Earlier today it occurred to me to check when I started writing Sons Over the Yardarm, and bugger me, it’s exactly a year ago today! I confess I timed it a bit badly in many respects. The Boys are actually becoming marginally less annoying than they used to be (or at least are annoying in less amusing ways) but there we have it. Regardless, an anniversary should be marked. Usually, of course, I’d use any manner of anniversary as an opportunity to get pissed, but Dry January is in full swing and there is only so celebratory you can feel when sober, even if you go nuts and drink Cherryade out of a posh glass.
Ah, January. Christmas is a twinkly memory and everything is a bit rubbish. Nothing new there, we’ll get through it like we always do. Head down. Dry January. Netflix on. Tea in hand. No bother. This too shall pass. The more annoying thing is the endless bloody magazine articles on New Year’s Resolutions, and “self-improvement” and, God help us, fucking “wellness”. And it’s not ideas on how to lose half a stone anymore. I can get behind that. It’s just mad shit. The Saturday Times Magazine this weekend has an article that started off with me rolling my eyes and ended with me readings sections aloud to the cat in utter incredulity.
I don’t really raise my children. I’m very much a part-timer when it comes to parenting. I should probably feel terribly guilty about this. And occasionally I do. Sort of. Mostly, I’m fine with it. I’m a big believer in playing to your strengths and I learned during the long, long (oh so fucking long) days of maternity leave that being with The Boys all day, every day, is not one of my strengths. Certainly not in the way that drinking gin, swearing and masterminding outstanding combinations of nibbles are my strengths, anyway.
There is much that is splendid about The Boys. They are funny. They are reasonably polite. They are, when they put their minds to it, quite well-behaved. All in all, they are pretty good company much of the time.
One of the most…challenging…things about having children is the fact that you are not supposed to swear in front of them. I realise that for many people this isn’t a challenge at all. Lots of people just don’t swear much. They are perfectly able to express their views, frustration, irritation and amusement without using offensive language. And well done to them. Many of my very best friends aren’t very sweary.
After the Big One was born, I was on maternity leave for six months. It was mostly quite jolly because I spent an extraordinary amount of time drinking tea with my NCT chums. Or getting shitfaced with them. We were that sort of NCT crowd (much to the chagrin of our somewhat earnest teacher who was of the bury-your-placenta-in-the-garden variety). We had limited interest in learning how to bath a baby, most of us just signed up to meet other people who’d bought buggies based on how many bottles of Malbec would fit in the bottom. Or gin. We didn't judge.
I have long maintained that the Little One is going to end up in jail. I realise this is a rather bold statement about a child who is only four years old but it’s not one that anyone who knows him disagrees with.
As the owner of small children, I find I have come to accept certain odd things in the world. Things that a few years ago would have left me asking genuine questions. Not the big stuff. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m not that way inclined. The meaning of life, for example, is probably worth a good think about, but I don’t have time. And I don’t care very much. I’m more likely to spend my hours pondering such posers as “Is there enough white wine in the fridge?” and “will The Boys become serial killers if I give them their tablets a day early this week?”