‘Mummy stay with me,’ Isla says after 67 books last night.
We worked through a stack and then I had to drive backwards over some Lego to get to her bookcase.
‘Clean your room tomorrow, please.’
‘OK’, she says. ‘Read Miss Messy again.’
Sometimes she lays in our bed for stories, and sometimes I squeeze into hers. If I don’t think I’ll get up again, I park beside her bed. She crawls into my lap, still. This kid.
She’s back in her bed for book 68.
I think she’s asleep, and I back out of the room.
‘Stay and sleep on your wheelchair,’ she suggests. Not sleeping. Obviously.
I used to do that. Fall asleep watching her not sleeping. Last year when the heat conked out I stayed up all night and re-covered her every time she kicked the duvet off.
I’ve changed my writing time, and I’m behind my own schedule.
I try to write when Isla is at school. That three-hour window.
But lately, that time is spent yelling at my laptop over formatting issues when I try to actually blog and post what I’ve been writing. Because sometimes the preview doesn’t match the saved draft.
‘Why did you flip that photo?’
‘I put a space between the paragraphs. WHERE IS THE SPACE?
‘Yes, that is spelt right. Feck you.’
And then there’s that thing where I’m up for Best Overall Blogger, and I don’t want to post shit, because who votes for shit? So I end up not posting. And maybe that’s OK, because I seem to be best-known for my hair, anyway.
Who cares about well-written posts?
Anyway, I’m thinking maybe this is turning into a family road trip blog, because we get in the car every chance there is. We’ve perfected car picnics, air guitar in the car, falling asleep in the car (Isla) and reading in the car (me).
This weekend, we went to Inverness, which was basically a six-hour round trip for over-priced coffee. Fucking delicious, sugary city coffee that is delicious only because it doesn’t happen very often now.
So, OK we’re sitting in Starbucks and I’m people-watching and I’m jealous.
No, not of the girl on her first date. I have a kid, and her date has a man-bun.
I’m jealous of the writer sitting in the corner. Just her and a laptop that seems to be doing what she asks of it. With background music that’s just sad enough to add texture to the prose, and random conversation random enough to make for interesting dialogue.
Because I miss coffee-shop writing. Guilt-free writing. Writing that is just as important as the Chandler-from-Friends job my husband does for a living.
Because when I’m writing I could also be reading with my kid, or painting with my kid, or literally watching her grow up before my tired, crossed eyes. Because what if I’m writing and I miss a joke, or a hug or a blink?
After she came home from school today, I said I’d do some writing. She and Neil are sitting in the living-room having lunch.
‘Mummy’s mean,’ she says. Not because I’d left her alone to write some lines. But because I suggested that a strawberry sandwich was not a proper lunch. And I sat with her until she ate the peanut butter sandwich I mangled for her. (More about my sandwich skills can be found here.)
And so, that’s why I was jealous of the solo coffee-shop writer, why I wished her good words before I left with my kid and my husband to find new fish for the fish tank. We are still working on the dream I outlined in this post.
But before the fish, we went for the jelly shoes and the wellie boots and the random egg surprise that turned out to be the wrong surprise. Who knew?
Which came first the tantrum or the egg? The tantrum was so long we missed the fish.
And then I’m in the bathroom, grabbing five seconds. Isla’s outside trying the door handle. And I hear Isla say, ‘My Mummy’s in this toilet, you can use another one.’ and then she says. ‘Let me open the door and see Mummy’s beautiful face.’
So no, maybe I’m not jealous of the solo coffee-shop-writer. But I should take my writing time wherever I can get it.
Does anyone take a notebook into the bathroom?
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Also published on Medium.