I cautiously open one eye and wait for my brain to kick in and determine what day of the week it is and what is on today’s agenda of Things To Do. Saturday. Good – no trains to work, I don’t have to get up yet. Next, I assess by the level of light streaming in what section of the AM we’re in – it’s July, so it could be anywhere from 5am upwards, but there’s no kids jumping on me yet, so it’s probably around 5.30/6.00am.
I debate for a few seconds over whether to try and get back into a state of snooze, or whether I use these ten minutes before they undoubtedly appear, bounding in with energy and noise and slobbery kisses which starts off as cute as they snuggle in but quickly descends to chaos as they want the covers on then want them off then want to sit on me as if I was Bullseye from Toy Story… all while Gavin somehow manages to stay sleeping through it all. My brain is awake now anyway so I give in and decide to enjoy the current peace, pick up my phone and try and decide what we might do that day.
Hmm… scrolling through lovely Instagram parenting accounts full of fun things to do with small kids.. petting farms… picnics… kids climbing trees…kids splashing in the waves at beach shorelines. Aw isn’t that all lovely. I decide on the pet farm, there’s one close to us – maybe we can have a picnic and sit outside somewhere, it’s a beautiful day. We’ll get some breakfast into them then pack a lovely lunch and head off out, get the most of the weather and try and get out all the energy they’ve been recharging since they fell asleep the previous evening. What could possibly go wrong?
I put down the phone delighted with myself, rosy coloured visions of Pinterest-esque picnics in meadows and butterflies gracefully landing on us, birds singing around us, full throttle Snow White style.
What’s happening here, in case you haven’t noticed yet, is Mam-nesia.
Mamnesia. The amnesia of the mothering world… don’t say you don’t have it. Dadnesia exists too no doubt but parent-nesia doesn’t have the same ring to it so in the interest of keeping it simple I’ll just refer to what I know best.
Not sure what I mean? Stay with me.
Inevitably, no chance of a lie in, less than ten minutes later, in bound the kids, leaping all over the shop as if they’d had sugar hooked up to them via IV drip all night. Hyper. A few dreamy snuggles, then as usual, chaos descends. Eventually you give up, and get up, wave wistfully (that’s not a teardrop, there’s just something in your eye) at your pillow until you’ll see it again approximately fifteen decades later, and get going with your perfect family quality time day together.
Colours of bowls and spoons decided on, (do NOT just give them any coloured utensils you fool) breakfast done, kids dressed, nappy changes complete, shoes sourced, eleventy million trips back upstairs to get something we’ve forgotten, or some dinosaur who ‘wants to come too’, nappies and wipes packed, suncream applied, lunch packed, water bottles full, car seats buckled, we’re ready to go. Not bad, it only took an hour and a half today to get ready to leave, we’ve had worse. At this point you’re still envisioning the Pinterest-Instagram version of how this day will go so you don’t suspect a thing yet.
To the pet farm we go.
In this particular pet farm, (Kildare Farm Foods) it’s free entry, and you can buy a tub of oats to feed to the animals as you go around for €1. However, your two year old cares not for rules and launches himself in and takes a tub for each pudgy hand before you’ve paid for anything. The shine starts to slip a bit as a shadow of a memory of your last experience here comes back, almost taunting you with gloatiness. HAST THOU FORGOTTEN??
You brush it off as if it was some sort of weird deja-vu type thing and assume you’re thinking of some other family whose kids are clearly just unstable, not like your perfectly behaved little cherubs.
After a semi successful struggle to persuade your two year old that they only need one tub, using weaponry of bribery and distraction you extract the other and give it to the four year old whose lip is wobbling because he’s wondering why he can’t have two – crisis averted – they now have one each and we can proceed.
You make it out to where the animals are, your two year old has given ALL his oats to the first turkey he came across, the four year old is (quite rightly, to be fair) refusing to distribute any of his to his brother because he wants to keep them all for the ostrich, all hell is about to break loose, and that little shadow that started to creep in now suddenly floods your brain with memories of why you haven’t done this in a while. It’s like that scene from Titanic where the staircase gets flooded with water as the ship is sinking. Such a good analogy on all levels really to describe this situation. A sinking ship. Yay me.
You CURSE your Mamnesia to the depths of hell. You’ve remembered.
It doesn’t matter what lovely shiny activity you’ve picked through those rose coloured, sleep deprived eyeballs, your Mamnesia has made you forget. It could be picnics on a sunny day, arts and crafts activities on a rainy one. Mamnesia makes you forget what ACTUALLY happens, and forces you to picture how you imagine it could be – paints not getting splurged into one big brown mess on a plate… playdough not getting squished into one big ball of brown in a tub, as you viscously tap various surfaces with said ball of brown squishiness to pick up all the stray bits that have landed all over the table and floor and walls and your hair.
You mutter to yourself as you chase after your kids when they won’t hold your hand and can suddenly run at the speed of light / won’t eat the lovingly packed lunch / pour their drink all over their face / drop their ice cream in the sand.
Muttering won’t save you now my friend.
You make it home in a heap and wonder is it nearly bedtime yet, as you reminisce about that lovely pillow time you had before they woke up. I won’t forget that again, you tell yourself, but you know as well as me. The sun will stream in again in the morning, Mamnesia will have done its thing overnight, and you’ll do it all again tomorrow in the hope that this time, it will be different.