Tuesday, October 02, 2007

So you think you can tell, heaven from hell?

Witness the pendulum swinging.

Our first holiday as a couple in three years. I’ve been planning it for ten months. Requirements: inexpensive, warm, preferably exotic but anything where the locals worship idols will do. Did I say inexpensive? I meant Cheap. Because since having three kids, I’ve realised that no matter how much money either myself (not much) or R (a little more) makes, there will never be enough.

Bali, it is decided. We can use frequent flyers from the days when we used to be. And we’ll attend one of those horrifying timeshare presentations in exchange for free accommodation. This is what we do, because we are desperate to have an entire night’s sleep. Apart from being woken every few hours by children who in turn wake each other, we have the delightful situation of living through our neighbour’s renovation. They start drilling and tapping on my head at 7AM every morning, and stop only when I have finally decided to give up trying to go back to sleep. And they do it on Saturday morning too. Apparently it’s not only legal, it’s a guaranteed way of ensuring insanity in any Jews within a hundred mile vicinity. Day of rest, people. Day of rest.

So, The Holiday Plans. I realise that the only way it will be vaguely pleasant is if I am completely confident that the children are well looked after. I realise that asking my parents or my in-laws to move in is such a preposterously absurd idea that it belongs on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I realise that hiring a live in is not going to meet the Cheap requirement. But, as responsible as little O is, she is only two and a half and cannot be expected to look after her younger siblings without adult supervision. And so, I phone the Nanny Agency. This is a place where rich people get to ask for whatever their nanny-requiring heart’s desire. A live-in-sole-charge-with-a-nursing-degree? No prob. A-housekeeper-granny-who-can-cook-pizza-from-scratch-while-changing-nappies? We have ten of those. As long as you pay. And pay plenty. Some for the nanny, some for the agency, some for the government, some for the sheer joy of being able to make a wish and have it granted.

But I am good at pretending so I put on my best Rich Voice and ask for someone game enough to look after three kids under three. And a slightly belligerent dog who used to be cute but then grew an extra long snout and a bobbly bit in the middle that makes her look like a deformed cat crossed with a sewer rat. (No one believes me that the cat-rat cross is this season’s Shpoodle). And, without blinking, they send me Cathy. Glorious Cathy. She is fifty but has the energy of a teenager, she is friendly but firm. She has an incredibly glamorous CV. She worked for Russell Simmons and interviewed with Russell Crowe. She comes from country Queensland but has lived in the Queen’s Country, England. She is responsible but fun, affectionate and intelligent. And she will be ours. Oh yes, for the cost of a small car, she will spend the entire week devoted to our kids. She will cook them meals shaped like boats and giraffes, she will teach them to paint, she will toilet train them, she will have them speaking fluent French while doing the dishes by the time we return. In years to come, they will thank me. Merci, Maman. By selflessly bringing Cathy into our lives and going to Bali, you enriched us in ways we can never be grateful enough for. You are indeed a fantastic mother. Please, allow us to support you for the rest of your life. Will a villa in San Tropez do?

Yes, Cathy was beautiful and perfectly shaped. I should have known by that mere fact that she was never to be mine...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear you are still in the land of the living! I had jsut about given up. I can relate to your life... we have a 8 mth old and a 2 year old. Mostl importantly... How was Bali? Can only dream about such baby free time as yet...

12:45 pm  
Blogger Sofia Maria Josefin said...

I was beginning to despair of you also.. If I were on the same continent I'd babysit for you. Good luck.

1:00 am  

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