Well we had a very fun, relaxing and exhausting Christmas holiday in the end!
It was busy but fun, and we got to see lots of people we love, and do lots of nice things in spite of Covid, so all in all I’m pleased.
But my word do I need another holiday now!
To sum up, we had my mum and her partner to stay for a couple of days the week before Christmas, so that they could spend a bit of time with my daughter-to-be S who was also here for a few days. Which was all very lovely and nice to get a bit of family time even if it was only for a couple of days. I even managed to squeeze in a playdate with one of S’s friends (you may remember the poor kid who flipped herself off a swing and ended up with a bloody nose in my previous post!).
Then for Christmas S went back to the foster carer’s house and we had my best friends and their new baby to stay with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was really lovely and relaxing and fun, just what was needed. My 4-year old daughter A was very over-excited about Santa but managed not to wake me up at silly o’clock (though she did end up sleeping in my bed for the night) and my friend D loves to cook a roast so he happily pottered about in the kitchen doing things to the turkey and potatoes etc.
Lots of food was eaten and wine was drunk etc.
After Christmas the kid and I had a couple of quieter days to ourselves where I got out the wallpaper stripper and had a crack at the dining room, as that was my holiday job to try and achieve. There were layers and layers of paper under there and sadly the walls are in a pretty shoddy state underneath so it will need plastering after all (there was me hoping to paint that room myself to save a bit of cash but sadly it is not to be). The steam also caused the dining room light to go haywire and refuse to turn off for a few days, though it seems to have sorted itself out now.
Then we had my sister and her family down to stay for a night on their way back home from my mum’s and on the 31st I picked up S again for another visit, so she got to meet her new cousins and hang out for a bit before they headed home.
We went for a couple of lovely long walks in the woods and to some local parks, climbed trees and went swimming together, just me and the girls, and finished stripping the dining room walls (S loved peeling the paper off the walls!).
A was pretty knackered and overwhelmed after all the visitors and excitement of Christmas and her big sister visiting so we had some pretty major tantrums for a few days, which was tiresome, and the laundry piled up higher and higher as I added all the sheets and towels from various visitors to the existing load of clothes to wash. The girls both got their trainers clogged with mud and insisted that I clean them up too in case I wasn’t doing enough. I’m still slowly trying to work out what meals S likes and will eat after my previous attempts were declared “disgusting” and so I rolled out a few new options at dinner times, which A didn’t like at all (though S did!) so we had some tense dinners and refusals to eat from one or other of the children almost every night.
S had a couple more playdates with her friends, but to avoid inevitable arguments about A getting involved and ruining their games, I organised playdates for her too with her little friends. Sadly she was not in a sharing mood and mostly screamed at her friends for touching her toys.
By Tuesday night I was absolutely exhausted. The laundry has been on constantly for days, and S was annoyed that her hoodie wasn’t dry in time to wear it again (the foster carer has a tumble dryer and so can turn washing around much faster than I can). I had to explain that I can’t magically dry clothes any faster, they’ll just get dry when they dry, and I can only do a load every other day as there isn’t anywhere to dry more than a load’s worth at once so we have to wait until one load dries before I can put the next load on. We seem to rack up a full laundry basket every 2 days between us, so it’s been quietly building into a laundry avalanche over the holidays with all the extra sheets and towels and trainers to squeeze in. (the girls have been getting VERY muddy lately and A’s new favourite thing is to take her socks off and put new ones on 5 times a day which is driving me crazy.
The fridge doesn’t seal properly so the condensation water runs down the back constantly and drips onto the food, leading to yelps of “EWWW THAT’S DISGUSTING” every time S went to get a yoghurt out of the fridge and gets drips on her clothes. I need to clean it out again but haven’t had time. I was supposed to do a food shop on Tuesday, and collect a parcel but had run out of time, so we had limited options for breakfast and packed lunches.
Wednesday was the day that S went back to school, A went back to nursery and I went back to work, and it looked a bit like this:
7am-8am Got up, showered, and dressed, got the kids up and dressed, teeth brushed, made a cup of tea, (fuck there’s hardly any milk left as I didn’t get to the shops) got the kids breakfasted (no bread left either so I skipped breakfast). Cleaned up the cat shit off the floor, made the packed lunch (fuck everything in the fridge is soggy, I must clean the damned thing out asap!).
8am-10am Car de-iced, bags packed, coats and shoes on, out the door and off on the school run, then nursery run, plus screaming and tears from A as she hasn’t been back for ages, then dashed round the shops for bread and milk etc, got home and realised the kids left the house in an absolute pig sty. Put the shopping away (fuck still haven’t sorted the fridge, so new food going into puddles in the fridge)
10am-12pm Cup of tea, turn on work laptop. Systems all refusing to sign in so manual restart which takes forever, sorted the kids’ rooms out quickly while it rebooted (picked up dirty clothes, made the beds, toys and books away off the floor), finally got back into my systems, start going through all the work emails and messages.
12pm-2pm Bowl of soup for lunch and got the laundry folded and put away, bit more work stuff on the laptop,
2pm-3pm Made an afternoon cup of tea and popped a fresh load of laundry on. Answered some more work emails. Still 50 things on the to-do list and how the fuck is it 3pm already? Need to get out the door as have to drop off the tablet S left behind at school before she goes back to the foster carer’s house and while I’m out need to pick up that damn parcel.
3pm-5pm Dashed to the school to drop off the thing at school, then to the shop to collect the parcel, no point going home as traffic is picking up already so sat in the car doing more work emails on my phone until the nursery pick up. Email from the social worker that things are being delayed yet again (fuck!). Called my mum to vent about it.
5pm-8pm Got home, shoved kid in front of telly to make dinner and hang out the next load of laundry to dry. Kid is so tired she screams for an hour and hangs off my leg while I’m cooking my tea, and FUCK the fucking fridge is still full of water all over everything. Wolf down dinner and get protesting kid into the bath and pyjamas and stories and bed.
8pm Crawl downstairs and stare balefully at the lake sloshing about in the fridge, too tired to start emptying it and clearning it out. Make a gin and tonic and wish there was such a thing as a laundry fairy.
This holiday has been a good indication for me of how exhausting it will be juggling 2 kids and the house and work all by myself. I can’t wait until I am on adoption leave for a while so that I will have a bit more time to get things in order and god forbid a tiny bit of relaxation for myself too.
It’s always a challenge to balance activities – part of me wonders if we should have tried to do less over the holidays, but then again, the lazy days of slobbing around at home all day are behind me – if I don’t get A out of the house for a run around she gets bored and cranky and screams the place down, and having friends and playdates and activities tends to make it all a bit easier to keep them occupied and less bored. I’m keen to organise playdates for S as she doesn’t get to do normal things like have her friends over and she is desperate for that kind of normality, and A is going to have a tough adjustment to someone else constantly being in the house no matter what we do.
Then again she misses S like crazy when she has to leave, and was shouting out in her sleep the other day “NO! I WANT S TO STAY!”
So here we are, vaguely back to normal, the house is once again vaguely tidy and I’m on the last 2 loads of laundry for now, back at work and it’s suddenly very quiet in the house. Planning to tackle the fridge flood later today, though I may need to have a strategic nap at the weekend though….