A very good friend and I were talking in a pub a couple of years ago. He’s a chap I’ve known for many years, having been at university with him in the early 90s. He’s very bright, funny and good to be with. He told me, having just had his second child, that one child changes your life; two, and your life is over.
Clearly, I hadn’t let this cheery thought prevent me from having a second child myself, and five weeks into life with a second child, the jury is still out on whether it is true in my case – I still suspect a lot of it is down to attitude. However, my wife and I took up the offer from the grandparents this weekend to take the eldest off to stay with them for a night, and we were temporarily down to one again.
At first, it didn’t seem like much of an offer. Before, whenever Toots was away from us, it meant a return to the life we had before – it was a toss up between the cinema, the pub, the restaurant or something altogether wilder (perhaps even the panacea of afternoon sex). With Toots away this weekend, we were still left with a bawling, hungry and largely demanding ball of five week old skin. There would be no going out, no freedom, no restful night sleep and certainly no relaxing. It wasn’t looking like much of a treat.
So, it’s come as a great surprise to me that it has been a more relaxing weekend than it might have been. When Bub has been asleep – which has admittedly been fleeting – we have been able to relax a little, listen to the radio, browse a book or two. We have not been awoken by Toots at an ungodly hour (not like her unfortunate grandparents, who got the wake up call at 7), and we have not had to entertain a demanding three-year old with hide and seek, jigsaws, books, teddy bears, play kitchen, toy trains and whatever else takes her fancy during a packed minute by minute toddler frenzy. It’s been jolly nice. Albeit, not much like the life of a childless couple. Only twenty odd years before we taste that one again.