A Typical Day

Baby Girl has diarrhoea and is teething.

2.30am: Baby Girl is screaming and both parents are attempting to clean her up, calm her down and get her back to bed.
2.45am: Baby Girl is still screaming and I am lying in my room trying not to scream myself. There is nothing more upsetting than hearing a baby cry and not being any help.
3.00am: Baby Girl has stopped screaming and we can all sleep again.

7.20am: Alarm goes off. I am certain I have actually increased in tiredness.
7.30am: Drag self out of bed and into the bathroom where I really have to have a bath because I can smell myself.
7.50am: The table in the kitchen has gone, which perplexes my early-morning brain. Breakfast is taken speedily in the living room.
8.15am: Daughter Three and Daughter Two are both stirring, but at this rate they are going to be late. Group effort to get them out of bed, into clothes and down for breakfast. Daughter Two tells me about the carbon monoxide poisoning they suffered a few weeks ago, with impressive scientific understanding for a five year old.
8.45am: Post-breakfast pre-school panic as we are running late. Luckily no lunchboxes today but Daughter Two has swimming so a towel must be located.
8.46am: Mother and Daughters Two and Three have gone to school and I begin clearing up after breakfast and tidying round the house, alongside the housekeeper. Baby Girl wakes up and is fetched to be supervised communally.
9.00am: Time for another onslaught on the chaos of the playroom which is filled with crafts and paint and toys and books and all kinds of fun things which are currently inaccessible in a sea of themselves.
10.15am: Books are sorted into neat piles by subject and I begin stacking them on the shelves which have been cleared for the purpose. Paint and anything else messy is put away high on a shelf. Paper and pens, stickers, jigsaws, toy cars and baby toys are in easy reach of little fingers. I go to my room to attempt some French homework.
11.15am: In a very French way, Daughters Two and Three are coming home for Friday lunch. I put Baby Girl into her bear suit and her pushchair and we set off for the nursery school, bouncing over the cobbles and avoiding dog muck.
11.30am: Slow progress back up to the hill is made by all concerned, with frequent stops in order to kiss/tickle/poke/leap on/rescue Baby Girl.
11.45am: Back in the house, Baby Girl has us on tenterhooks by looking as though she’s just about to take her first steps unaided – and then sits down again.
11.50am: Baby Girl has made an enormous and apparently extremely painful mess in her nappy. I change my very first infant nappy unaided: it is a baptism of diarrhoea (not literally, thank goodness). Mother appears to apply liberal quantities of soothing ointments and creams onto some very sore baby skin. Daughter Three watches with interest – the ointment is bright purple and looks like squid ink.
11.55am: Daughter Two shouts Baby Girl’s name across the living room. Baby Girl repeats her name. General excitement.
12.00pm: Lunch is ready. Baby Girl again seems about to walk unaided, but changes her mind. General disappointment.
1.15pm: Mother gathers up Daughters Two and Three and takes them back to school. The housekeeper and I breath a sigh of relief at the sudden quiet, and clear up after lunch.

And it’s still only mid-afternoon.

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