It’s Boxing Day. I am trying to have a poo in private. The last 24 hours have been a combination of too much wine, too much food and three screaming children running around the house high on adrenaline from all the excitement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been lovely. There is nothing in the world I love more than my three kids, but every now and then I just wish they would buzz off!

Still on the toilet and my youngest is nearly banging the door down. “Mummy is in the loo and I need some privacy”. I can almost imagine the face she is pulling right now. ‘Privacy’? What the hell is that? And who cares what YOU need mummy…. I want to dress up in my Ariel the Mermaid costume and I want it NOW!!!

Off the loo and costume on, the other twin (did I mention I have two year old twins!?) wants to wear the pink hair-band but of course now the four year old who NEVER wears that hair-band simply has to have it or else she will die. I am confused about how a pink hair-band, which frankly is quite shit, has caused such a drama but before I even figure out how to deal with it, the four year old moves on to something else.

Time to start cooking as my dear husband invited over 15 people for tea this afternoon and when I say “tea” what I really mean is a full blown meal with courses and everything. I have lived in this country for over ten years now and I still have not grasped the concept of ‘tea’. Basically, only a few hours after having lunch you sit down again and drink lots of tea while stuffing your face with cakes and sandwiches and although this can drag on till the evening, it is not considered ‘dinner’.

It’s hard to cook when you are still full from the previous day’s meal. And boy what a meal it was. Christmas lunch is one of my favourites which is odd since we are Jewish, but hey, Jews like a good spread and that’s exactly what we had. So after hours of eating, drinking and running after the kids, you can understand how what I was looking forward to was cooking in peace while listening to some music in the background and the kids playing nicely with their new toys.

Have you noticed how things always seem so much nicer in your imagination? This image of a peaceful house with happy kids and a calm mummy is something I must have seen in a film or something because the reality could not have been more different.

Instead, there I was, trying to juggle opening the new Lego box (guess who will be picking up all the pieces later?), baking cakes (okay, not actually “baking” but even putting in the oven at the correct heat for the right amount of time can be challenging), tidying up for the guests who are about to arrive, fishing out a piece of Lego from my youngest mouth (why? For the love of God, why does she put everything in her mouth??!!), cleaning the other twin’s nose before she eats her snot, and all the time trying to listen to the lovely music playing in the background, taking deep breaths and barely holding it together…

I close my eyes and remember how blessed I am. All the things I say to my kids when they fight over silly things – “you should be grateful for everything you have” and I know that I am blessed. Having nearly died after giving birth to the twins (a story for another time), I know how fragile life is and how lucky I am to have my family around me.

Husband comes down “everything OK?”

Typical.

I ask him to take the kids out for walk for some fresh air (what I really mean is ‘I need a cigarette so please take them out before I kill someone’).

And off they go. The house is quiet and I have a cup of tea and a smoke and I listen to my music in peace and all is calm.

And when the house is quiet and empty I miss my little devils. And although I sometimes wish they would just buzz off, I know that life is a whole lot better with them in it.

Happy holidays people, hug and squeeze your loved ones every chance you get, even if they do drive you crazy from time to time…

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