The best laid plans

Isaac Beavers

Some days go exactly the way they’re supposed to. And others, particularly when you have kids, don’t. Today was one of those days.

The plan

Today’s plan was as follows. Go to work. Clear large pile of data-crunching with the aid of my two-screen set-up and a stack of printouts. Just the one meeting. Leave office early to watch Isaac being invested into Beavers. Come home.

Yeah, right.

Isaac Beavers
Both Mummy and Daddy were supposed to be there for this. Oops

The reality

Get up as normal. Breakfast, shower. Discover that Kara has chicken pox and is therefore quarantined. Throw plan out of window and start again.

Decide to work from home. Realise that the data task, which would have taken a couple of hours in the office, will take all day without my second screen and the pile of printouts sitting tidily on my desk – and that’s assuming I don’t have a grouchy, attention-seeking two-year-old hanging off me. Mentally reschedule that for later in the week.

Resign myself to a day of child-care and inefficiency instead.

Then realise that the other big task I could have done requires a report that is also sitting on my desk. Swear. A lot. Wonder if it’s too early for a G&T. Stomp off to the kitchen to make a triple-strength cup of coffee instead. It’s still only 8:20am and it’s going to be a long day.

Reality squared

Of course, it gets worse.

I’m already resigned to being unable to attend Isaac’s investiture because I have to stay at home and look after Kara. Isaac was quite disappointed when I told him. So was I.

In that endearing way that he does, Isaac had been so excited about today. He had even taken the motto of ‘be prepared’ to heart, to the extent that he’s been reading up about the Scout movement online for the past couple of days. Like me, he’s a research geek.

That wasn’t the bit that got worse.

5:35pm, in the middle of feeding Kara dinner. This involves Kara eating until she’s bored, and then carefully scattering the rest of her dinner around her chair. My phone rings. It’s Heather, saying she’s stuck in traffic on the A34 and can I pick up Toby from pre-school?

Shove dessert down Kara’s throat. Clean up the worst of the mess on her hands, face and clothes. Bundle her into the car. Drive like a bat out of hell to get to pre-school four minutes before it closes and we start to incur fines. Toby’s the last one there, but the unexpected novelty of me picking him up staves off any bottom-lip wobbling.

That wasn’t the bit that got worse either. This is the bit that got worse.

Get home. Ten minutes later Heather arrives back with Isaac, having failed to arrive in time for his investiture. To be honest, he copes with the disappointment better than I do, although I can tell he’s put a brave face on it and in reality he’s gutted. So I take some photos of him in his uniform, we make a fuss over him and generally try to make up for it. We fail, miserably.

It has been, not to put too fine a point on it, a crap day. And I haven’t finished yet. I’ll probably do another couple of hours’ work before bed, and then I’m away for the next two days, during which it will be Heather’s turn to have just as bad a time but without backup.

Being a parent is fun 99% of the time. And then days like this happen.