Monday 14 January 2008

My so-called day of rest...

Sunday, traditional day of relaxation. Ha, yeah, right. Let's have a little look at how my Sunday went, shall we? And see just how restful that was..?

6:45 a.m: I am so deeply asleep that it borders on complete unconsciousness. I am so insensible, in fact, that when Nini shakes me roughly awake, saying: "Neve is screaming, it's quarter to seven and it's your turn to get up with her..", I actually mumble a thank you, rather than emit the soulful groan this news actually deserves.
6:46 a.m: I pick Neve up from her cot. She howls at high volume in my ear, actually causing me to stagger in physical pain. Although I don't know it yet, the tone of the day has now been firmly set.
6:48 a.m: Together, Neve and I watch her morning milk warm up in the microwave. Neve continues to shriek in my ear for the full minute it takes to warm up, occasionally slapping at my face. Still half asleep, I wonder briefly if this is all a dream and I am actually holding an angry cormorant.
6:56: Neve finishes her milk. I settle back on the sofa with her in my arms, hoping against bitter experience that she will fall back to sleep. She starts howling again, and pointing at her empty milk bottle. I hand it back to her, hoping that the noise will stop. She goes silent for a full five seconds, during which appears to carefully study the bottle in her hand, as if considering it's weight, heft and aerodynamic properties. She then smacks me squarely in the forehead with it. I howl. She howls. Upstairs, Amelie wakes up and howls.
7:05: Amelie appears in the doorway, asking to watch 'telewision'. I tell her she needs to take her night-time nappy off first. She disappears for a minute into the downstairs toilet, then returns, naked from the waist down, and hands me something soggy. I explain that, although I do indeed want her to remove her nappy, it doesn't mean I actually want it for myself, and also that when watching TV in polite company it is customary to do so fully clothed. She scratches at her bottom disinterestedly. Neve howls throughout.
7:45: Neve stands squarely in front of the television, about six inches from the screen - but with her back to it, laughing openly while Amelie bellows at her to move. I rub my temples, where the first spiteful tickle of the days headache makes itself gently known.
8:01: After a protracted period of furious grunting and mysterious bubbling noises, Neve fills her nappy, to her evident satisfaction. Amelie waits the customary five seconds before wrinkling her nose and shouting "Urrgh, I can smell poo!"
8:04: Neves nappy proves to be particularly unpleasant and I actually dry-heave while changing it. Both girls find this absolutely hilarious.
8:15: I go to make breakfast. Neve totters after me, shrieking to be picked up. I do so, but find it impossible to safely cut bread or load the toaster one-handed, so have to put her down. Enraged, she pummels at my knee until the kneecap makes a weird soft clicking noise and goes numb, suggesting some kind of long term damage.
8:19: Apparently furious at my temerity in handing her a piece of toast, Neve grinds it with evident venom into the sofa cushions.
8:46: Nini appears downstairs. The girls yelp with genuine delight and swarm her, giggling. For the first time since they woke up, neither of them are screaming. I gaze at their Mother balefully, feeling more than a little resentful. "You have some toast in your hair", says Nini helpfully.
9:15: I stand under the shower, which intermittently runs boiling hot and icy cold as people turn the taps on and off downstairs.
9:45: We load the girls into the car, using a tried and tested combination of threats and cajoling to ensure they agree, against their will, to be strapped into their car seats. As soon as I have done up my seatbelt, Amelie asks if I will put 'She's so lovely' on the CD player, which I estimate we have heard, at her request, approximately four thousand times since September. I say that we can maybe play it later, but right now Daddy has a headache. Amelie starts sniffing mournfully.
9:46: I start the engine. Neve starts howling again. I grip the steering wheel firmly with both hands, and fight the urge to bite on it as well.
10:02: Neve has been wailing without a break for sixteen full minutes now. Nini puts the radio on to soothe her. The radio show features a DJ who I completely loathe; I cannot hear his voice without wanting to stove the side of his head in with a claw hammer, preferably live on air. I beg that we play something (anything!) else. "We can play 'She's so lovely'..." suggests Amelie hopefully. I grit my teeth and agree the radio can stay on.
10:07: Neve falls asleep
10:09: Amelie falls asleep
10:37: We arrive at our destination, a 'retail village' of outlet stores, which we are visiting to try and find some nice clothes for Ninis birthday. Amelie is awake again and excited about buying things with the money she has in her 'Hello Kitty!' purse, which amounts to exactly 37 pence, so I fear there is going to be some disappointment in store for her. Neve is still fast asleep, so we have to wake her to put her in the pushchair. She responds to this indignity by taking her angry wailing to a whole new level, making this mornings efforts seem really quite half-hearted in comparison.
