Thursday, March 27, 2014

what else?


Nye has gone off mountain biking in Scotland for a few days, to 'train' for the 30km downhill race he's taking part in this summer. Because apparently breaking his collarbone this time last year wasn't enough to put him off. I love my husband but he's a moron. He has left me alone with W&P for five days and I know that looking after your own children for five days is nothing to congratulate yourself about, I really do, except that IT FUCKING IS. 


Five days with no pre-school.
Five days with no adult company.
Five days preparing every meal while two people sit in kitchen doorway asking 'what are we having for breakfast/lunch/dinner?' incessantly, repeatedly and increasingly loudly, no matter how many times you tell them the answer and then once you've made the meal having not one single person appreciate it.
Five days of showering with 'help' and then wondering how to deal (naked, wet, covered in shampoo) with the child who has an epic tantrum because while she was leaning into the bathtub to collect water from the bottom, YOU got her wet.
Five days of 'help' getting dressed, meaning that every day you have to explain that no, you will not be wearing the pink, silk, feathery mini dress today, and no, probably not tomorrow either.
Five days of having no one to reassure you that at least they like you, when your kids are making it perfectly clear that they think you are a total dick. Or to give you a hug when one of them punches you right in the face as you're tucking them in at night.
Five days with no one to direct your kids to for answers when they've asked you for the 17th time in the 5 minutes since you got up 'what are we going to dooooooooooo today?' 




That said, we're doing okay. Granted, he hasn't been gone 24 hours, and yes, W&P had so many time outs* this morning that they spent more time out than in, and yes, I forgot to do any laundry last night and am currently wearing Spanx** because I don't have a single pair of clean knickers, but aside from that I think we're managing. 

Looking after children full time is (needless to say) very very different from the two person juggling act that is parenting with a partner and running a business at the same time. It's more focused and although I miss Nye, my children drive me fucking crazy and there's no way I would want to do this ALL the time, it is nice to a) know that I'm capable of looking after them alone and entirely (about 90% of the time I am certain that we would sink if it weren't for Nye) and b) to spend a day doing one thing - looking after the kids - instead of skittering between work and family and self like a squirrel on acid. 


I made a rookie mistake though; I played all of my good cards in the first 24 hours. We have done both messy crafts AND baking, and now they want to know 'what else?'. There is the play park but it's raining. We can't go to the library because I have books that are six months overdue. I'm not taking them on public transport because I'm just not. So, before I become the most hopeless parent in the world and google 'things to do with three year olds',  I ask you, what else? 




*'Time out' is ostensibly a way for them to learn that punching mummy isn't okay, in reality just an excuse not to have to deal with them for a few minutes while you breath deeply and slowly and tell yourself in a comforting voice that no, you can't have a glass of wine because it is 9.30am, but yes, you can have one later, once you have put them to bed. 

** wearing Spanx on a school day sucks and does nothing for one's irritability levels. There's a good reason that they're supposed to be worn with party wear and that reason is liquor. 

20 comments:

  1. I met my best friend when the kids were 3 and a half and 15 months. So the answer was always, go to Liz's house;).

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    1. Hmm, I clearly need a Liz's House.

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  2. I like you.

    Dunno about 3.5yr olds, perhaps mud pies (I mean, you'll be doing laundry later anyway) followed by daytime bath has less mileage than it does for a 2 year old. Also face painting (I would do this every day if it weren't for slight concerns about the parabens and whatnot doubtless in them.)

    And, most importantly, you don't need to wait until after bedtime for the glass of wine -- it's like positively civilised and Mediterraneanish to enjoy a nice glass of red with your 6pm toddler dinner, no? Certainly helps with the dinner table conversation.

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    1. I like you too. And THANK YOU for telling me that I can drink before bedtime. That might be what got me through those 5 days.

      (face paints?! Why did I never think of face paints?! Except, A gets excema. So maybe not a good idea for her.)

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  3. My 16 month old has recently become obsessed with fabric scraps. He's too little to cut them up yet, but maybe W&P could be distracted for 15 minutes with the novelty of sifting through craft supplies to design their own craft or with choosing fabric scraps you could show them how to sew together? I don't expect their attention spans would last through a whole project that way, but it could be something to revisit until Nye comes home. Long bubble baths usually keep my hooligan occupied for a while, too, especially if I give him some new "toys" (wooden spoons and bowls from the kitchen, cups to dump water out of the tub...). Good luck! -Elizabeth

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  4. cutting magazines and pasting onto paper is good (as is the scrap fabric too). I like you too.

