A dear friend of ours once told us that when you finally succumbed to children and you have matching bedside tables, then life was over. No more sex and no more fun. We resisted bedside tables for years…8 years in fact. But now it was time. We were parents. Our parents, in many ways. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook or on the blog comments, and as usual if you enjoy it then please share xx
“Please stop hanging on the gate”.
“We’ll go to the toy shop after Mummy and Daddy have got what we need”.
“That’s not how we talk – chatter has two t’s in the middle”.
“Please don’t bang those stones against the glass door, it’s very dangerous”.
“It’s important to eat your vegetables, they help you grow”.
“No more stories, we agreed two. It’s bedtime”.
And so the list goes on. The times I opened my mouth last weekend only to hear my mum come out was shocking. I was expecting to look in the mirror and see a (nearly) 5ft 6in brunette with brown eyes staring back at me. But nope! Still blonde haired and blue eyed. Still me! We were having a much needed weekend to ourselves, a straightening-the-house kind of weekend. We went to a retail park and did Homebase, Halfords, Toys R Us and then still had to go to B&Q anyway; we tidied the garage; went for a walk; batch cooked and froze a load of food; ate fairy cakes as a special treat; did a “Sunday afternoon” activity – painting and stickers, Mummy and Daddy shared a bottle of prosecco while doing it; and then we all sat down for “a nice family meal” on Sunday evening. It was the kind of weekend that used to fill me with that horrible back-to-school feeling. Before we sat down for dinner, Husband and I had a moment rolling around laughing as he walked around the house with his drill complaining about his commute and I quoted something I had heard on Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show and told Girly no1 to keep her head still for the fifteenth time while I tried to do her ponytail she had insisted I put in her hair. We laughed because we had morphed into parents. More specifically, our parents. We didn’t know when it had happened, somewhere between Girly no1 becoming active and then giving birth to Girly no2. We never saw it coming. We used to spend our weekends rocking round gigs in London with a box of wine in our back pack (Sainsburys Soave, classy!) perusing independent jewellery makers’ stalls and slurping cocktails in pop up bars on top of car parks in Peckham. Now we had two children, matching bedside tables and we tidied our garage at the weekend.
It’s not just how we spend our time as a family. Lots of other things have happened recently that shock me about who I have become. I am now finally willing to admit to choosing Radio 2 over Radio 1…the playlist gets on my nerves and I don’t give a shit how Nick Grimshaw revised for his Maths GCSE. I listen to Magic FM when I want to dance around my kitchen. And X FM when Chris Moyles, Johnny Vaughan and Vernon Kay aren’t on which limits my options somewhat. In the car, I don’t admit this to anyone, I listen to Classic FM. It calms screaming children and you know what? I quite like the music. I’m too lazy to choose albums on Spotify unless I go out running (another very un-me thing to do). The radio is like having a friend in the room that you don’t have to talk back to. I spend a lot of time on my own with the little ones, sometimes I need a friend!
Husband and I had a conversation earlier in the week about how we answered questions just like our parents did. Girly no1 had asked me what thunder was. Like I was told, I said it was the clouds crashing together. Why is the sky blue? The reflection of the sea, I said confidently. Husband exasperatedly bashed the steering wheel (just like his Dad) saying “no” repeatedly! “Don’t lie to her! Tell the truth!” Not willing to admit I couldn’t remember the exact science behind thunder and lightening or what light and refraction had to do with the sea, I just laughed. Ok, you explain weather to our two-year-old. Annoyingly he broke it down into a very comprehensive explanation (I’ll get him to write it out and post it on my Facebook page). She had lost interest by this point and was shouting about boats. At least next time we would be ready. Husband felt very strongly that we shouldn’t lie or give nonsense explanations and he reminded me how I once fell out with my three best friends for two days because I swore blind that a ball bearing was actually called a bulbarian. I was fifteen when this happened in Physics class one day. On confronting Mum and Dad, they said it was one of those “cute” things I used to say so they never corrected me. I was furious at the time, but now, I must confess, when no1 sings “I hear panda” instead of “I hear thunder”, the cuteness makes me die. I promise I will tell her the correct lyric before she’s fifteen.
My real epiphany moment of what I have become though, was to do with crumbs. I hate them. Toast in bed – never. Feeding babies and toddlers is a form of torture to me, the food that gets on the floor makes me mad. I try not to let it, but it does. This week, I told Girly no1 off about crumbs to the point that she ate a sandwich with her face square-on to the bottom of her bowl and picked each crumb up individually at the end. I looked over at her aghast, my hands on my cheeks a la The Scream. I am officially my mother. What was I doing to this poor child? She was two and a half! Of course she would make crumbs! I went and cuddled her head while she was eating, she batted me off with a grumble about the butter on her ham. I now understood the guilt my Mum referred to when she once found me sitting cross-legged on the floor eating a biscuit over a wicker bin. When asked why, it was so I didn’t make crumbs and make Mummy cross.
We all expect to sound a bit like our parents, but I’ve only recently realised quite how far it has gone. It’s not because we want to, its because when we don’t know what to say or do, we say and do the things that were done to us. We don’t feel like parents any more than we ever have, and most of the time we’re laughing behind our hands, but our parents did a pretty good job with us so I can think of worse people to become! So I’m pretty accepting of our parent status, the fact my mum lives in my voice box, and that my bedside tables match. There might not be as much sex, drugs and rock n roll as there used to be but there is definitely fun. Lots of of it! Life isn’t over. It’s just different. Good different!