Wednesday 18 August 2010

Fathers Day

Sunday 20th June.

The lovely baby seems to be sleeping through the night now. Poor Big sister woke up crying and calling “Mummy!” She doesn’t know why she is crying. I think maybe it is a bad dream, or maybe the people on the boat next door disturbed her. It’s 1.00 am and they are having a party. I explained this to my daughter. They are drunk and laughing and moored only a few feet from her bedroom. I “flip” her covers and settle her by talking about nice things: the park and the swings. As I settle myself back into bed the neighbours strike up a song, playing accordion and a drum! I can hear my daughter saying sadly to herself, in a little voice,
“I don’t like them having a party.”

I met a woman in the park with three children. All three run in different directions. She ran after the eighteen month old heading for the gate and the road. We chatted. She confirmed that three is really hectic, the third is not easier (like the Stay and Play Speech Therapist claimed). It’s just as hard! She chatted to The Doctor, fascinated by boating life while I ran off after my eldest.
Big Sister presented her handmade Fathers Day card of glitter and scribbles to Daddy. She can’t keep a secret and already told him three days ago,
“We made a surprise card for you Daddy!”
It’s still a manic day for us caring for the two of them, but I think I managed to give The Doctor some time alone to read and relax. I really wanted to take us all out for Sunday lunch in a pub for Fathers’ Day. The Doctor thought it wouldn’t be very relaxing, probably very hectic. But I take them out to cafe’s now and then, I told him, and it’s not that bad...

So we did. And it was hectic. Big Sister nearly spilling drinks, running off to sit at other tables, having a tired tantrum. It was Baby Sister’s first time in a high chair, she can’t quite sit up and keeps sliding down which makes her uncomfortable and miserable. I mash carrots and potatoes with my fork for her, cut bits and bobs for Big Sister on a plate. Spoon feed baby. Big Sister needs a wee. We abandon dinner and set off on an expedition. In the toilets she asks, are we still in the pub? The world is so confusing at that age! Return to my dinner, it’s cold now. The Doctor feeds the baby apple puree while I eat but we fail to control Big Sister who now says she wants to go home. I try to finish eating quickly, pack up all our stuff, (plastic spoons, beaker, bib) bundle everyone into the pushchair and laughed as I said to The Doctor,
“That was chaotic!”
It’s kind of funny when there’s someone there to help you: not nearly so stressful as being alone when it all goes pear shaped.

The Doctor is very ‘hands on’ thank goodness! Got home and he had to play boat Tetris while I got the girls ready for bed. We’re double moored on the outside of another boat and they want to go out to fill their water tank. They’ve also got a charging problem so they need a jump start off us. The Doctor helps, their engine starts and to get them out involves lots of people standing on the towpath with ropes while we slide the inside boat out to the outside, and we are pulled to the inside – now we’re moored on the rings on the towpath. This makes it easier to get the pushchair on and off. Also means we can get a nice view out the canal side of trees up a steep bank, and Georgian Islington terraced houses beyond.

The girls are so tired they went to sleep straight away tonight. We had some quiet time, The Doctor read a book on the sofa. I attempted to calculate all the information the tax credits people want out of me, while sat at the table in “the booth”. The boat was an oasis of calm. Summer evening sunshine on the water, wild overgrown plants and purple flowers tumbling on to the towpath outside the window. Other narrow boats occasionally pass by and our boat gently rocks in their wake.

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