Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Precious Tuesday with My Angels

7:30 a.m.
Well, there's just one more week of school holidays left and I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this precious, precious time with my Little Angels. You wouldn't believe how quickly they grow - why, only yesterday I was sharing the darling story of the miracle of Felicity's birth with Delphine, our French au-pair. (At this point I would like to mention that Mr H. and I decided to hire a French au-pair to help our Angels acquire a smattering of French before secondary school. While one would imagine a Frenchwoman would have a certain je-ne-sais-quoi about her person, Delphine has far too much je-sais-quoi. A more leaden lump of Gallic indolence you have never seen and far from the chic Parisienne I had envisioned. My children are picking up some French, it's true, but it seems to be the nasal whine of her native village in the Pyrenees. I knew we should have picked Irmgard, the girl from Stuttgart.)

In any case, Delphine has just called me to say that she can't come in today. I suspect there's something fishy (titter) about that story: she wants a raise, but I have said no. I'm all for workers' rights - after all, I did write two entire emails to the government of Indonesia for Amnesty International - but this girl does nothing around the house. Why, the children practically mind themselves! But the alternative - driving into town to rouse her out of her stinking flat above the betting office - is just too much. First of all, think of the damage to the environment: a ten-mile round trip to poke the beached whale out of her camembert-soaked bed? No. No. I shall look after the children myself today. It will be a time for mother and children to bond - it won't be long before they're leaving to get married, so I have to relish the time I spend with them. I might even homeschool them - imagine the delight I would have, seeing their little eyes light up with joy as I impart my knowledge to them. Surely there can be no greater reward for a mother?

8:03 a.m.
I have already planned a day of wonderful activities to do with my beloved offspring. I showed my list to Mr H. as he was gathering his things and preparing to leave.
"Are you sure you can be with the kids that long alone?" he said doubtfully.
Poppets, I was affronted. Frasier and Felicity are the pulse of my heart. I believe it takes one woman to birth a child but a village to raise them - and in our case, the village is Ballydongel. They have the best teachers money can buy, a plethora of worthy after-school activities and a devoted au-pair to see to their day-to-day needs. I see myself in more of a supervisory function: it's not the quantity of time one spends with the children, it's the quality. And surely a quality half-hour every evening is far more utterly precious than a day listening to their grizzling?

9:30 a.m.
I heard some stirring upstairs and went hither to seek out my precious ones. Sadly, I found Frasier already glued to his XBox, playing some rather violent game called KickboxerDeth II. In non-confrontational and non-judgmental tones, I expressed my disappointment and displeasure at his decision to embrace a game of violence, though I respected his right to choose and acknowledged that such games allowed him to express his more physical urges. I knew my instincts as a mother were spot on when he said, "Get the fxxx out of the way, mummy, you're blocking the screen."
He's such a sensitive boy.

10:13 a.m. 
Felicity arises! Oh joy! Mother and daughter time in the kitchen! Perhaps we shall bond over cookies and milk! She can tell me all about her little friends and I can learn about what's important to her.

11:15 a.m.
Who would have known that third grade was full of such intrigue? There are plots, subplots, counter-plots, coups, juntas and double-agents. My daughter's blow-by-blow account of The Great Coach Crisis has utterly, utterly fascinated me. Essentially, Franziska Delaney came to school one day with the latest Coach Kirstin satchel (and I hardly need mention that for the environmentally-conscious, it is indeed worthwhile to invest in quality goods that don't need to be replaced as often. Why, that satchel will accompany Franziska at least into the fourth grade, especially if next season's are not as attractive as winter 10/11's!) The problem was that Ann Sophie McGregor had already dibsied that very bag - and a melée ensued. Frankly, I am inclined to agree with Ann Sophie (not least because her mother is the Lady Captain of the Golf Club): if one cannot respect the Laws of Dibsies, then total anarchy ensues. Needless to say, all of Ms. Fitzpatrick's third grade were utterly divided on the matter.
I pour Felicity another glass of the delicious fresh milk that I sourced from a local farmer and urge her to take another oatmeal and cranberry cookie. I am enchanted by her whimsical chatter. I could listen to her forever.

