I have been demoted from Chief Comforter to Head of Eggshell Walking for Toddler Negotiations.
It is a testing role which starts with a spooky voice in the middle of the night.
“Mummy. Mummy where are you?”
If I pretend to be asleep this question will be repeated increasing in volume until Milk and Mayhem awake in a panic.
If I reply then I’m thrown into the inevitable night time ritual which ends with me dodging the lego on the landing and carrying Midnight to our room, booting my husband into the darkness, so we all get some sleep. I bed share with a rotating rib jabber.
This job continues for 15 hours without a loo break – or any break – except possibly to put the bins out or feed Barry White (our never-ending rabbit).
“I don’t like this spoon!” Midnight screeches at 6am as my husband presents him with porridge.
My husband gets another spoon.
“I don’t like that spoon. That spoon is babyish! I’m a big boy and I want a big boy spoon.”
“I don’t even know why we still have these baby spoons”, huffs my husband chucking it into the sink and slinking back to the table with another one.
“Maybe sorting the cutlery drawer has slipped down my list of priorities since I took on the role of Everything Other Than Fun” I say to his back while burning holes in his head with my tired red eyes .
We sip our coffees in silence hoping Midnight is eating his porridge and not emptying the fruit bowl into our shoes.
Midnight is of course right. He is no longer a baby.
This only really occurred to me the other day when I was carrying him up a dog poo-smattered hill while my lower back creaked and cracked.
“You’re not a baby any more” I say into his hair.
“I’m a big boy.”
“Well big boys walk” I say gingerly, lowering him towards the ground.
“NO THEY DO NOT! BIG BOYS DO NOT WALK,” Midnight throws himself from my arms before I can stop him, and lands in a ball on the path.
I’m relieved to see he has avoided landing in dog poo, but he will only walk if he can carry half a tree back to the car.
He pokes his branch around on the ground all the way up the hill.
“Please dont poke dog poo,” I say.
“I won’t mummy – is this dog poo here ?”
He pokes his stick into dog poo.
“Yes it is,” I say trying to remove the branch from his clenched fists.
“I need to take it off you”
“Noooooooooo” He screams.
“I need to take it away, it has poo on it”.
As we battle the stick gets waved around like a conductor’s baton. The threat of poo being flung in different directions is possibly the biggest adrenalin rush I’ve had since I jumped out of a plane 20 years ago.
I wrestle the stick off him and throw it frantically over a fence, which I quickly realise is someone’s garden.
We do a runner with Midnight screaming as I drag him the last few metres to the car. An hour and seven custard creams later Midnight has forgotten about the poo stick.
My husband calls. “Do you want anything from the shop?”
“Ear defenders ? Or masking tape” I suggest.
I hear the fridge door open.
“I’m going to be annoying Mummy!” declares Midnight from the kitchen.
I find him trying to open the wrapping on a chicken with a pizza cutter.
“Can I eat it mummy?”
I sigh. “We need to cook it first.”
“No, not now” I say.
My husband is thrilled at dinner. “You must have had a nice quiet day cooking a roast on a Tuesday.”
I roll my eyes “Absolutely,” and I smile because that is all I have left.