Right now, keeping this show on the road is using up all the minutes I have. I'm realising that being mum to three means that the kids sort of take it in turns to push to the front of the attention queue. 'Look at me,' Child A says. 'I can't get enough breath to complete a sentence!' So Child B elbows their sibling out of the way and cuts half a finger off. Then Child C ups the ante with a tick up their bum, prompting Child B to spill a cup of Milo into my handbag, and Child A to vomit on my shoe...Oh, I exaggerate. But barely. Barely.
Here's our current soundtrack: 'It was just an accident!' Mostly from Ted. We keep explaining the difference between a genuine accident and a wilful act of mischief, but to no avail. 'It was just an accident!' Ted shouts, surrounded by glittering debris from the jewellery box I have just watched him drop-kick across the room. 'It was just an accident!' he says, looking up guiltily from the entire roll of toilet paper he has unravelled and is stuffing down the loo.
Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. He's having a bit of a three-year-old crisis. It's taking a number of forms, and it is worrying me. Apart from everything else, his sleep has gone nutty. He's on an asthma preventor and an iron supplement, so they could be affecting his sleep, but who knows what is really going on in a sweet, fluffy three-year-old head?
On Friday night Ted just could not wind down. It was nearly midnight when he fell asleep. Keith and I eventually gave up, and went to bed with Georgie. We lay there, listening to Teddy read cookbooks by lamplight and talk to himself. 'You can't have a tea party without a teapot' he sang at length for a while, but mostly he discussed cakes at the top of his voice. Luckily Ivy snored on.
Little darling Courgette is so delicious, so chubby, so adorable. But she needs a lot of carting around, and my back won't handle the sling at the minute, so it's a matter of changing up her sight-line every ten minutes to keep her occupied, and also, scattering sultanas and frozen peas. I may be planting the seeds of an eating disorder. But needs must.
My back pain is improving, and I have a new fitness plan unfolding, which may possibly be the best thing I've ever done for my health. It's still taking chunks out of my good humour between 4 and 6pm every day though.
It's getting colder, and the washing piles are growing taller and woollier. Games of Uno and dolls-house furniture and baby toys carpet the floor. I'm trying to fit in extra attention for the boy, and reading for the schoolgirl, and transferring the baby to her own room, and time for Keith, and getting to yoga, and catching up on Masterchef... What with all the cooking, and the cuddling and the tear-drying, and the washing, and the accidents, it is all action around this joint.
And yet. Around us, this last week, family and friends have been dealing with sadness and sickness and worry; and giving me moving examples of grace and courage. It's busy, I have been thinking today, in this house. Non-stop, in fact. And how lucky, how blessed I am to have this busy, full, rambunctious life.
How lucky I am to have such problems.