Thursday 5 August 2010

Pop Goes The Weasel

Wednesday 9th June.

Baby sister has lulled us into a false sense of security. For more than two weeks she has slept through the night, I thought I was beginning to function better. My short term memory was returning. The first time we woke last night was when Big Sister called out,

“Daddy, I am finished sleeping. I am ready for my breakfast, can you get my breakfast?”

A brief and sleepy argument ensued about whether it was breakfast time but The Doctor persuaded her that it wasn’t. We slept again until 4.30am when Baby sister began growling. Baby sister has discovered how to growl very recently. It is very cute, and she finds it lots of fun. It’s not funny at 4.30am. I tried to soothe her back to sleep by talking to her, she growled more. I peeped into the hammock, she was wide awake, laughing and really enjoying growling like a little teddy bear. As she wiggles, the hammock bounces up and down. Sluggish and grumpy, I get her out to feed her. This will usually make her sleepy. It must be why as adults, we are recommended trying warm milky drink when we’re having trouble sleeping. A subconscious hangover from babyhood?

Baby sister finishes her milk but is still smiling and apparently still wide awake. I return her to the hammock. At least she has stopped growling, and eventually she sleeps and so do I. Only a few weeks ago it was completely normal to be woken twice, once by Big Sister, once by Baby Sister. But now, out of the habit I am irritable, sluggish, with aching limbs. The next day I realise that perhaps I will still live in the hazy world of night shift workers for some time yet. Can’t string sentence together.

Big Sister says “I’m going to draw a cloud, with two points to show where I have been.”

You’ve been in the clouds have you?

“Yes, a long long time ago. I floated up there, in my parachute.”

Big Sister is playing hospitals. Teddys and dolls are being tucked into bed on the sofa. They are offered a nice cup of tea from the tea set. I’m doing the dishes and we’re listening to nursery rhymes on the iPod (through the car stereo, that is our 12v sound system). Pop goes the weasel.

“Up and down the City Road, in and out The Eagle

That’s the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel!”

“This song is all about The Eagle Pub!” she says. This is our First Date Story:

After getting in touch on ‘Friends Reunited’ The Doctor and I met in The Eagle Pub, on City Road, unaware that it featured in the popular nursery rhyme. Kind of nice to be reminded of our first date now, whenever we hear that childish tune. It is the topic of much debate as to what exactly is a weasel. To “pop” is to pawn. A weasel could be a tailors instrument, but I doubt that he would pawn a tool of his trade. More likely that a man would pawn his coat (rhyming slang - weasel and stoat) for a night down the ole Eagle dance hall.

4pm. Both kids are grumpy. I’m guessing they’re bored and take them for a walk to the water point because we’ve run out of water. Baby Sister is in the pushchair and Big Sister is carrying the empty water barrel, which is huge for her, but light to carry when it’s empty. She has memorised some of the boat names on the towpath here now.

“That’s Marie!”

The sun shines through the trees making a dappled pattern on the paving slabs. Big Sister stops at the foot of a tree to collect pebbles. When we get to the tap its’ encased in a sort of box which makes it impossible to fill a water barrel unless you have a hose pipe. We return home and they are both grumpy again. Now we’re late for tea and they’re both tired and hungry. If I’m not meticulous with my time planning it all goes pear-shaped. Luckily The Doctor comes home quite early and takes a hose and barrel to fill at the tap.

Somebody has got an incredibly long hose pipe, from their boat to the tap. The Doctor follows the hose to the boat it leads to, intending to ask to borrow it. There are five hoses joined together! This means they don’t have to move their boat to the water tap to fill their water tank. It turns out he kind of knows the bloke, it’s a Dutch barge. They can’t move because a coot has built a next in one of their fenders (a tyre). I accidentally met Barge Mum for the first time yesterday. She stopped to chat, seeing that I have young kids and she has a baby. It turns out she’s a friend of a friend, and we’ve been meaning to meet. She asked how it is with these two on the boat. I don’t know how to describe it, so I hesitate, then I say,

“Yeah, it’s fine.”

She is moving onto land soon, because she’s had a baby; six weeks younger than Baby Sister.

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