When I am finished being a solo parent, I shall go to the toilet alone. No child shall dangle a nectarine precariously above my knickers while they pull reams of toilet paper off and gesture towards wiping my bottom. While smiling. Don't tell me toddlers can't multi-task. No older child shall loiter in the door frame telling me how many hot wheels cars he wants, jabbering on while the nectarine which shouldn't be near the toilet anyway tortures me. Threats and shouts and bribery are all useless - I used them up before we even got to the toilet. We indeed, as it seems I am not allowed to defecate on my own. They know my limits. They know, both of them without discussion, that I will not waddle through the house with half delivered poo carrying either of them. They know that I really want to go swimming as well, so that is a non-threat that the mother should have given up two hours ago.
So I sit on the toilet, with my smiling assassins keeping guard, guarding against any independent move on my behalf.
It's a fun filled lark, being a solo parent. yes I know some people do it all the time. They get lambasted on the news regularly as though they should have the strength to bring their children up perfectly on five dollars per day and be there for them whenever they need it and when they don't as well and find paying work so they are not a burden to the state. In case you think like me that prostitution is probably the only thing with flexible hours, it turns out that that is bad for your children as well. Haven't those know it all types ever had sex with someone who turned out to be unsuitable? Oh let's not even answer that one.
That is all irrelevant, because I am only solo parenting for four nights and five days. So far I have done three nights and three and a half days. Through some incrdible quirk of wonderfulness, one is asleep and the other is entranced by Postman Pat on the CD. And I'm here writing because I can't face the kitchen.
I'm not that keen on the bedroom, because it has a lot less wallpaper than this morning. I fancied reading and Brighid fancied interior decoration. I'm not that keen on the dining room because it has the greater part of four pottles of yoghurt all over it. I made a cursory attempt to clean it earlier which prompted Brighid to tip three cups of water like a waterfall down herself, the high chair, the table and the carpet. Worse, she found the cleaning spray and came up to the bedroom where I had run and hid, wielding it like an axe. Those education types who talk about how good it is for your children to see their parents read - they never describe how it is for parents to try and read with an audience.
I'm not that keen on the lounge, because if I poke my head up there, Fionn might notice me and remember that I exist solely for torturing purposes. And for producing food.
But, the good news. I have done some nice mummy things this week. I took the children swimming. I drove forty kilometres to do so. I smile with ease at the teenagers swaggering in the streets of my small town. I say hello by name to the ones who have had the personal challenge of knowing me in the classroom. It is summer, and they can imagine with some relief that they might get a different teacher next year. But togs is a whole nother matter. I am not baring such expanses of flesh in front of people whom I last saw when I was making them remove bright pink jerseys in the name of being a school uniform nazi.
Anyway, we get to Hokitika pool and we all swim and for an hour it seems that I might be doing okay at this parenting lark. Not only are the alive and doing legally appropriate things but we are all having fun and I'm not skiving off into the garden. Some of the other mothers and grandmothers are a bit fat as well which is nice. It's never nice to be the only fat person at a pool. Back in the changing rooms, a skinny mum's child is having a tantrum. Not all roses that skinny thing. I try and ignore my children's interest in the tantrum. If my child composes a lovely story, or song or picture, it is wonderful. If they watch another child tantrum and then share their own personal version or duet versions have been known, with me, it is not wonderful.