7.58 a.m. Woken by frantic text from daughter: Got tonsillitis :( Could you pls pick N (aged 3) up from nursery and keep him for the afternoon? It would really help if you could give him supper and a bath and bring him home ready for bed. Pls Mama? XX
Bugger. That’s my day shot to hell. I love my grandson, oh I do, and I can always write a book, meet my PR agent, go to the hygienist and buy a hat for Royal Ascot some other time. Soon he’ll be all grown up and won’t have time to see me anymore. I know I am blessed. I throw on some clothes and make-up and run to the shops.
I buy ingredients to make healing chicken soup then pick N up at Little Monkeys. He hurtles towards me and throws his arms around my neck. My love cash register kerchings £1,000.000.
Back home, he ‘helps’ me cut the carrots up with a wooden spoon. They go all over the kitchen floor. He trips on one, falls over and bites into his lip. It comes up like a blackberry. He shrieks for his mummy. I give him a Malteser and hold him on my hip while I get the soup on with the other hand. Then I hustle him out the door and down the stairs to go to the park.
When we reach the street, I realise he’s still wearing his slippers. I clomp back up again and get his shoes.
He runs wild in the playground meant for 7-11 year olds just missing being hit by a swing. I run after him shouting warnings then have to scale the climbing frame because although he gets to the top, he doesn’t fancy the twirly-whirly slide coming down. I wrestle him into his buggy while he goes all stiff and march him up the hill.
He spies the ice cream van before I do, so I have no time to spin on my axis and go the other way. He wants an ice cream. I want an ice cream. I want an ice cream. I WANT AN ICE CREAM! It’ll spoil your supper. It’ll spoil your supper. IT’LL SPOIL YOUR SUPPER!
He throws a small fit which I ignore then thankfully, he falls asleep. I sink down on a bench to catch my breath. His mother texts: Don’t for G-d’s sake let him fall asleep or he won’t go to bed tonight. Still feel shite :/
I stride down the hill again singing The Wheels on the Bus very loudly to wake him up. Passers-by glance at me as if I’m nuts. A dog comes up and yaps stridently into N’s face. He awakes with a start and begins to howl.
The pup runs off. I lift him out of his pushchair to give him a cuddle but traumatised by his rude awakening, he has a little accident. I rummage in my bag for his spare panties and get him changed al fresco. He does not appreciate this ignominy, poor mite.
Back home, we struggle up the stairs. He just about makes it to the loo to finish what he started earlier then he wants ‘computer time’. I put on the longest Peppa Pig clip I can find and he sits quietly for about eight seconds before playing Bang! Bang! on the keys of my laptop although I’ve told him not too. I quickly save and close an important document I haven’t backed up and am terrified of losing.
I give him supper, answer a couple of urgent emails but ignore all phone calls, then I put him in the bath. He happily splashes water all over the room while I rush to redo my hair and make-up and get changed into smarter clothes.
We play: “Where’s the little boy gone?” while he hides beneath the towel then I get him into his pyjamas, put the pot of soup into a strong carrier bag, totter everything downstairs, strap him into the car seat and drive him home.
He repeats: “Where’s MisterManintheMoon, Didi?” on a continuous loop the whole way back. The night sky is cloudy but can I explain that? I hand him over to his father who’s just got in, put the saucepan of soup on the hob, pop in to check on my poor, sick daughter who’s trying to breast feed the baby without breathing on her, then I rush off to the theatre feeling guilty for not having cancelled it and stayed on to help out.
I arrive just in time, flustered, and when I open my bag to switch my mobile phone off, a tiny pair of damp Y-fronts fall out. My date raises an eyebrow.
“Still seeing that toyboy then?” he asks.
I wink at him and relax back in my seat to watch the play.