I'm constantly amazed at little M's ability to both live in the moment and raise the spirits of those around her. Last Friday should have been crap. I won't go into detail but think teething, temperatures, extreme tiredness and...diesel spillage from next door's scooter to add that extra special something. And torrential rain.
Things started to look up when we finally made it out of the house. We were trudging through the rain, me desperately trying to control the pushchair with one hand whilst holding an umbrella with the other, really wishing the raincoat I had finally gotten around to buying had arrived, hardly able to push it as little M's umbrella was wedged against the handle. Suddenly little M exclaimed excitedly "Look! Flowers!" pointing at some rain sodden winter blossom floating in a puddle. We lifted our eyes from the ground to find we were about to trudge past a beautiful blossom covered tree. A timely reminder to snap out of my serious self pitying grump! After that it seemed so much easier to see the positives in life.
We had lunch at the brilliant children's cafe we are lucky enough to live near - a great place to dive into on a rainy day when we're all bouncing off the walls. Toys for the girls, a steaming cup of gingery goodness for me from their new hot drinks range, and cheery renditions of Christmas songs from little M for everyone else! What a star.
Martin surprised us all by coming home early from work doing magic tricks and telling poo jokes. A very rare treat. Little M came up trumps again by creating her own magic trick which involved crawling commando style across the kitchen floor and getting Martin to do the same. It made me laugh a lot!
Little L was not her usual cheery self but she was so pleased to see Martin when he got home (I'm sure she tried to say "daddy") and little M had done such a good job of reminding me to look for the nicer things in life, that I decided I would nip out to a friend's Christmas party later that evening after all. I'd been wavering, partly because I was shattered, and partly because Little L was being clingy as she was out of sorts. But it seemed silly to waste the opportunity as Daddy was flavour of the day! It was definitely the tonic I needed. A couple of hours of socialising with adults without having one eye on the kids. Only my second evening out since April!
Little L and Martin were snuggled on the sofa watching TV when I returned. Both looked relieved. Poor Martin had had to deal with both girls getting up shortly before I got home. Little L had been sleeping in Little M's room temporarily because of the diesel incident (it's a long story). Sisterly love had apparently manifested itself as little M shrieking "SHE SLEEPS IN MY ROOM!" when Martin tried to separate them in an attempt to regain calm. I found this so endearing. Perhaps Martin had other ideas at the time! And so little L has now moved rooms permanently - something we'd been hesitating to do but actually seems to be working well for us all. Another positive from a crappy 24hrs! Thank you little M for your encouraging words!
Little M spent the rest of the weekend buying impromptu presents for her friends, charming money from an elderly lady on a bus and getting a discount when spending it just by smiling.
I'm sure it has been said a million times, but I'm going to say it again...kids can teach us so much. I must remember this when I'm exhausted. And I must also remember that Martin can manage. The girls might not be quite as happy to see him as they would be to see me if they wake up in the night, but they'll be safe, cuddled and getting chance to bond with their daddy. And an occasional evening out would probably increase the length of my increasingly short fuse.
And on a random tangent...if you like Charlie Brooker, or if you don't, you should read his piece in the Guardian yesterday. His reaction to the school shooting in Newtown is heartfelt and powerful. It shows how parenthood can sharpen our ability to emphathise and the desire to right the wrongs in the world. He makes a very good point, very well.