Last week I did the nursery run on my own for the first time.
This may not seem like a huge challenge but unfortunately, my brain doesn’t usually subscribe to such sensible things as logic. Although I am perfectly capable of such tasks as getting myself to work in the mornings and looking after Squidge without requiring the Northern One’s presence at all times, my anxiety levels had been on the rise since he reminded me about his study day and thus inability to do the nursery run on that day.
I did briefly consider whimping out and phoning nursery to tell them that Squidge wouldn’t be in that day but I had a counselling appointment that I couldn’t;
A. Take Squidge too.
B. Cancel. Besides, Squidge loves nursery so much that I’d have felt really guilty about not taking him.
The day didn’t exactly start as planned due to me relying on Squidge to wake me up in plenty of time and Squidge deciding that today was the day he fancied a lie in. After waking up, realising what time it was, I threw some clothes on, woke Squidge up and got him dressed and grabbed a drink and a breakfast bar for him to eat in the car. I knew that nursery wouldn’t mind if we were a bit late and once we set off I was actually quite pleased with how quickly I’d managed to sort us both out without panicking.
I started to feel a little bit less pleased when it transpired that I hadn’t actually put the top on the sippy cup properly so now not only did Squidge not have a drink but the contents of my handbag were now swimming in juice.
However, the rest of the journey and indeed the day went without incident and I arrived back to pick him up with plenty of time to spare. So much so that I went and sat in Costa for 20 minutes with an iced drink and read a chapter of my book.
After collecting Squidge I sat him on chair in reception while I searched for my car keys in my unfamiliar handbag, realising slightly too late that he’d grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl and taken a huge bite, skin and all. Attempting not to laugh at his disgusted face I peeled the banana for him and broke it in half, hoping that having something edible in each hand would distract him from the indignities of being strapped in his car seat and the subsequent yelling that tended to ensue.
I did briefly consider being proud of him for being so enthusiastic about a healthy snack but abandoned that thought when I realised that bowl could have been filled with pretty much anything that appeared to be edible and his reaction would have been similar. This is the child who insists on attempting to chew every stick he can lay his hands on when we go to the park so I decided not to get too over excited.
It was only after we’d joined the motorway that I also realised I’d been somewhat premature in my assumption that he was actually going to eat the banana; somehow I’d managed to forget his new habit of rubbing his food in his hair. Sure enough, when I looked over at him to check the sun wasn’t in his eyes I was just in time to witness two handfuls of (now) mushy banana being joyfully squashed onto his head.
And he didn’t stop there.
Powerless to do anything due to driving down the middle lane of the motorway I could only watch him out of the corner of my eye as he continued to liberally and gleefully spread the banana over everything he could reach.
By the time we got home It.Was.Everywhere.
As I processed the sticky carnage that only a toddler can create; clocking the splodges of banana covering the car seat, floor and seat belt as well as Squidge’s clothes, shoes and his grinning little face I suddenly realised something.
I didn’t care.
Well I did, but it was just a bit of mess; nothing that a few baby wipes and a bath (for Squidge, not the car) wouldn’t sort out. It was not the panic-inducing event that it would probably have been even a few weeks ago before my new regime of antidepressants began to have the full effect, particularly with the added stress of the nursery run.
I carried my gooey child inside and offered the Northern One the option of giving Squidge a bath or cleaning out the car. I was hoping he might come to my rescue but unsurprisingly he took the first option, leaving me to scrape banana out from the inside of the seat belt covers (how? why?) and grumble about chivalry.
Oh well, you can’t have everything.
Louise is a full time mum and a part time neonatal nurse who has battled depression for many years but particularly during her pregnancy. She lives with her husband (the Northern One) their little boy (Squidge) and their three guinea pigs who live in the kitchen.
Louise blogs at 23weeksocks (http://23weeksocks.com) about lots of different (and seemingly unconnected) topics that she’s passionate about, including mental health, antenatal depression, neonatal care and baby loss.
In 2015 she was shortlisted in the ‘Fresh Voice’ category for the BIB (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards and the ‘Bereavement Worker’ category for the Butterfly Awards. She was also one of the keynote speakers at BritMums Live reading’Twinkle Twinkle’ which was her account of caring for a premature baby on the day that he died.