Undoubtably, there are about a million more ways in which the DoC’s parenting life is different to mine than there are similar. With hot and cold running staff on tap to provide the essentials – and extras – needed to give that little bit of extra support when times get trying, I am sure Kate finds it a bit easier to change Charlotte’s bum whilst playing ‘banana catch’ with George than I do.
Nevertheless, there are things which, universally, fall into the path of mothers with young children and it’s probably still a bit easier for her, the following are things to which Kate might relate.
- Limited attention given to the second born
“Sleep, little dah-hah-ling, doo-oo not cry. And I will-sing-a-lull-BOIIIII!!” NG trills, close-range, into her baby brother’s ears, whilst poking him in the thigh with her Peppa Pig yoghurt pot. “Tedd-eee! Are you very, very, very, VERY very tired?”
“He is, darling. Don’t wake him,” I say, kicking his little bouncy chair accidentally, as I cross the kitchen floor.
NC howls and does a massive fart. He has just had his second round of injections and, whilst he slept like a prince after the first ones, OBVIOUSLY his second jabs have provoked minotaur-like roars and a bad case of wind. The poor little mite suffered with reflux during the first 8 weeks of his life and it seems to have come back with a vengeance.
- Going for muddy dog walks with toddler and baby
It is raining.
“Come on, we’re going out.” I say it out loud, to make it more likely to happen. Then I grab coats, boots, blankets, a toy, NL’s lead, the changing bag, the buggy, the extra seat for the buggy, the potty to go in the bottom of the buggy, the raincover, which has been drying on the back of a chair; my phone, my thermos mug with the tea I made a couple of hours ago and bundle the babies into their strappy prisons.
Of course, I don’t do any of it that quickly. It all takes about 176 minutes.
We struggle to the field, NC crying, NG grizzling because she can’t see through the clear plastic cover and also doesn’t want to get wet so doesn’t want me to lift up the clear plastic cover so she can see through it. NL is pulling fiercely, driven to distraction by the smell of long, wet grass which he can sick up at 3am.
We get there. I perch on the end of the buggy and peel sopping layers back so I can plonk a now inconsolable NC on the boob, whilst NG – freed from the buggy – stomps up and down in front of me, covered in rainy snot and tears, bewailing the fact that, ‘my blue bag, my blue bag’ has been left behind. She means a paper gift bag she has formed a limpet-like attachment to and I am ‘hobble’ because I didn’t feel mushy cardboard was absolutely necessary to add to the party. NL chooses this moment to do a shit.
- Potty training
NG has decided to go ‘nappy free.’ Where these two words initially sparked images of a fresh-bottomed toddler wobbling up a grassy knoll smiling, surrounded by bluebirds, quickly running obligingly back to her potty each time she needed to go (or something), the reality is a bit different.
By 10.34am on New Year’s Day, three pairs of tiny pants have been soaked and one poo eaten (yes) by NL. I have told the story of why pants don’t like getting wet or dirty, doing the voices and everything, 386 times. It is pouring with rain outside and three degrees. I decide to wait until summer – there are more bluebirds around then.
I don’t particularly want to see pictures of Charlotte and George potty training or bashing each other over the head with their silver spoons. Neither do I want to see Lupo defecating on the front of the Telegraph. But when the pants are down in my house, it is quite nice to think about these things happening behind the doors of the Kensington apartments or in the grounds of Amner Hall.
KEY TO CHARACTERS
Characters are abbreviated as follows:
NW – not William (husband and father)
NG – not George (daughter, sister and two and a half year old)
NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and four month old)
NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)