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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Don't do it my way

I would not recommend taking on and living in a complete refurbishment project with 2 small children. Actually I would not recommend taking on and living in a complete refurbishment project, full stop. But, if you are going to do it, I would definitely say to you, don't do it with children. Particularly small children. I have 2, alice and william, 2 and 4 years respectively. They are pretty average children, in that they are both quite bonkers, over-energetic, & inimitably cheeky pre-schoolers.
Trying to do anything that requires a modicum of concentration is impossible. An example: we went to choose bathroom tiles at ' topps tiles ' a one stop shop. How difficult could it be? Except while my husband engaged in meaningful conversation with the sales assistant, completely detatched from any parental responsibilities I was left running round after the 2 said children. Both of whom felt it necessary to run at full speed down each aisle, william occasionally getting alice in a neck-lock to halt her progress; both thought it funny to try and get out into the loading bay complete with moving heavy goods vehicles, every time my attention was drawn to a tile or two. My reaction to these antics, resentful of my full time childcare role the other 5 days of the week, was to follow my husbands example and check out the tile ranges without regard to the kids. Of course, I  secretly wondered at what point he'd notice the children were with us. So off I went. The result? William racing over to me shouting 'mummy, mummy! Alice has banged her head and fallen over'. Me rushing to find my little toddler, sprawled on the floor and groggy. She was suffering concussion, having run and bumped her head on the floor. I felt terrible. It was very frightening. And served me right I know. I can only say from my own experience that guilt seems to be a huge part of what being a mother is about. After a shaky few moments and screeching at my husband for help (or just some moral support please), Alice was fine.
I nonetheless felt awful. Awful for wanting to have freedom for one moment to look at the tiles (sounds ridiculous even as I type that sentence). Awful that one of my motivations was resentment at my husband's ability to relegate all responsibility to me, wherever we are, when it comes to the kids. Awful that Alice got concussion (it only happens to us!).
Once we established Alice was fine, the car journey home was that bickering blaming exercise of who should have done what and who didn't do such and such. Not a particularly noble response to the fear that our gorgeous daughter might have done serious damage to herself because, for one reason and another we both wanted 5 minutes 'off' to select a bathroom tile. Silly isn't it.
Through the chaos we somehow managed to choose the tiles. But it's not the way to do it really. Is it.

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