When you become a parent there is this sudden realisation that no matter what you in your life, until your children reach an age of being independent, you will have lost yours, and maybe gone slightly insane in the process. Being a single parent as well means that this alone time and independence is snatched where ever possible. Going to the toilet with an audience of a small child and the family pet becomes the norm for many years, and those times where you can pee in peace are blissful, I am sure we will all agree.
A Saturday early evening, Nathan is playing happily on the xbox and I have a longing for a nice hot bath. Half an hour of alone time away from the noise of the xbox. Just me and some bubbles.
I check in on Nathan and check that he does not need the toilet, and let him know if he does, he can use the downstairs toilet as I am going to be in the bathroom a while – I get the typical shrug and nod while he carries on shooting the bad guys. I venture into the bathroom and first of all move the collection of my sons shoes and clothes which have been dumped at the side of the washing basket. I start to run my bath, light some candles, put on a bit of Ed Shearan, switch off the lights and climb into a toasty, warm, all over body hug of soothing water and bubbles.
This bliss, this pure moment of indulgence for a parent is gone in under six minutes. SIX MINUTES!!
The bathroom lights flick on suddenly and Nathan walks in the bathroom, looking confused to see me in the bath, shrugs and pulls his pants down and sits on the toilet to have a poo.
“Mummy, what you doing?” he asks in the sing song voice.
“Boiling an egg” I answer closing my eyes and wishing that I did not know my son so well and already know the next few words that were about to come out of his mouth.
“I want a bubble bath too.”
“But you had a shower this morning, you do not need one.”
“Yes I do, I am dirty from playing on the xbox and I need a bath too.”
At this point he picks up my phone and starts scrolling through my playlist, the relaxing tones of Ed are swapped for Fall Out Boys’s American Beauty/American Psycho. Before I can ask Nathan to change the playlist back, my tiny human is now in the bath already, and has climbed in, trying to push my legs out the way in the process.
“Nath, you did not wipe your bum!”
“I know, don’t need to if I am having a bath!”
And with that I get out the bath, my evening of relaxing gone as now I have a small boy singing Fall Out Boy songs to me at the top of his lungs, whilst trying to practice what I can only describe as bathtub synchronised swimming.
I put on my PJs, tie up my hair and let Nath finish his bath. It is now almost his bed time so I decide that once he is in bed, I can go to bed for an early night, cup of tea and a new book. I will get my quiet and alone time tonight.
Our good nights are said, about four times, just for good measure, and I am finally sat with my book and the peace and quiet that I wanted. Until one of the cats manages to get a radiator cap off one of the radiators and it is now his most favourite, best new toy ever in the world. He is running around, skitting this bit of plastic about like a loon when it goes under my bed. Oh, in all my days, I have never heard a cat cry and moan about loosing a toy. Attacking the foot board of my bed and howling at me to help him, yet again my peace was broken. By this time Nathan is also up, coming to see what the cat is doing and to help with the retrieval of the radiator cap of joy.
Once the cap has been pulled out from under my bed, the cat walks off, uninterested and goes to sit in the landing outside the bedrooms. I try again, more good nights, another cup of tea made and I open my book for the second time. I start to re-read the same page again and have not even got to the bottom of the page when I hear this noise from the landing. The other cat has found a bag of marbles left out by Nathan and both cats are now firing them down the wooden staircase.
It was at this point I actually gave up, I knew that I was not going to get any peace being awake, the only hope was sleep.