..of Bad Mammy, The Toddler and The Littl'un.
What follows is a true and more or less accurate depiction of a typical day chez Bad Mammy.
7am: The Toddler wakes up shouting "My mammy!". It does not seem to have occurred to her that, as she is in a bed, she could just get up herself if she really wanted to. I go and get her, and bring her back to our bed, where I spend the next half an hour persuading her that she wants to go back to sleep, instead of climbing on me.
7.30am: Decide I can no longer ignore the demands for breakfast. Drag my unwilling arse out of bed, fetch The Littl'un and head downstairs. Explain to The Toddler that she can't have Cheerios because we don't have any. Ask her what she wants instead. She says Cheerios. Explain again, ask again, get "Cheerios" again. Lose my rag and tell her she's having Rice Krispies. Argue about whether she's having milk on them or not. She wins, eats them dry, and scatters them all over the kitchen floor in the process. I spoon porridge into the baby, and try and make myself a cup of tea that is not completely rubbish.
8am: Sit on the sofa drinking my crap tea, while The Toddler demands telly. Tell her she can't have any (the rule is not before 9 o'clock), and to play with her toys.
At some point after 9am: give in and put the telly on. Quite often this happens at 9:01. Laze around in pyjamas, occasionally making a half-hearted effort to get The Toddler to play with something, and now and then giving The Littl'un something new to chew.
10:30 am (ish): Realise The Littl'un is scratching her head so hard she's gouging chunks out of it, which means she's tired. Put her down for a nap, crossing my fingers that today is not one of the days she's going to scream in protest about that. If it's not, decide it might be a good time to get out of my pyjamas. Cajole/threaten/wrestle The Toddler up the stairs and try and find her a sensible outfit to wear. Eventually let her wear her best party dress, just to avert the tantrum. Keep The Toddler happy while I am in the shower by giving her a flannel and telling her to clean the shower door. Hope I can get clean before she gets bored of this and starts opening all my tampons, or wanders into my room and pulls all my handbags out of the wardrobe.
12 noon: Lunchtime. Ask The Toddler what she wants for lunch, and get the reply "ham sandwich", as I do every day. Make her one, and plonk a piece of toast in front of The Littl'un, trying to forget how much salt bread has in it. The children eat their lunch, I stand in the corner of the kitchen, munching on crisps and pretending not to notice that the dishwasher needs emptying.
12:30pm: The Toddler has wandered off, having resisted my efforts to make her see that a sandwich is not a sandwich if you don't eat the bread. The Littl'un starts to cry, which reminds me that I haven't fed in her in a long while, and that, yet again, I have managed to forget that it's meant to be milk before solids. Attempt to feed her. She guzzles greedily for 5 minutes, before spending the next 20 minutes bobbing on and off in between looking around the room at nothing in particular.
1:30pm: The Toddler starts complaining that she's tired. As usual, refuses to believe that the answer to this is to go to sleep. Sit her on the sofa, put Toy Story on.
3pm: Decide that's quite enough TV. Enforce fun activity. Preferably one which requires very little input from me. Before 30 minutes have passed, The Toddler will have got bored of said activity and/or The Littl'un will have tried to eat it. Tired shouts of "I want the telly. Want Beebies" ensue. I will not crumble.
4pm: I crumble. The Littl'un needs feeding anyway. Then I have to make tea.
5pm: Tea-time. The one part of my day I can be proud of. A lovely, nutritous, low-salt, home-cooked meal is served. The Toddler tells me she doesn't like it, and The Littl'un throws it on the floor.
6:25pm: Peppa Pig has finished. If The Toddler is in a good mood, she turns off the TV herself, and obligingly trots upstairs. If she's not, there are tears, shouts, threats, messing about on the stairs, and finally, frog-marching. Put children in the bath. The Littl'un gets overexcited by the discovery that if she kicks her legs she can make a BIG SPLASH, which pisses The Toddler off. Get them out and dried. Run around the landing chasing The Toddler, who has decided she doesn't want her pyjamas on.
6:45pm: Story time. Read "Father Christmas Needs a Wee". Deny requests to read "Father Christmas Needs a Wee again". Deny requests for extra stories. Tell The Toddler to hurry up into the bathroom and have her teeth brushed, as The Littl'un is trying to get milk out of my shoulder. Bed, final story and song. Explain that if she needs a wee, she will have to go now, as I need to feed The Littl'un. She declines.
7pm: The Toddler is in bed. Settle down to feed The Littl'un. Immediately hear "I want a wee wee". Ignore, hoping she will just go in her nappy, until the hysterics start. Go and try and put The Toddler on the toilet while simultaneously feeding The Littl'un. Wonder why I don't learn that this very rarely works.
7:45pm: The Littl'un is down, The Toddler is out. Go downstairs, sit on the sofa and stare blankly in front of me.
10pm: Start thinking about bed. After I've just checked Facebook/Twitter/ScaryParenting one more time....
11:30pm: Finally get into bed. Lie there silently without sleeping, in anticipation of one of them waking up to have a whinge.
Midnight: Decide it might be safe to actually go to sleep.
1am: Am woken by an ominous-sounding whinge. Go and replace The Littl'un's dummy and turn on her lullaby dog thing. She settles back down
1:10am: The Littl'un makes more noise.
1:20-2:00am: The Littl'un cries then starts to settle, or cries, then wakes fully, then starts to settle, roughly every three minutes.
2:00am: The Littl'un is now thoroughly, thoroughly sleepy, but still unable (or unwilling) to drop back off to sleep. She is now screaming, and I am trying rocking, jiggling, stroking, giving water, and anything else I can think of that is not feeding her, as I am as positive as I can be, given that she has not yet mastered the English language, that she is not hungry. Meanwhile, a voice in my head is going "If you just fed her, you could all be back asleep in 15minutes". I yell at it to shut up.
3:00am: I finally find whatever it is that will work to get her off to sleep, for tonight anyway. Go and see The Toddler, who has of course been woken by all these shenanigans, and is now demanding a drink of water. She takes one sip and puts it down.
3:10am: The Toddler shouts again. I try ignoring her, so she shouts louder. Go and give her another paltry sip of water.
3:30am: Finally fall asleep
5am: The Littl'un starts squawking for food. Go and settle down in my chair to feed her.
5:45am: Wake up with a start, realising I have fallen asleep in the chair with the baby balanced precariously on my lap. Put her back in her cot, and go back to bed, noting that it will soon, once again be...
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Obviously, not every day is like this. Sometimes I go to the Metro Centre. But there are too many of them for my liking. So as well as being utterly, utterly knackered, I'm feeling bad at how crap I am at being an interesting, fun and effective parent.
Oh well. New Year, new start. This is the good thing about my dual heritage, just when my Western New Year good intentions have inevitably fallen by the wayside, along comes Chinese New Year to give me another kick up the arse (I am not the kind of person who can kick myself up the arse just because it needs doing, I need some kind of Significant Date). I will try and fix the sleep problems, and if I can't, then I'm just going to have to stop feeling sorry for myself and learn to function without.
Gong hei fat choi.
PS I realise that Husband is conspicously absent from this day. There are sometimes days when he's gone or sleeping for pretty much most of the day, but these are mercifully rare. When he's here, the dishwasher does get emptied, he's the one arguing about Rice Krispies, and I get a decent cup of tea.