My mom is here for three weeks! Hooray! She is so hands-on and enthusiastic with Megan and Jessica and they adore her. This is how Megan sleeps when Granny is in town:
In fact, Granny sleeps the same way. The morning after she arrived, Megan woke at her usual 5h45. I fancied a lie in so I suggested she hop into Granny’s bed for a cuddle. I turned on the passage light and led Megan into my mom’s room. We sat on her bed and Megan bounced a little. No stirring, not a peep from under the blankets. ‘Granny! Are you awake? Granny!’ we whispered. Still nothing. My mom lay there like a rock, like the dead. So I took Megan out the room and decided Granny deserved the deep, coma-like rest as a reward for all the energy and love she pours into my children during the day.
Given that my mom is great to have around, it is surprising then that I forgot to fetch her from the airport. I didn’t actually forget. Her original itinerary said she was arriving on the Friday but she came in on the Thursday and no one informed me of the changes.
On Thursday morning, I realized she wasn’t online on Skype and still hadn’t replied to the SMS I sent her the night before. How odd. I texted my aunt to confirm my mom was ok and hadn’t slipped in the shower or been bound and gagged in her house. It turned out that her plane was on final approach into Geneva as I was sitting at the kitchen counter, perusing my Facebook newsfeed in my pyjamas.
Mom’s visits always help me get stuff done. I even write up a comprehensive to-do list which includes important tasks that fall by the wayside in my normal life, things such as ‘deep clean the oven’, ‘tidy basement’ and ‘prepare a stash of frozen meals’. The other day three year old Megan was fiddling with a piece of paper and I asked what she was doing. ‘I’m just checking my to-do list’, she replied.
Last week Alastair asked if I could book him at appointment at the GP because he wanted a full medical check up with blood tests and the works. I was horrified. ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ I freaked out.
‘Well,’ he said. ‘I’m constantly tired. I don’t feel my usual self, like I’m always run down and exhausted.’
Mwahahahaha! Where do children get all their energy? They take it out of their parents. Al’s had a busy year at work with minimal truly relaxing vacation time so it is understandable that he is knackered. The thing is that little kids are demanding and exhausting and that’s just the way it is.
Our tiredness has been compounded by Jessica’s horrendous sleeping patterns. She refuses to lie in her cot and when she finds herself asleep in it, she springs vertical and bellows, her face all mouth and her skin a livid red. The nights are particularly gruelling, mainly because she awakens like clockwork at 10pm every night, just as Al and I are drifting into a deep and dreamless sleep. She goes for my breasts like a dog that’s offered a bone and then she refuses, like absolutely, adamantly, categorically point-blank refuses to go back into her cot. Al and I have started referring to the cross and wild Jessica of the night as ‘Chucky’. So when we hear the 10pm squawk from her bedroom, we say ‘Oh dear, here comes Chucky.’
I think the problem is that Jessica is a light and lonely sleeper. If we cough or sneeze it wakes her. If I turn on a light near her room, she springs up in the cot. I feel I should prepare for bed and brush my teeth using a miner’s lamp. Even the lightest, tiptoeing footsteps set her off and Al and I need to sink on to our tummies and leopard crawl in the vicinity of her room. The comedian Michael McIntyre said that parents tend to say ‘good luck’ to each other instead of ‘good night’ and I agree with that.
Apparently some kids have serious stamina in the crying department. I have a friend with three teenage children and she said her daughter, Hailey, used to rage and cry so much that they called her ‘Wailey Hailey’. I keep telling Al that this stage is just for a season. Another of my friends has children aged 4 and 6 and she said they sleep so soundly and deeply and she needs to light fireworks next to their heads to wake them in the mornings. Actually, I reckon Jessica is just lonely and likes to sleep with company. In the next few days I’m going to arrange a bigger bed in Megan’s room and the two can lie together. I know Jessica will be happier if she can be the inner spoon and feel a warm body of someone, even her sister, next to her.
Megan is her usual rambunctious self. On Sunday evening I told her to dress for church so she put on four layers – two t-shirts and two dresses and then when she bent over to put on her wellies (it wasn’t raining), I noticed her bum crack and suggested she add some undies to the mix, please.
Her new thing when we go to the shops is to buy wrapping paper. She’s obsessed with wrapping paper. She carries the tube round the shop, waving it about like it’s a wand or swotting it at pillars like it’s a sword. When we get home she unravels it, walks over it a few times and then asks for sticky tape so she can wrap up her toys. Once that’s done, she needs the scissors to chop the paper up into a million pieces until it looks like shredded lettuce. Then we chuck the whole battered and torn lot into the paper recycling bin. Al says it is a waste of money but each roll costs about CHF4 which keeps her amused in the shops and then occupies her for a good 45 minutes at home. All that for CHF4 – a bargain if you ask me.
The other day we were in a queue to buy croissants and she shouted at the server, ‘Lady! Give me my croissant lady!’ Blimey. Where did she learn that? She recently instructed a friend who came over to ‘go home now’. Today, at a big park, Megan and her friend galloped off into the horizon while I sprinted behind her, red-faced and shrieking for her to listen and return to my heel. When I eventually caught up to her, I was breathless, panicked and wild with exasperation and helplessness at her disobedience.
I find it fascinating how children push boundaries and are born with an innate mischievousness and wildness that must be channelled and tamed. I have many friends with fertility issues and I am endlessly grateful that I have children so I tend to observe them with wonder and awe, like they’re exotic birds. Sometimes I forget they are also children in need of instruction. As I’ve said before, this discipline and obedience stuff is becoming one of the most hard core and challenging aspects of parenting.
That’s all our news, folks. Over and out.