The Husband, C and myself are back in England after our Christmas holidays. As always the Day After Our Return (DAOR) is chaos. The DAOR sees the washing-machine working on full loads all day long, things are put back into their place and the heaters are back on to try and warm the house. The DAOR is when we visit the supermarket and stock up for the rest of the week because the fridge and cupboards are bare empty. During the DAOR C always acts up that bit extra – mainly because I suspect she misses the gallons of extra attention everyone bestowed onto her during the holidays. As a super attention-seeker and lover of the spotlight, it takes some time for C to realize that her audience has been reduced to just two, and those two are sometimes not the kindest of audiences. Those two try their best but at the end of a long holiday and even longer day, giving a 100% of their attention to a dancing baby is not possible. Therefore C resorts to mirrors, because she has learnt that she always has a willing and happy spectator looking right back at her whenever she craves attention. And therefore by the end of the DAOR we are dead-tired, sitting on the sofa trying to keep our eyes open, but dying to jump right into bed and set sail to the land of dreams. With us two, it’s always a dare to try and see who can last out the longest. However on the DAOR we’re both too exhausted to care.
On the DAOR we once again become accustomed to life sans nannies, and to being just us three again. It is the latter point which I miss sometimes when on holiday. Before I explain, please do not misunderstand me. I love our families and all the help they give us with C. Their help whilst in Malta is one of the main reasons why I look forward to holidays there. However at the same time I miss the intimacy our little family has in England. We’ve become used to doing whatever it is we please without having to give out an explanation to anyone. And in Gozo, it’s totally different. Gozo is a small island, but contrary to what everyone seems to think, we don’t know the whole of the island and we do keep things to ourselves. However you do find the know-alls, the small group of people you meet whilst having a cup of coffee or when walking down the road, and you have a cranky baby, and they feel the need to come over and offer their ‘kind words’. “Oh, poor thing is crying! Perhaps she’s feeling too hot under her coat?” “What a cute baby! (take C’s hands and…) But her hands are rather cold!” And the one I detest most – “But what is wrong with her? Why is she crying?” To the latter I once responded, a bit rudely too, “If I knew what was wrong with her, do you think I would still let her cry?” At this, the individual in question, gave me a frosty look and kept on walking. That’s small island life for you, I guess.
But like I said, you learn to separate the well-meaners from the others who just want to butt in. Sometimes however, it’s just one word too many, a restless night, a bad case of PMS or a crying baby, and one sentence can throw you over the edge, turn you into a monster and make you yearn for the quiet and isolated life away from all. In our case, England.