Summer stretches on, if we can call it 'summer' considering the weather we're having. OB doesn't go back to Playgroup until 9th September, a whole seven weeks after he finished for the holidays. At some point during the summer break, we've dropped our afternoon naps. This means that sometimes, many days go by where OB and I don't get a minute's break from each other. It's starting to fray our nerves.
Even when Playgroup is open, he only goes for three mornings - that's just 9 hours each week - but it's amazing how much of a difference it makes when those precious hours of respite from each other are taken away.
Don't get me wrong. It's not as though I don't enjoy OB's company - I really do. But sometimes, we can all benefit from time apart even from those we love to be with. Without those times, or even the benefit of another person in the house to break the mood, annoyances quickly become major irritations that consume whole days, irritations build up over days and weeks to become habitual behaviour and speech patterns, and eventually you start to wonder how you got to be this person you seem to have become.
Thankfully a kind friend, noticing my plight, has taken OB out for a couple of hours for the past two Fridays. Bliss. I haven't done anything particularly spectacular. On the first Friday I cleared out and reorganised a massive storage cupboard in the nursery. On the second I did the grocery shopping. It actually felt like a little holiday to be able to wander round Tesco, taking my time over the shopping without the constant vigilance required to prevent threenage armageddon in the dairy aisle.
Today, though, has been a doozy. BG was sick in the night, and OB's nappy leaked, so both lots of bedding needed washing. After breakfast (a mighty task involving a surprising amount of complex negotiation) I put the first washing load on and then went to empty the dishwasher. The stuff didn't look particularly clean. With my preferred 'head-in-sand' approach I loaded it up again and put it on anyway. Twenty minutes into the cycle the fuse for the kitchen sockets tripped. I was in the middle of negotiating my newly-purchased food processor at the time, having decided that this would be a major cooking/freezing day so it took me a while to locate the source of the problem - the dishwasher. It's completely died.
Of course this meant that the washer had stopped too. Had to start the cycle again from the beginning. No matter. Got on with cooking stage one, seriously regretting the ambitiousness of the project as the washing up mountain grew in the sink and no dishwasher to save me. Lunchtime approaching and OB still adamantly refusing to get dressed, I decided to pick my battles and did lunch in pyjamas. Half way through her lunch, BG vomited so copiously that I had to give her a bath and disinfect half the kitchen.
Mourning the apparent total loss of the dishwasher, a faithful friend for 15 years, and mindful that this will probably mean yet another postponement of our new car plans, I decided that we needed to get out of the house. Thankfully a summer festival was going on in town today, so I prised OB out of his pyjamas and into clothes and off we went. As I set off, the car made an unwelcome bleeping noise and informed me that the indicator was broken. I checked. It was, indeed, broken.
At the festival, I couldn't stop scanning the crowd for the faces of OB and BG's birth families. You never know. I queued for quite a while to get OB a balloon shaped like a snake, let him go wild at the pick 'n' mix and paid £2 for a turn on a merry-go-round ride that lasted all of one minute. His response? A total, screaming meltdown because I wouldn't pay a further £2 and queue for what looked like about half an hour to let him go on another less-than-impressive ride. We came home, via the bargain shop where I had been reliably informed that Pampers were on special offer. They were. It was a highlight of the day.
Back home, I reduced the washing up pile a little and completed the cooking extravaganza to a persistent soundtrack of OB wailing because he was "soooo tired Mummy". As I emptied the tumble dryer and folded the newly-cleaned bedding I experienced a moment of gratitude that it was the dishwasher that broke and not the washing machine or tumble dryer! It could definitely be so much worse.
I was pretty pleased with the results of the cooking efforts (despite the incredible mound of pots stacking up in the sink) and proudly served up a made-from-scratch-with-my-own-fair-hands pie for tea. OB said "I'm not going to like that Mummy," as I got it out of the oven. He slashed it with his knife for about 20 minutes and then said he'd had enough. I said that if he didn't eat any of it then he wouldn't get one of the jam tarts we had made. He ate most of it. I burnt my finger testing whether the jam tarts were cool enough to eat. They weren't.
We skyped Mamy and Papy after tea because it's Papy's birthday today. OB was on top note, trampolining a la 'Tumble' on the sofa next to me, using his 'dog on a stick' like a lethal weapon and eventually dragging his toy drum kit through the house with the intention of putting it right next to the computer and playing on it. I drew a line at this. On the plus side, BG's tea remained in her stomach.
At bedtime I issued dire warnings to OB about what might happen if he faffed about until after 9pm like he did last night. Then I came downstairs and, instead of loading the dishwasher (10 minutes), I did the mountain of washing up (40 minutes). It's not much, that half an hour, but I definitely feel robbed!
And why am I telling you all of this? Because there's nobody else here to tell. This is single adoptive parenting. It really is all you, all of the time.