Gather round children, let me tell you about my youth… 

We would go out

on a Friday and Saturday night

and on a Thursday because the local club had an 80s night.

And on a Wednesday because they put on a karaoke night.

And on a Monday to celebrate getting through the first day back at work.

And Kate would always invite us out on a Tuesday because she knew I wanted Nachos.

We would drink

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cheap, nasty wine. Bottles of the stuff. Because we thought we looked sophisticated.

Or we’d get jugs of cocktails from Wetherspoons that were 5:1:3 parts ‘ice water slop: alcohol: shit cola.’

We’d guzzle Smirnoff alco-pop from glass bottles that left a thick cement of sugar on our teeth.

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We would have bright blue tongues from the WKD, or green tongues from the apple sourz – and sugar highs from the ‘fruit’ in the Breezers.

We would down shots of Aftershock that burnt our retinas,

and sambuca that some idiot suggested lighting,

or just sip Baileys in a whisky glass with ice like we were some Russian Bond beauties in a Skii lodge –

not a posse of pillocks in Birmingham.

And we’d dance.

We’d “ooh! push it (push it real good)” on podiums and wear barely there skirts.

We’d discover the bruises the next day from falling off the podiums.

We would sing,

badly on Kareoke. Eurythmics or Shania Twain or Robert Palmer.

and we’d would flirt.

we would wear corsets with jeans or mini skirts with playgirl bunny t-shirts.

We’d wear concealer on our lips, Vaseline on our eyelids and white eye-liner.

We were thinner than any of us appreciated.

525867_112104832261059_831007570_nAnd we’d snog.

We’d snog for days.

And the next day we’d laugh about who we pulled and text them on our Nokias.

We had no idea what they looked like because we had no cameras.

No smart phones.

We hovered in the dark with no flash, no selfies, no tagging, no permanent reminders.

We traveled

to cheap holidays on the Tenerife strip, and Magaluf and across the world.

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and we loved 

boys who were never that important.

We stuck together.

We fought

We had tiny tiffs – fixed with a text and a bottle of wine.

We dreamed

about what we’d be when we grew up, when we were successful, when we had big money,

when we could bring anyone home

we could do whatever we wanted because we were out of mum and dad’s.

When we found ‘The One’ who would make our lives complete.

We would be free.

 

THEN5

Now

we go out

one or two nights a year

or we go on little self labeled dates (day release) with the other half while the grandparents watch our son.

But we don’t tend to.

We would rather stay in.

Going out is exhausting; expensive.

Getting dressed up. Wearing heels. We can’t take it.

And we drink.

Shots of Gaviscon.

G&Ts trying to lose the self labeled ‘baby weight’.

posh wine from Waitrose to try and tell ourselves we’re middle class – not people who should drink a lot less.

Or we are growing a baby so we drink milk or orange squash (like the children we’ve sprung).

And we dance.

like pillocks at ‘Mini movers’ to out dated nursery ryhmes

to the ‘Makka Pakka’ and ‘Tombliboo’ dance on ‘In The Night Garden‘ half way through a conversation about life insurance like it’s perfectly routine.

And we sing 

the wheels on the bus, or wind the bobbin up (what the fuck is a bobbin?) or the alphabet song, over and over and over and over.

And we flirt

with the bin men so they’ll take our extra bags of nappies and milk cartons and empty wine bottles.

with people in the queue so they’ll let you pay for his chocolate buttons real quick – so you can shut him up.

we don’t snog

and we travel

to child friendly caravan parks and detached cottages and mum meet-ups.

We love

our children.

THEN6

We love our children.

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We love our children

1078622_283945295077011_1397594399_oWe love our children

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We love the partner we chose – if we are having a good day.

We love our parents more.

We love our families.

We love kind strangers.

We fight

with our partners, daily It’s your turn you bastard”

with our children “Go to bed, for the love of Christ”

and with our old friends:

we grow apart, we drift away, we make mistakes, we can’t fix our differences with a text and a bottle of wine.

We aren’t the same.

We wear clothes with more stretch and functionality.

And we dream

of a full night’s sleep

of a night off

of a holiday

of being slimmer

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So we go to bed at 7pm on a Saturday night because sleep is sleep and we don’t care what the clock says.

And the neighbours are having a party again.

Probably swigging alcopops and doing shots and singing Kareoke and snogging.

And you pop another Rennie in your gob and roll over and hate them.

And the baby kicks.

And you smile.

And you think about making pancakes for breakfast tomorrow and pushing your child on the swings in the park.

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Maybe the sun will come out.

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SaveSave

Mummy, I’m not a baby anymore

 

Today (October 3rd 2016) my three year old son walked up to me in the kitchen and shattered my heart. “Mummy” I heard. The word I hear perhaps two thousand times a day and am ashamed to tell you makes me flinch more times than not. I was busily tidying up the debris from the kitchen and uttered “mmm?”

“I’m not a baby anymore.” he said. Out of nowhere. Blindsided.

I looked down at him in his penguin pyjamas. His pure, pale face staring up at me. His perfect brown eyes shining, waiting for a response. I started to breathe again and felt my eyes heavy with tears forcing their way out.

“I know.” I said. And then started to cry in a way mums cry in front of their children as to not alarm them. A false smile plastered across my face, tears falling, like a deranged circus clown.

“I am a big boy now.” he continued. My body trembled as I choked out “but you’ll always be MY baby.”

‘NO.” He insisted. Not understanding the inflection. “I am not a baby.”

I nodded in agreement and sobbed for twenty minutes in the kitchen while he played with his fire engine.

I wept. He will never be a baby again. My small boy is only going to get bigger, and with each year further away. From day one pressed against my breast, to school next year.

It didn’t help matters further as ‘Always be my baby’ shuffled on to the music on my phone. Mariah belted out:

We were as one babe, for a moment in time, and it seemed everlasting that you would always be mine.”

I sobbed again as I wailed along to the music like a bad X Factor contestant (though I was still better than Honey G).

In these times all I can do is channel my inner Mariah Carey and insist:

“You’ll always be a part of me, I’m part of you indefinitely, boy don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling ’cause you’ll always be my baby.”

He will always be my baby. I have spent the majority of the day cuddling him.

Three year olds… jeez, they can slay you.