I am in the kitchen.  My back is sore, all of my muscles ache and I feel thirsty. My belly is full of pasta with sauce and cheese, again.  I can afford it and the kids actually really like it.  They never complain, they eat tons of it and we all have a dopey cuddle on the couch after our long day. The two of them were at daycare, and I was seeing clients at home and doing mountains of laundry and running out for some groceries in between.  Right now, every cell aches to pass out but I know how awful it will be in the morning if I do.  There are currently so many dishes in the sink that the tap is jammed into a corner and I cannot even get a glass of water.  Waking up to a full diaper on Sophie, an energy-filled Thomas and the myriad tasks of getting ready, all before the trek to daycare, and the running back to prepare for my first client would be too much. I must force myself to at least wash the dishes and wipe off the table.  Forget sweeping the floor, much less mopping or spot cleaning the sticky areas that now have parts of our socks ground into them.  I’ll settle for the sink and table being usable in the morning.

Mummy—I want nicies!!!!  Thomas is calling me from upstairs.  We have already read two stories and sung baby beluga and I peeled myself from his bed already to prevent myself from falling asleep there.  That is the worst. When that happens, I wake up in the wee hours of the morning cold, with a sore neck and sweaters on my teeth.

I can’t refuse this request.  My son wants nicies–when I lie beside him and stroke his back.  I cannot say no.  Thank goodness Sophie is sound asleep for this because I would not want her to feel jealous–that would be sad for her and hell for me.  I leave the kitchen and haul my sorry bod up the stairs again, and say

ok sweetie, just for a few minutes.  Lying down beside him I run my hand up and down his smooth skin.  He is happy—so happy in fact that he is not falling asleep.  I slow the caresses down a bit and he jerks my hand back to life in protest. And on it goes.  I try to hypnotize him to sleep with a slowing caress and he is not falling for it.  Not at all.  My thoughts are divided between the dishes, this affection with my boy and the clients I must see tomorrow.  I do not want to rush him, but I also need to extricate myself from this snuggle.  I notice his breathing deepen and I reach down beside his bed for Big Bear, a huge stuffed animal, and I gently, slowly, remove myself from the bed and place the bear up close snuggled to Thomas’s back, and tuck them both in.  I think I may have succeeded, so far so good.  I inch my way to the door trying not to let the floorboards creak, and as I come to the top of the stairs (home free), I hear the faint sleepy words from Thomas’s room

I want a real guy.  I want a real guy.

His voice is muffled because he is hugging the bear.  I decide that he is drifting off into sleep, slightly sad, but exhausted.

I too am slightly sad that I do not have a real guy, and I am exhausted, and, there’s a mountain of dishes waiting for me downstairs.