4.34am “Maybe he will go back to sleep” – mumbles an unidentified deep voice from underneath the duvet
4.36am No he won’t. I emerge from the cosy depths of the king size bed. Argh
4.38am I reappear in bed with Peanut clinging on to me. Right. Let’s move on swiftly from that minor glitch and go back to sleep. As I dive underneath the covers, Peanut grumbles and mumbles and holds on to BlueBeretDad’s armpit hair for dear life.
Sometime between 4.39am and 6.33am – Peanut sticks one finger into my left nostril and pulls out a handful of my hair. I put an arm over my face to protect it from the ferocious attacks of a not-so-sleepy-anymore baby which makes Peanut re-think his strategy and pull the skin on my neck instead, pinch my arm and put his whole hand into my mouth to carefully inspect one tooth after another. In silent protest I roll away and push Peanut over towards BlueBeretDad who has been snoring blissfully for the last hour or so. After yet another spell of fierce inspection from the Peanut front (this time he is digging into my ear) I move away a little bit more and there I find myself with my right leg, buttock and arm dangling off the edge of the bed. I swear I have managed not to tumble down by sheer will power and nothing else. Then the numb and cold half of my body almost melts away when I see Peanut snuggle his head into the den of BlueBeretDad’s armpit and suck the dummy to the rhythm of his Dad’s Great Snore Libretto.
6.33am I finally succumb to gravity as the alarm goes off. Here we go – yet another day ahead of me and I have already hit, literally, rock bottom.
Sometime between 6.33am and 8am Get up. Kitchen and breakfast. I struggle to slice the mango fast enough to the orders of our little Emperor banging his plastic throne in the corner. Fresh mango, porridge with blueberries, and a piece of toast – Peanut. A dry piece of toast and cold mug of tea – me. We get dressed. We brush our teeth. When I stare into the square eyes wincing back at me in the mirror a funny thought crosses my mind. Something is not right. No, not Peanut. He is happily (and not without success) trying to tear down the house before we head off to the nursery. No, it’s something else. Something in my mouth. On my teeth. The toothpaste is off. When I check the tube and my eyes go from square to round and square again. For the last three minutes of blank staring into the void I have been brushing my teeth with Bepenathen Nappy Cream. Mental note to self – don’t keep that stuff next to your toothpaste as it is impossible to get off your teeth. And it doesn’t taste good.
8.03am Bye Bye bye Dadada. Only 3 minutes behind the schedule Peanut and I set off to trek across the sleepy streets of Edinburgh, traffic – clogged roads, wheeling into flocks of office people who are clearly before that first coffee, and up Mount Everest aka the Mound. Time flies by as I assume a half horizontal position, the wheels on the bus go round and round runs the broken record in my head and up we go. Clickety clack clickety clack. As usual, I consider taking off layers of vests and jumpers in public as the first wave of sweat flushes my back. So much for the fresh straight out of the shower smell.
9am Peanut happily installed in the nursery. I manage to spill only half of my coffee all over myself as I slump in front of my desk and off we go. Pear pear. Banana. Banana. Avocado. Avocado. Kiiiiiwi. Note to self – stop listening to the Baby Music CD. It has infiltrated your subconscious and people are looking.
9am – 5pm Work. Work. Work some more. Half way through the day I consider crawling underneath the desk and hiding behind a stash of spare photocopy paper. Decide against it when I realise the only sleeping position I could assume would be on all fours with my bum up in the air, pointing strategically towards the door. Having ruled out that option I go back to the spreadsheets.
6pm With BlueBeretDad away on business and unable to come to the rescue I drag the buggy up the narrow staircase all the 1001 steps (no, not really that many – only 999 steps). As soon as we reach the flat I start crawling around the place to set up Peanut’s bath. Peanut crawls after me. Good. A tired baby equals a sleepy baby. Toot!
7.30pm On My Still To Do List: Tidy up those bloody toys strewn across the living room I remind myself as I pull out Sophie The Giraffe from underneath my slumped body. Squeak.
7.35pm The couch has swallowed me and refuses to spit out the remains.
7.38pm The TV is on but it all seems to be in gibberish. More gibberish. Oh look, even more gibberish.
9pm Finally I enter the kitchen to attack the heap of filthy plates, mini Tupperware boxes, wee plastic spoons, pots, pans and four sad looking dummies that I retrieved from the washing machine and the recycling boxes.
11pm Done. Both lunch, dinner and breakfast for Peanut prepared and packed. The floor has seen better days but it will have to do for now. Can it? Bugger. Forgot to eat. One glance at the fridge, another at the clock. A sneaky peak into Peanut’s lunch box later, my stomach is not a half empty type anymore.
11.05pm As I creep out of the kitchen and into the bed the clock shows me the finger.
11.09pm Teeth. Forgot to brush my teeth. My only remaining brain cell registers that BlueBeretDad is only back tomorrow. Tomorrow. Is. Another. Day.
P.S. Dear feminists and other politically active fellow women. Please don’t misunderstand me as I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had in life that I wouldn’t have had if the suffragettes hadn’t left a long line of bite marks in a poor uncle Bobby’s arms. You have fought for the gift of education, gender equality and equal opportunities for your fellow sisters and I will never forget that. Yet, I cannot shake off the feeling (it sticks like a nappy cream on my teeth) that in the stampede to buy into Feminism we all failed to notice that we, the women folk, have been slightly short-changed. With equality and rights and careers came double responsibilities. Double guilt. Double amount of dishes and laundry. Half a job. Half a motherhood combined with being half a partner/wife/girlfriend. Worse. Forgetting when the last time was you spoke to your endangered Other Half as they disappeared behind that pile of laundry a few months ago and haven’t re-emerged yet.
As they say “There ain’t no such thing as a calm and content working mother.” Unless you can convince me otherwise.