We are balls deep in the summer holidays now and I am up to about fifty no's an hour, frequent use of 'Will you just go to separate rooms!' and the occasional smattering of fuckssake's. There are three weeks of the holidays left. I am excited to discover the heights of poetry I will have to resort to the release my pent up invective by the time school rolls around.
It has been a proper grind this week (oh god, it's only Tuesday isn't it?). I am so bored of my children and their inane prattle, their psychological warfare and their constant harping need for shit like food, drink and lego. Today I asked them to eat dinner in silence, just to give me time to collect myself. They gave me a majestic 10 seconds. Now, I know that the request itself was wildly unrealistic but I thought just asking might somehow convey how worn out I am. I am a fool, a very weary fool.
It is not all the fault of my children. We have had some redecoration done which has led to piles of books looming like stalagmites throughout the house. There is a very real concerns that one of them could topple over and crush the four year old. Art History is very heavy apparently. Therefore it has been a race against time to safely house these books in a way that won't damage them or the occupants of this house. At times I have been considerably more concerned about the welfare of the books rather than the children, but then I have known them longer.
The problem with all of this is there is literally no time to regroup. If the kids aren't around (god bless all of you offering play dates and activities) then i am frantically dusting, sorting and tidying until I'm knackered, leaving no time for basic necessities. I had birthday cake for lunch today, eaten one handed as I drove to collect big kid from one activity and take him to the theatre (that's for another post). I know I'm meant to allocate time for basic nutrition and hydration but the image of the four year old half buried under Norton Anthologies with the Tale of Genji sticking out of her eye causes me to reprioritise.
Also, we have just come back from holiday (so I think feeling this wound up and ground down is slightly preposterous) so there is no food in the house. I lieu of the weekly shop, I've had to spend time getting special stuff together for my husband's birthday because, quite frankly, he is the best one out of all of us and deserves a day when we show him this. However, without the discipline of school, the children seem to have forgotten what constitutes acceptable public behaviour and are both behaving like deranged baboons whenever they are in a shopping centre. They are climbing the displays, swinging from stairwells and generally careening around the place and shriekingly terrifying passers by. I cannot be the mother who lost her shit in Sainsbury's as well as the mother who lost her shit in the Intu Centre, the high street and the car park so we still don't have any food.
Therefore I'm hangry and thurst out (that's stressed out caused by dehydration - neologisms aren't my thing, ok?) and I'm not coping. On Sunday I burst into tears and it took me a full five minutes to realise it was because I needed the loo. Big kid is baffled by my mood swings and is expressing this by demanding more lego almost constantly and small kid is becoming the very definition of recalcitrant toddler with a death wish, which is mainly expressed by obstinately standing behind of reversing cars in a car park whilst I scream at her to move. Basically all three of us have regressed to a horrid form of toddlerdom. But hey, I get to drink wine in the evenings so that means I win, right? Right?
Of course, it is not all that bad. There are the hugs that literally and figuratively take my breath away, the casual kindness of big kid getting me a drink without being asked, the silly dance small kid does because she knows it will make us all laugh. My day is peppered with these moments too. My children can be incredibly sweet. They are affectionate and passionate and they try so damn hard. If I am really honest I know that it isn't as bad as I've painted it. For every 'no', there are at least two 'I love you's. For every 'fuckssake' there's an 'I'm proud of you' and for every act of public disorder there is one of kindness. Sometimes it's what you measure that makes all the difference.