Today has been an Instagram day. A Facebook montage. A Twitter status update of a perfect moment. If you could feel how I am feeling right now it would be encapsulated in a neat oh-my-isn’t-his-life-just-oh-so-perfect-and-look-there’s-a-picture-of-his-food-and-yes-there’s-a-selfie-at-the-gym-and-his-wife-is-amazing-and-his-child-glowing-and-perfect-and-I-wanna-be-him picture with a short, maple syrup sweet, smugalicious comment. Let me tell you about my enviable, perfect West London existence.
Moo woke up extra early. Brilliant. Most of her morning milk went on the sofa. The black sofa. The one with the wool throw on. Mmmm that smells nice. Albert (dachshund Number 1) decided to be sick. A lot. He’s eaten something bad. For a while I thought he’d eaten Hector (dachshund Number 2) but HE had just been hiding under our bed for longer as he is in a sulk about yesterdays visit to the Vets. Blame Mum! She took you.
Skip forward to my visit to the gym and Moo’s visit to the creche. It started idyllic enough as she was actually asleep when we arrived. By the time I had come down from my session where I had basically spent most of my time feeling old. And stiff. And weak. And tired. Fuck I’m tired. There she was, in the creche lady’s arms; screaming like I have not heard her scream since she first flew out of her Mum’s Bajingo. There was also a small 7 month old there who was screaming too, so I just assumed that he must have set her off…
I took Moo from the creche lady who has 3 missing teeth and as many piercings that would ensure that, if all else fails, we can use her as a curtain, and calmed her down. In between sobs and blowing kisses (just a bizarre combination. Like a ludicrously over dramatic 1920’s film heroine), I eventually got her quiet (despite Captain Jacquie Sparrow scaring the shit out of her…) Enter stage right: father of the 7 month old, wife in tow, all sweaty from mid post-babyweight squat session (that’s him by the way; she looked as fresh as a daisy) –
“What happened?” daisy fresh said.
“Oh some other child was crying and it just set him off” said BMW driving sweaty man.
Now. You can hear that sentence two ways. A statement of events delivered in a matter of fact way by a nice man. Or, an attack on my family as if he is some Albanian terrorist and I am Liam Neeson hunting down my daughter’s kidnappers. Guess which version I took to heart? “But what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you…”
I got her home. Fed her sardines on toast. Which the floor ate. Let her sleep for a couple of hours and then took her to the Garage where our car was being serviced. £1300 later, (which if you’re reading this in Europe is 43,000 Euros and equates to no 40th birthday present for me. Or even Moo in 39 years time) and then took her to the park. She was then pushed over by one of ‘those’ children and she landed on the black flooring stuff with the hexagonal holes in it with a thud. She now has a red hexagon mark on her forehead. She looks like she’s been branded like a cow. Good job I call her Moo I guess.
After a brief sojourn to Sainsbury’s to buy her a bucket and spade – I know right! We live in hope for good weather. We live in hope. We got home and fed the floor the delicious supper of lamb tagine that had spent the whole day bubbling in a slow cooker, to then have a tearful bath and a war over teeth brushing that makes the Syrian conflict look like a gentle game of Bridge.
She’s asleep now… All quiet and peaceful. It’s hard sometimes to look at her like that and remember all the frenetic energy of discovery that is her every waking moment. My God though, she can really surprise me sometimes. For instance, just before I put her into her cot, she walked back into the kitchen because she had decided that the dogs needed one more gentle, loving hug. Walking away from them and getting to the doorway she turned once more, and blew one more flamboyant kiss back in their direction. Giggling, she then reached up to me to be picked up and put in her cot. It was time for sleep.
There are no real Facebook moments. How can you encapsulate your true life in a status update? A photo? A blog? You can’t. We all know that. I will never truly moan about my daughter. (God we really are lucky and it would be completely wrong of me to forget that, ever). No, I will only despair at the world around her and my inability to manage sometimes. The true wonder of my day was when, just before I put her down, Moo reached up, squeezed my cheeks and planted the sweetest kiss on my lips. She then turned over, put her bum in the air and leaned forward in her child pose sleep position. Just before I turned out her light I wistfully looked at her, with love oozing out of every inch of my very soul. I genuinely breathed a sigh of thanks to whoever I should thank for those moments.
Then she farted. Legend.