12:05 p.m.
I. Am. Losing. My. Mind.
Christ above, the child is unstoppable. On and on and on and on she goes, babbling away about her stupid little friends and that bloody bag. Now I remember why I keep quality time with my kids to a minimum: children are incredibly boring. Why does no one tell you that?

1:10 p.m.
Have just served up some of my trademark yummy organic veggie stir-fry with delicious brown rice. Felicity pushed hers around the place, the little ingrate, because she stuffed herself with mummy's oatmeal and cranberry biscuits. Frasier whined because there were no fish fingers: apparently Delphine has gone against my express wishes and has been feeding them processed foods! Indeed, Lydia the cook concurs (after I have threatened to put her back on the banana boat that brought her here) and after a quick search of the kitchen, I discovered that the deep freezer is located under the fridge (ingenious). The bottom drawer is riddled with processed foodstuff: fish fingers! Chicken nuggets! And something called "wedges". I am overwhelmed with emotion: my Precious Angels have been poisoned by this filth! It's no wonder that they've been acting so oddly - Frasier's aggression and Felicity's obsession with Ann Sophie McGregor - the poor little darlings have been sickened by the kind of evil chemical one buys at Aldi!
 I immediately pick up the phone to call Delphine and fire her on the spot. The phone's engaged. Maybe it's for the best. I am too overcome with emotion to deal with this now.

1:45 p.m.
The phone's still engaged.
Frasier is expressing his emotions with the bread knife on my sofa cushions, bless him.

2:30 p.m.
Felicity wants me to help her make a 'Friends Forever' collage for her and Ann Sophie. When I point out that we would need more photos than the two or three taken by the photographer at Felicity's charming 'Jurassic Park'-themed fifth birthday party, Felicity whips out her iPhone 4 and shows me a selection of photos from the gallery entitled My Best Friend Ann Sophie. I make an excuse to sneak away and google behavioural tendencies for six-year-olds. Imagine my relief when I realise that girlish obsessions and hero(ine) worship are part and parcel of this developmental stage. But her non-stop chatter about the girl is driving me barmy. I've asked Mr H. if he thinks she might be too obsessed with Ann Sophie and would it not be better if she were fawning over Justin Beaver or whatnot?  But he just said that every child goes through that stage and when he was six he fell in love with Ernie from Sesame Street. This rocked me to my core, I must admit. I never realised that my husband had had a secret yearning for a muppet.

The phone's still engaged. French cow.

3:40 p.m.
Frasier has expressed himself all over the living room. My Waterford crystal glasses have allowed him to show me his love for fish fingers.

4:11 p.m.
Still engaged.

4:17 p.m.
Still engaged.

4:25 p.m.
Still engaged.
Breathe, Suzie, breathe.

4:42 p.m.
It's ringing. Thank God!
"'Allo?" she says in her sullenly suspicious voice.
I open my mouth to tell her she's fired, but to my astonishment find myself sobbing uncontrollably down the phone and begging her to come back. I promise her a 20% pay increase and €100 cash if she'll just come out for an hour and look after them while I get a break. She agrees. I'm so relieved that I lay myself down on the floor among the duck down from my organic sofa cushions and shards of Waterford Crystal. That's where she finds me weeping, with Frasier and Felicity running riot in the kitchen. I hear the muffled sound of what could be smacks on bottoms, but I don't want to know what charming Gallic child-rearing methods she resorts to in my absence. I lie whimpering on the handwoven Nepalese centre rug till she pulls me up with her meaty peasant hands and thrusts a glass of brandy at me. Under normal circumstances I would refuse to drink my Courvoisier from Felicity's Dora the Explorer glass, but needs must.

5:09 p.m.
I love my children. Love them. They are preshuis angels sent to me by God. 

5:30 p.m.
I love Delfin and Ldyia and all of my staf. They are wonderful peaople and I am more than happy to give them al raisess.

5:57 p.m.
What a fantastc day"!! Ifeel so much closer tomy prevcious loves now. Every mohter should spend a day with her children reeally listening to them.
Delohine wants me to ly down now and I jus might.