There hasn’t been a lot of running going on this week. I haven’t had the time. Or the energy. Instead, there have been a lot of nappies changed, noses wiped, tears dried, food thrown, floors scrubbed, drinks spilt and clothes washed. There have been tantrums. Many, many tantrums. There have been 12-week inoculations. There has been bottle refusal from the baby and refusal to give up the bottle from the toddler. Oh, and there has also been a little bit of wee on the carpet.
It’s times like these that I need to take a deep breath and remember what my husband said to me the morning his paternity leave ended. It was his last-ditched attempt to curb my terror at being outnumbered by the little people.
“Your only goal is to keep everyone alive. Anything else you achieve during the day is a bonus.”
And so, by these (admittedly low) standards, I’m doing amazingly well. We might not all be happy all of the time; it might not always be sunshine and picnics and cosy afternoons curled up on the sofa watching films together; it might be that most days, most of us are in tears before tea time (hell, sometimes before breakfast). But we are all still alive.
There is a lot of Peppa Pig on the telly, and the odd assault on the baby from the toddler, in the form of smacks on the head or hugs that are just that little bit too tight. There are trips to the park, pushing a double buggy up the hill, laden with changing bag, snacks, drinks, toys and scooter. There’s a fair amount of scrambled eggs and spaghetti hoops on toast eaten. I sometimes feel guilty that the toddler doesn’t eat enough (any) organic wholefoods. But at the end of the day, we’re all still alive.
There are games of chase with the toddler, and building towers with the toddler, and playing trains with the toddler, and having tea parties with the toddler, and jumping in the paddling pool with the toddler, and occasionally I get two minutes to dangle a toy in front of the baby and wonder guiltily whether watching her big brother play is entertainment enough for her. But it’s OK, because at the end of the day everybody’s still alive.
Some days, I actually manage to do something about the pitiful state of my house, on top of keeping everybody alive. Admittedly, my claims of what I’ve achieved often outweigh what has actually been done…
“I’ve been food shopping” [I had an online shop delivered. It’s still in the bags in the kitchen. Including the frozen stuff. Sh*t.]
“I cleaned the bathroom” [I tipped some bleach down the loo and hoped for the best.]
“I’ve vacuumed” [the hallway. For show.]
“I swept the kitchen floor” [I had to. The toddler kept treating it like a buffet.]
And amidst all of the everyday keeping-everyone-alive moments, there are, hidden away, the real gems: the it’s-amazing-to-be-alive moments – kissing the baby’s cheeks and watching her beam the most genuine, loving smile in return, and hearing her cooing and gurgling; and the toddler blowing raspberries on my forehead and thinking this is the funniest thing ever, and hearing him laugh and laugh and laugh.
So no, there hasn’t been much time or energy for running this week. But that’s OK. Because we’re all still alive.