I told you it would not last – the white hot haze of efficiency of Monday.
It is now Wednesday.
I am exhausted beyond exhausted and have spent the last two and a half hours in bed. I did think about doing some chores.
Then I went to bed.
Yesterday I did nothing but take the children to school, have my hair done, and go to the theatre.
It took from six yesterday morning when I got up, to half past midnight when I got in, and I felt like I had, at the very least, scaled the Pyrenees armed only with a toothpick and a small photo of Bear Grylls.
My desk looks like an explosion. I suddenly have mountains of stuff to do which weren’t there two days ago. I am avoiding my in box and every time my phone beeps I stare at it as if it is trying to kill me.
Things are back to being reassuringly chaotic.
I am pleased with the hair. It is the same as all the other times, because I got that urge – the one where you’re having a new baby or it’s a new year or you start a new job and you think: ‘Goodness, I really must do something ludicrously challenging with my hair.’ I resisted. This is good, because it never ends well. I slightly indulged myself with a pale pink streak amongst the redness. I would photograph it, except that it is not very pink and not very noticeable until you accidentally catch sight of it, and that’s hard to do whilst holding an iPhone to the side of your head and trying to take a hair related selfie.
I was pleased I got the children to school. I am a bit of a masochist when it comes to the school routine. I believe, entirely because I am lazy, that it is good for the children to do things for themselves. One of the things they have to do for themselves is assume the responsibility for getting themselves sorted for school. This is not actually laziness on my part, truly, because it never, ever goes well. Even though, on this occasion I made them both prepare on Monday night ready for the first foray into the cold, dawn light of Tuesday.
Always, always, always, something unbelievable happens. They lose a fork in their hair and have to have it cut out. They go to school wearing no socks (Oscar) or no pants (Oscar), or have their trousers on back to front (Oscar). They wear odd shoes (Tallulah) or put their shoes on the wrong feet (Tallulah) or forget to tell me there is a trip that morning and they need packed lunches, visas etc (Tallulah). It is hell.
I persevere, in truth, because I cannot bear these children who cannot do anything for themselves and who whinge and moan and demand that things be done for them, and then die of scurvy at the age of eighteen when they leave home because it is the first time they’ve ever been made to do stuff for themselves and they just can’t cope. Part of a parent’s job is to equip them for life outside the nest, and if that means children showing their parents up as slovenly half wits on the odd occasion when they decide to turn up to school wearing a bikini and no coat in February, then so be it.
In the case of yesterday morning it appears that Tallulah has lost her school shoes. She announced this five minutes before we were due to leave the house on Tuesday morning while I was in the middle of something crucial. She was not worried, she said, because she had found an old pair of Tilly’s shoes, and although they were a bit big, it would be fine.
I was not as impressed with this solution as she was. I made her go and look for the shoes she should have been wearing. This did not go well. It involved hissed bickering between her and Oscar, who, for some reason had become involved, and me shouting because we were going to be late.
The shoes were not found. She behaved, when she told me the shoes were lost, as if they were lost in some far flung region, possibly Botswana. They were, in her mind, irredeemably lost. I could not understand this. She came home in them on the last Friday of term. She went to stay with her dad, and didn’t take her school shoes, and to Pembrokeshire, where she didn’t take her school shoes. They must be in the house.
Except that she says they are not.
I am refusing to look for them. This is not because I don’t want to look for them. I desperately want to find them and wave them, victoriously under her nose. I dare not look for them because it is almost certain that I will find them three minutes after starting to look, probably in the shoe rack, and then I will HAVE to kill my own child with a pair of shoes.
I don’t want to go to prison yet.
There is still panettone left over from Christmas.
P.S. The play, despite being responsible for my record level of tiredness so early into the term, was amazing. Andrea got tickets for us to see the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall at the RSC in Stratford. It was beautiful, stark and clever and incredibly well adapted. Mantel was there last night, and I didn’t even have to resist the urge to peer behind me and see her reaction to what was going on on stage, I was so engrossed in the story. It’s part two tomorrow night and I must squeeze in more sleep where I can.
Tickets for the Stratford run are sold out, but it is transferring to London and you should try and get tickets if you can.