June 2012. A pub garden. Warm summer sunshine. Two Deckchairs. Next to them, two pints, untouched.
It’s our first social adventure outside since the three of us became the four of us, and the pandemonium really started.
Our two year old and the newborn have managed to simultaneously crap themselves and we’ve run out of wipes. “Don’t worry’, says a woman with a toddler, as she hands MsUrbanDaddy a fist-full of Wet Ones, “it gets easier”.
This memory came back to me as MsUrbanDaddy and I walked out of the girls bedroom on Sunday evening, puffing our cheeks and shaking our heads. We’d had what most parents would recognise as ‘a difficult day’.
The eldest really does style herself as ‘The Intransigent’ sometimes. She was antithesis with chubby cheeks, all day long (and on days like Sunday, that’s a long time). The toddler, as her Auntie Rachael notes wryly, spends her days channeling Father Jack from the Father Ted show. To be fair, they were both tired from a late-ish night watching fireworks. But that’s no reason not to shut up and do as you’re bloody told once in a while, now is it?
But what do I know? My brother reports far greater challenges with his twin boys, who are nine. As well as the old favourite troubles, such as getting them to brush their teeth and put their shoes on.
For all the advice on surviving with babies and young children, we know the real challenges start once they’re in their tweens. And later, when they start screaming at you and slamming doors in your face. When you’ve never liked them less, and they’ve never needed you more.
Sometimes, I miss the simplicity of the pandemonium days. Or rather, I laugh ruefully at memories of a time when our parenting ability could be stretched by having to change two nappies at once. There’s no point waiting for things to get easier because this is the easy bit! Next time we’re late for the school run, I’ll try to remember as much.