You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet lately. (Actually, you probably haven’t, but I have.) There is one main reason. School holidays.
Since the toddler only started nursery this last Easter, this was my first big school holiday and I was totally unprepared. Foolishly, I thought it would be easy. After all, it’s not that long ago I had him at home full-time anyway. Surely it would be a piece of cake. How wrong could I be?
I had gotten quite used to those two and a half hours in a morning, the drinking of hot coffee (Hot. Can you imagine?), tidying and it staying tidy for longer than 0.5 seconds and indulging in writing. Bliss.
I haven’t pee’d without an audience in nearly seven weeks. My taste-buds have grown used to cold – or worse, reheated coffee and I haven’t sat down for longer than a minute without being clambered on, tugged and jumped on. As I write this, I have a three year-old sitting on my knee, singing loudly, eating a banana and wiping his sticky hands on my dress.
Every time I turn my back for two seconds, you can guarantee he’s filled my bed with baby powder, poured shower gel down the loo (that was a fun day) or helped himself to an alarming amount of biscuits/apples/jam. It’s tiring.
At the start of the holidays he was ill, explosive diarrhoea ill, which the doctor credited to lactose intolerance. Sure enough, as soon as I cut dairy from his diet, his symptoms cleared up. The only problem is all of his favourite meals include dairy – probably the reason for his sudden intolerance, the doctor informs me. I stocked up on soya cheese and butter and milk and adapted his diet accordingly. I was alarmed, however, at the lack of choice and how many foods contain milk protein. That’s a whole other blog post, though.
Throw in my very own mystery illness and I’m more than a little stressed. It’s nothing serious (I hope) but it’s left me looking fifteen months pregnant and in constant pain. Oh, and prone to grumpiness.
I’m wary of writing this post in case it sounds like I’m moaning. I know people who have more children, many who are also single parents and manage to cope without complaining. My son isn’t badly behaved, he’s just a normal three year-old. I have it easy compared to many. Nor do I want this post to sound like I haven’t enjoyed having my son around more. I have. We’ve had some really great times, long walks in the woods, picnics at the park and snuggling up watching Disney DVDs and baking cakes as the rain lashes against the windows. I love him more than words can say and for every tantrum and doodle on the wall, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Besides, I’ve been my own worst enemy. I spent the first half being incredibly hard on myself, expecting everything to be perfect. Healthy, home-cooked food at every meal, fun activities for the toddler at every turn and still have an immaculate house, all while keeping up with my writing and preparation for my degree. Something had to give, namely my sanity around week four. (I burned my lasagne and cried. Yep, a proud moment.)
I grudgingly gave in and eased up on myself. Guess what? The toddler was perfectly happy to eat scrambled egg on toast for lunch sometimes, he had fun entertaining himself in a muddy garden and nobody cared that my kitchen sink didn’t sparkle. Nobody died, nobody called Social Services and the house is miraculously still standing. Who would have thought it?