Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tantrums and trauma with a happy ending

Well hello. You find me in a very sorry state after a sodding terrible evening. Worst one in ages. Particularly odd as yesterday evening was one of the greats. A trio of happy children who had thoroughly enjoyed their day and evening, who went to bed happily and easily with smiles on their faces. Even K and I had had great days (he sold an expensive house with a good commission and I completed my final Weight Watching meeting and had a lovely lunch with a friend) so last night the Mother and Other house was full of happy vibes, peace, good will and smiles. Tonight could not be more of a contrast.

At some point this afternoon Ted fell asleep in the playroom (I wasn't paying him any attention and it took ages for me to realise it had been a while since I had heard anything) and he was still asleep by the time I needed to leave for the school run. This has happened a number of times (him being asleep at school run time, not me ignoring him) and has never been a massive problem in the past, but today it would appear that Ted hadn't had as much sleep as he wanted and about 30 seconds after I woke him up he began protesting in earnest. It was a bog standard tantrum before we left the house - screaming and lying on the floor, arching himself backwards if I tried to pick him up etc - and usually these sort of tantrums desist once he gets out in the fresh air. Again, today was different.  The tantrum worsened upon leaving the house and continued to worsen as we got down the road. He wriggled out of the buggy and sat on the pavement. I attempted the 'fine stay there' approach and walked off. He was happy alone on the pavement and showed no sign of moving. I was by this point incredibly late for pick up and realised there was nothing for it but to get on and bear the pain. I picked him up, strapped him in the buggy, remembering the middle strap this time and pushed him determinedly towards the school. The angry screaming and wailing continued, along with the furious kicking of legs and straining against the buggy straps, all the way to school, at the classrooms for pick up of the three children and then all the way home. Around 25 minutes in all. Added to that Bea was unhappy as I wouldn't carry her school bag as well as her coat and when I gathered G hastily from his teacher, I was presented with a one eyed misery as he had recently been poked in the eye and was pretty upset about the whole thing and acting as if he had lost the eye. He also began whining over the lack of car to take him home and the fact that I wouldn't pull him on the scooter as an alternative. Bea realised she was out tantrumed by her brothers and her and the extra child set off to walk comfortably ahead of us, disassociating themselves from the whole sorry sight. Wisely so as we were attracting an awful lot of attention from other school leavers and members of the public. Ted's straining, guttural tantrum noises were making people look round very quickly to see if there was a child being abused/abducted that they might be able to help. Instead people were confronted with the visual of a red faced, pregnant and harassed woman pulling a crying, one eyed, five year old along whilst pushing a recalcitrant buggy (mum found it in the charity shop and it was there for a reason), with a screaming two year old inside straining against the straps and wearing only a nappy, a pair of white socks and a spiderman top. I know with every fibre of my being that all the people in the cars stuck at the traffic lights and all the people with or without children walking on both sides of the road were looking at me and my supersized bump and thinking the same thing. 'Why on earth are you having another one you idiot'.

We arrived home in one piece and I will admit to you all that I was not as gentle or as calm as I should have been when I released Ted from the buggy straps and put him in his cot so that he could finish the tantrum out of earshot and I could calm down. Unfortunately in the middle of all this and trying to treat G's eye issue and Bea's overheating from too many layers of clothing, a man knocked at the door. Clearly life had not dealt this man a fair hand as he was going door to door to try and peddle LoveFilm and he chose to knock on my door at an incredibly inopportune moment. He did not receive a very warm welcome and I unleashed some of my pent up anger on him. This turned out to be quite lucky as I was then calm enough to rapidly sort out the big two before turning my attention to Ted. I calmly questioned if he was ready to calm down, removed him from his cot and sat and cuddled him in front of the TV until life had returned to something approaching normality. Then I was just left with the usual fighting over who was playing with whom - the extra child is still regularly fought over - and the constant request for various toys that need to be found instantly by me. Bedtime was even worse as they all had melt downs over various things. It took an hour after I officially said goodnight for them to admit defeat and shut the hell up and sleep. It was as if they knew that K was having a rare night out and I was on my own. Oh and that poor man from LoveFilm returned (clearly very desperate for a commission), whilst the children were still complaining from upstairs, in the hope that 'this was a less busy time'. Dear Lord men are stupid.  Although luckily for me, the man with whom I share my life is not as stupid as I thought. He had thoughtfully left me a bar of chocolate in the fridge. He even hid it to make finding it all the more exciting. And he didn't tell me it was there, so he was obviously only thinking of me and my delight at discovering such a thing when he hid it there.

