I’m sitting at my work desk, cradling a coffee and shaking slightly.
I can’t believe I’m here. Everything is so clean.
There are no containers filled with noxious liquids, or sheets heaped in the bathtub demanding to be hosed down and boil washed. There are no sachets of rehydrating powders, and nowhere within a hundred meters is a children’s movie playing.
You’ve guessed it. The last week in my house has been Gastro Week. And Gastro Week is when all the sins of your past have to be karmically atoned for at 3am when your child shrilly informs you that despite the fact that you put them to bed surrounded by bowls and buckets, nested in vomit catching receptacles, wedged in between the washing up basin and your Royal Doulton salad bowl that you stopped giving a feck about when you contemplated having to shampoo the carpet, they have once again managed to throw up all over the bed.
But wait! There has been minor success, as child is at pains to point out that in a collateral damage moment, they have managed to get the salad bowl in the firing line in way that no sense diminishes the mess in the rest of the room but gives you the deep and lasting knowledge that no matter how much boiling water and Fairy Liquid you invoke, you will never again be able to serve a lentil salad in that bowl without an internal wince and silent apology to your guests.
And then comes the moment where I have to muster all my mummy skills and in a calm and serene voice reassure the kid that it’s no problem at all, here, let’s get you in the shower where you can lavishly soap yourself with the really expensive body wash that I’ve been hoarding against the rare moment that I actually get to have a shower on my own without a running commentary from outside the curtain of what exactly I might be washing at that given second, because clearly regular soap just wouldn’t cut the mustard here, while I bundle all the bedding into the pile from hell and remake the bed with fresh and fragrant pillows and blankets so that after I’ve buttoned him into crisply ironed pyjamas and repositioned the buckets and bowls and family heirloom china he can climb in and go peacefully to sleep without ever guessing that the whole time I’m this close to running out of the house and boarding the first Greyhound bus to Queensland where I will live hermit-like in a secluded cottage and only have to face other human beings on my weekly shop for cornflakes and cat food.
But today, it’s over. The seven loads of washing a day. The bowls of bland food, so white and plain that Pingu would feel comfortable slithering over the tasteless slopes. The necessity of lying on the sofa, extremely still, so that my child can use my stomach as a pillow while he catches up on all the sleep he lost while creating the most revolting situations I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life.
It’s over, and I got through it. Future GWs should now be faced with a measure of equilibrium, with the calm knowledge that yes, I can deal with this crap without fleeing the country or immediately putting my offspring up for adoption.
But bloody hell… I hope my ex gets the next one.