Tag Archives: sleep

A weekend away

Hi blog, how I’ve missed you.  I have a list of half-written blog posts that I’ll complete at some point.  Anyway, it’s spring, the sun is out, daffodils are smiling at me from the window sill and I feel like I could actually finish a blog post.  Spring madness.  So here goes…

We’ve just had a big family celebration and have been up north for a birthday party and family meal.  The plan started out simple enough, with an intention to get the train on Saturday morning, meaning a 2 hour journey, rather than a 4 hour drive, stay in a premier inn, get a taxi to and from the party, walk to the family meal in town the next day and hop back on the train.  Easy.  We did this last year for another family celebration and it worked fine – for me.

However, OH is still having nightmare flashbacks from that journey as our youngest was travel sick on the train – all over daddy.  So, it was decided that we would drive.  Eight hours of driving in one weekend with three small people, two of which are travel sick, is always going to take the edge off a celebration, but not to worry, we’ve done this journey many times.  It’ll be fine.  I use the word ‘fine’ a lot – it’s a way of convincing myself it really is all fine.

The car element meant that the plans started to grow.  We were now going for two nights and staying in different houses, first visiting the in-laws, distributing Easter eggs to the many nieces and nephews, most of them are nearby and were coming to visit for a few hours before we set off to the opposite side of Manchester to my brother’s house, which has been newly fitted with electrics and has the bare plaster decor to prove it.  A busy weekend was getting busier.

Mid way through the car journey from south to north, we realised that neither of us had put in any shoes for the small people.  We’d put them in the car in pjs and slippers.  Now, a few years ago, I reckon I could have got away with just the slippers, but there was no way my little ladies were going to accept them as appropriate accessories to sparkly party dresses.  We now needed to fit in a visit to a discount shoe store somewhere in the itinery.  Found one.  £27 and three pairs of shoes later – which I’d had to hope would fit, as no one would come out of the car in slippers to try them on – we were on route to my brother’s house.  I’m feeling slightly mixed about the price of the shoes; on the one hand, amazing bargain hunting and they all fit, and on the other, I feel it’s safe to assume that whoever made them wasn’t paid the living wage.  However, it was an ’emergency’ although admittedly in a #firstworldproblems only way.  I got a loyalty card for the shoe store anyway.  This could so happen again.

Right, arrived at brothers.  Time to blow up four airbeds, unpack smart party clothes and shake out the creases.  The children were super excited at the blow-up beds and so his front room quickly became a trampolining arena.  I have no idea how none of them popped.   Some screen time was needed to calm them down, but he’s only just moved in and doesn’t have a great TV signal sorted yet – out came the Thundercats boxset.  the schedule started to runaway a little as we all got a bit caught up in the Thubdercats boxset. My children have been running around ever since shouting ‘Thundercats HOOOOOOO!’  Ah, one of the great catchphrases of the 80’s, I believe.

The double air bed was the last to be blown up and as we opened it, we realised why we’d got such a bargain online.  It didn’t have a UK plug.  The only adaptors on hand were the ones you take on holiday to convert a UK plug into an international one, not the other way around, for obvious reasons.  So, my brother has bought my grandmas house, which means we were able to climb over enough stuff in the spare room to find a mattress that we think once belong to my great grandma.  Having rescued it from the room and beaten the dust off, we then realised that we I hadn’t packed any bedding… Well, we didn’t need it last year in the Premier Inn.  We’d have to bring some back from the party at my parents house later.

Time to get decked out in party clothes, which is followed by the soundtrack of myself appealing to the small people not to drop food or drink on their clothes, wee in them, mess up their hair or rip anything.

Party time.  By now, my youngest two are bouncing off the walls – I mean actually bouncing off the walls, using sofas to propel themselves the highest.  I quickly nipped that little activity in the bud and whisked them into another room.  Twenty minutes later, all three had fallen asleep – before the food came out.  My shoulders can finally drop from my ears, and a few glasses of wine enjoyed – definitely more than was wise.  It’s tricky at a house party, people re-fill your drink without you noticing, and then I seem to drink more  wthout noticing.  Anyway, it was a lovely evening catching up with family and freinds that we hadn’t seen for a while, before the scooping up three sleepy children with a midnight feast from the buffet into a taxi home.  For bedding, we’d found a car blanket as a bottom sheet and borrowed a sleeping bag from my parents, as a duvet.  The sleeping bag turned out to be one I’d had 25 years ago and had the unmistakable pattern of the 80s: think dark grey background, with tiny polka dots, finished off with bright splashes of colour.  It’s from the time of Thundercats – this weekend had taken on an 80s theme.  So, not the comfiest sleeping set-up, but turns out I can fall into a deep sleep under any circumstances these days, so it was fine.

The next day began slowly, but with more Thundercats, and some dressing up as my brother is an entertainer / magician professionally, so the children were having the time of their life in his circus room.  A circus room is something every house should have, of course.

