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.

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