Another one written a while back. Back before I had EMIGRATED, and gone through travelling hell. About which I will say only this: I am NEVER travelling with the Baby again. Christ above. Anyway. Back to last week:
Happy New Year! I sit, with thumping heart and rising panic, amidst piles and piles of rubbish and strewn clothes and papers and the world’s largest collection of assorted hair accessories (clips, bands, bobbins etc). I have SO MUCH to do. And yet here I am, the only 10 minutes of calm I have all day, ignoring it resolutely. In denial of the fact that we move in SIX DAYS and so far I have done next to nothing. All minor things I have done – clearing out the toy boxes, sorting through kitchen drawers – have come to naught, because as soon as I step into another room, the children come scurrying, like ghouls from the shadows, upending the sacks I’ve filled and strewing the contents asunder, then scurrying back off again. It is VERY annoying.
Annoying seems to be the word of the year so far. The Baby has transformed into something horrific, who likes to scream all day. Up til 5 days ago she was, by and large (mainly large) a dream. Screechy, yes, but sleepy with it. I could happily put up with the bitchiness while she was content to sleep 3 hours during the day and 14 - !!! – at night. And then we messed with her routine – may God and Gina Ford forgive us - by bringing her on the Journey That Must Never Be Spoken Of (15 hours of sea-churning and traffic-blocking horror. She flayed and screamed non-stop from Birmingham until West London, at which point – 20 minutes from home – she finally fell asleep). Since then she has mainly been continuing to scream, although most considerately she stops if I (and no one else) pick her up and walks about with her. Picking her up and sitting down is clearly (and audibly) forbidden, as is sitting with her and playing. Nope; to pacify Her Girthness, I must heave Her enormous bulk about, preferably up and down the stairs – which is great for my knees – and give her a running commentary on all that is happening around us. Admittedly she still sleeps 12 hours a night, so we can’t complain too much – but Oh Lord. I do miss sleeping until 8am. 6am really – it doesn’t quite cut it. Especially when it’s a 6am filled with anger and scratching and BITING. (Her. Not me. Not yet.)
Anyway. Happy New Year! I like to end a year by looking back on the highlights and lowlights. We’ve been blessed (or at least ignored) by the Gods this year, in that we have no particular low-light. No hospital trips (for the first time since becoming a parent), nothing too stressy, no major decisions to make. On the flip side, there have been no particular highlights – apart from the absence of low-lights.
So, let’s take a look instead at Things I Have Learned from 2013.
There is nothing as wonderful as sleep. Nothing. To optimise sleep potential (sorry – I’ve been doing alot of “solution-management” projects recently. Total load of wank.) you need three things:
- An early night
- No alcohol
- No middle-of-the-night interruptions
Lots of water cures hangovers. I know! It took me 24 years to learn this one. Alas, you need to be fairly consistent with the water intake – a glass every half hour – and this again is fairly impossible if you are simultaneously trying to meet the many constant, unending, unreasonable, brain-melting demands of your offspring.
You are fooling yourself if you procrastinate in the morning and tell yourself you’ll shower later on. HAVE ONE AS SOON AS YOU GET UP or it’s cleanliness curtains.
Aesop hand cream is the best thing ever. (For hands that is. Not much good if eg you’ve just cut your leg off with a lawnmower). Three days ago my hands were like the dried out logs of a Swedish forester. Obsessive-compulsive cream-rubbing has resulted in smooth, well-polished loggy hands. It is nothing short of miraculous.
There are face-creams made out of snail juice. I know this because someone bought some for me for Christmas. And while I’m sure it’s fabulous, and it certainly smells delicious, I don’t seem able to get past the fact that it’s made out of squished snail. (Also, I’m not entirely enamoured by the blatantly sexist packaging either. [There was meant to be a photo here, on side of the box showing a – blugh – snail, and the other a naked lady. Go figure. Alas the snail cream is now on the high seas somewhere between England and Singapore and we won’t be reunited for a few weeks. Not to worry, I spotted a snail down in the shrubbery earlier on.])
Hard-core detoxing isn’t difficult – it’s just boring and anti-social. Also, it makes you fart like a mo-fo (if mo-fos fart continuously). However, for decent sleep, smooth skin and shining eyes, nothing beats eating brown rice, nuts and vegetables (almost exclusively) for ten days.
There are few stresses which a cup of Barry’s Irish Tea, or a large Tanqueray and Tonic (depending on the time of day – or on who’s watching), can’t heal.
And finally – written in real time – do not rely on Piriton for getting your infant to sleep on a 14 hour overnight flight. In fact the warning which reads: “May cause drowsiness” should also read: “Alternatively, may cause hyperactivity, screeching, the strength of ten men, and the woman sitting in front of you to call your baby – entirely justifiably - a “horror””.
And now, while the nippers are nappers, I am going for a swim, after which I might possibly have a lunchtime G&T. I guess there are some benefits to travelling half-way across the world with a small person after all.