If you read these articles and don’t yet have children, I’d hate to think I’m putting you off. Yes, for me at least there’s been plenty of tiredness, stress and confusion, feelings of inadequacy, fear, failure, frustration, desperation. But there are lots of lovely times too. Really, there are. Er… there’s loads of good bits. Um… Yeah, take yesterday, for instance.
The lovely grandparents are visiting, they can corral my feral two year old daughter, so my son and I go for a special treat, a cafe in a leading retail establishment who’s name starts with the letters “M” and “S”.
I stride across the car park being a giant robot, my son on my shoulders. He laughs and makes the robot noises for me as I go. People smile. Lovely.
We order snacks and drinks, joking with the staff.
We find a table. My son loves cafes more than anything in the world. I’m just glad it’s not restaurants. We chat and laugh. He gulps down a huge apple juice. Earlier, I remember casually, he drank a lot of milk. Then a lot of water. Then a lot of squash. “That’s a lot of fluid” my brain tells me for some reason. Shut up, brain.
“My trousers.” My son says worriedly. “Oh.” I say. I look under the table. Wee is pouring out of his trouser leg and making a growing lake on the floor. It’s like someone’s turned on a hose. He looks at me, on the verge of tears. “It’s all right.” I smile. “It’s fine.” I use my calm, capable, reassuring adult voice. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I feel like a dog pretending to be a brain surgeon that’s suddenly found itself in an operating theatre being offered a scalpel.
“Um…” I look around. I go to the counter. They’re very nice. I take a huge amount of industrial kitchen paper and start hand mopping.
I have no change of clothes. I carry my son at arms length through the shop, dripping, to the store loos.
A few minutes later another customer comes in to use the toilets. He finds a boy, naked from the waist down, dancing around like a robot. He also finds a man trying to dry a tiny pair of blue under pants in a Dyson air blade. The man is also dancing like a robot. They are both laughing.
Just have kids. You cannot get moments like this any other way.