Last Monday morning, at around five, as I sat, semi naked on the toilet with the door wide open, my eleven month old clinging to my right leg smacking a maraca on my knee, green snot pouring from his nostril, his full nappy bulging at the seams, all the while making a siren type noise, and my three year old clung to my left leg, asking me if I was doing a wee or a poo and congratulating me on weeing “all by myself,” before demanding chocolate biscuits for breakfast, I had an epiphany.
I don’t claim to be the oracle of parenting – but I have figured it out. I think I have worked out the hardest thing about being a parent to young children. Eureka, I’ve got it! It’s not the loneliness, the guilt, the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, or being constantly kicked in your fanjo.
No! It’s the mornings; specifically it’s the waking up.
Waking up used to involve preparation. Perhaps a specifically chosen alarm that eases you into the day like constellation or crystals or night owl. Perhaps you prepared a cafetiere of expensive coffee and a warm pain au chocolat. Even if you were feeling really crap, a long hot shower would sort you out. And failing all that, putting on a full face of make up and a nice outfit would really help you to face the day ahead. Mornings – though hard, were manageable.
Then you had children.
The only way I can describe mornings now are someone waking you up at the moment they open the plane doors and push you out for a surprise sky dive. Wake Up GOOOOO!!!
What the Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccckkkkk, This parachute won’t open!!
It’s like waking up as someone plunges you into the deep end of a swimming pool. And the swimming pool has several floaters in it.
It’s like waking up on the starting line of a hundred meter sprint at sport’s day.
It’s like regaining consciousness and you’re sat on a University Challenge panel and Jeremy Paxman is shouting at you “come on… come on…”
My mornings now have zero preparation. I know I ‘could’ set an alarm earlier and do all of the above. But the idea of forgoing sleep at any point (when we are on such basic rations – hmmm, nah). Also I don’t fancy setting an alarm for 3am.
Mornings now involve hearing several high pitched screeches (particularly nice when you have a hangover) and me ‘playing dead’ before realising it’s not an option.
Then the second my foot is on the floor it’s full speed ahead. Like stamping on the accelerator.
Then straight away it is a conveyer belt of poos and piss and snot and tears and screaming and toast and weetabix and Tellytubbies and fluorescent TV and the Gruffalo and cold tea and cleaning and cooking and hoovering and rushing around like a headless mummy chicken. All of which is done half dressed, with a full bladder, and resembling Waynetta Slob’s exhausted sister.
And you don’t get to stop and really ‘wake up’ till 7pm when you hear that bottle uncork. Now ‘that’ is the best sound to get me moving.