Thursday, 5 March 2009

A working week in the life of...

Husband has been away since daybreak Sunday morning. As it's now Thursday I have metamorphosed into Just About Coping Mum. Or, if I'm honest, Balancing on a Knife Edge Mum.

I don't know what it is that happens to me. I mean well, I really do. But somewhere during the week, my preferred manifestation of 'Reasonable Sweetness and Light Mama' who was so cheerful and upbeat at the weekend caves and packs her bags. She heads off to an expensive spa to recover from the rigours of being so... so... damned reasonable, and Knife Edge Mama, teeth gritted in readiness, arrives. Conversations that at the beginning of the week were perfectly civil and full of loving understanding, by Wednesday afternoon deteriorate into one word answers.

Let's see how it works...

Sunday. I woke up as RS&L Mum and made myself and the Boys presentable. By 8.30am however, I was firing SOS texts out to girlfriends with kids when I realised I had made the schoolgirl error of not arranging a playdate 'all that long long wet day... ' (where's the Cat in the Hat when you need him, hey?) Luckily one of my friends took pity on me and arranged to meet us in Holland Park where, due to our being ridiculously early, the Boys and I marvelled over the peackock invasion and took sadistic pleasure in watching the pigeons trying and failing to raid the feeders meant for smaller birds. I explained to the Boys what the smaller birds were - robins, wrens, one brightly coloured refugee parakeet - though was unable to continue my natural history lecture when I was confronted with a Blue and a Great Tit and couldn't bring myself to say the names...

(Ah, that convent education)

Monday. Apart from the Festival of Wee that Boy #2 was clandestinely participating in, this was a relatively sane day. I was still Reasonable Sweetness and Light Mama (now to be known as RS&L Mama), and in the evening dealt with complaints from the Boys' bedroom that they were too hot / too cold / thirsty / itching / scared of the dark in a totally Reasonable way, appearing in the doorway to help to remove pajama tops / pull the covers tenderly over chilly shoulders / administer glasses of water / apply moisturising lotion / moving the night light to somewhere more prominent.

Tuesday was a gym day, so an extra 10 minutes in bed meant I was - amazingly - still RS&L Mama. The later start was due to my excellent and clearly obvious excuse of exercise to come, which meant I didn't have to shower. The resultant scary look clearly worked in my favour though as, on dropping Boy #2 at nursery, I advised his teachers' of the potty training status, using the parting words; "He hasn't wee'ed or poohed since he got up an hour and a half ago. Consider yourselves warned..." and got no comeback. I then scampered lightly to the car and headed off for an hour of being uncontactable by mobile.

By evening though, the poo had been spooned and RS&L Mama was pulling out her suitcase. The same complaints voiced from the Boys' room the previous evening were dealt with a little more tersely this time, with suggestions that Boy #1 remove his own pajama top /that perhaps a drink before bedtime might be a good idea tomorrow / bring me the lotion in the kitchen (where I'm doing the xxxx washing up - again - voiced under my breath, obviously) and that there is nothing to be scared of and the door is wide open enough already.

Wednesday; RS&L Mama left before dawn and her alter-ego Knife Edge Mama (KE Mama) arrived. By evening the pajama top was removed before bed / the subsequent 'too cold' comment was dealt with by suggesting the pajama top go straight back on again - without help / extra milk was given before teeth brushing (and that's it or you'll need to get up and go to the loo) / extra lotion was applied when the pajamas went on in the first place / the complaints about the dark were treated in the same way as the comment on the cold.

But then... Thursday? RS&L Mama returned! She rushed back from the £400 a day spa where she was socialising with footballer's wives and B-list celebs, when she heard the news that it had been an ACCIDENT FREE DAY and that Boy #2 even successfully asked to use the potty before he needed a poo for the second day running .

I know, I know, I should have mentioned it to you yesterday but was worried that it was just a (brace yourselves) flash in the pan - boom boom - and didn't want to jinx it.

No doubt tomorrow - since Boy #2 is not at nursery - Knife Edge will return but for now I am RS&L Mama and just savouring the peace and silence. Can you hear that? No, neither can I. No washing machine running for the second / third / 4th time in a day (delete as appropriate) to deal with the 'evidence' that potty training is in progress.

It's amazing how little it takes to make me happy these days...


  1. I'm 'virtually' holding my breath for you ;-)

  2. When's papa back? Is he bringing Green & Black's?

  3. I think you managed to be RS&L Mama much more than I would have been. Have just spent a whole morning being Knife Edge mother as trying to juggle packing for imminent departure, entertaining overexcited boys and finishing off bits of work....

  4. "Festival of wee" - brilliant!
    I hate when hubby goes away (it was Russian the last time) and I'm left trying to manage the chaos.
    I've told him there can be no business trips during Lent as I've given up all sugar so I wouldn't even have chocolate and biscuits to keep me sane!

  5. And how could you possibly forget meeting up with other mummy bloggers? I'm sure that ranks higher than the festival of wee? (maybe not)

  6. Ah, I remember those days fondly. I usually became Weeping Uncontrollably Mum by the end of the week. It actually gets better once they have homework and can be trusted not to draw on the walls the minute you turn your back. Unless you go and have another one ten years later, like I did!

  7. Sharon, me too. Second accident free day, 3rd of poo in potty. Have to keep pinching myself. It can't last...

    Mud, tonight. And bringing G&B's? Are you kidding? (That's a no, btw)

    NVG, have a WONDERFUL time...

    Tara, god, the thought of no sugar and coping with this? Impossible. I even found myself dipping my finger into a tin of golden syrup I had ostensibly opened to check I have enough to make butterscotch sauce at the weekend. How sad is that?

    Modern, of course it does! It just didn't fit into the whole 'oh poor me' tone of the post so as usual I edited my life story before I blogged... (doesn't everyone?)

    EPM, no danger of that since I will be nearly 50 by the time Boy #2 is 10! (God, can't believe I just wrote that. Shoot me now).

  8. Listen - the medical chances of me having the little guy were supposed to be almost zero, so nothing's out in my books.

  9. Oh God I was just talking to a friend about this today. By Thursday, or on an exceptionally good week, Friday I too morph into Knife Edge Mummy, with a fair share of Screaming Like A Fish Wife Mummy thrown in every time one of the boys so much as looks at me. I have lost count of the number of times today Johnny Drama has told me 'I don't like you right now mummy. You are not my friend.' It took every ounce of resistance not to stick my tongue out at him, flick him the V's and walk out of the house.

    But WAHOOO to boy 2!!!! Fingers crossed....!

  10. Tuesdays hair?
    That's a good look.
    Though I'm laughing at your description of deterioration of sweet loving mamaness, I am exactly the same...though sometimes it can happen within a day.....

  11. EPM, belt and braces time then. Or just abstention. What the hell, there's always chocolate.

    Nicola, Husband is back - but guess what, am still Knife Edge Mum. Especially when I'm trying to type and Boy #1 keeps sliding under my arm (which is nice but also very distracting)

    Frog, sometimes it can happen within 10 minutes!

  12. I think I might be all of those when handling two little boys on my own.

    You'll be proud of me PM! I've been babysitting a 4 month old girl! Changing nappies and feeding and the whole bit! All on my own! Gasp!!!!!

    I did such a great job I've been called back for another day and it includes the brother this time who is 6ish?


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