It is a shame that the last eight hours or so have sullied my good mood. Especially as I had lots of good things to tell you. I shall try and improve things by telling you some of my recent excitements. I have picked up a pregnancy book and discovered that I am well in to the third trimester now - not sure what that means to you but to me it signals the home stretch and means that the newbie could be 'viable' if born from now on which is also nice to know. (Although it also alerted me to Toxoplasmosis which I seem to have all the symptoms for - books are incredibly dangerous for hypochondriacs and really should be avoided. I shall be getting the midwife to test me though, just in case). The third trimester also seems to have coincided with K deciding I am pregnant 'enough' to warrant help, so, (drum roll please) I am permitted to have a cleaner once a week now! Oh yes, this is most thrilling. And, upon the safe arrival of No. 4 I am allowed her twice a week. Such luxury is unheard of in this household. It is almost too decadent. Still, I am rolling with it just in case having another baby is actually quite tiring even after it is out of the uterus. Cupcake Sister has assured me that it does. She is constantly ruining surprises for me.

There was even more excitement last week as I went out. Not just any ordinary going out - this was to the theatre. It has been many years since I have been to the theatre, even more since I saw anything grown up.  This was a very grown up play - John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. I didn't know what it was about before I got there, I went as a stand in for a friend of mine who couldn't make it and her husband very kindly said I could take her ticket and go as his date.  I knew it wasn't going to be Mary Poppins, I had managed to ascertain that it was a tragedy and having studied a fair bit of Shakespeare and plays of around the same era, I realised it wasn't going to be joyful or hilarious, but I was looking forward to using my brain regardless. However from the get go I knew I wasn't going to handle it - it started off with people walking in slowly and ominously with big cloaks and hoods covering their faces and immediately it looked like something scary from Midsomer Murders. As we know, I do not 'do' scary and MM is quite often way above my 'comfort' threshold. Without wishing to ruin it for anyone planning to see the play there are some almightily horrid brothers who decide to punish their sister for her perceived wrong doing (marrying beneath her and procreating with the lowly man) and eventually end up having her killed - right in front of my eyes. Two men pulled very hard on a rope they had placed around her neck and continued to do so as she struggled, gasped and strained against it - for a very long time. It was horrifying. Coupled with the fact that after she did finally die, the 'bad' man went on to order the death of her lady in waiting and the Duchess' two babies who were with the lady in waiting. This was after the horrific visual of the husband and first son of the Duchess, hanging from the gallows with their hands cut off. (Luckily they weren't real in the play or in real life and this was just another way the brothers had thought up to upset the poor Duchess). Although the husband does end up dead by the end. Only her first son survives the whole terrifying ordeal.  I left the Old Vic a tad traumatised. Still, it was nice to be out of the house and to have caught up with my friend's lovely husband who even treated me to an ice cream in the interval, so it wasn't all bad.

And of course, as of now, I am officially on maternity leave from wibblies. I carried out my final meeting on Monday and bid farewell to all the lovely ladies who had become my regulars. I even got a card and small gift from the lovely old lady who had been there from my very first meeting in September. It was all very touching. As soon as all the stock is picked up and taken away, which means we will once again have storage space in the house and the use of my car boot, I will crack open the champagne. I shall miss my £100 or so pocket money it provides once a month, but enjoying my Sunday nights once again and not worrying every Monday morning will more than compensate for the monetary loss.

So, there you have it. Happiness, despair, trauma and chocolate. A typical week. I am shattered from all of it so am going to bed to enjoy some snore free sleep time whilst K is still out. (His snoring, not mine, in case that wasn't clear). I also like to have the whole bed to myself - it is one decadence after another with me. So, without further ado I shall away to my bed to dream of murdered mothers and children. (It is five days since the play and my dreams are still haunted). I am sticking to animated cartoons from now on. The children and I have recently managed to watch Toy Story 3 without getting upset although Coraline will always remain off limits. (The alternative mother collects children's eyes - when will people stop the madness?)

Sweet dreams people - may they be filled with chocolate, clean houses and no murders.


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