It's Friday night and it's been one of those weeks. Right now I'm trying to hold on to those moments when I've been forced to scoop a boy up in my arms and slap a big kiss on his cheek. I'm trying to enlarge the sweet moments so they aren't swallowed by the sour.
Oli deciding a 40 minute nap is plenty long enough thanks very much and crying from his cot, wide mouthed and sad, red faced and furious, just when I'm trying to juggle saucepans in the middle of a major cook-up. Then, me reminding myself how very small he still is, how he is soothed by having my little finger in his mouth or likes me to put my head so close to his that we almost share a breath, his little hand outstretched to explore the marvel of my eyelashes.
The week feels dominated by the morning spent with both boys at the DMV, yet another attempt to renew my driver's license. The whole thing was an exercise in observation and patience. One woman was breathing through the sleeve of her sweater, so as not to inhale germs I suppose. It seemed extreme but, along with the armed security guard, it reminded me it was hardly a place for children.
'What is he dooing?' Max asked as we sat down next to a man who must have had the body mass of the three of us combined.
'Well, he's looking at his phone and waiting for his number to be called.'
'Is he waiting for his number to be called?' Max is on his knees, bending over the back of the chair and looking at the man behind us. I nod. 'Is he waiting for his number to be called? And is he waiting for his number to be called?' He's pointing at a woman this time but I nod again. There must be 50 people, at least, and I can sense he likes this question.
'Everyone is waiting for their number, Max'
He moves on to the signage. 'No Visitors', 'Examination Area', 'Window Number 1'. We count to 25 as the tannoy calls out ticket numbers; F074, H007, G103. The sequence is so random I'm reminded of those unfathomable maths questions that ask you to write down the next number after 8, 21, 306, 24... An hour later Max is using the rope cordon as a gym bar. Security's getting heavier around us and we all want out. The meltdown happens later in the playground when Max wants to come down the fireman's pole.
'I-CAN-DO-IT-ALL-BY-MY-OWN' he tells me firmly.
There is a pause. Then, 'I-CAN-DO-IT-ALL-BY-MY-OWN-IF-YOU-HELP-ME.'
I had to kiss him for that, but it didn't avert the tears.
Then today, Max looked so excited running through the folds of multicoloured parachute silk at his gym class. And when he heard the lyrics in 'Hey there Delilah' which went 'planes and trains and cars', it stopped him in his tracks. He was grinning 'Did he just say 'planes and trains and cars?' And Oli, so adorable in the carrier on my chest, chunky, soft and sleepy, tiny nose, mouth slightly open. I hold on to those moments when I remember the three of us in the public loo, me bent over Max, asking him to please, just pee, and my sunglasses falling in the bowl. Yes, very funny...now.