We are going to a New Year’s Eve drinks party at my aunt’s house, deep in the countryside. It is, of course, a lunchtime drinks party, because we have children.
NG is asleep, having worn herself out playing ‘Dr Jesson’ (the name of our real doctor) and sticking her hand up my top to check my heartbeat approximately 6,743 times before breakfast. It makes me wonder if GPs actually do have quite a tiring job and don’t just sit about choosing the most expensive location for their half-term ski holidays.
My aunt answers the door looking frazzled. “Darlings. Can I take your coats?” NG, who has been holding her breath ‘for fun’ since she woke up gives me a look of panic normally reserved for when Peppa Pig freezes on Netflix.
“She’ll give it back,” I whisper, unpeeling her Osh Kosh, beneath which NG is wearing her pirate costume and a reindeer headband.
“Lovely,” says my aunt, gamely. “Can I get you a drink?”
HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton, would stick to water, I know, because she doesn’t drink much. But I bloody do, and it’s my turn so I thrust the car keys in NW’s direction and accept some kind of mulled hot thing.
“Let’s do a show,” chirps my 4yo niece, spiriting away my pirate reindeer. NC dozes in his car seat, so NW does that baby monitor thing with his phone and we are both FREE to sparkle, mingle with the throng; participate in scintillating conversation.
“I need a shit,” says NW, and disappears.
“Is that gorgeous baby yours?” I vaguely recognise the speaker as my aunt’s elderly neighbour.
“Yes, he is my baby.”
“I’m sorry, dear. Whose baby?”
I have been up since 3.20am and haven’t got time for this so I head in the direction of some tiny pizza squares. My aunt is a fabulous cook and before I know it, I have wolfed the lot.
“Breastfeeding,” I say to a hungry looking trio of teenage boy waiters, with a helpless, ‘what-can-you-do?’ shrug.
After five mulled thingys, I am beginning to feel quite in the mood so I grab the nearest boy and start jigging to ‘Oh What a Feeling’. He asks me about my children, which I think is quite sweet, so I tell him how we have spent the day so far as he is training to be a junior doctor and I think he might be interested. I am having a great time. My aunt gives me a cross look but this is NEW YEAR’S EVE (sort of) and I will probably be in bed before 11pm, so I am allowed. There is a large crumb of mini pizza on my chest. I whisk it away, to expose a damp circle of breast milk.
“Mummy, are you doing a show?” pipes NG from somewhere near my knee.
Boy waiter leans in. “And if you are, can I be Dr Jesson afterwards?”
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)