A relaxing bank holiday break in the south of France, she said. At a house with two children under the age of three. Who was I kidding?
Making the most of the long Easter weekend, The Boy and I hopped on a plane to Toulouse to visit friends and meet the new addition to their family - a four week old baby girl. How nice, everyone commented.
And indeed, it was wonderful to see them. Although a little forewarning about just how tiring kids can be would have helped. The best kind of birth control? Living with the potential result for a few days. They should try that out in schools.
Think you’re ready to have sex? Try looking after this baby for a day, then see how you feel. At the same time as feeding the newborn, entertain the toddler. Oh and make lunch, do the dishes and answer the phone. If they lasted an hour I’d be surprised. In fact, I was surprised yours truly made it through the weekend, and didn’t crack under the pressure of constant crying, feeding and calls for ‘chase me, chase me’, and ‘one more, one more’. Or ‘encore’ coming from a French tot, which one has to admit, did make it somewhat cuter.
‘An internship in parenting’ our friends called it on day one. Easy peasy, I said, sat holding a beautiful sleeping baby whose only movement was the occasional flutter of eyelids. How hard can it be? Fast forward 24 hours and the story was different. Surrogate aunty and uncle duties had wiped us out in less than a day.
While The Boy raced around the floor with toy cars, dinosaurs and diggers, I was left, quite literally, holding the baby. A tot that had no interest in anyone that wasn’t producing milk. It was something of a relief to sit down to the seventh viewing of The Gruffalo at nine o’clock.
Our self-imposed bed time by the way, not theirs. An internship, hey? Good thing too. There’s no way I’m ready for full time employment. Returning to the office and the baby talk continued. An expectant colleague was discussing the new legislation around shared parental leave, which will give her the option of splitting maternity leave with the hubby. What did I think?
Do it, was the perhaps too quick response. ‘So you weren’t sorry the French air strike didn’t start a few days earlier?’ she asked, ‘Leave you stuck there.’ You kidding me? I needed to get back to work for a break.