It’s been a long day. But at least the floors are clean.
I packed Moo off to school this morning and, after a leisurely breakfast and a quick catch up with hubs it was time to get cleaning.
We had spent the weekend having fun, Saturday was gloriously sunny so we took a picnic to the beach and then played with just about every singe toy that Moo owns in the evening. Sunday morning was dedicated to craft and croissants and the afternoon was spent in the company of some wonderful friends at the village fete. Bath time and bedtime want remarkably smoothly and I was able to enjoy a long and lovely phone call with the marvellous LD before bed. What a super week-end.
There was however a price to pay. The cost of the weekend was a house that looked even more like a bomb-site than usual. Not that it is something that normally causes a Monday morning frenzy, but very much in the fore-front of my mind was the scribblings on the calender that marks tomorrow as the day the landlord comes to call. No bad thing as they are coming to survey the walls for insulation works which will make it a lot less expensive in the wintertime, but I fear it will be an end to the antics of the ‘things that live in the walls’. I think I might actually miss them, whatever they are.
But I digress, when you know you have Monsieur le mayor, or to use his less formal title – the village voice, coming round it pays to be spik and span as the whole village will be aware of the condition of the house in time for mid-morning brioche.
I had a lot to do, but thankfully downstairs didn’t take to long and by lunchtime we had a tidy clean living room and kitchen, all bar a bag of craft stuff that had yet to make it back to the cupboard, and a pot of soup on the boil. All good so far.
Remarkably both of us managed to get through lunch without any major spillages on the nice clean floor. When hubs called we were all but done so I moved over to the computer desk and left Moo to finish up at the table. What I didn’t know was that as soon as my back was turned she was into the bread basket and had reduced the remaining croutons to a vast pile of crumbs which she then generously distributed all over the table and floor.
After a brief sweep all was again well. It was almost time to go back to school so I began to gather all the necessary items and popped to the loo.
Its amazing the chaos that a small child can inflict on a room in a few minutes with nothing more than a glue stick, a pot of glitter and grim determination. Not content with using paper Moo had drawn a lovely flower pattern on the table in glue and covered it, the whole kitchen and her whole self in red sparkles. I almost laughed. Almost.
I shook as much of the glitter from her as I could and bundled her into the car, deciding to tackle the glitter bomb kitchen…later.
The afternoon wore on and slowly, from the upstairs down this time, the house began to look quite lovely. It took an hour and a half to purge Moo’s room and make the floor visible again, but all the effort was worth it. And I am pleased to say that my little hoover coped admirably with the kitchen and there were just a few tiny spots of red left glimmering in the afternoon sun.
There was still more to do but I figured that it would be best left until after Moo’s bedtime, then I could have a leisurely bath and relax in the knowledge that we were ready for ‘the visit’. Well of course because I had a plan that instantly meant it was doomed to failure.
Bed time preparations were going well and the few toys that were brought out had been packed away for the night and we were sitting on the bed for story time. The story was told and several passages re-enacted, and it was time for light out. Except Moo wanted the story ‘just one more time’. A slightly quicker read through followed and once more it was time for lights out. Except Moo had decided she didn’t want to go to sleep tonight and was doing everything in her power to make it so.
As soon as I had made it downstairs I heard the patter of feet and the never to be ignored call of ‘Mum, I need a pee’.
Ablutions over and tucked back in, she then decided she was thirsty. Another trip completed and she was tucked in once again. 5 minutes later she decided she was too hot and needed the windows open. After another 5 minutes she was too cold and needed the windows closed. It was now around 9.30 and my patience was beginning to wear thin. Moo could clearly sense a shift in the mood and so deftly altered her tactics ‘Mummy I just don’t want you to go because I’m sad and I miss my Daddy’.
Now while I am certain that there are many times when she really is missing her daddy, I am also quite sure that she is fully aware that this statement will get her at least another 5 minutes. I always go to her and give her a hug, how can I not.
But tonight’s hug was on a timer as I knew she was pulling a fast one. When her minutes were up she protested that she was still not tired and she was NOT going to sleep. I left the room. I didn’t go far though as I we have played this game many times before and I know what comes next. As I heard the light being turned back on I opened the door and Moo jumped about 2 feet in the air, she had been caught in the act and returned to her bed before she really know what was happening.
This time I retreated to the relative calm of downstairs and made myself a coffee while I listened to my temper filled and tired daughter getting noisily out of bed once more and stomping around in order to draw me back upstairs. When she realised I was not rushing back up to chastise her the stomping increased, but I held my nerve until it went strangely quiet. She was still on the move, but there seemed to be less anger and more purpose in her movement. I was getting slightly nervous, but determined to give it a few more minutes to let her temper subside and tiredness take it’s place.
A thunderous crash changed all my reasoning as I took the stairs 2 at a time in a state of slight panic and threw her door wide. The scene that greeted me literally left me speechless.
Every shelf was bare, every drawer upturned, not toy in its place, and the thunderous crash was the result of the ‘pen box’ being thrown across the room spewing its contents of felt tips and crayons as far as the eye could see, and in the midst of it all sat a defiant looking Moo.
Not having access to a mirror at that precise moment I cannot tell you what the exact look on my face was, but judging by the ever widening eyes of my daughter, it was not a happy one,
Without saying a word I picked my way through the debris and crouched down in front of my now extremely contrite child, ‘I think you had better go and sit on the naughty step while I clear this up don’t you?’
She bolted from the room without a sound and rooted herself firmly to the step.
It didn’t actually take that long to clean it up, but it was long enough for me to regain a sense of calm and perspective, and whilst I was still very cross I was no longer angry when I went to get Moo.
When she saw me her whole face trembled and the tears ran down her face as she stuttered an instant apology. I took her in my arms and we sat on her bed for a nice long cuddle and a calm chat about the evenings events. In time she was settled enough to finally go to sleep, and I wished her goodnight and told her I loved her. As I closed the door I heard her call out to me, I took a deep breath and opened her door desperately hoping it wasn’t all about to start again, but was rewarded instead with a tiny tired voice saying ‘ I love you too mummy’.
I returned downstairs and abandoned my now stone cold coffee in favour of a large gin and tonic wishing I was soaking in a nice hot bath instead of glaring reproachfully at the waiting mop bucket.