A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just Another Day on Planet Mum : Mum's Taxi Service

I've been down and out with a cold the last few days so I'm posting this rather late. Nothing serious although the coughing can get painful.
Seeing that I've lost a couple of days, I'm going where all science fiction has gone before I'm throwing in the grandfather of all plot devices here... travelling back in time.

Mummy's Log, Stardate: Wednesday -- 30 June 2010

Some mornings when I open my eyes, I wonder if I've actually slept... for more than two hours. Darkness holds an eerie sameness until after five in the morning. Then it gradually lightens into a hazy kind of gray. Groggy from a sleep-wake-sleep-wake-sleep-wake night time misadventure, my heavy head emerges from a well-used pillow and wonder if this is a dream within a dream. Seconds later it falls drowsily back from the foamed sink hole.
Dreams can be deceptively real... so real that it's hard to believe that one's slept through those wild visions only to have no memory of them later on.
The eyes open and then the brain starts churning... and chugging. And while it isn't the island of Sodor with the Fat Controller at the helm, it means there's no hope of sleeping in...

I groan inwardly and reach for my iPod touch to find out what's wrong with the world. Seconds later, the eyes adjust to the light and see the time. It's almost 7:30. Time to rouse the troops... except the troops are already roused, ready and happily rowdy. Me... not so much. Oscar the Grouch can't begin to touch me when night time sleep eludes me. For a fleeting moment, I am envious of the cantankerous green monster of children's television... for alas I don't have a "trash can" to take refuge in... and I'm not cute when I'm grouchy or grumpy or tetchy. No one likes me when I'm tetchy.

I take a deep breath and emerge from under the feathery spread. I get dressed... slowly and grudgingly... curiously weary. Perhaps from a lack of real sleep. Anyway, there's no time for dwadling, I have to take the big girl to the Holiday Kids Club.
I potter in the kitchen and cobble  together something resembling breakfast. In some places it's called oats. I dish it out to an unethusiastic 9 year old and I give her the "that's all you're going to get" glare to silence any forthcoming objections.

I slink back to the bedroom to wallow in self-indulgent time wasting. The husband bursts out of the bathroom and sinks into the bed looking pallid. He's breathing heavily and I recognize the signs. He's had one of his episodes and needs time to recover.

He tells me that he needs me to drive him to work as he's no condition to catch the bus. I remind him that I need to take the 9 year old to kids club first.
I take the deepest breath I can muster and push aside thoughts that this is not a good start to the day.

Children belted safely in the car so we finally leave the house.
I have a mild headache and that feeling of weariness stalk me.
The drive to the kids club is passed in silence. The husband senses that something is wrong. I wave it off and say that I'm tired and feeling a little off kilter.
We drop the 9 year old off and make our way back. I feel the forehead swelling by the minute.
Arriving at the intersection, we groan... traffic backed up for 600 m waiting for the trains to pass and the boom gates to lift. The car in front of me can't make a right turn because cars on the other side of the road feel obliged to clog up the intersection. Traffic is momentarily paralyzed. Our lights turn red. We've moved a quarter of an inch. Someone behind us is blaring their car horn pointlessly. We can't move buddy... put your horn happy fingers somewhere else. Well, I did say I was feeling tetchy.

I look around to do a highly illegal U-Turn some where but the flashing red lights stop flashing and the boom gates go up. Everyone behind a car is relieved and the traffic starts to move. A car idling in traffic for more than 2 minutes is abnormal in suburbia.

The run into town is better than I had expected. I drop the husband off at work and he looks guiltily grateful. I venture a weak smile and bid him goodbye, eager to get home.
The drive home is uneventful but the 3 year old puts in a protest when I tell her we're going home. I tell her that she's allowed a banana when we get home and she transforms into sweetness and light.

I pull into the garage. Glad to be home but completely disoriented. It's not as cold as yesterday but I'm not about to change into shorts. I pull out the banana as promised and the 3 year old swiftly swipes it from my hand. At least she thanks me nicely.
The morning has barely begun... and I'm knackered. Taking the 3 year old anywhere feels too much like hardwork. I put on ABC Kids while I recover from my morning exertions.
And then... I head for the world wide web... where work is only a click away.

The dull, gray skies outdoors doesn't inspire much cheerfulness. So I bundle the 3 year old into the car and it's off to the local library for Storytelling time.
We get to the library in nick of time for Storytelling but the 3 year shows little interest in the main attraction and wants personalized storytelling instead. She finds her book of choice and insists on me reading. She's surprisingly attentive but minutes later, with her on my lap, I detect an onerous odour diffusing through her underpants. My mummy radar knows instantly that excrement is involved.

We're home and the little one gets a quick clean up while I lament about her regression into toddlerhood.

I make up a bit of lunch for the 3 year old and I feast on leftovers.

I ring my sister to say that we'll come and see her new chicks after I pick the 9 year old from the Kids Club. We jump into the car again and take off to the local Baptist church.

The waiting area is freezing... nothing, of course, that a hot cup of tea can't fix. I browse the bookstall and chomp on a piece of confectionery while keeping a sharp eye on the 3 year old.

The 9 year old bounces out of the auditorium. Activities for the day are over. I tell her we're going to see her cousins and their new pets. She's excited.
I reverse out of the carpark trying not to hit other vehicles who are reversing out of the carpark.

Roadworks everywhere which slows traffic down considerably. Not everyone appears to be on holidays.
We arrive at cousins' place. Cousin names mother hen after 9 year old.  Children play around with chooks for about 10 minutes and then head into the house doing noisy childreny things.
I chat a bit with the sister and then remember that 9 year old hasn't had lunch. I tell her I should go but it takes me another 10 minutes to round up my brood.

We stop off at Coles to buy a few necessities for dinner.
I'm really beat but we soldier on, two children in tow clamouring for this that and the other.
A thought occurs to me: I don't know how I'm going to survive the MOPS planning meeting this evening.

We finally get home and I boil up some water for the noodles I promised the 9 year old she was going to have for lunch.
I fall into a chair and a feeling of weariness drapes over me. I'm really really tired.

The noodles are cooked and I dish it out for the 9 year old. I bring it to the dinner table and gives a few instructions. I tell her that I need a rest and that she and the little sister can watch tv while I take a nap. I collapse into bed and after a bit reading... I drift off to la la land.

I wake up with a start and wonder if the house is still intact.
Minutes later, the husband rings and says that we should eat out. I tell him I'm feeling better but he insists. I don't mind either way but the thought of not having to cook cheers me considerably.
So I take spend the next hour or so getting ready for the MOPS planning meeting. I look at the agenda and think to myself... I don't think we'll finish by 9:15... I've been to these meetings before.

We don't... we finish at 10:30...

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