the sob-fit, which went some way to making me feel better.
BECAUSE I AM 39 WEEKS PREGNANT! And all this stuff is HARD!
Aaaand this morning, there was fighting, and so I banished one kid to the bedroom, and in his rage he threw stuff around the room and broke my beloved 1940’s British Rail tiny child’s chair which I use everyday to hang out the washing. So, no milk, no clean clothes, more crying from me. Then I came out, accidentally broke a glass, broke down again, told the children through my snot that I can’t wait to be laid up in hospital bleeding with engorged bosoms and stitches with a new nameless baby because I CAN HAVE A REST FROM ALL THIS AWFULNESS! They looked a little worried.
DISCLAIMER: There may be something in the repeated crying that is related to pregnancy hormones and thus an incapacity to deal with things in my usual robust way, and maybe the lack of sleep owing to the useless bladder and huge stomach that suffocates you with its weight and girth, and the new cough that splutters out of my throat as soon as I relax, so I will give you that.
Anyway, I went off to Aveda to drown my sadness and resentment and got my brows blackened and my hair yellowed, all of which causes Mark to wince just a little bit. Here is me, eyebrows hidden in shame, nose looking mighty, but the face is a face of calm, because for three hours no one spoke loudly to me or tried to steal food or tipped anything over or hurt anyone. There was just whale music and massage and magazines. I could live there.
So, I have about a week to go before that new baby squeezes out and life has to rearrange itself around the mewling infant. And school goes back, and Ned returns to nursery a few days a week, and I have to stop avoiding chores like lifting stuff and doing bookwork. And, the stupidest thing of all stupid things, is that I will miss those little buggers terribly, and I will start longing for the next holidays. I is mental, innit.
Here’s some authentic tweaking at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Here are pasteis de nata from the Lisboa Patisserie on Golborne Road – a kind of thick, lemony custard tart from Lisbon. These are extraordinary. We bought 20, ate them fast, then returned to buy another 22.
A brief visit to the British Museum to follow a kid’s trial, before it descended into chasing each other around the Indian wood carvings and a bit of dangerous climbing onto marble light wells. It ended at Pizza Express with some unfortunate fisticuffs.
Enough of my parental woes. My next post shall hopefully be photos of a nice baby with a reasonable name, nothing rhyming or chavvy or comically themed. Until then!