1. Do not leave the house with your kids for two days while they have colds. Decide you are leaving the house the following day no matter what happens.
2. Wake up feeling like death warmed up. Look in the mirror and discover you only look marginally better. Remember your determination to leave the house. Groan inwardly.
3. Realise you can’t manage a third day at home with the kids as you observe your toddler emptying all the toys into the floor and bounce off the roof. Decide against making any plans before you’ve had panadol, breakfast and coffee.
4. As the fog around your brain slowly dissipates, reluctantly decide against sharing your germs with your mothers’ group. Arrange to have lunch with your brother at the bookstore he works at so you can buy a christening present.
5. Place baby in his cot and turn Play School on for toddler so you can shower in desperate hope that you’ll feel human afterwards. Leave bathroom door open so you can hear any interactions. Call toddler’s name occasionally to check for response. Realise this feels oddly similar to playing Marco Polo in the pool.
6. Finish shower and realise you still feel sub-human. Go to check on baby and discover toddler in cot with baby. Try not to think about how he got there. Get kids dressed and sit down on couch to finish watching Play School with toddler.
7. Discover baby has fallen asleep in your arms. Place in cot. Make yourself a second cup of coffee while you wait for him to wake up. Make mental note to take some painkillers with you for your next dose. Thoroughly enjoy hot cup of coffee. Pack nappy bag for your trip.
8. Feed screaming baby when he wakes. Place baby on ground and wipe puke off shoulder. Remind toddler babies are not for jumping on.
9. Gather children and belongings and head to door. Pause when you smell something suspicious. Change toddler’s nappy. Decide the only thing good about a head cold is the greatly diminished sense of smell.
10. Repeat step nine with baby.
11. Leave house. Catch train to your destination with no mishaps. Observe on the way that you’ve dressed your boys in the same colours for the fourth day in a row.
12. Meet your brother in the cafe attached to the bookshop. Hand him the baby after he orders lunch. Begin spooning orange vegie mush into baby’s mouth. Sigh as baby’s flailing hand catches the loaded spoon and sends a fine spray of orange vegie mush across the wall.
13. Smile in relief when your coffee and lunches arrive. Watch in abject horror as your baby swipes the burger patty off your brother’s plate. Retrieve it from the floor. Swap lunches with your brother. Take baby back and hold on lap while you alternate bites your your lunch and spoons into his mouth.
14. Turn to discover toddler has spilled half a milkshake in his lap. Stuff a handful of serviettes over the carnage and pretend nothing has happened. Strongly encourage toddler to eat his lunch. Finish lunch and say goodbye to your brother.
15. Move to children’s section of store. Release your toddler into the small enclosed play area while you browse. Leave disgruntled baby in bottom of the pram to make room for your bag and books in the main seat. Finish and inform toddler you need to go and pay so that he can play in the big playground.
16. Be lulled into a false sense of security when he instantly complies with your direction. Make it halfway towards the counter before he suddenly bolts across the store.
Sprint Jog haggard lay while pushing your overloaded pram after your nimble child.
17. Ditch the pram at a counter and ask the staff to watch it while you chase your toddler around the shelves of bibles. Catch your nimble child and escort him bag to the pram.
18. Wrestle your
shrieking banshee-octopus beloved firstborn son into the pram while standing in front of a display of books on parenting. Add two to your purchases once your toddler is safely restrained. Move to the counter and buy the books.
19. Observe the baby has fallen asleep. Release toddler into play area and sink into seat. Realise instantly this is a mistake as you are now exhausted.
20. Look over to see your child standing motionless, slightly bent, with a look of sheer concentration on his face. Retrieve your stinky offspring and relocate to the change room.
21. Wrestle toddler onto change table and change his nappy. Hear sudden screams from the bottom of the pram – realise the dulcet tones of your oldest has woken his slumbering brother.
22. Replace screaming toddler with screaming baby. Finish changing baby and replace in pram. Turn and discover toddler is drenched to the waist after playing with taps. Return toddler to pram. Reassure yourself your hearing will return shortly. Pick baby out of pram to stop him screaming for a drink. Place bags in bottom of pram. Leave bathroom.
23. Decide once back in the store to place baby in ergo for safe transport. Retrieve ergo from bottom of the pram, emptying half a litre of water from your water bottle on to the floor as you do. Strap the ergo on whilst holding baby. (I have no idea how I managed that)
24. Notify staff of water on the floor. Return to cafe and order coffee. Sit and feed baby. Bribe toddler with iPad. Realise as you drink your coffee that this is the second you’ve had since you went out…and you had two at home. Two and two equals four…yes? No? Not enough? You’re not sure anymore.
25. Leave for train. Realise your head is pounding in time with your feet. Search your bag for the painkillers you reminded yourself to bring. Discover that you didn’t put them in. Find full bottle of children’s nurofen. Calculate volume needed for adult dosage of 400mg (there are some advantages to being a nurse). Decide a headache is better than 20mL of sickly sweet medication.
26. Get on train. Encourage toddler to close his eyes and rest. Display no surprise when he refuses. Keep eyes open for remainder of trip.
27. Get off train and head for home via supermarket to pick up a few items. Glance down and realise your toddler’s eye are barely open. Race around and get the bare essentials (lemsip and chocolate), pleading with your child to stay awake for another five minutes.
28. Make it home before he falls asleep (latest trick – getting him to wriggle his toes). Lug all belongings upstairs. Put Play School on for kids.
29. Sit rocking slightly in corner with lemsip, chocolate, a blanket and your glitter bottle until it’s time to make dinner.
30. Plan to take tomorrow off sick.
31. Remember you’re a stay-at-home-mum. Laugh wildly.
Today’s Zero to Hero post was inspired by the prompt “two plus two equals four: yes or no?” I didn’t know what to write about.
Until I counted my coffee intake for the day.