(First published on The Contented Calf website on Tuesday 1st March 2011.)
Something happens to you when you become a parent and you lose all sense of time.
Never (ever ever) sleeping in past 7am gives you a whole new perspective on when days start and end. (For me 6am and 10pm; for one of my best friends (sans bébé) 8am and midnight.)
I clearly remember not long into motherhood standing in the kitchen one time when my mother-in-law was visiting, distraught that I was still in my dressing gown and I was ‘wasting the day’! Then outside reality hit me.
It was 8:50am. I was making a cake.
It was a Sunday. Not what any sane, normal person would constitute as ‘wasting the day’.
This morning, when I looked at my watch, it said 09:59. I couldn’t quite believe that it was still not quite yet 10:00.
So much had already happened, and I’d already wept twice!
How had I not made it through more of the day? (I decided that from 10am onwards the day was definitely going to get better, and - so far, touch wood - it has.)
This morning went something like this:
> 06:00am – gentle Radio 4 alarm comes to life, followed 5 minutes later by my digital watch beeping, followed 5 minutes later by me dragging myself out of bed. I showered, dressed, cup of tea-ed, cereal-ed, hung up the washing that was still in the machine, put a new lot on, made BF’s milk, checked my emails
> 07:00am – go in to wake up BF. She was in a pretty good mood – maybe helped by her slightly less wet nappy, as a result of removing anything vaguely resembling a drinking ‘vessel’ from the bath? Hubby and I were convinced on Sunday night that she must have drunk a whole pint’s worth!!
Today is Princess and Superheroes day at the nursery. So I got out a very pretty dress, pink long-sleeved vest and pink tights. BF has a penchant for handbags at the moment, so I was able to accessorise the outfit with a pink fluffy handbag and a plastic tiara I got from friends when I got engaged! (I packed a pair of jeans too in case the dress didn’t last the day.) 7:45 we were out the door and on the way to the bus stop
> 08:00(ish) – arrived at nursery. Not sure if all the kids and staff dressing up in ‘strange’ clothes unsettled BF, but unlike usual when she’s only too happy to join in with the latest jigsaw, lego build, story time as soon as we get there, casually waving goodbye, today she clung to me sucking her thumb. She acquiesced when offered a cuddle with one of her favourite staff. But it was sad not saying goodbye to her normal chipper self.
> 08:30am – back home on the bus and furiously tidy around the trail of destruction that is normally left as we rush out the door to nursery. Today is “stairs day”!! The stairs to our newly constructed loft extension have been put in today, and when they knock through, a LOT of dust is created. So I wanted to make sure all clothes, toys, shoes, nappies, etc etc were safely hidden behind closed doors to save them from the worst of it.
> 09:00am – drive to the supermarket to buy more supplies for recipe testing tomorrow.
It is now that things started to go hideously wrong.
Once in the supermarket carpark, I spotted a space on the same level as the shop, not to far from the ticket machine. I swung the car out and then turned to go in.
I wasn’t quite at the right angle, so I reversed back and pulled back in. I was still quite tight against the car to my right, so I reversed to straighten up and pull back in again.
But somewhere along the way, my right rear wheel arch managed to get around the corner of the bumper of the car next to me...?
This meant I couldn’t go straight back otherwise I would have scraped their car, and left me only centimetres of manoeuvring space, especially as there was a huge concrete pillar on my otherside.
I can’t even put into words how stuck I was! I didn’t know how I’d even got the car in that position, let alone how to get out of it! I was sticking out of the space, so every new car that came in had to squeeze past me.
One lady stopped and tried to help me by directing me back and forth, but to no avail and she was running late for work.
After another seemingly 1,000 to and fros, I seemed to be a centimetre or so away from the car. Then another couple of lovely ladies stopped and encouraged me through the final few back and forths before I was finally free!
The relief I felt, and after such stress and such displays of kindness and sisterly support, meant that I of course burst into tears! Sobbing away, I thanked the ladies and drove away, and parked (without any fuss) in another spot.
Looking at the other car’s bumper, it looked to just have a few scrapes of mud from my wheel arch on it. But I’ve left my details anyway, in case it’s worse.
It was barely 9 o’clock and I was very much in need of a glass of vino. But after dragging my tear-stained self round the shop, I settled on a bag of jelly sweets.
> 09:30am – as today is “stairs day” I’d opted to camp out in Starbucks and use their wireless this morning. I was still pretty shaken-up by ‘bumper-gate’, so the prospect of a cheese and marmite pannani and large hot coffee was certainly enticing.
But having paid and settled into a seat, I realised I hadn’t got my phone! Not at the cash desk either. So abandoning my drink and food, I rushed out, tottering along on some high-heeled boots. (For some reason I decided as I wasn’t going to be walking much today I’d wear nice looking, but impractical footwear.)
The newsagents where I’d topped up my oyster card were particularly unhelpful. I got the feeling they could have whipped it, as did another customer I think as he let me use his phone to ring mine. We didn’t hear it ring, though. So no luck there.
Off I went back to the supermarket. This is when the second set of tears appeared, especially because I was getting a bit hot and sweaty as well as stressed and upset.
I went to the car (in it’s new spot) first in case I’d packed it away with the shopping. And lo and behold! It was right there on the carpark floor, just behind the car! It could have gotten run-over or stolen or anything, but it was there. Hurrah!!
> 09:45am – so back I totter to my less hot warm coffee and pannini. And along the way I bumped into an NCT dad, who when I told him about my horrific parking episode said I was lucky as he’d just come from the same carpark, where a Fiat 500 had managed to get itself stuck on one of the ‘up’ ramps by driving over the lane barrier it seemed.
Celebrating in someone else’s worse luck than me, I carried on, slightly worrying that things come in threes supposedly.
Just as I was, a random, slightly mad woman said “careful you don’t get bunions, wearing those” to me and nodded to my boots. Upon my telling her that it was OK as I had thick insoles in them, she replied that that wasn’t good enough and proceeded to tell me about a botch bunion-removal operation that she’d had at the local hospital that had left her without feeling in her foot.
Just as I was wondering whether I would escape her once inside Starbucks, she darted off into Boots (the shop, not footwear). I decided to count that as my ‘third’ of three.
After a mere 15 more paces and I was back in my seat, sipping luke warm but still fortifying coffee, and munching away at the magnificent flavour combo when it comes to comfort food of cheese and marmite. I opened my laptop, turned it on and glanced at my watch.
It was only 09:59am!
As ever, with love from our family to yours,
ps – The rest of the day went fine. The new stairs are super exciting, the house isn’t too much of a dustbowl and I was able to get on with some work in the lounge while the builders sorted the stairs out. But let’s hope tomorrow morning brings a little less drama!!