Midweek Musings: My 'tiny' break

edinburgh-lifebylotte When is a mini break not a mini break? When it's a tiny break. That is, just 48 hours in total. I got back from Edinburgh yesterday afternoon, exactly 48 hours after I left. And I believe I have now cracked that great mystery of 'how to have a successful holiday after having a baby'. The answer, my friends, is: Leave The Baby At Home.

Sorry to be glib. It actually wasn't that easy, but it wasn't that hard either. I dropped her off with my mum (who she loves to death) and only felt a tiny bit teary as I walked away - she was totally happy and playing so it wasn't some great big emotional scene. The train journey up was bloody lovely - nice and quiet and I read a whole book and scoffed Pret and it was like being a grown up again. I also bought OK magazine for the first time in ages but never actually got round to reading it. I feel I need to mark this as some sort of pinnacle of maturity. The thing is, I usually buy Red mag (if I buy mags at all, which I never do any more - my 15-year-old self who dreamed of being a magazine journalist would be beside herself with sadness) but there were none left in WHSmith in Kings Cross. So I bought OK because it's the kind of crappy thing I usually like reading in the hairdresser's. But when it came down to it: just me, the train and the magazine, I found that I actually didn't care. I looked at the cover several times, taking in all the trying-to-be-tantalising-titbits about various slebs I was vaguely aware of and I found I didn't care enough to even open the damn thing. How times have changed.

Hmm. Not sure what the point of that little sidestep was, but I guess as an admission it won't help my 'career' if I ever decide I want to get back into the meeja properly. Anyway... yes, my tiny break. Edinburgh is bloody lovely. Beautiful. Why did no one tell me this before? I've only been to Scotland a couple of times before - once on a rather disastrous honeymoon with my ex husband (we stayed in the middle of nowhere in the Highlands in JANUARY and it was freezing and boring and the water in the toilet was brown because it was filtered through peat or some such nonsense - anyway, nothing romantic about that trip) and then once for a wedding. I never knew Edinburgh was so pretty, and had such fab landscapes all around it. Also, thank you weather gods, because the sun shone all day - we walked 16km exploring the city as much as we could and I enjoyed every second. I didn't even think about the baby much, which makes me feel ashamed and feminist all at the same time.


She was fine, anyway, and had a lovely time with her grandparents. And best of all, Oli's show, Simply Bowie (a pared-back, Jazz interpretation of some of David Bowie's hits), was a phenomenal success. They had no PR budget yet it was packed out every night, they were on Scottish TV and BBC Radio Scotland and the feedback was unanimously positive. I was so proud and I've been blathering all about it all over social media ever since we returned. But in case you've missed it, you can check out his Facebook page for more info and you can also buy the album on iTunes (or stream it, if you can figure out how on earth to use this new bloody Apple Music - if you can, you're a wiser (wo)man than me).

My only regret about Edinburgh is that I was only there for one day, and that day was the last day of the Fringe, so lots of the shows had already finished. As a result there wasn't much on offer to see, and the atmosphere was a little more subdued than I had expected. I did however, get to witness the awesome last night fireworks. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.

The Fear

home-alone-lifebylotte Tomorrow, Oli is leaving for Edinburgh, where he'll be staying for just over a week. He's going to be doing a show at the fringe with the wondrous Chad Lelong - a reinterpretation of David Bowie songs - if you're at the festival and fancy popping by, then you can find out all the details here.

But this post isn't really about that (sorry Ol). It's about me (so far, so predictable). You see, it'll be the first time I'll have been left alone with Daph even overnight, let alone for a week. And I have a confession: I am absolutely terrified.

