.....and which are now rather wonderful
A couple of months ago, I posted about some things that were rubbish before having children. Since giving birth to Austin and Gwen, commuting, visits to a surly hairdresser and uninterrupted housework have all been transformed from mindless experiences to be endured, into a guilt-free sort of 'me time'.
Christmas and New Year have gone through a similar perceptual shift. For the Girl's Zoe wrote about how, for her, having a child has meant The Grinch is Dead. I was never Grinchy about Christmas; even in my darkest days, when I was living alone and only had myself to impress, I needed no excuse to bring out the bling, deck out the flat in festive frippery, and eat my own body weight in chocolate coins.
But there are a few things that even I found grim, which have been made joyful by the advent of children:
- shopping trips to Lewisham. It's the last Saturday before Christmas. In the shopping centre, there's a scrum at the threading stall, a queue 6-deep for the lifts, and a large pool of vomit by the car park pay station. But I've been out for 5 hours, without children, buying things for grown-ups. Freedom is mine.
- staying in on New Year's Eve. Previously this signalled some kind of social inadequacy. Now it means I get to spend a quiet evening snuggled up with the people I love best. Who needs overcrowded bars and a £150 babysitting charge? Not I.
- the end of the holiday. Day one with the pigeon pair today. Over the last week we've had so much help that I've been able to get slowly sozzled on prosecco every day, while Austin and Gwen roamed freely between cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents and chocolate-wielding neighbours. And they've changed. I've spent today at home, chasing round after my two rampaging mini-beasts, getting to know them all over again. Nothing like a first day back on the treadmill to warm the old (Christmas) cockles.