A day in the life of… Ruth

For the wonderful One Day in History Project:

My wonderful two-year-old daughter, Daisy, has taken to sleeping in lately – I think it’s related to the loss of her afternoon nap, about a month ago. So, instead of my husband getting her out of bed and breakfasted, at about 7am, today I did it at about a quarter to eight, just as he was leaving the house to go to work. That part of the day is highly routined. We start with a nappy change – first the toys, Pink, Doggy and Samantha, and then Daisy. The toys’ nappies are, I should add, imaginary. Daisy’s, on the other hand is very real. She wears Nature Boy and Girl bio-degradable disposable nappies, as a kind of compromise between the guilt of sending disposable nappies to the landfill, and the inconvenience of washing cloth nappies.

Once she was changed, and I was dressed (blue jeans, low-waisted, and a tunic-style long-sleeved t-shirt) we went downstairs to eat breakfast. Daisy had a bowl of Cheerios in full-fat milk, and I had Cornflakes in skimmed. Kevin had left me half a cafetiere of fresh coffee, so I drank that, too.

Our dirty dishes situation has become a little uncontrolled, recently, so after breakfast I packed Daisy off to the Living Room to watch CBeebies on the TV, while I washed some (but not all) of the dishes, and put a load of laundry into the washer dryer.

Eventually, I took Daisy back upstairs, emptied all the litter bins up there, and washed and dressed her. That whole process used to happen on the cot-top change mat, but this week we’ve started cleaning her teeth and face at the bathroom sink, which is still a novelty for everyone.

I had already picked out an outfit for Daisy to wear, but she was adamant that she didn’t want it, and after some discussion about her Musical Minis t-shirt being in the wash, she settled on some purple velvet trousers, and an orange t-shirt with a picture of a cow on it. I tied her hair into a small ponytail, and we went downstairs.

Penny LaneShortly afterwards, we went out for a walk, with three goals: to return an electric jig-saw to some friends, to bank a cheque, and to get a spare key cut. The friends were out, so I ended up carrying the jig-saw around the shops with me. We crossed Penny Lane (of Beatles fame) and walked up Queens Drive to the bank. Then we came back down Allerton Road to Timpson’s for the key, before retracing our way to Queen’s Drive. We needn’t have bothered – they still weren’t there, so I carried the saw all the way home again. I also carried Daisy, from their house back to ours. She had grown tired, and was stopping to look at a leaf or a stick every two or three steps, so I used my home-made 5 metre wrap to tie her to my back for the rest of the journey – she’s far too big to carry any distance any other way.

When we got home, it was lunch-time. I made cottage cheese and pineapple sandwiches for both of us, which Daisy followed with a banana, and I with a manderin flavoured yoghurt.

The afternoon was fairly quiet. I managed to avoid turning the TV back on for a good three or four hours. Daisy played with her dolls house, and demanded that I read books to her. In between her attentions, I played “Killer Sudoku” and read “Lancashire Life”. At one point, we went upstairs to change her nappy, and while we were up there, we spent half an hour playing on the CBeebies website. She likes the songs, but doesn’t have the keyboard and mouse skills for most of the games. We also printed some pictures of the Fimbles to colour in. Sadly, I ended up taking the crayons from her, when she kept putting them in her mouth, so that didn’t last long.

Tesco ExpressAt ten to five Kevin came home, and at about five o’clock, I started to cook the tea. That was when I discovered that the freezer had been switched off by some tiny hand or other, and that the food was rapidly defrosting. As a result, I scrapped the plan for frozen Chicken Kievs, and drove the half a mile to Tesco Express for fresh pasta and sauce, instead. I did try to persuade Kevin that the defrosting freezer left us with no choice but to eat out, but he came up with a perfectly reasonable and practical solution that was roughly ?40 cheaper, so I sulked, and we did that instead.

Since I was sulking, Kevin cooked, and when we’d eaten, I rang my mum to ask her if she thought we should throw away everything in the mildly cool freezer. Her landline seemed to be playing up, so I rang her BlackBerry instead. She reckoned that refreezing food has a much bigger impact on taste than on safety, and we should keep the lot. At worst, she said, the ice cream will crystalise and be horrid. She also started to tell me about a strange migrainy headache she had (she doesn’t usually get migraines), but at that point Daisy got quite shouty, and it all got a bit confused, so we hung up.

We went back into the living room, and watched the CBeebies Bedtime Hour. I spent much of that hour with Daisy climbing all over me. At the end of the Fimbles we announced that it was time to tidy up, and put the day’s toys away. Kevin got her a glass of milk, and we went upstairs to bed.

A glass of milkWe tag-team bedtime. Kevin undressed her while I filled the bath, we bathed her together, and he dried her and put her pyjamas on, before I sat in the armchair with her, and said prayers, and supervised the drinking of her milk. We don’t really do feeder cups, so things like milk require close supervision – she gets a lot of water, during the day, for just that reason.

I put Daisy to bed, tucked her in, said night-night, and closed the door, and that’s likely to be the last we hear of her till morning, unless she has a nightmare.

Kevin has fed the cats, and we’ve both sat in the study writing blog entries for about an hour an half – both for this, and for our own weblog. Now he’s gone to get in the bath, and he wants to watch some Jane Horrocks thing on the TV at 9pm, so I shall probably go down with him then, and we’ll go to bed at the end of it.