Meet the love of your life. Get hitched (or not, depending on your proclivities). Somewhere along the line, find a house. Then fill it with sprogs, batten down the hatches, and weather the storms life might throw at you, snug and secure in a safe place of refuge.
When children arrive, your home will no longer be your castle. Instead, the introduction of infants is accompanied by a host of unforeseen intruders. Sadly - for a few years, at least - there's no getting rid of these home-raiders, without disturbing the natural order.
Here are some of those child-related interlopers:
If your children spend any time at home, the key to everyone's happiness is to keep inquisitive hands away from sharp, heavy or slammable objects. The easiest way to do this (bar shoving the kids in front of the telly for hours) is to fill your living space with plastic. Piles and piles of the stuff; the flashier and noisier, the better for keeping them rooted to the spot.
When D and I moved into our house, we decided to keep one of the living rooms as a tasteful 'grown-up space', with books, music and comfy sofas where we could spend our evenings enjoying each other's company. I was six months pregnant at the time, and very, very naive.
Four and a half years later, this is the reality of daily life in that room:
|No, I do not practice torture on my son. He jammed that toy basket over his head for fun.|
A bit grim, this one. But say the words 'bath plastic' to any practised parent, and they'll know what I mean. Bathtime's boring (and hair-washing's traumatic) without a rubber duck or seven to jolly up the splashing. But there's no real way to clean inside those squeezy little quackers, so they end up filled with mini-pools of festering water, perfect for shooting into the eye of an unsuspecting grandparent. And however much you try to refresh a duck, their water is always filled with delicious specks of black gunk.
Bright, garish plastic. With the added bonus of juicy bits. Nice.
|Our Bath Plastic, in all its speckled glory|
Stuff on your fridge
Of course, your children are bound to turn into artistic geniuses, so it's important to proudly display their sketches of monsters, houses and Mummy's hair (our son's favourite, when he was small) in the kitchen. As they grow older, the artwork becomes overlaid by reward charts showing their progress towards becoming a person who doesn't hop downstairs twelve times before finally going to sleep, and manages not to soil themselves several times a day.
All these bits of paper are held in place by magnets, usually in the shape of letters, to help the youngsters learn to read. Hopefully, before this happens the reward charts are whipped down, so that little Johnny doesn't realise his parents have been proudly displaying to visitors the fact that he is still incontinent.
If, pre-kids, you were the type to take snaps of your dinner and post them up on facebook, you'll be right there with me on this one.
When you turn into a parent, those food images are joined by pictures of your cute babies. And then your cute children. Your cute babies and children, eating dinner. Those same cute offspring, eating dinner with their friends (and smearing it all over themselves/each other).
Did I mention that all this was very cute?
The difference is, when you have a child (and a home), you're likely to actually develop those images (how very 90s) and stick them all over your house. D once complained to me that there wasn't a single photo-free room in our entire home. Well, what did he think the place was? A gulag?
(And if you're really keen on all this cataloguing and archiving, you might just go the whole hog and start keeping a blog....)
Where there are children, there are snacks. And, unless yours are very well-behaved and sit carefully in one place to eat their biscuit/oat bar/dried fruit, a trail of delicious morsels is likely to be left around the house, tempting any vermin within scuttling distance to come round and have a midnight pyjama party.
Add to this the fact that, when you have children, you're often too damned tired to clear up properly, or so bleary eyed you don't notice the pile of half-eaten cake in the corner of the living room. So, as well as a plastic-strewn, mould-ridden picture gallery, your house also turns into the hangout of choice for all the local mice.
After our Gwen was born, I even found a mouse nest in our living room. But that's a different story.....
Do you have any unforeseen intruders? Any unwelcome houseguests, that arrived with the kids? If so, tell me in the comments box. And if you like this post, please share it using the buttons below (and like my facebook page).