I have just snapped at the Man. He asked me – nicely, not unreasonably – if I wanted to share his lunch. I snapped and growled and snarled. He’s walked out of the room, and now that I’m simmering down, it’s dawning on me that I am completely unable to be both a nice mother and a nice wife. It’s one or the other; not both, certainly not at the same time, and generally not within about half an hour of each other.
On the plus side, I’m (almost) being Nice, Patient, Happy Mummy. It is KILLING ME. Seriously; I can feel the energy draining from my body with every second that passes. The Beast (formerly: The Boy) is flinging himself around the living room as he spits and his head spins – which is the compromise I negotiated (twenty-fucking-minutes of talking in a calm, unruffled voice) down from him flinging his toys about. On the one hand, I’m pleased with my success at keeping my cool (outwardly, at least; internally, I’ve ripped his sodding little head off and thrown it to the foxes), on the other hand, I can’t help feeling that he won that particular round - he’s still in there tearing the room apart.
Sigh. It’s been like this since Wednesday. Until then I had been planning the first sentence of my next (very very belated – apologies) blog entry as follows: It’s been a fantastic December.
So let’s start again.
Until Wednesday, it had been a fantastic December. Possibly the best month since the kids were born. Birthday celebrations kicked off on the 2nd – several days before The Event itself – and really, it was The Birthday That Kept Giving. I had presents, balloons, breakfast in bed (then, shortly after the Girl joined in, on the carpet), champagne, more presents, absolution from bath and bed-time duties (husbands, take note: that was the best gift of all) and all-round general merriment. For about ten days. Then the Man whisked me away – to New York! Just the two of us (and 8 million New Yorkers, all of whom were in a rush, but no matter, none of them were our ungrateful, demanding off-spring, so what did we care?) where we ate and drank, and walked the High Line, and drank some more, and saw our friends, and then had another cocktail, because New York is the finest place in the world for cocktails, and didn’t think about – let alone miss – the kids once. Then we came home and rushed around a bit and packed and perhaps snarled a tiny teeny bit, and headed off to Sweden for Christmas. Other than making sure the children had a chunk of bread once or twice a day, and the snow they ate wasn’t yellow, I abandoned all semblance of domesticity and took to drinking sidecars and eating Dime bars like a fish to water.
And then Wednesday happened. It started off well enough; we got home late the night before, staggered to bed, and all woke up at 930am (I know! The trick, it seems, is to deprive the kids of any sleep all day, and to put them to bed at 11pm; there is an obvious down-side to this, however, but if you’re happy to be with your crazed offspring for 15 hours’ straight, then I recommend it for the lie-in the next day). Then we hung around in our pyjamas until it started to get dark, when we lit Swedish Christmas candles and got ready for a walk
through the dusk-dappled woods along the main road to the supermarket. When we got home I pottered about in the kitchen, the Man and the Girl were in the living room having one of their little love-ins (where they rub each others’ faces and make cooing noises) from which all other family members are excluded, and the Boy was sitting quietly on the stairs, surrounded by various wash-bags and other suit-case-unpacking-debris. Eventually- inevitably - he started to whine (help Mummy, help), which I ignored, then whine some more (ooooooooooowwwwwwww), and then my brain kicked in and actually heard what he was saying (there’s blood Mummy, help, owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww). I stopped pottering. And breathing. There was blood. Quite a bit of it, running down his hand and onto his sleeve. There was also an open wash-bag, and a disposable razor.
(Grimace, followed by Shock. Then Panic.)
Now there’s only so much damage a cheapo disposable razor can do, but boy that fucker did its best, and his teeny little thumb was comprehensively lacerated. Cue some mild hyperventilation on my part – I’m not great with blood, particularly if it’s emanating from my son – and a reluctance to do anything other than squeeze it very tight with a cloth (ow, Mummy, oooooooooooooooow, it hurts ALREADY). My bellowing brought the Man, then soon after a disgruntled Girl (she doesn’t appreciate having her love-ins interrupted, not even for a life-or-death-emergency) and before I knew it the panic had been diluted (albeit replaced by shock at my sheer STUPIDITY – who leaves razors lying about?) and we were happy families again: bandages administered, noses being rubbed, dinner being made, pottering being pottered. The Boy wandered out of the kitchen, the Man followed, and then...
“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! FUCK! FUUUUUCK! JESUS! HELP! OHMYGOD, FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!”
Which doesn’t begin to describe the sheer... terror in his voice. Pure, raw panic. Which froze me. These are the thoughts which zipped through my brain:
· It’s not the Girl, she’s here with me.
· It’s the Boy.
· I missed something.
· It wasn’t just his thumb.
· He cut himself badly.
· The Man has found a pool of blood, possibly an organ (seriously).
· Whatever it is, I don’t want to see it.
· I’d better not move.
Now I thought I was having these thoughts silently, but apparently with every “FUCK! OHMYGOD!” roared by the Man, I retorted with “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?? WHAT IS IT?” like a crazed banshee.
Eventually, hours - but more likely seconds – later, I got some sense from him.
At which point I sprung into action. Top tip for 2012: Don’t have a fire extinguisher? GET ONE. They make one hell of a mess, but they might just save your
house living room.
Pesky untended Swedish Christmas Candles.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I later cocked up our desert – meant to be chocolate mousse, but I left the whisked egg whites for too long and they dissolved, so I got creative and “rescued” it, making instead what the Man later described as a “chocolate omelette”. Then, having endured an eggy chocolatey mess, I wandered into the kitchen in time to see a small furry creature scuttle across the floor with a gleeful squeak. (The creature, not me. My squeak was more of a shriek, and somewhat less than gleeful.)
And that was Wednesday. Or, Blackened Wednesday, as it is now known.
Since then, possibly as a result of smoke inhalation, possibly having ingested some mouse droppings (but more likely because he misses the large, adoring audience he had over the holidays), the Boy’s behaviour has been... challenging.
So thank God for cocktails. This one in particular, which, if you’re not familiar with it, is best described as a winter margarita. Yum yum.
You need (for one emotionally drained, elderly mother)
One measure each of:
· Brandy (No, I'm not a fan either. It's terrific in this tho - warming and smooth and lovely.)
· Cointreau, Grande Marnier or Triple Sec
· Fresh Lemon Juice
Either mix, and pour over ice; of shake with ice and serve straight up.
One is enough to calm any post conflagration nerves, two to put a smile back on your face and three to have you chatting happily to your (charred) Christmas tree.