So there I was again on a Thursday afternoon doing some baking for the nursery cake sale, so sleep-starved that I actually felt really awake, in the same way that you get incredibly hot and fling off all your clothes just before you die from hypothermia.
Shall I tell you what happened the night before? It’s a really funny story. Okay it’s not – but those of you with children will feel better that you are not the only one having a shit time and those of you with no kids will feel extra smart and terrific about your life choices.
So both Kitty
AND Sam are ill with the same cold – Sam is alright but Kitty
’s has gone a bit nasty with a fruity cough and the occasional low-grade fever. Kitty
has been falling asleep on the sofa at about 2.30pm these days and so she doesn
’t go to bed until 8.30pm. Not ideal but never mind. So we dinged about until 8pm then she went to bed. She seemed happy despite her cough.
I trotted downstairs to catch up on Bake-Off and at 9.15pm Kitty
sat up in bed and started wailing. Then coughing. I went upstairs to see her and she puked down herself and down me (exlcusively, I noticed, phlegm and grossness she has been swallowing for the last fortnight) and started crying. And crying. And CRYING.
I carried her downstairs to a little bathroom and ran a hot shower with some Olbas Oil in it and sat with her in the steam. She was still weeping and weeping, wailing that she wanted to go back to bed. Coughing and gagging. After ten minutes I took her back upstairs going “shh shh shh!’ terrified she would wake up Sam. I changed her out of her pukey stuff and put her back in her cot. But she kept on crying. She seemed to be nodding off but then something was stopping her. Snotty nose? Headache from the bang on her head she took that morning falling off her scooter?
She eventually fell asleep whimpering to herself. I wrote the rest of the evening off and went to bed myself. Then at 11pm she woke up really crying. Not coughing just crying. It’s fucking earache I thought. Must be. She’s never had earache before. Oh god – have to go to the doctor, get antibiotics – how am I going to get her to take them??
Giles then arrived back from some dinner or other. We settled her in our bed, tried to get some Calpol down her – (for-GET it) – and then just waited grimly for about 45 minutes until she eventually slipped into unconsciousness at about 1am, spreadeagled across my side of the bed.
So off I went to sleep in Sam’s room. I passed out at about 1.30am and was then woken up by Sam at 0400 suffling and snotting around. I lay there listening to him for an hour, waiting for him to put himself back to sleep, then got up, wiped his nose and popped a dummy in (why? why do I think that is going to help?) it didn’t. He got worse, wailed harder. I took him into bed with me. WORSE.
Fuck this, I thought. Fucking fuck
this. I don’t hate my children, I don’t hate being a mother, (though some people think I do), but I hate THIS. The discombobulation, the anxiety, the not knowing what to do, the slight terror of how you are going to deal with tomorrow on no sleep.
Some parents, like Giles, love it when his kids need him in the night. He gets to cuddle them in bed, which is a rare treat as they sleep in their own rooms – and he gets to make the ultimate sacrifice for them: sleep. My husband has often sacrificed sleep for far less noble causes – so why not his children?
I do not feel this way. I’ve got a bit of a thing about sleep. My feeling is only powerfully that I cannot stand seeing them suffer. I wish they were old enough that they could tell me where it hurts and so that I could dose them properly with decongestants – rather than fannying about with Vicks and vaporisers and humidifiers and Nurofen – so that no-one has to have an awful time.
It’s the inconsolable crying I can’t take. Puke and shit and having to sleep in the same bed as my kids and being kicked – and even having to get up in the night I don’t mind. But the wailing on and on, not responding to any sort of patting or stroking or comfort. That breaks me.
Anyway at about 0530 completely out of ideas, I put Sam back in his bed, tucked him in, gave him his muzzy thing, turned on his tinkly music box and left the room to sit on the stairs. He was asleep in eight seconds. He was literally just waiting for me to fuck off out of his room.
I simply couldn’t face going back into the nursery and there was no room for me in my bed so I climbed into Kitty
’s cotbed, pulled the toddler-sized duvet over me and shivered there for an hour and a half until it was time to get up and feed Sam.
Kitty slept through, luxuriously, under my Super King-sized Hungarian Goosedown duvet and woke up fine, even went off merrily to nursery, no hint of earache or a headache or anything. Sam, needless to say, grinned like a massive goon when I got him up, like always.
During the day, even though I had a couple of chances at naps, I just couldn’t do it, couldn’t nod off. It happens a lot when you’ve been kept awake. You sort of forget how to fall asleep. I worry, you see. I worry I’m never going to sleep again. I worry that the next night will be the same as last night. It is very hard when you are tired and confused not to despair.
So I thought I would cheer myself up by making Rice Krispie treats
for Kitty’s nursery Friday bake sale. I had been looking forward to doing these for a while. They would be easy, I told myself, they would look terrific with sparkles all over them and mini smarties and tiny marshmallow and all sorts.
In the end I did them in a classically slapdash way. I decided that actual quantities of chocolate, golden syrup and butter for the chocolate sauce
thing didn’t matter. But I think they might because my sauce
went all grainy and gross (which is not, I don’t think, the same as “splitting” but looks equally unappealing).
I lost heart slightly at this stage
and ditched my plans for glitter and mini smarties. I just dumped a lot of raisins in and mini marshmallows, stirred it round
while feeling a bit despondent that I literally cannot make something that primary-school aged children make. I cannot even cook something that requires almost NO cooking. I despaired. Again.
I tipped the whole lot out into a loaf tin and shoved it in the fridge. Then I took it out two hours later and cut it up into bits and it was FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!
So this is how I did it:
1 bar Menier milk cooking chocolate
300g Cadbury’s milk chocolate
a slab of butter – about 50g
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
3 handfuls Rice Krispies
1 handful raisins
1 handful mini marshmallows
and any extra things you might like
1 Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of cold water
then put it on your smallest burner set at the lowest heat. The bottom of the bowl must not touch the water
2 Break up the chocolate and put it in the bowl, followed by the butter and the syrup. Then leave it
there to melt, give it a stir as it looks mostly melted in to help things along, but otherwise leave it alone. Do not freak out if it goes a bit grainy.
3 Into the melted chocolate pour the Rice Krispies and raisins. Allow the chocolate to cool to lukewarm (though it should not be especially hot anyway) before adding the mini marshmallows as you don’t want the marshmallows to melt.
4 Line a loaf tin with a double layer of cling film so you can get the stuff out later and then pour in your chocolate mixture, press
down all over the top with a spatula and stick in the fridge for 2 hours.
You can decorate these before they go into the fridge with glitter or mini Smarties, or anything you like really. Diazepam, 5mg?