It's been a rough old week. Teddy was hit with a perfect storm of illness- ear infection, chronic diarrhea and four insistent teeth. He spent a lot of time like this.
Meanwhile, Ivy has been pitched in a battle of wills with me over who actually runs the show. (She does. Don't say anything.) The naughty shelf has been looking a lot like this.
Life for a three-year-old is tough. I feel for her - I can see how frustrating it is to operate in what must seem like a set of arbitrary rules. Her capacity to process strong emotion is low, and as she gets bigger, stronger, smarter, she wants to try all these new things. I am like this bitchy bouncer who tells her she's wearing the wrong shoes and stops her from entering the VIP playroom where all the fun stuff is happening. (Matches! Taps! Plastic explosives!) Her fuse: short. Dramatic instinct: high. Emotional time bomb: ticking. Yesterday, although she's fully toilet trained, she did a poo in the hall 'just to see what it looked like.'
In general, I'm having a down week on the parenting front. The relentlessness of it all is getting to me. Mama's-got-the-blues... it's the oldest song in history. I read this great book after Ivy was born, called The Post-Baby Conversation. I've lost or lent it away since (if you love it, set it free...) but it's a great new-parent read, and the authors premise has stuck with me: that becoming a full-time, stay-at-home mum is a JOB, and you must think of it like that.
It helps me. All gigs have their bad days. Their crappy seasons. At least I'm not faced with annoying, flirtatious IT guys and bureaucratic HR chicks on 'forms committees.' And MEETINGS. The problem with modern motherhood is that it's too easy to buy into the myths - mainly that it is utterly fulfilling all of the time; and you can (and should) excel at all aspects of it.
Well, it's not. And I don't.
Not this week, anyway.
So after a couple of days of feeling exhausted, seeing nothing but an endless loop of laundry, antibiotics, apple peels and naughty furniture in my future, I turned to the healing powers of Craft.
I picked up these two bar stools at council clean-up a few months ago.
They were uggers mc-buggers, but very useful for the constant kitchen performances that run liken a thread through my days. (Mums, I know you know that show.) I pulled out the fabric box, found some scrappers, and had a good time inventing how to cover them.
The top sleeve is velcro'd underneath, and the seat cover is sewn with a ring of elastic to pull it tight. The sewing is so rough, but the act itself, and the transfer of my headspace to somewhere a little more creative, has worked.
I feel just a little more able to cope this weekend. And a little alone time is on the cards too, I feel. Ted is recovering,. or should I say, Ted is rockin his best lady-killer pose, and Ivy - oh, I love her, she kills me - won't be three forever. Obsessed with skulls, with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and - having watched an episiode of Curb Your Enthusiasm - now telling me 'Won't it be funny when a dog bites Dad on the penis.'
Once you decide not to put your head in the oven, all you can do is laugh.