Wednesday, May 28, 2014

not all sunshine and roses...

Disclaimer - no children were harmed in the making of this blog post

You have slept badly, thanks to a head cold, and you feel stuffy and slow, your nose and ears blocked like you are swimming 6ft underwater. Your head aches, and your eyes are gritty. The baby has recently gotten over the same cold (lovingly shared with you), and is clingy and grizzly. It is with acute relief that you get her down for a two hour nap - stupidly, you elect to clean the house over having a much needed sleep yourself.

When the baby wakes, you make lunch for the pair of you - pop her in the highchair, crowing her eagerness and impatience. Go to sit down next to her and feed her that lovingly prepared food.

Somehow, god only knows how, your handbag catches on the chair as you pull it out, slides across the table, knocks the bowl of iridescent stewed fruit and yoghurt flying onto the floor, the chair, your jeans and shoes. Un-fucking-believable.

You want to scream and cry, rage at your own clumsiness, the unfairness of it, your tiredness, your headache, the horrible mess. You are acutely aware of two big blue eyes fixed on you, so you take a deep breath, permit yourself a few choice words, then make more lunch. Feed it to the baby, wipe her down, put her down to play, clean the highchair, throw the dishes in the kitchen sink - scull a cup of lukewarm tea, and eat a piece of toast one-handed standing over the sink. Grab a rag and bucket of water and start scrubbing the mess off the carpet.

Alerted by some mothers' sixth sense, you glance up from where you are kneeling in yoghurt and fruit - just in time to see your daughter fall backwards off the television unit, which she has somehow managed to climb up on - not in time to grab her and stop her fall. When you hear her head thunk on the floor, you feel it in your own head, and her scream lances through you like a knife.

And then you do cry, in harmony with your baby as she sobs her heart out, and you clutch her against your chest and sob with her, and apologize, kiss her poor little head, rock her back and forth. You sink onto the couch, still holding your crying child, and allow yourself to just cry, a good, cleansing cry, until you both are still.

Then you wipe her face, and yours. Kiss her again, tickle her, make her smile, then giggle. Read her favorite story to her. Get down on the floor and play with her.

Forget about the mess on the floor - the dishes piled haphazardly in the kitchen - the clean laundry sitting damply, unhung, in the washing machine - the million seemingly-urgent things you had to get done that day. You just allow yourself to be, in that moment with your daughter. You laugh at her scrunch-face smile, marvel at the dexterity of her tiny hands as she grabs at toys and books, clap and cheer as she stands unaided, beaming with pride.

You cut yourself some slack and, rather than face the afternoon-naptime battle, you bundle the baby up warm and put her in her pram, and take her for a walk, until she drifts off to sleep.

And you walk, and walk, and walk off all the fidgety, nervous energy of a stressful afternoon, too much coffee, too many chocolate biscuits. The wind is chill, and you've forgotten to wear a jumper, but you find it invigorating rather than unpleasant. You walk until your legs ache and you feel tired. And then you just sit on a bench and watch your baby sleep - you aren't religious, but in that moment you thank the universe for giving you this tiny human, this amazing little bundle of infinite possibility.

You text your husband and jokingly ask him to bring home wine. He texts back, U ok? You reply, I wasn't, but I am now



  1. Oh.My.God! Are you in sync with me? On Tuesday, this was my day! Well . . . pretty much. I too slopped some bright orange food all over the rug, in the grout, up the walls! My daughter's hot dinner after I got to the daycare at 1 min to closing time. First baby there, last baby out. My husband was away for work and it was all on me. Yep shit days. Part of the gig. Bumps and bruises part of the parcel too no matter how much you try to prevent it.
    Gorgeous writing.

  2. What a beautiful story. I'm glad all worked out ok in the end. Sending love and hugs your way, and the way of all the other mums out there having rough days. xxx

  3. Oh yes. That sounds of so familiar. Have you read the article about 'how was your day? '

    It really emphasised to me how many emotions I can go through in a day. I'm trying really hard to focus on feeling the love and forgetting about cleaning or getting dinner done. Easier said than done.

  4. My heart was in my mouth when I read her falling off of the TV unit oh my god. You have a total danger-baby already.

    Your best post to date though, so honest and heartfelt. There is nothing that walking with the pram can't fix. Nothing.

  5. Hugs, we all have those days too xx

  6. Aww Cate.

    Great that you are posting so regularly. I rarely comment anymore on blogs but always still read yours x

  7. What an absolutely beautiful post. Great writing, Cate.

  8. Loved this post Cate! You are such a fantastic writer, and (from the sounds of it) such a great mum.
    Your daughter sounds a little too adventurous, climbing up on tv cabinets!! Good thing kids are so resilient and can handle a few knocks and bumps!

  9. What a beautifully written account of your day - as tough as it was at times. Really touching and I can so appreciate where you were, how you were feeling. I've read your blog for a while now and always look forwards to a new post. Each day comes with its new struggles and new rewards ... those moments when you just stop and register how wonderful a little person is; the best. Keep on keeping on xx

  10. You are an amazing mumma. It was a bottle of Dettol that led to our call to the national healthline and poisons line. But that was Wednesday. It's a tough gig sometimes! But such precious rewards x

  11. This was so beautifully written. Glad you and Eve are okay! x

  12. It's actually really reassuring for not-yet-but-hoping-soon-to-be parents that it's not all sunshine and rainbows... but also that even after a pretty horrendous day, you can come through the other side unscathed. Lovely writing, thanks for sharing!
    P.s. a friend of mine locked herself out of the house today with no keys (obvs), no wallet and a toddler who needed a nappy change baaadly... quite a few bad days doing the rounds! xx

  13. I can totally relate to this type of day. I've had a few of them myself. It's amazing how our babies can bring joy even on the shittest of days. Glad you're both ok xx