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    1. Oh, we've just got into pritstick so magazines + scissors + glue seems like a good plan.

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  5. This doesn't help for *today*, but do W&P have a dress-up box? One christmas my stepmom gave me a trunk full of high heels, purses, fur stoles, etc, that she bought at goodwill. Playing dress-up was my favorite favorite thing.

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    1. They don't, they shoud though.

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  6. My almost 3 year old is very into puzzles at the moment, the most basic of the fit-the pieces together ones rather than just the stick-the-shape into the hole it goes in on a wooden board type. I find sitting doing puzzles with her comes a lot easier than playing 'families and babies' which I loathe. Play-doh is also another winner, if you don't have any you could make some together, they always love this. There's heaps of recipes for it online. All you need is some little paper cup cake cases and some biscuit cutters and a rolling pin and you can do 'bakeries' and make little cakes. Yes the colours do get all mixed up which used to stress me out but now I just chuck it away when this happens. Good luck.

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    1. W&P are pretty into puzzles too but I have to do them with them and sweetjesusfuck, if I have to do the same puzzle again for the 742nd time I'm going to scream. Playdough might work for us though.

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  7. Sympathy and gin heading your way. Suggestions: indoor obstacle course (kind of messy, but it's big mess that is quick to tidy away rather than fiddly mess like loads of puzzles and games all strewn and muddled). Bath with all the toys chucked in it. Make playdough. TELLY. COMPUTER. (Poisson Rouge good for their age, and vaguely educational). Repeat for 5 days. xx

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    1. TELLY. Telly is what won it.

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  8. I heart this post. I am currently stuck with a 2 yr old, for 6 days straight. Husband is away about 3-4 times a year for 5-10 days, and it gets easier after the first day or so, but then again, I have daycare and an office job so I can talk to adults. Swimming pool is always a big success here,but with twins that's probably difficult. How about indoor playground, blowing bubbles outside despite rain, petting zoo with indoor area (but perhaps thats a v continental european thing to do?), visiting friends with babies, TV?

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    1. Yup, no swimming pool with one parent and two children. Also getting cold and wet and naked in public is really not going to do much for my calm when solo parenting. We mostly resorted to tv in the end. Bad parent.

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    2. My three-year-old's vocabulary has to do mostly with cars/planes/trains/heavy machinery/heavy machinery crashing, but the other day he saw a picture of a fiddle in his nursery rhyme book and managed to whip out, 'Dat's a biolin. Dat's a IN-strument.' I'm pretty sure he learned that from watching Little Einsteins. So there. TV's good, tv's good.

      I'm the mom of the three-year-old and one-year-old twins, btw.

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  9. Oh dear. First I want to say that I always adore reading your writing because I essentially laugh my pants off the whole time. But here's something fun I did with one of the girls I nanny this week. So she loves bugs and has loads of little plastic ones. We put a bunch of them in a cake pan (next time I'm totes gonna make like 10 cake pans), covered with water, and froze them into "bug icebergs." She used a hammer out back (held with both hands as to not smash a finger) and cracked them out of the ice. She saved all the ice and made a warm bubble bath in the sink to "warm 'em up" except she had a total blast pouring ice chunks in the sink and melting them, using a whisk to make bubbles. I just put towels everywhere around her to soak up the water and she seriously stood there at the sink for over an hour.

    Anyway, GOOD LUCK! :)

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    1. That is GENIUS. We didn't do it because I'm lazy, but it's still genius.

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  10. Oh, I hear you. My partner goes away a few times a year for 2-3 weeks at a time, and it is SO SUCKY being home alone with a little one. Sometimes I feel guilty whinging about it because I remember the days when I was crying into my pillow because I didn’t have children, but the reality of being a parent to little C is just a bit more nuanced than that. Having kids is so much more time-consuming and difficult than most people will admit, which is why I so love your blog and your honesty about parenting. When I found it recently I just wanted to hug it, if blogs could be hugged!

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  11. BAHAHA at the Spanx + liquor footnote

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play nice.