I've known this week was coming up for months - I think Oli agreed to do the festival back in January. But it seemed so far away and I thought as Daph would be one it would be OK. I assumed by now we'd have a really lovely easy routine and rapport going on, and of course it never occurred to me that she would still not be sleeping through the night every night. *bitter laughter*

At present, I know I'm a spoilt cow because Oli is around a lot in the day - he works evenings obviously and so I've always got help with the childcare. I've never had to be a traditional mum, stuck at home all day on my own with a baby. I get to say things like: 'Can you just hold Daph for a sec while I pluck an errant chin hair/straighten my hair/have a twenty-minute toilet break?' I've got used to the lie ins that I get every morning (I think I mentioned in an old post that Oli and I struck a deal - I do all the night feeds, and he gets up with her in the morning so I can catch up on sleep). I usually wake up about 8am. But this week, I'll be doing the night feeds AND getting up at 6am and giving her breakfast and then looking after her all day until she goes to bed. I am afraid. Very afraid. Of the following things specifically:

  1. Bathtime. How will I coordinate running the bath/ getting her ready/stopping her from drowning while she's in the bath while I turn around and grab her towel? We have a SYSTEM goddamit: Oli gets her ready for her bath, I give her the bath, he watches her while I get all her towels ready and then I lift her out of the bath and bring her to him to get her into her nightime nappy/pyjamas. Then I read her a story and give her her milk and she goes to bed. It works! It's a process! If one of us is missing, it's no longer a process; it's a health and safety violation.
  2. Mealtimes. These are my most hated of all parenting duties, due to Daph's rather fussy nature (read: tendency to scream and squirm and try to climb out of her highchair after one mouthful of food). And I will have to do all of them. Worse still, I will have no one there to distract her/pull funny faces while I try to shove food into her unsuspecting mouth. And how am I meant to prepare the actual food when if you leave her in her playpen for more than about ten minutes she goes batshit crazy?
  3. Playtime. I guess I am a terrible mother because... *whispers* ... I find playing with my own child monumentally dull after about twenty minutes. Oli is BRILLIANT at playing with her, and comes up with voices, names and characters for all her animals etc etc. All I have managed so far is voracious quacking as I squeeze her rubber duck in the bath (which barely even registers a response, truth be told, let alone a smile). I feel so ashamed but I just don't know HOW TO PLAY. I love her to death - I think I've got loving her down to a fine art and have mastered the art of cuddling and kissing her and soothing her when she's sad. But more than ten minutes of stacking bricks that she just knocks over in favour of barging towards my handbag/mobile phone/any hard surface on which to bonk her head and I just want to stick her in front of Teletubbies and hide behind my laptop. I try reading to her, but she just yanks the books out of my hand and closes them. Apparently trapping Mummy's fingers in the pages is more fun than watching Mummy point out where Mr Tickle is.
  4. Going to the toilet. How. How. How.
  5. Having a shower. The only time I'll be able to do this is when she's having her first nap at 9.30am. But on Thursday I have to go to work and my mum is going to babysit. So again, how, WHEN am I meant to have a shower before leaving for the office? At 5.30 before she wakes up? When I've probably been up at 4am anyway. Maybe the answer is NEVER GOING TO BED.

I so wish I was better with children - I've never been very good with them, and much as I adore my amazing little daughter, I find spending long periods time with her now she's older and more aware (and more opinionated) really quite challenging. I know you're not meant to admit that, but I hope I'm not the only mother out there like it. I love the days when Granny comes over and I can sneak off and waste some time doing fun adult things like, y'know, replying to my emails. Or writing blog posts. The most challenging thing by far about being a mother is not having time to get things done. I hate that it takes four days to fold the washing because any spare second is spent firefighting the essential chores like emptying the nappy bin (you don't want to leave that overflowing in August; LESSON LEARNT).

I am not complaining - I mean, it's hardly a hardship to be at home with my child like many mothers up and down the country whose partners work abroad. But I AM scared. I think this week will be an interesting learning experience for me (and Daph, poor mite). I am hoping it'll turn out better than I expect. I've arranged trips out for us every day, to make sure I don't go insane with loneliness. But I'm frightened. I hope that doesn't make me a horrible person. Wish us luck!