The Headless Chicken, continued

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So, Monday hadn’t really gone to plan. Work is about a bazillion times easier than being at home all day, but the trouble is that all the family stuff is still leftover. Which is how I still had a mountain of a To Do list before I picked Boo up from school, before whisking her round to the last-minute party.

I’d agreed to cover a couple of hours in the office whilst my boss went on a viewing. Eve was in charge again on the agreement that I had baby Teddy for the afternoon. It
seemed fair enough. Plus Husband had the day off to visit his eldest daughter and wasn’t leaving until nearly 10. So it came as a bit of a surprise that as I returned home and took over from Eve that my first chore was to change TWO dirty nappies. Thanks for that!

Nothing happens quickly on baby/toddler time and the afternoon was marching on. The list wasn’t getting any shorter – in fact, with my car parked in a limited time bay at the supermarket across the road by my dad and with no spaces in the street, the list was getting longer and more pressing. Could I risk leaving it there for 4 hours rather than 2? No. But moving it would require a phenomenal logistical manoeuvre involving small children and multiple car seats. I decided I could get away with 3 hours if I was lucky, in which time Eve would – should – be back.

But, in the meantime I needed to sort out the birthday present and run other errands. The boys were behaving so well at home (apart from Noodles shrieking so hysterically at something on the iPad that he woke Teddy from his nap) but I needed to venture out.

I wish you could shop online and it could be delivered immediately. A sort of local concierge service. (Hmmm, maybe if should go on Dragon’s Den. It could surely be a winner.) I’d have paid anything not to have gone into town.

I hoped that an initial bus ride would placate the situation for Noodles, but no. That child seems to have an allergic reaction to shopping. Combined with his his very healthy pair of lungs and no desire to hold back on expressing his displeasure, it’s not great.

A hundred strangers flinching at the wall of noise. A hundred pairs of eyes judging.

Noodles: WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

Me (after chocolate buttons and the offer to ride the lift in TK Maxx failed to work): Listen, buddy. We have to do this. We can do it the easy way. Or we can do it the hard way. But either way we’re doing it.

Noodles: WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! WAAAAHHHHH! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

In Boots they BOTH started shrieking!

Still, it got me the exchange I wanted as quick as anything. I genuinely meant the apologies I offered to the waiting queue though.

By the time we got out Noodles was in such a state he couldn’t even tell me which way he wanted to go.

Noodles: WAAAAAAHHHHH!!! This way! Nooo! This way! No! WAAAAAHHHHH!!!

Despite part of the birthday present still needed, plus card and gift wrap, it was clear the trip was going to have to be aborted.

Marvellous.

Teddy fell asleep in the buggy – great, peace from him at least. BUT the car now desperately needed moving, but Eve wasn’t home (I’m sure she said she only going to be a couple of hours) and there was no way I was about to wake a sleeping baby. I tried to call Eve to see if she was headed home. Her phone was off. But of course it was.

I called the person she was meeting. I felt awful dragging her away after all she’s done for me, but at the same time stuff wasn’t happening around here.

How do parents simultaneously caring for babies and toddlers do it? It always looks such hard work and now I know that it is. Blimey, give me twins any day of the week, or preferably a big age gap.

Things suddenly got a lot easier with Eve’s pair of hands to help out. I got to race back into town for the rest of the party requirements and picked Boo up from her after-school drama club, ready to change in super hero time into her party gear.

Obviously the club overran and by the time she was changed and her hair was done we were late.

Boo: How late are we?

Me: About 5 minutes. It’s ok.

I lied. Boo hates being late. And we were already 15 minutes late. 15 minutes turned into 30 though as I couldn’t find the address of the party. Driving round and round a labyrinth of a housing estate. A housing estate that didn’t see for to put up any road signs. A housing estate where you definitely don’t want to be asking for directions!

Me: Bloody hell! Why aren’t there any road signs?

Boo: Oh, bloody hell.

Me: You know, sweetie, you really shouldn’t swear. Except this time it’s sort of ok. Now, keep your eyes peeled for anything that says Chadwick Square.

To the kid on your driving lesson who I cut up, I’m really sorry. I was driving like a dick. But I was late and lost and stressed. One day you’ll understand.

Finally, mercifully, I thought I spotted a Chadwick Square sign. Turning round I couldn’t find it again, but thought I’d better try my luck. A house with party banners on the windows! Oh, joy! By the time we walked in Belle was in full swing. Boo dashed off to join her best friend as I apologised, once more, to the mum for being such an organisational failure.

Still, Boo had made it to the party complete with present and card and she had a marvellous time. But should it really be so hard?

From now on I’m keeping a close eye on her school bag. I can’t cope with the stress of the last minute. Which reminds me, I really need to look at those phonics sheets before Boo’s test.

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