11:27: I have been walking up and down the central pathway in between the 'retail outlets' with the girls for three-quarters of an hour now, and have discovered the following:
a) There is not a single shop here that I am remotely interested in going into, with the possible exception of Starbucks, which is so busy I cannot get the pushchair into it.
b) There is not a single shop here that has anything for the girls either, unless they have suddenly developed a hitherto unspoken interest in Lacoste luggage or Bodum kitchen utensils. Even then I doubt either shop sells anything for as little as 37 pence, and that includes empty carrier bags.
c) All three of us are bored to tears. I know Amelie is, because she tells me so at a rate of about once every ninety seconds, but Neve is more subtle: she has taken to mewling sorrowfully and gazing with imploring eyes at passing shoppers, as if begging them to take her home with them.
d) Nini is clearly determined to make the most of her solo shopping experience, because she has ignored every one of the many calls I have made to her mobile. This is particularly galling for me, because only yesterday I bought her a new handset (to replace the one that Neve ruined by dunking it in a glass of water), so it appears I have essentially paid good money to give her the facility to screen my calls...
11:28: It starts raining.
11:49: Nini reappears. I smile through gritted teeth as she tells me she has bought absolutely nothing, and can't really find anything she wants. She suggests we buy a sandwich for lunch.
12:17: At a table in Pret a Manger, Amelie starts sobbing because I am eating the crisps I chose for myself, which are apparently 'better' and 'nicer' than the ones she chose, even though they are exactly the same. In desperation I tear the packet open along the sides and spread it open on the table so we can share them, at which point Neve reaches across and gently tugs the whole packet onto the floor.
12:45: Another search of the shops has revealed nothing Nini likes, making the trip a complete bust, so we trudge back to the car. Neve refuses to sit in her pushchair and demands to be carried, so Amelie then refuses to walk and must be pushed in the pushchair. I start idly planning the many, many ways I will be 'difficult' in my old age...
13:21: We stop off in TK Maxx, where I take Amelie to the toys, explaining that I will give her a little extra money so that she can buy something. She immediately gravitates towards a fairy princess castle for £60. I try to explain that there is an enormous difference between £60 and 37 pence, but her eyes glaze over within seconds. In the end, after many return visits to 'just look at the box' of the fairy castle, we leave with a small stuffed toy sealion.
14:46: Back at home, I stretch out on the sofa. Amelie demands we play a game where I close my eyes and pretend to be asleep, then she puts the toy sealion on my chest, and then I pretend to wake up and be shocked to find it. Both girls find this falling-down hilarious and want to endlessly repeat it, but by the 27th time we've played out the scenario I start to worry that when I actually do fall asleep I'll be having nightmares about being smothered in my bed by large sea-going mammals...
14:50: Nini takes the girls off into the playroom, and almost immediately I fall asleep for real on the sofa
14:55: I am rudely awakened when Neve, who clearly still wants to play the 'wake up' game, totters back into the front room and pounds on my chest with a remarkably heavy plastic giraffe (the bruises are still there, 3 days later)...
15:09: After my extensive rest I decide I may as well quickly attend to one of the nagging little ten-minute jobs that has needed doing around the house for ages: I will fix the loose bath panel that has come away at one end.
16:10: Whistling, I disappear upstairs with the single screwdriver I believe I need.
16:17: I come back downstairs for two other screwdrivers, a hammer and some panel pins. I return, no longer whistling.
16:23: I come back downstairs for my whole toolbox. I am scowling.
17.12: Two hours after I started, I complete the 'little ten-minute' job I set out to do.
17:35: Dinner. I don't often get to eat with the girls, and in the time since I last ate with her, it's very clear that Neve has really developed her motor skills: she can throw her food much further now than she could back then.
19:22: A few hours later, the girls are bathed and in bed, sleeping peacefully. The house has been tidied. I can relax. I head downstairs to watch TV.
19:23: Nini is not only watching 'Sense and Sensibility', but informs me that 'Lark Rise to Candleford' is on after that - she has basically lined up a full two hours of watching period drama featuring women in bonnets.
19:24: I decide I would quite like a vodka.
19:46: I decide I would quite like another vodka.
20:07: Yep, keep 'em coming....


Anonymous said...

Pauly, you soft southern ponce! Anyone would think you'd had a tough Sunday - my heart bleeds - no, really!!
I had to get up at 9ish, play a round of golf, go to the pub for a late lunch whilst watching some football, then fall asleep in front of the tv. KILLER, I'll need a week off work to recover!

Anonymous said...

Good post. I only had to look up one word. I am the victim of America's 2nd rate education system. Don't hate me for it.