Next, it was time for more smart clothes for the birthday Sunday Lunch, bags needed to be re-packed, the children had to be coaxed out of the circus room, three airbeds were let down and rolled back up into the tiny bags they are meant to fit in, the car was packed and we headed out for a ‘leisurely’ Sunday lunch, before the long drive home.  Longer on a Sunday afternoon as it turned out.  We arrived home shortly before 9pm after five hours of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ and ‘I need the toilet,’ followed by ‘No, we’ve ages to go. Why don’t you go to sleep?’ and ‘Well, for Heavens sake, why didn’t you go at the services 10 minutes ago?’  We then unpacked and got everything ready for Monday morning, which would sadly be happening in a few short hours.  We climbed into bed, exhausted, shadows of the people we were on Friday night, and ready for the enquiries into how was our lovely weekend away.  It was lovely, I just now need a lot of sleep and have a laundry basket that’s threatening to take over the upstairs.  If I could just get to a place where I can close it by the end of the week, I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something.  But, Rome wasn’t built in a day, I think I need to keep my ambitions more realistic.

It’s taken me 4 days to finish this post.  I still can’t close the laundry basket.  It will soon be time to pack again for trips over Easter.   Must remember shoes, must remember shoes, must remember shoes…

I’d really like to sleep for a while longer.  Keep smiling at me daffodils, keep smiling.


A daring moment in the adventures of parenting…

Impulsive and daring. Once upon a time, I used these words about wearing something ‘outrageous’, a last minute decision for a big night out, going on a blind date, leaving the country for a year, getting onto the news, abseiling, quitting a job, heading off into the unknown on the back of a motorbike. Now, it’s how I describe trying to have an afternoon nap.

This is life with three small children. The sad thing is, it genuinely felt like a dare. A crazy, risky thing to do, full of high excitement and thrill.

The 4 & 2 year old were absorbed in their own game. I edged away to do a few chores. A few minutes later they hadn’t noticed I’d left, and were still happily playing. I got bolder and edged further away, and then a little further. Like a cat burglar in my own house.

Safely sneaked into sanctuary, I found myself unable to resist a call to lie down. There was a pillow and a duvet actually saying my name, I’m sure of it. On impulse, I set my alarm for 20 minutes time, so as not to miss the school run, (we don’t want to get too crazy here) and lay down. The sun streamed through the window and warmed my face, I could have been on a beach. As that beautiful feeling of warmth and comfort was beginning to envelope me, heavy eyelids closed, I felt myself drift, weightless, resting…

CRASH! Smash! Scream! More screaming. They were onto me. The delayed ‘mummy’s missing for more than five seconds’ radar had kicked in. The game had taken a more destructive turn. It sounded like every box of lego, building blocks, dolls accessories, jigsaws, games (especially the ones with lots of pieces) were being upturned all over the house.

So, it would probably have been a good idea to head back downstairs at this point and gain control. I didn’t do that. To be honest, it sounded scary downstairs and judging by the noise, the damage was done. Best to get that bit of rest and deal with it in a better mood. The children felt differently. A screaming competition broke out, which is a really pleasant noise and I winced, hoping the neighbours were at work and not having a day off.   This had clearly become a battle of wills, ‘Who does mummy think she is not spending her every waking moment watching over us?’

I started to break. Pitifully, opting for a halfway house solution, I summoned my best middle-class mum voice ‘Everything ok sweethearts? Please stop screaming. Mummy doesn’t like it.’ They only ever get called names like ‘sweetheart’ and ‘darling’ when I’m inwardly seething and desperately trying to put my best ‘I’m not at all phased by your behavior as I’m clearly the one in charge here’ voice on.

Silence followed. Damn, I’d given my location away. Could I sneak into the bathroom and lock the door before they got to me? Will I fit underneath the chest of drawers? No, probably not. Or maybe I could hide in a wardrobe? With a few cushions, I could nod off again and no one would know, although I’d probably freak my OH out when he got back from work later and found me there. I’d spent too much time deliberating, their hands were on the door. It opened, I’d say in slow motion to create a more cinematic image, but it was instant.

I pretended to be asleep, maybe they won’t want to disturb me. (Who was I trying to kid?) As the thought popped into my mind, my eyelid was forced open. ‘Found you!’ Two, beautiful, grinning faces with whom, despite physical and mental exhaustion, I am completely in love, and by whom my existence appears to be defined.

The dream was over. The impulse had not paid off. There was going to be no napping.

I headed downstairs to put the house back together, gather bags for swimming classes and find shoes for the school run to get number three.  Something started making a noise. I hunted through the toys, desperately trying to find the offending piece of plastic and rip out its batteries.

But the noise was following me around. ‘Beep beep beep’.

It got louder.  ‘BEEP, BEEP, BEEP’.

Ah, it was my alarm.