...days like these when I am just so tired, I'm not really thinking, but just registering the physicality of it all.
The pushing myself up eleven flights of stairs out of sheer habit and the knowledge it's the only exercise I'll get today.
The hot coffee that practically burns my tongue but props me up for the first few hours of the day. The aching muscles in my neck and shoulders, and the exhaustion that creeps in after lunch hour, reminding me again of the fact that I'm sleeping far less than I should be.
And then the dizzy spell that hits me as I'm climbing up the steps to my home towards my kids.
The way that the kids crowd around my legs - the twins insisting upon being carried, an impossible task beyond a few seconds.
I feed them one by one - Pickle bites me viciously and I cry out in pain. He thinks it's funny and breaks into impossibly cute peals of laughter. He bites me again.
And eventually I give up and lie down on the floor in surrender. Peanut takes the opportunity to come and lie down next to me, and starts imitating the twins. Blowing raspberries on my tummy. She thinks it's funny. After about the twentieth time, I'm not laughing, but she doesn't stop. She pokes my belly-button and tells me that I'm 'the best'.
Pickle and Papad take the opportunity to fall on top of me repeatedly, almost banging their heads against each other every few minutes. Despite how tired I am, I try to energize myself with a few floor exercises - leg lifts and some Yoga. The leg lifts, they do not appreciate, and push my legs down whenever I lift them. I turn around to lie flat on my tummy and try the Bhujangasana, but Papad takes great offense to this pose, and starts to pull my hair. He does it so hard that tears come into my eyes, but I'm too tired to actually get up. I try in vain to do a few more exercises, but none of it works.
As they fall on me, twisting their limbs uncaringly, trusting that I will somehow catch them in the nick of time and save them from hitting their heads on the floor -which somehow, with some motherly instinct, I do each time - I can feel their smooth cheeks, their soft hair, and smell their sweet baby breaths.
I watch as they momentarily lose interest in me and climb the sofas, climb the chairs, climb the railings, attempt to electrocute themselves by sticking their fingers into sockets, open cupboards to take out and eat CDs, throw their toys on the floor, fight over balls and bottles, hit each other with their plastic bats, pull each others' hair - while Peanut perches on the dining table like a little Princess and does her drawings. I am still exhausted, lying prone on the floor, and my two maids leap into action, saving the twins from each other and themselves. I thank my lucky stars again that I have such help, but feel really sorry because I realise how tired they must be after a full day of this, and I feel bad that I'm so tired myself that I'm really unable to help out just now. I feel so sick and I wish Vijay wasn't so late coming home today. Two hours have already passed by now, and it's been a crazy, impossible, fun and exhausting two hours with three children.
I wonder how long I'm going to be able to keep this up. Perhaps it's the fact that I am no longer as young as I used to be - after all, I'm in my thirties now. But between work, the children, and lack of sleep, it all feels like it's a little too much and I am very very grateful for the fact that there is a two day weekend coming up. Heavenly. My entire body already aches for the extra sleep that the Saturday and Sunday will bring.
And then the bell rings, interrupting my contemplative reverie. All three children promptly run towards the door and in walks my six feet two Vijay. It is eight p.m. and the two of us stare at each other - he grins at me but I am not amused by his lateness and have no sympathy for his extended meeting. The twins are now crowded around his long legs and he picks up Papad. Pickle does not like this and makes his protests heard until my maid picks him and places him on Vijay's other arm. He stands there like that with his two sons, grinning in pure delight - all three of them have identical smiles on their faces and the sight of my many, many men makes my heart lurch a bit.
And then, Papad gives him a resounding slap on the face, stunning him. Pickle follows suit and Vijay is shouting, and trying to get the two of them to stop, but their new game is amusing them immensely and they repeatedly slap him. Peanut is trying to show him her drawing, unmindful of the fact that he is getting assaulted, and when he is unable to respond to her, she loses her temper herself and starts to pummel at him - unfortunately for him, her height and skinny long arms are positioned for most of these blows to land upon his crotch and he dances around like a giraffe under attack, shouting 'Help, help' as all three children do their best to smack him silly.
I hear a loud, throaty laugh pealing through the room and it takes me a moment to realize that it's me, giggling uncontrollably through all the exhaustion and dizziness at the sight of my husband and children like this. I laugh long and hard for the next few minutes, feeling better and more energized than I have the whole day.
Yes, it's kind of funny when you're not the one being mauled.
Welcome Home, Honey.