When I used to think what my life might be like at the age of thirty five, I imagined I would be happily married, with children, my own house and a rewarding career. Well, three out of four ain’t bad (and I’m working on the last one).
The smaller, day to day things, however, aren’t quite what I envisaged.
I didn’t expect to feel like I live with a permanent echo, with either the repetition of our requests and then demands on the children (‘Get dressed’, ‘Brush your teeth’, ‘Stop fighting/biting/playing too rough/climbing/sitting on each other’) or the endless cycle of ‘I’m a good boy’/’I’m a big boy’/’He did it/’I didn’t do anything’/’Daddy stinks’.
I didn’t think I’d have to virtually train in subterfuge like the SAS in order to use our bathroom without interruption and undergo my daily ablutions, eat a meal without having to share or watch a favourite programme in peace.
I never thought I’d rush out on a Monday morning with so little concern about my appearance that I wouldn’t even bother to dry my hair and then realise too late that I have mascara smudged under my eye, toothpaste on the bridge of my nose (how?) and bits of banana crusted to my shoulder.
Perhaps, then, it’s this actual daily reality of having children, chaotic and far from ideal but at the same time so utterly amazing that, whilst cleaning chocolate mousse off the dog (that our twenty two month old had flicked onto her), I was hit by an overwhelming and completely unexpected broodiness. Oh dear. (My husband, if reading this, will currently be having to breathe into a brown paper bag to avoid hyperventilation.)
So these are my options: I can either have another baby…or get another tattoo.
After all, having children is a lot like having tattoos (bear with me): they change your body forever, they’re expensive, permanent, they can be irritating and occasionally painful but you quickly forget the discomfort, you can’t stop looking at them and admiring their perfection, you get a buzz of excitement and surge of happiness every time you see them because they’re yours, they’re oddly addictive and you quite fancy having another one every couple of years.
I quite fancy having another one…tattoo, that is. That will make it six…but unlike having another baby, it won’t require moving house or involve a rapidly ticking biological clock or the minor problem of reversal surgery for my husband.
Oh well, put like that, maybe I’d better just stick with the tattoo 🙂