After today I can hardly believe that I have the energy to type this blog post, but somehow it’s happening – it has to. I have so many unfinished drafts at the moment that haven’t made it to the end, before I have been interrupted by a toddler, a baby or my own eyelids have shut completely. Tonight it’s happening. (Oh no, not that…hell, I haven’t got that much energy!)
So. Why would I rather smell like a goat? Because, I would rather smell like a goat forever than be followed around by one. FACT. Still confused. Let me take you back a few years…
**Time machine takes us back to the year 2006.
Tilly sits on a bar stool in trendy Clifton in Bristol, a size 10 skinny-bitch with glossy dark hair in the latest threads from the high street. Yes I know, you hate her already. So do I. She sips on her third cider (we are in the West Country remember, I was a student) and over the sounds of Arctic Monkeys ‘I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor.’ Tilly exchanges banter with her dear friends Joey (still young, cool and free) and Tam (now in the same post-partum situation as me, but equally glossy hair and fashionable clothes at the time, if not more as she was at Oxford – I went to Aberystwyth where the hippest shop is Dorothy Perkins). Anyway I digress.
“Ok, ok,” says Joey. “Would you rather smell like a goat for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, or be followed around by one for the REST OF YOUR LIFE?” “Hahaha!” I laugh (oh shut up, old Tilly, with your carefree cider laughter).
“I would rather be followed around by a goat, of course!”
“What about if you need to go to the loo?” asks Tam.
“Or have sex?” says Joey.
“Well,” replies Old Me, “intimate moments would be a bit awkward but I could tie a long lead to the goat and make it stand outside the door.”
And with that matter put to rest, I finish my drink and skip my way from bar to bar into the Bristolian sunset.**
10 years later.
I would rather smell like a friggin’ goat than be followed around by ANYTHING continuously for the rest of my life.
I need my space. God, I need my space. Nothing is sacred once you have a toddler and nothing is private. It’s also very, very intense. Compared to a toddler, a goat is extremely placid. A toddler follows you around from the moment they are awake in the morning, to the moment they go to sleep – that’s approximately 12 hours a day if you are lucky. The only time they don’t follow you is when they are running into the main road / towards a pond / into the sea / the men’s toilets or, if: they are quietly covering your new handbag with green highlighter pen / smothering the baby / eating from the sugar bowl / doing a poo behind the living room curtains. This is probably nature’s way of making sure you continue to look after your child, despite the constant following, because after saving your tot from a passing car and fumigating the house of faeces, you are actually relieved when they start to follow you around again.
Here’s an example of my day:
6am. Toddler crawls into my bed. The first I know is that her soft toy, Octopus (featured on my post Landing On Another Planet) is being shoved into my face. Octopus is covered in toddler saliva. And now so am I. “Wake UP Mummy, Wake UUUP!” Having just finished a night feed with the baby I have just come out of the deepest sleep ever…I open my heavy eyes and they immediately shut again. I drift away, hearing the distant sound of piano playing. Toddler must be playing the piano in the next room…how…early it is…I fall back into deep sleep. I wake up with another start. “MUMMEEEEEEEE!!!” “WEE-WEE-WEE-WEEEEEE!”
“Ok darling,” I mumble. “Good girl…” Bloody hell I can’t even lift my head I’m so tired! “Can you get your potty?”
“Yesh” (slight lisp).
Toddler fetches potty and places it right next to my head. *Pssssshhhh* (that’s wee sound) “MUMMEEEE!!! I FINISH WEE WEE! MUMMEEEEE! MUMMEEEEEEEEE!” “Yes, ok, well done, good clever girl…” I mumble.
The next thing I know, the potty is being shown to me.
“UH OH, MUMMEEEE….my wee wee….”
I am out of bed seconds later. The day has begun.
After clearing up urine, it’s time to make the baby’s milk. I also unload the washing machine, load the tumble dryer, put the kettle on and put toddler’s cup of cow milk in the microwave. By the time the Perfect Prep machine has given out it’s first deafening beep I have completed all of these tasks, whilst the toddler has been following me, tickling my legs with a pastry brush (she is also wearing cookie cutters as bracelets). (Pastry brush? I used to be a baker. Pre-children, of course).
In goes the formula powder – whilst I wait for the next beep I might just be very self indulgent and quickly go to the loo. Toddler charges in. “MINE!” she says angrily, grabbing the bunched up loo roll in my hand. Christ. Even two squares of your own flipping bog roll aren’t sacred. “That’s not yours,” I say in my best patient Mummy voice (it’s the beginning of the day) “It’s Mummys. Here’s yours.” I tear off two sheets and offer them to my little girl. She screams. The baby screams. The Perfect Prep machine screams. I fetch the bottle. Toddler is under my dressing gown, slapping my arse. “Mummy’s bot bot”. “Yes…” I reply wearily. Silence for 2 seconds. Toddler is still in my dressing gown. Then: “My den!” “My den!” “MUMMEEEE! MY DEN!!!” “Yes, it is YOUR DEN” I repeat, shuffling into the bedroom with the toddler staring at my bare bum in her ‘den’. After removing the toddler from my clothes I then settle about getting my beetroot faced youngest child out of her crib and onto the bottle. She gulps away gratefully. Toddler climbs up and over the baby. “I climb the baby!” she says gleefully as I gently bat her away from squashing her only sibling. Baby continues gulping, it’s survival of the fittest after all.
So that was the first half an hour. This theme continued throughout the entire day until 6pm. And it will continue tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. Some days it’s less intense than others. Sometimes if Daddy is here, he will be followed and I will be free, free as a bird, to pee and partake in other delights such as brushing my teeth or picking out a pair of pants without having them grabbed from my hands before I can put them on. Sometimes I can take a mouthful of breakfast cereal standing up in the kitchen, without someone stood on my feet, staring up at me with an open mouth like a desperate baby bird trying to catch a worm. Occasionally I can make a phone call without having anything wrapped round my leg, squealing.
I went out the other night. I didn’t have a toddler with me, a baby, or a goat. It felt fantastic. I felt so free. I felt like me! I didn’t even smell like a goat, I was wearing Chanel! It was great. I came back, happy and refreshed and ready to face another day being followed. Maaaaaa!