And so it begins…
5.30am the baby wakes up screaming, (not for the first time since she went to bed). I give her a breastfeed and cuddles, she calms down and manages to melt my heart with some beautiful smiles.
5.55am our 2.5 year old wakes up next, this has got earlier and earlier since the baby arrived and disturbs her. She demands to sit on the couch, hot milk, Peppa Pig and ‘Mummy-Daddy cereal’ – in that order.
7.25am I take advantage of husband being around, shower and dress.
7.30am husband leaves for work.
7.30-8.30am I attempt to:
Dress both children whilst the eldest runs away hiding in various tiny spaces that I have to drag her out by her feet from.
Make a packed lunch whilst the baby is hanging off my leg whimpering because she has separation anxiety, is sick and apparently didn’t sleep so well last night (or any night).
Hang out the washing, the baby pulling it off as I hang it which results in me leaving half of it to dry on the floor.
Stop the eldest injuring her baby sister as she rides over her with her pink unicorn and tries to encourage her to stand by pulling her up by her neck, also known in some circles as strangulation.
Put another load of washing in the machine with both girls under my feet in the tightly confined space of our bathroom (think it’s an Aussie thing having washing machines in bathrooms?). The baby pulling everything out of the machine whilst the eldest has somehow managed to ride her pink unicorn and bring half her other toys into the tiny bathroom, driving over my feet several times on the way. She is now standing on top of the unicorn turning the sink tap on and off. I’m starting to wonder if she’d actually like to join the circus.
Hoover whilst the baby (who seems to find the noise of the hoover quite calming and has momentarily stopped attaching herself to me) is sticking her tiny fingers in the hoover air vent (whilst it’s on) and the eldest, like a record that’s got stuck, is repeatedly chanting the words.
“My turn now mummy”
Eventually I let her have a try.
“it won’t work Mummy”
Inwardly laughing so much, the force of the suction to strong for her to get any traction. Very cute! Sudden rush of love.
Empty the bins
Pack the change bag
Have breakfast, which my eldest eats the majority of despite having already had 2 rounds of breakfast with her Daddy.
Go to the toilet, with both children.
Change the baby’s nappy whilst she kicks and screams and wriggles.
Bribe my eldest to sit on the potty before we leave the house by giving her a lolly (that’s a sweet to us Brits).
Empty the potty somehow always managing to achieve a splashback, covering my foot in wee wee.
Brush all of our teeth. I am very aware that my eldest is not brushing her actual teeth just wriggling the brush around her mouth and sucking loads of water off the brush. However, the fight we have if I attempt to assist her is intense. There are days to fight battles and today I wasn’t up for this particular challenge.
Apply sunscreen to all of us. The eldest once again legs it to one of her standard, tiny and precarious hiding places so as before I have to drag her out and then run around after her hoping that every time my hand catches her face some of the cream is actually going on her.
Blow all of our snotty noses
Repack the change bag which the baby has emptied the contents of.
Walk out of the apartment.
On closing the door at the top of the stairs, laden with change bag, baby, rubbish bag and Peppa Pig lunch box my eldest does her usual trick of passing me all the unnecessary extras she has insisted on bringing out with her. We have only just walked through the door and already she is passing them off. So in addition to everything I’m already struggling to carry, I take her baby, 3 handbags and her multi-coloured monkey and start my decent.
“What about me? You forgot me Mummy”
I turn around to see her stood at the top of the steps holding her hand out to me, a moment that always makes me smile. I say always as she does this every time we leave the apartment. Of course I hadn’t forgotten about her. She insists on me holding her hand to walk down the stairs from the apartment every time we leave home despite the fact she is now perfectly capable of climbing down the stairs on her own (especially given she has passed everything she had in her possession over to me). This is definitely a game, she will only hold my right hand even if my left is the free one. Funnily enough, when we are about to cross a dangerous road or go down some precarious steps elsewhere and I request to hold her hand she’s not so forthcoming.
I move everything over to my left arm and under my chin, holding out my hand as she smiles and chats, taking her time, stopping regularly to admire the view whilst my left arm feels like it is about to break under the weight. The minute we land at the bottom of the stairs and through the door I drop everything onto the ground. Open the garage. Load it all into, onto and under the pram.
Recently she has been having crazy tantrums about pushing the pram so today I suggest we take her pram and she can walk alongside me. I’m rather pleased with my quick thinking and pleasantly surprised with her positive response.
8.45am we head out, me pushing the double pram, her with her pram. Both prams overflowing. 3.25 hours to get to this point, not a bad effort.
8.50am “I’m hungry Mummy”
Regular as clockwork. To which I give my standard response;
“Let’s just see if we can get to the beach and we can have a picnic there”
“Ok” she says, I’m pleasantly surprised, not the usual response. I smile, things are going well today.
“I’m hungry Mummy, I want something to eat”
“We are so nearly there sweetheart, let’s just keep going a little bit further”
Twice so obliging, this rarely happens. We have often been known to eat lunch at 9am on the stairs outside our apartment.
9.15am after a few more references of hunger and demands for food I relent realising that I can’t push her any more. We stop and sit down on a bench and I pass her the Peppa Pig lunchbox. She eagerly unzips it in hungry anticipation, pulling it open and proceeding to grab everything out. Mostly she looks disappointed by the contents, flinging unwanted items onto the floor until she finds something that finally meets with her approval. She devours that, then takes a nibble here and there of various other bits of food passing half eaten and soggy unwanted morsels to her sister once she is done with them.
“Finished!” she announces.
9.30am I pick up the remnants of her lunch, stuffing them back into the lunch box and we continue on our merry way with her happily pushing the pram.
“Mummy, I’m exhausted” she announces smiling cheekily.
