I’m increasingly conscious that my back and neck muscles are constantly tense. In an ideal (or childless) world, I’d scamper off for an occasional massage. Back in the real world I’m making an effort to forcibly relax them as often as I think of it. With this in mind, I told myself this morning that I wasn’t going to allow the petty nuisances of the day bother me, and I would remain calm, unruffled and, as a result, untense.
It is now 2pm, and that resolve has gone to hell in a hand-basket, and a pneumatic drill would struggle with my muscles.
I managed to deep-breathe through the morning’s temper tantrums, to stoically accept the millions of placticy bits and pieces thrown all over the kitchen, to tip-toe over the carefully-quartered toast trampled into the floor; I barely swore (just a little bit) when I knee-capped myself on the edge of the table (how?); I calmly changed 6 nappies in all (I think the Boy has been drinking bath water again), struggled to toddler group, cooked dinners for the Boy for the next week (I may even remember to freeze them this time) and stuck a load of laundry on – all the while de-tensing, de-tensing, de-tensing.
And then the girl woke up from her midday nap, after less than an hour. And wailed and wailed and wailed. After 20 mins, I gave in, and dragged self and gammy leg up the four flights of stairs to her, bottle in hand. As I was leaving her room, I heard a rattling sound from the Boy’s room, which I decided to investigate.
I should at this point mention my complete and utter stupidity in letting him take his nap in the Big Bed. There’s a double bed in his room, which he napped the other day without any catastrophe. In fact it went perfectly, and I got a bit nostalgic thinking about how quickly he’s growing up. So today when he said “big bed?” at nap-time, and v sweetly crawled under the covers, saying “tuck tuck”, I did what any calm and unruffled mama would do. I tucked tucked, and took all the usual Big Bed precautions: pillow between the bed and the chest of drawers beside it; duvet tucked tightly in around the bed; everything taken off the bed, monitor on, lights off.
Alas I ignored the beeping coming from the other end of the monitor – the beeping which indicates that the main part isn’t plugged in properly... – and I neglected - stupid stupid – to remove a BUMPER JAR OF VASELINE from the top of the chest of drawers...
Yes, there’s only one way this is going. Thinly-smeared Vaseline, when seen in the gloom of a semi-dark afternoon has the appearance of ectoplasm. Think Alien meets Home Alone. Everywhere. On his clothes, the bed, the carpet - and mainly on the top of the chest of drawers, which means that he must have been sitting up there while he was getting creative. Wonderful.
I admit that I became somewhat ruffled. But, I breathed deeply, tackled a revolting nappy (he must have ingested some of his art medium), and gently placed him (ok, maybe not quite so gently) into his cot. Back to the Girl – who was roaring again – calmed her (ah – so that’s where all my daily calm goes) – then tip-toed out. Whereupon I heard yet more strange sounds coming from the other room. The unmistakable sound of ripping paper... Boy had taken against his wall stickers and was ripping them, one by one, off the wall around his bed.
So the calm has now completely gone, neck has tied itself up in knots , shoulders are touching the tips of my ears, and Boy has a smacked hand and is wailing so much that it transpires I don’t actually need a monitor.
Suspect it might just be easier to book a massage.