As Piglet grows older, I find myself with more time to spare. Now that he is more interactive and easier to feed, placate and transport, all of a sudden he is less of a burden to those who would babysit, and my time-my “me” time, so to speak, at least when I am not at work, starts to lengthen.
So there you have it, O stricken parents of babies, do not fear, for things will get easier. And so I find myself at a loose end a few days before Christmas, wondering what I am to do with myself while my mother treats Piglet to the joys of a Christmas panto-for-toddlers in my absence.
In my folly, I had thought that getting prepared for Christmas would be relatively easy for one who has been off work since the 15th December, but it would appear that this is not the case, for the majority of the to-do list, it now appears, actually consists of things that cannot feasibly be done before the 23rd at the earliest, such as buying the copious pots of double cream for all my Christmas baking/cocktails, lest they go off before the 25th, and the baking itself. Not sure that I fancy taking a punt on how much of the Christmas menu can be frozen in advance just in case the answer is very little or none.
So having iced a Christmas cake, chopped up some wood (don’t ask. I am now the proud owner of a saw, like I am some sort of carpenter. Being a homeowner has had some interesting unforeseen effects), bought yet more alcohol just in case we run out on Christmas Day (you can’t be too careful), danced around the room to Madonna and drunk a peaceful latte on my ownsome (the latter two always at the top of the proverbial to-do list), I now have only the jobs at the very bottom of the list still to complete. These consist variously of fitting some blinds in the kitchen (too adventurous, even for one such a dab hand with a saw as myself), scraping bits of glue off the kitchen tiles (don’t ask. This task was attempted, and aborted almost immediately when it proved more difficult than anticipated) and actual work work; marking exam papers. Determined this will not get in the way of the festive spirit and thus must wait until after Christmas, probably until around an hour before I actually have to go back to work.
The thing is, when you have a young child having any time at all seems like such a precious gift that you start thinking maybe in your few hours off you could actually morph into a superhero and change the world, all from the comfort of your kitchen whilst you simultaneously ice a cake and load a washing machine. You could do all those things you keep meaning to do, from writing that novel to cultivating a flourishing garden consisting of random bits of plant purchased at the Co-Op. With a bit more time and a few of those sticks for growing runner beans wedged into the gravel outside, you could probably go full Good Life and start living off the land. Indeed, if I had known this morning that my mother was going to be out this long, I would have donned my painting trousers and finished painting the landing by now. Hell, I could have done the whole house. I am woman with a break from child, hear me roar.
For another hour, at least, just until they come back.