A blood-curdling scream rips through our home. The kind that turns your heart inside out and liquidizes your stomach and has you dropping everything and running towards the source of the scream because a small child is in mortal pain, accidentally burnt or broken and close to death.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED THIS TIME??!!
Léonie does not want to put on her socks.
She wants to go outside, she has managed to put her Crocs on, but she does not want to put on her socks.
“It’s cold outside.” I tell her. “You can wear your crocs if you really want, but you need socks on to keep your feet warm!”
“Okay, okay! Then no socks, but that means no crocs either! We’re going to the farm, you will walk in wet grass and some sort of poo and it will go through the holes in your crocs and then your feet will be cold, wet and pooey! Take the crocs off and put your fleecy boots on instead.”
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! (throwing of fleecy boots across kitchen, re-throwing of socks, kicking of cartons-to-be-recycled.)
“Okay. Fine. Wear your crocs without socks. We have to leave right now or we’ll miss the post office. Come on, move it, let’s go!”
I bundle Léonie into Tommy’s red puffa jacket (because that’s what she has chosen as a coat), carry her out of the kitchen and down the stairs and try heading for the post office.
“Bike, Mummy! Bike! BIKE! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! BIKE!!”
And so I strap her into the babyseat on my bike, put her helmet on and we bike up the hill, with the parcel I’m sending in my mouth, my teeth clenching onto it for dear life. We make it to the post office just before it shuts at midday, I hurl the parcel at our postmistress and off we bike down the hill towards the farm, Léonie singing quite happily behind me.
We visit the pigs, who look pissed off because today we didn’t bring anything for them to eat, then we visit the sheep and the hens and even the people because they are very nice farmers indeed. Often they’ll invite us in and Léonie will raid their baguette box (the Brits have breadboxes, the French have baguette boxes), a trick taught to her by her elder brother (we must owe them a couple of hundred euros in bread) and I’ll buy some eggs, but not today because Léonie has walked through wet grass and some sort of poo and her feet are cold and wet and pooey. And now she wants to be carried and I have no desire whatsoever to carry her with her pooey crocs on as they will wipe across my jeans and jumper rendering me pooey too. So I put her back on the bike and we’re just about to head off when the farmer’s charming son pops out of his essential oils boutique and I ask him whether he saw L’Homme’s show in Lyon and he says yes and starts to tell me about the evening he spent at the theatre but Léonie is ready to go home because her feet are cold and wet and pooey so she bangs on my bike saddle shouting “Mummy! Mummy! MummyMummyMummyMummyMummyMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMY MUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMYMUMMY!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! and that works a treat, I start pedaling straight back up the hill.
Just another morning in my life as a stay-at-home mummy in the middle of the French countryside.