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