It's been a turbulent few days chez FDMTG as a nasty virus has felled us one by one, our childcare and cleaning arrangements have unravelled simultaneously and my work has decided to take a turn for the busy. It's enough to make me (almost) regret having four children.
When times are good, having lots of boys to kiss and cuddle is dreamy, but when illness strikes or the tangled web of support that keeps us all going snags, I really do find having a large family cumbersome in the extreme. It all started when my stalwart mother's help began to reveal that she simply wasn't up to the job of juggling my four boys. In her defence it wasn't what we hired her to do, but in my defence I can't afford to pay her unless she can tame the boys sufficiently for me to be able to work in peace on the days she is in loco parentis.
To cut a long story short I have now had to start the painful task of searching for a new nanny to take on the task of boy management two days a week, which is a boring round of posting endless adverts, contacting agencies and doing interviews. While some of the nannies we have seen have been lovely, it disturbs me the number of women who reply to an advert for an experienced nanny who have never actually looked after one child, let alone four. Still fingers crossed the perfect Mary Poppins is waiting just around the corner.
The next brick in my castle to fall out of place was my cleaner of six years throwing in the towel. It comes as no surprise to me as she is the brightest most conscientious woman and is desperate to start a family of her own, but I take to change like a fish takes to fresh air so all this staff movement left me a dribbling wreck.
I know all of this might make me sound like a right spoiled madam, moaning about nannies and cleaners like a true domestic diva. I hold my hands up in shame as I often feel sharp pangs of guilt that I don't give up work to look after my baby boys, but what I earn makes the difference between happiness and misery in our household, so to give up isn't really an option, and child care problems go with the territory.
As for a cleaner, I am far from ashamed to say that when I am not slaving over a hot keyboard I would far rather cough up for someone else to scrub the toilet and clean the oven, than spend even more time away from the boys doing those tiresome chores myself.
Now all these hiccups on the domestic front are unsettling enough, but on top of this son number one came down with a feverish cold on Monday, followed by me, son number two, son number three and now dad is showing worrying signs of illness. This bout of sickness brought home how painful a big family can be as we haven't had an unbroken night of sleep in a week, what with late night (or even worse early morning) requests for water/medicine/cuddles/trips to the loo.
Each night we put our head to the pillow in trepidation wondering which of our many offspring will be the one to wake us from our slumbers tonight. That is if we can get to sleep what with the detritus left in our bed by the sick little boys who have inhabited it during the day. I have variously ousted books, pens, biscuit crumbs, crayons, magazines and a menagerie of soft toys before there was room for me to lie down, and tonight it was the eponymous Transfomer under the pillow courtesy of robots in disguise-obsessed son number two.
The final straw in this week that quite rightly ended on Friday 13th, was that the client I am working for at the moment managed to wipe out all the work which I had done the previous week leaving me with the tedious task of doing the whole lot again. Cue many hours spent at digital grindstone with a streaming cold and misanthropic outlook.
I am crossing my fingers that all will be well tomorrow as we are due to brave the gale force winds and rain to make the journey to visit Lapland UK in Kent. And so Christmas begins.