Friday, 28 January 2011

What Mothers Do

12th November

I feel overwhelmed by how busy I am. I’ve decided to write down an average day again, to see exactly what I am doing with my time.
I wash and dress the children, fold the bed away and make breakfast for everyone. (The Doctor usually makes breakfast). Move piles of paperwork and toys from the table to the living room so that the girls can have breakfast. Take the children to the park. Come back and lock the pushchair to a signpost on the towpath. Prevent the baby from climbing up the back of the sofa and onto the kitchen worktop for the tenth time today. Decide to get play pen off the roof. I assemble it as a baby barrier across the room. Phone the Islington nursery where Big Sister has recently been offered a part time place, but completely different hours to my work hours. It seems to have a better reputation than the nursery she has just started at, but is it worth changing if we are moving soon? Yesterday The Doctor made a lovely curry for our anniversary. I warm up the remains of the curry for the children’s lunch. The baby eats well and her sister won’t eat a thing. She insists on being supervised on a trip to the toilet. She says,
“Mummy, I just want to listen to classical music and lie down under the rabbit blanket on the sofa.”
I comply with her request and eat her curry while she falls asleep on the sofa.
Change the baby’s nappy and put her in the bedroom for a nap. Start tidying the kitchen and realise that as both girls are asleep I could do some admin on the computer. I start it up and set up a standing order to the new nursery. Big Sister wakes up. I supervise a wee. Still tired she wees in her pants, trousers and socks. I sort it out. She says her eyes sting and she feels hot. I give her medicine and she sits on the sofa to watch TV. I go on Facebook to wish my brother a happy birthday; he’s now on a beach in Goa. Check my emails, print some documents, and write a bit of my blog. Tidy up some toys and clear a surface to put my computer on. Set up The Little Mermaid for Big Sister to watch on the computer.
The coal boat has arrived. I can see two seventy foot boats buttied up approaching outside the window. They have got their butty boat back from dry dock. I nip out and walk down the gunwale to ask Coal Dad to top up our diesel. It’s cold and raining.
“You get cold, keeping everyone else warm don’t you? Giving all us boats fuel.”
“Yeah,” he replies. “Cold in winter, and we get sunburnt in summer.”
Coal Lad says,
“Been in the paper again lately?”
“No, just the once.”
I go inside and start the dishes. They fill the diesel tank and I pay them.
I get the baby up and give snacks to both children. Chat to my mum on the phone. Finish the dishes. It takes twenty minutes to change the bed sheets because I have to remove the cot barrier and a million cuddly toys from the bed. I clear the table ready for tea.
I’m feeling surprisingly mellow. (Are the pills having an effect already?)
Tidy up toys and make tea. Feed the baby, supervise tea; The Doctor comes home. I begin the bedtime routine, washing girls, pyjamas, stories, drinks of milk, brushing teeth. By eight o’clock they are all in bed asleep. The Doctor has begun making dinner. We eat together and relax.
Somehow, today things seemed more manageable.

I love this book! What Mothers Do
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