Or you’re just a tired parent who’s tired and needs maybe two or three uninterrupted hours of horizontal existence without being bashed in the face with plastic balls and a cuddly George the pig.
Or, like me, you are 38 weeks pregnant and just tired, dude. And have feet sticking out of the right side of your body. And heartburn every time you eat a verboten, blood-sugar-raising biscuit (guilty heartburn is worse than regular heartburn) And can’t really stand the thought of getting in the car, never mind bundling a wriggly pixie in a car seat against her will.
I confess, without an awful lot of shame, that my patience is wearing worryingly thin. I love my daughter to distraction, but also don’t really want to play with her that much at the moment. I don’t have the mental or physical capacity. I mostly want to stare off into space, or occasionally cry because I want my mum to come over and just make me feel like a big, cocooned baby for a few hours but she can’t because, the Met office keep throwing up gimpy weather warnings.
So far in pixie’s two years of glorious life I have managed to laugh in the face of stressful situations, for the most part. Like, when she got taken to hospital last year in an ambulance because she went all weird and feverish and rashy, I still managed to a) not cry and b) laugh with the paramedics. Or when she drew all over the walls/TV unit/windowsill/my face. Ah, so what, it’s just ‘stuff’, I remember thinking.
But on Friday when she threw her big bouncy ball at my (full) cup of tea, and it splashed all over a carpet I hate anyway, I almost exploded. It took everything I had not to lose it with her (she’s two! She’s adorable! She’s not responsible for my mental health!) and I restrained myself to a very loud ‘NO! You DON’T throw BALLS when there are HOT DRINKS about!’
And this weekend the poor thing has mostly been entertaining herself because I refuse to move from the sofa, with occasional sojourns to the kitchen for contraband, which I then don’t even attempt to hide from her, with the result that she’ll probably ride this sugar-high until she starts pre-school.
Also, I’m having ridiculous conversations with her. She ripped up a way-too-tempting sticky-up piece of her book, and I told her to be careful with her books. Then she found some pages I’d ripped out of a magazine and started ripping those up. At which point I said, “No, don’t rip tha-! Oh, actually, no, it’s ok, you can rip that up because Mummy doesn’t need it anymore. But as a general rule, don’t rip things up, because they might be important. In fact, don’t rip things up unless I specifically tell you to. Which I won’t, because that’s just going to confuse you.”
She nodded sagely and said ‘No, absolutely, mother, that makes perfect sense. I’m two, and can absolutely be trusted to make rational judgements about what is and isn’t appropriate to arbitrarily destroy. I totally see your point, thank you for raising it in such a clear-cut and considered way. Excuse me now, while I scribble on the coffee-table with this black crayon.’
What I’m trying to say is that my standards have temporarily (dear God I hope it’s temporary) dropped and I have no choice but to ride it out and hope it does my child no long-term damage because the alternative requires more than I am capable of mustering right now. She’s still getting loads of cuddles, if not stimulating play and/or conversation, and I feel like that must be the most important thing, right?
Good, glad we’re all agreed on that.