It has just taken me thirty-five minutes to move from “holding nearly-sleeping baby in arms” position, through “bending in half over cot stroking tiny forehead whispering sssshhhh and wondering whether my back and knees are going to hold out another 20 seconds whilst stifling back a cough” position, moving into “slow motion ballet towards door cursing squeaky toy accidentally trod on” to the final movement: “slipping out of door as fast as is humanly possible so as not to let the landing light flash into baby’s bedroom and shutting door noiselessly with a huge sense of relief and scrunched up eyes”. I live an epic adventure each and every night. I am now the world’s expert in totally silent movement. I could be a cat burglar. I could slip through those criss-crossed laser beams and steal the priceless Chinese mask with my eyes shut. This could be the answer to our financial problems and might well be the epiphany I am waiting for with regards to what skills and wisdom I am learning by being a stay-at-home mummy. The thought crosses my mind about thirty times a day : “One day you will look back and think, ah – yes – if I hadn’t spent all those years wiping the wall clean of broccoli, folding my umpteenth load of laundry, following a little baby girl up the stairs yet again so she can practise climbing, going to see the farm animals EVERY BLOODY DAY, then I wouldn’t be where I am today: working for Radio 4/alongside Hugh Laurie/jetsetting across the world with a successful dance company/richer than my wildest dreams thanks to selling that priceless Chinese mask.”
And now I must go and stretch my back, massage my hurty knees and cough loudly.
Well, at least Léonie is happy. And can now do very good pig and horse noises.