Today started at 5.50am when Curly Girlie decided she wanted to crawl into bed with Mummy and Daddy and go back to sleep. Unfortunately, her definition of ‘sleep’ is not ‘lie down, close eyes and drift off into silent unconsciousness’. Rather, it is ‘thrash around, hit Mummy on head, make pretend snoring noises until younger brother wakes up and joins in’.
The worse thing about starting the day at 5.50am is not that kids’ TV doesn’t start until 7am (Central Nussberg Time), or that I am as cross as a wet cat when tired, but that the kids themselves are shattered. Over-tired kids are accident-prone, irrational and inclined to random acts of violence. Spending the morning with them is very much like being the designated driver at a drunken party: you have to segue between illogical conversations, hysterical laughter, bouts of weeping, fisticuffs and declarations of love, all the while stopping them slipping off the side of the chair onto the floor.
But worst of all, being up so early, before the ‘electronic babysitter’ is on duty, made me regret my decision of last week to let the house go to hell. I did tidy up a bit over the weekend – and of course The Husband helped out by hiding some things in an inexplicable location so that we can rediscover them one day when we move out – but not enough.
The general chaos simply cranked up the tension: there were tears over colouring pens that had dried up after the tops were left off; there was swearing after standing on a razor-edged building block; and there was a decision on the part of Alpha Blondie that most of his toys had vanished into the ether, and that he’d better carry around every single one of them at all times for fear of losing them too, hence his pathetic wails of “Roggyyyyyyyy!” (his frog), “Wee-wooooo!” (his wolf), “Owwwwww!” (his cat) and another sound that cannot be reproduced phonetically that appears to correspond to his Bull.
I decided enough was enough. The house is still far from the ‘housewife clean’ standard expected of Swiss wives (I’m not being ironic – ‘housewife clean’ is a perfectly acceptable standard of hygiene in Switzerland and is afforded the utmost respect by estate agents) but at least it doesn’t unsettle the kids any more. But I apologise to all those who left messages of support for my slovenly hiatus – sorry for tidying up and letting the side down.