I am composing this from my sick-bed having off-loaded the kids onto the school system lest they catch the dreaded lurgy from me. I’ve got tonsils the size of plums, my glands are sticking out of my neck quite alarmingly and I generally feel like ten tonnes of crap. I went to the doctor to beg a miracle cure only to be told that there isn’t one and I have to wait for it to go away and rest as much as possible. Er, rest? I explained that I have visitors coming tonight, plus a birthday party for 16 under-fives to put on on Sunday and school breaks up today so I think that rest is out of the question. Even while the children are at school there is no peace and quiet because the blasted road-works are still not finished a week after they were supposed to be. I think the French regard deadlines as more like guidelines so you really need to double any estimates they make on how long things will take. Today they are re-digging up the trenches that were previously filled with sand so that they can tarmac them. Why they couldn’t have tarmac-ed as they went along I shall never know.
Besides, I’ve really let the house go these last few days. I reckon if Anthea walked in my door now she would never get to admire my beautifully tidied art drawer, having already fainted away at the state of the rest of the place. She’ll need to try and land on the sofa though because the floor is so bad she’d probably stick to it. I have already called my Mum, who is arriving here this evening and will most likely have to make her own bed when she arrives, and warned her about the current condition I’m in. She has totally come to the rescue regarding the party on Sunday, which I am SO not organised for. Even though it’s at a fun park where in theory I only need to bring a cheque-book and a cake, you can’t buy party cakes in France. They only make fancy patisserie stuff and would have total heart failure if you suggest it might appeal more to a 5 year old with a picture of Spiderman on the icing. Thank goodness Mum is coming over today and can nip into Waitrose on the way, hurrah! She doesn’t get to bail me out very often these days given that I live a 7 hour drive away.
Anyway, while I have been ill I have been a total grouch and woe-betide any small person who crosses me. Pickle and his little friend already got both barrels the other morning when they couldn’t tear themselves away from Thomas the Tank engine to put their shoes on for school. I’ve given up with the ‘counting to five’ method because they always wait until I get to ‘1’ before actually doing what I’ve asked. In fact I even found myself adding zero to give them one final chance before punishment, which they of course took as an extra second to continue messing about before complying. Thankfully the light has dawned on how cleverly they have been manipulating me and now there’s no countdown. They can be cunning little monsters and you can’t give them an inch. Even when you think they aren’t listening their little radars are taking in every word. As I was getting Pickle his Ventolin the other day I said under my breath ‘you’d better have some of this before you cough up a lung’. Two days later I overheard him calmly telling his friend that ‘my Mummy doesn’t want me to cough up one of my lungs’. What? First, he shouldn’t have heard me say it and second, how does he know he’s got 2 lungs when he’s only 4? Frightening. But it’s always like that. One minute you’re yelling at them to grow a brain and stop walking in the middle of the street/jumping off the top of the slide/using the skipping rope as a lasso in the lounge. Then the next minute they floor you completely by doing a 50 piece jigsaw/getting Sonic the Hedgehog to level 3/setting the video recorder. I really can’t keep up.
Poppet did a good one the other day. Every morning we have a major fight about what clothes she will wear. She tends to pick a favourite for the week and wear it every day until it voluntarily walks off her and into the laundry. We tried getting things out the night before so we could avoid the daily confrontation but she usually just flings the clothes she has just taken off at me and tells me to get them washed, dried and ironed for the morning. (!) This week she announced that she has no nice clothes at all and collapsed in a fit of weeping. I calmly took her to her room and started showing her one top after the other, urging her to choose one. After the 20th emphatic ‘no’ I’m afraid I lost the plot and proceeded to empty her entire chest of drawers into a large bin-liner and take it away announcing ‘now you really don’t have any clothes’. She managed to grab something half decent before I took it all away so at least she didn’t go to school in her pyjamas, but when she got home I told her to go through the pile and put out all the things she had decided are ‘not nice’ so I could get rid of them. I was hoping that she would fall in love with all her clothes again and decide to keep the lot, but instead she came over all ‘Annie’ and kept coming downstairs with a pair of trousers or a skirt and saying ‘oh, this would look lovely on my friend Lily’, ‘oh, Bessie would adore this colour’… in total I think she put two thirds of her clothes on the reject pile. I calmly informed her that I am not Daddy Warbucks and she is not getting any new clothes and this is real life here not a sodding MOVIE! Geez, I wish I’d never let them watch TV. Well, for now I have played along and put away all the offensive articles so her chest of drawers contains only about 4 outfits in the hope that she will come to her senses. So signs yet, she went out this morning wearing the same thing as yesterday and the day before. It’s way too big for her but I am just not up to another fight while I am barely surviving on hot lemon and Strepsils.
I am going back to bed; wake me up when someone cures the common cold.
Xmas Letter of Apology
2 days ago