This tickled me, it’s a word I’ve never heard her use before. She loves the fact it’s made me laugh and says it a few more times for good measure. I suggest she may like to get into the double pram as she has done so well walking all this way perhaps she’d like a rest until we get to the playground.
Her smile quickly vanishes and she replies determinedly,
“No, I wanna walk, I wanna walk with my baby”
Of course, silly Mummy.
We continue on our way. Stopping every 5 minutes for her to put the blanket (which she has stolen from her baby sister who now has to make do with my cardigan to keep her warm) back in her pram – it’s far too big and keeps falling out. Takes her baby out and carries her for a bit. Picks up a few more stones to put in her handbags. Puts the baby into her side of the big pram and pushes an empty pram for a while. Puts her baby back in her pram with the blanket suffocating her and all the toys I’d brought for her sister to play with on top of that. Obviously the needs of a plastic doll much more important than her real life baby sister.
Fair play to her, she walked the entire way (about 2.5K). Granted it took a little longer than it usually takes me, but we made it in one piece without any major tantrums or tears.
10.30am we arrive at the playground. I suggest she may like to take a visit to the toilet.
“No! I had a wee wee at home”
“Yes that was 3 hours ago and you’ve drunk quite a lot of Mummies water since then, darling”
“I don’t wanna go to the toilet”
“Ok. Well just remember to tell me if you do need to”
“Well you’ve eaten your packed lunch (we have this conversation every day around this time). What about some banana bread I made yesterday just for you as it’s your favourite”.
“I don’t like it”
“I’ve wet myself” she announces as she is scaling the heights of the climbing frame.
I run over to her and can confirm that she has absolutely, well and truly, peed her pants. The baby is doing her usual clinginess/ won’t be left trick so whilst holding her I peel off the soggy leggings, socks and shoes from her elder sister. At which point she delightedly legs it. Flashing her bare bum to everyone at the playground as she scampers back up the climbing frame like a mountain goat. Whilst I can honestly say I wasn’t getting stressed and was finding her antics privately rather amusing I was certainly happy to be greeted by a friendly, familiar voice.
“Hey Lucy, do you need some help?”
I smiled and replied, “no -you’re alright”
However my head was saying “Hell yes. Which one do you want? The clingy and snotty baby or the half-naked, covered in piss mountain goat?”
Sensing I was struggling a little, my lovely friend took the initiative ignoring my refusal of help and went over to collect my eldest from the climbing frame, she then proceeded to help me with the clean-up and dressing operation.
Why do us Mum’s always try to just do it ourselves and not take people up on their offers of help? I’m always offering to assist other Mums I see in tricky situations yet I still won’t take the help when people offer it to me. Something I clearly need to work on as it helped tremendously having my friend there.
11.30am we begin the walk home. Usually at this point my eldest would be flagging and want to go in the pram where she generally falls asleep. Not today. Nope, today, she wants to walk home with her baby.
11.45am sensing she is fading as she is walking slower and slower I suggest that she may like to get in the big pram and rest. Same response as on the way here. I try a few times but she is very insistent that she wants to walk, pushing her pram. Walking downhill she realises if she let’s go of the pram it will keep going all by itself. I can see how this is exciting to a 2.5 year old. This was incredibly frightening for me who had to stop it going into the road and causing an accident on several occasions.
12.30pm she relents and agrees to get into the pram. We are now only a 15 minute walk from the house (my speed of walking not hers). I’m just focussing on the end goal. Get both girls back home, final feeds, nappy changes etc. and then both down to sleep by 1.30pm so I can have my break!
“I wanna walk Mumma”
Not too sure where she got the word ‘Mumma’ from but I rather like it.
“Really?” I reply, desperate for her to be kidding and dragging my response out as much as possible, we are so nearly there.
“Yes, I wanna walk, I wanna push my pram” her tone starting to veer dangerously close to tantrum territory.
“As soon as we get onto our street you can walk”
I then proceed to distract her pointing out all the pretty flowers and getting her to wave at them and anything else in a desperate bid to stop her from kicking off especially as I know she is, to coin a phrase, ”exhausted”.
As I’m walking along, my pace quickening, her pram which is precariously hung over the handle bars of my pram falls off onto the road and I tread on it. Crunch. I look down and see one of the wheels has snapped off. Hoping she’s not noticed I fling it back onto the pram and stick the broken wheel into the bag. As soon as we get onto our street she starts up again.
“I wanna walk, Mumma, I want my pram”
I start to run, trying to reduce the distance remaining for her to walk and then I regretfully inform her that the pram is broken.
“I’m sorry sweetheart. Mummy broke your pram. It won’t work now”
Probably the wrong thing to say to an ‘exhausted’ and very determined toddler. She starts to climb out of the pram (I gave up with straps a long time ago as she is a little Houdini able to contort her body enough to wriggle out of them).
“I wanna push my pram”
So I stop the pram. Lift her out and retrieve the damaged toy pram off the back. All I can say is thank goodness we only had to go a few yards left to go. Despite its broken wheel, Little Miss Determined still managed to push it the last part of the journey.
12.55 We arrive home. No major tears or tantrums, nothing lost along the way (that I know of), quite a few smiles and giggles and the only damage on this occasion one broken pram and one bag of soggy wee wee covered clothes. Not a bad effort. Today’s been a good day.
1.15pm eldest child is DOWN.
1.47pm baby is DOWN.
3.32pm eldest is AWAKE
3.47pm baby is AWAKE
I get a blissful 2 hours to myself. This is not usual but it would appear all that walking had “exhausted’’ my eldest and maybe the baby is turning a corner? We live in hope. I have some gorgeous cuddles with my little sleepy munchkins. Until I hear the words..
“I wanna go out Mumma”
And so it begins….