Nothing can stop the 24-7 whirlwind world of motherhood for Claire Bates. Not even a suspect curry and a disasterous lack of Andrex.
So I’m sat on the loo, knickers around my ankles and the bottom is literally falling out of my world.
Bloke pokes his head around the door and asks if I’m all right.
I’ve been there since 2am, haven’t moved a muscle – not one weary, reddened gluteus maximus muscle – since then and he asks if I’m all right?
I groan a bit and wonder if my Monday morning can get any more surreal….when in pops Number Two carrying Postman Pat (minus cat – we lost that in Sainsburys and don’t take me back to the horror when he discovered that).
He proffers aforementioned Pat and smiles his cheeky 13-month-old smile: Before grabbing at the toilet roll and bombing off Andrex pup stylie as fast as his bum shuffling, defiantly non-crawling, chubby thighs will carry him.
He left me about eight sheets. Which was useful. If I’d mastered the art of taking a three-year-old and Bum Shuffler to the supermarket without it ending in tears – mine – then there’d be another roll of the lovely double-quilted, aloe vera-ed paper to deal with my, er, situation. But there wasn’t.
I look at Bloke’s pile of gadget mags and curse their overly glossy pages – too slippery. Do I even contemplate the guest towel? God no, it’s Cath Kidston, I just couldn’t.
So, I do what every bleary-eyed mother would do, stuck in this hideous early morning mayhem. Cry.
Yes, dear reader, months of “sailing through” with Number Two wondering what “all the fuss was about” when having a second, had finally hit me – right on the curry-cursed ass.
Ironically, the night out was a few new mums “getting away from it all” a chance, they said, to get out of the house and talk about something other than babies.
We talked about babies.
Not that that bothers me anymore. I’m getting slightly bored with all the yummy mummy, “oh-no-my-life’s-over,” “I lost my career under a pile of crappy nappies” and horror-of-all-horrors “I’ve got-baby-puke-on-my-shoulder” nonsense.
As unfashionable as it may seem, I LOVE my boys and I love being their mummy. And what’s more, is that I love the fact that Bloke is in a decent enough job that I can stay home and have the privilege of looking after them.
Yes, I ‘mourned’ my career in the early days, and yes, my life now can be a tad 1957 Good Housekeeping Guide – (except that I’m always forgetting to put that darn ribbon in my hair before he comes home) but, I love spending time with the gorgeous, mucky, chocolate-stained bundles of mischievousness that Bloke and I made when our lady bits, our boy bits and lots of buy-one-get-one-free Chablis collided.
Not that I’m feeling particularly lucky this morning. A quick text to my mate and I learn that I’m not the only one whose kids ain’t gonna make nursery that morning – not unless they have suddenly introduced a Virgin Upper Class-style pick-up-from-home service. (Note to self, take Pick-Up-From-Home Nursery Service idea to Dragons’ Den).
(Second note to self. Don’t. That bloody woman in power suits that never invests in anything will only purse her lemon-sucking lips and patronise me for being a mummy who’s actually chosen to stay at home.)
It seems that two out of the three of us who curried, are barfing bhuna left and right, or more accurately, top and bottom.
I make a quick calculation. Eight sheets of double velvet is going to last about 42 seconds.
It’s at moments like these that I know why I married Bloke. I call pathetically out to him and reel off my survival kit – six rolls of super absorbent, super kind-to-baboon-ass skin toilet paper, some diarrhoea tablets (or corks), litres and litres of bottled water and four bars of chocolate (nothing to do with the Delhi belly, this counts as an emergency and all emergencies need chocolate).
Bless him – with not even so much as a turned-up nose at the stench of death in the loo, he smiles almost sympathetically, and disappears to the pharmacy.
He then does the pre-school run immaculately and even remembered this week’s Topics Table item. Curse those Topics Tables and the complicated homework they generate – how should I know who is ninth generation in my family tree? And honestly, am I bovvered?
When he returns, he takes Number Two to a neighbour, passes me tablets, water and the John Lewis Home catalogue (was getting slightly bored with the iPod Nano v iPod Mini debate in the geek, sorry, gadget mags), makes his excuse (ie one of us has to earn a living) and leaves.
What follows, is a blissful hour or so of sitting still, doing nothing but reading. That’s what I said, dear reader, I did nothing but indulge in magazines, on my butt, in silence (save for the odd splash – sorry, did I go too far?), not moving, with no whining and no Tweenies on a loop in the background. For an HOUR.
Five days on, and with the tikka trots firmly behind me, I can only look back on that hour misty-eyed. Oh how I miss it.
Numbers One and Two are as robust, happy, boyish, challenging, humorous, wonderful and difficult as ever and some kind of normality has returned to the Bates household. (For those who read this column regularly, for ‘normality’ read ‘tranquillisers still in box’).
Ask me if I ever want to eat another curry? No. But do I ever want to sit still, on my butt, in silence, not moving, with no whining, no Tweenies, etc etc etc?
Remember before you had kids and you used to spend all day Sunday watching trashy TV in your PJs on the sofa, recovering from the night before? That’s how that precious hour felt.
You see mummies take their ‘luxuries’ where and how they can get them.
A bath feels like a spa weekend; a child-free haircut, like a celebrity makeover.
If it wasn’t for the damn libel laws I’d name and shame the curry house so every mother, from every corner of the county, could gather in the vain hope that they too might eat the offending sag aloo and might, just might, win themselves the chance of that precious hour.
It actually was worth it.