Thursday, 16 December 2010


Yesterday we were late. It was 7.40 by the time we bundled into the car, and then- click!- the engine just clicked when it should have va-va-voomed. The night before X was playing with the vanity mirror as I unpacked the car so naturally I assumed it was a flat battery. The car might have been going nowhere but my mind went into overdrive, immediately replanning the whole day and how I was to get everywhere and pick up on time as I hauled the poor little girl to the minders on foot so fast that she was running most of the way. I must admit I was a bit fed up, having bought a new car I was hoping that the flat batteries of the twenty year old one were a thing of the past.

At lunchtime I discovered you can book a time to get the AA out. Excellent! They came after I'd given X her bath in the evening and I packed up a little bag of stuff for her to fall asleep in the car with me driving around for an hour to charge it up. The AA came late but hey, I was in the warm watching The Apprentice, so that was fine. When Mr AA finally came he started the car immediately. No, immediately, without even opening the bonnet.

In my hurry in the morning had forgotten that the new car only starts with the clutch depressed. I explained that it might seem like a very silly mistake but I've a twenty year old habit of starting the car with my foot jammed on the accelerator. He gave me a look. Ok, it was a silly mistake. A very silly mistake. Silly mummy. I really felt a very silly mummy. But with hardly even an annoyed eyebrow lift the nice AA man said goodnight and raced off to deal with real emergencies.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


We sorted the Christmas cards at the weekend, all on nice white card, and then - when those ran out - we even found some old brown paper. All we had to do tonight was write three little cards for three little extra friends that have suddenly become new best friends today. But is it Arhmen, Armen, Arghman? Or even Amen? It is a church school, after all....
And is that Chanel or Chanelle and Bryanna, Brianna or Prianna? According to the little one it begins with a D; but she's not reliable on letters, to be fair. Can it be shortened to Anna? Calm, steady yourself, this isn't that hard, just get it done. Yes, but is that Briyanna or Breeanna, or Arhnem or Ahmen? Must check the register next time I get to take X to school next year.

Friday, 10 December 2010


Juggling is a fact of freelance life and also of mummy life. Put the two sets of juggling together and you need more hands than shiva on an ordinary friday.

This friday went really well. Dumped off the child at the minder before she had even a chance to swallow a gulp of water. We were on time! True, I should have been in two places all morning but I had my exit from one to the other sorted. I didn't let the harassment about where I was going to be over xmas get to me too much- except to laugh at how being out of a full time job can be so much more demanding than full time employment. And I had my path to the afternoon arrangements almost watertight. And it all went to plan! Amazing! I actually found myself with a five minute break at tea time when I had my lunchtime sandwich. And I finally managed to get to pick up child before seven! A great day. And little one said "It's my mummy!" as I walked in the door. And not even with an upset look.

So why am I moaning?Because that is what we all know is about to come...

It was just when the minder said that little one had a present from Santa.
"So you went?!" I snapped. Well, of course she did. She is the school minder, who picks up all the children, of course she took them to the school fete. "It was very crowded, I didn't stay for long," she said.
"No, no ," I shouted, "I'm so glad you went,"
"Look mummy , santa gave me a present!"
"It was only little," said the minder, stuffing it into my little one's bag. Intercut a five minute pause at this point where minder and I shove two pound coins between the two of us. No, but I really , really am glad she took X to the school fete and that she saw santa for the first time and he gave her a two quid present and I am really so grateful that the minder is so nice she will pay for that rather than make a big deal with a parent about it.

I just wish I'd been there. And I wished I could be there all day.

Then X and I went shopping. She was so excited about seeing santa she told: a man on the street, a beggar outside Sainsbury and a young man stacking shelves in a santa hat. The beggar outside Sainsburys was a weird one, considering her mum, who I always consider at times like this. "You shouldn't talk to strangers,"I say to X. "But I don't want to tell you, I want to tell them!" she says, ever so reasonably.

It was a good day. I juggled all the things that pay the bills very well. I just didn't get to be there when she first saw santa. But hey, can I remember where I was when I first saw santa? Um no, I can't actually ever remember seeing santa as a child. Well, not in real life, only as a scary thing that was supposed to come into my bedroom at night. In my day he didn't make school appearances, as if he was part of an X Factor PR initiative.

I am glad she saw santa the first time she ever saw santa, No. Really. I just wish I'd been there too. But I'm not going to be there for a lot of other firsts, no doubt, so maybe it's time I started growing up about it.