"Rab Rab" says my daughter. "Rab Rab."
I rack my brains in silent desperation, wondering what has happened to the bug eyed, dirty plush toy with the weird expression. We're late, of course. And Rab Rab is missing.
Where is it? Under the cot? In the washing machine? Drowning in the loo? Hibernating in the coal scuttle? Lost forever in the wilderness of town? I hope not, because if it's option six, we're realLy in trouble.
The enquiry from my frowning daughter has now become a menacing growl. "Raaaab Raaaaab" hisses baby J, now, I suppose, toddler J really.
Never mind the whereabouts of Rab Rab, (or Adi, which is actually Hello Kitty, another firm favourite) i don't know where the time's gone, let alone anything else. Between watching the clock and racking my brains about what to cook for dinner, I am breathless with wonder at my daughter. There are milestones which make you smile. The mashed potato, pushed into a hungry mouth with pudgy fingers, eyes twinkling as she masters cutlery. The words which have become mangled, so that mamp is milk, an orange is an apple and an apple....just is. The world is wonderful, the smile trusting, arms and heart open wide.
Since my return to work in February (which,,of course was fine, and I got to drink a whole cup of tea while it was still hot), despite the occasional longing to leave work just to smell Baby J's head, I seem to spend a lot of time running to stay still, as every mum, on the treadmill on the road to nowhere knows. I used to listen to colleagues who were mums wondering how they did it. Now I know. They're juggling. Spinning plates.
Lunchtimes are spent speed walking through town, buying nappies and food. There is a permanent list of to do items on my iPhone notepad. The car (a sensible estate with the buggy clattering in the boot) always seems to need diesel. It is full of crisp packets, my staple diet some days.
And the clock ticks on. Ticking so fast in fact, that I have not blogged for nearly a year. I lunge from home to work to home. From mum to colleague to mum. The transition is daily, this multiple shedding of skins, but nearly 12 months in, I'm not used to it yet. You know how it is. You love them, you adore them,,you can't explain the depth of your feelings for them...but....but......you're juggling all the time, and it's hard. Some days, it's just hard. I want more time. But like everyone who does this, I find a way to fit it all in. I just juggle. And smile.
Will I ever get used to this duality? I don't know. After nearly a year at work, I'm still amazed that I can get to work looking human, while, all the time, mind racing ahead to the lunch time tasks, the next deadline, the traffic, the pick up, the expectation. The transition, always the transition. I daren't stop for long.
But the golden moments, like pure drops of water on a hot day, are enough to refresh the most tired of souls. Those come when my beautiful daughter, so precious in sleep, stirs as I sneak in to watch over her.
"Mama?" Says the voice from the cot, claiming my heart, and thoughts of tomorrow's deadlines fade away.
"Mama here." I reply. "Mama always here."