Honestly? I’m struggling a bit. There, I said it.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve all been taking it in turns to be ill for the last three weeks, or the fact that it’s bloody freezing (and therefore we have to dress everyone in a million layers every time there’s a long enough pause in the illness to leave the house). Perhaps it’s that the laundry system, such as it is, has reached overload due to all the body fluids and infectious matter we’ve (I’ve) had to eradicate of late. The house is stinky and it’s too cold to open a window. Maybe it’s that. Or perhaps the cat’s fleas are making me feel sad. Probably, it’s a combination of all this stuff. And February.
Sometimes, when, for example, the girls are fighting about who’s going to sit on my knee, and Ziggler pushes Pickle and Pickle screams and hits Ziggler, who flails and spills her juice on her skirt and explodes into sodden histrionics, with which Pickle must then of course compete with her higher-pitched, more tragic and louder yells and then the doorbell rings, I get a sort of head-buzzy dangerous feeling and I’m not sure if I’m going to emit a long, long blood-curdling scream or simply paste a wide, vacant smile on my face, tip the wriggly squabble of girls off my knee and answer the door. So far, it’s always been the latter but I can’t help feeling that doing this contributes to the likelihood of finding myself in a straight-jacket, rocking and drooling, before I’m sixty.
So anyway, as I said, I’m struggling a bit. And so here are five small but quite cheering things that have happened or come to light recently.
1. Ziggler turned 3 yesterday. She was a bit poorly, of course, but even so had a lovely day. I think she could live without presents and the trip on the London Eye because for her the crucial part of a birthday is the singing and cake. Early on in the day she declared that she wasn’t 3 until she’d blown out her birthday candles. I like the idea of the Ceremony Of The Candles as a performative rite. I think I might decide I’m not 36 until I’ve blown out my birthday candles (and since it’s me who’s i/c birthday cakes and candles, it will never happen).
2. My mum doesn’t need a timer to bake buns. She can smell when they’re ready. And she really, really can. It’s amazing. We had a companionable evening during which she baked buns with her amazing nose-timer and I decorated Ziggler’s butterfly birthday cake.
3. Sausage and Titch came over one afternoon when Titch was off school ill but had made an amazing lunchtime recovery. We had the big cardboard box from our new microwave handy and Titch made himself into a mystery parcel which, when you opened it had a snarling, growling beast in it who burst out and chased you in a properly terrifying manner. I can’t speak for Sausage and Ziggler but I haven’t screamed and giggled so much for a very long time indeed.
4. Pickle has a new habit of giving you a big, open-mouthed snotty and dribbly kiss, while she says ‘aaaaaah’. Then she shouts ‘yay!’ and claps. It sounds disgusting but it is, quite simply, adorable.
5. We’ve got a new microwave. The timer works. You know roughly how hot your heated up item is going to be and don’t have to gingerly stick your finger in it to check. It has revolutionised tea time in our house.
Half-term to get through now. But spring is on its way (It is. It definitely is), we’ve got reinforcements coming later in the week and then visitors a-plenty in the next few weeks. So I’m holding on. I’m holding on. I am. Yes.