The house is full of children. Once this would have filled me with horror. In fact, Time Hop on Face Book showed me a blog post from when the children were small where I started it begging to know when I could send them back to school.
This is no longer the case. There are many reasons for this. Chief among them the fact that they no longer get up at five in the morning and attempt to prise my eyelids open so we can do crafting together while the sun comes up. Not having to wipe their bottoms also features heavily in the list. They are still all asleep, and even when they’re awake they no longer require me to wipe anything.
Everyone always said when they were small and I was staggering around the place exhausted, deranged and with my clothes on back to front that I should cherish those days because they go all too soon. These are the same people who usually say that you forget what childbirth is like.
This is, in my case, utter bollocks. I remember every birth in all its horrible detail, and the nine months of horror before the births. I also have no misty eyed recollections of herding three small children around when you only have two hands and three hours sleep under your belt.
Yes I miss their baby smell, and the way they would sleep like little starfish. I miss their squidgy smallness and the cuteness of baby clothes, and shoes in particular. I do love a good pair of tiny shoes.
I think I’m lucky though, in that a lot of the stuff you’re supposed to miss, they still do. They still play stupid games that make me absolutely howl. They still say ridiculously brilliant things, none of which I can recall now, naturally, but they do. They have top mucking about skills and more imagination than is good for you, frankly.
I think what makes me particularly lucky is that they still want to hang out with me and Jason. Not all of the time, because that would be weird, but enough of the time. We still share rowdy meals where everyone talks over the top of everyone else and there is as much laughter as shouting. The good thing these days is that I can serve anything and they’ll eat it, which makes a change from the days of endless plain pasta and cheese with tomato sauce and nothing touching anything else to avoid nuclear meltdown. I’d say the conversation has become more stimulating, but I’m not sure to be honest. There’s still a lot of fart jokes in there alongside heated political debate.
And any conversation in which my children are involved will always tend to veer off into the realms of the surreal at some point, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. My favourite conversation this week was Tilly, Oscar and I inventing a trio of sisters called Abbie, Debbie and Barbara Cadabra. They eat kebabs on Thursdays and do magic tricks to pay for them. Naturally, they only wear sequinned leotards.
As Jason said. You had to be there.
We still watch stuff together. They made me watch Despicable Me this weekend for the first time. I loved it. I made them watch the first season of Green Wing. They loved it. None of us want to watch Mr. Tumble any more, which is a blessing. We still share books and make everyone else read them so we can talk about them, loudly, usually with our mouths full. Nowadays we force each other to go to gigs and to the theatre and to new restaurants as well, which is something I dreamed about in those far off toddler days and which seemed impossible. I used to weep at the thought of more Wacky Warehouses and chicken nuggets straggling on into an interminable future, and now I don’t have to because they are gone, gone I tells ya.
Thank fuck for that.
I sat this morning at the open French windows, letting the warmth of the day in and looking out at my wet garden. I sipped my coffee and counted my blessings, and then I came inside and wrote this, because it’s no good counting them if you can’t remember them later on when you really need them.