Before I had kids, I was hip and cool [insert maniacal *cough*ing sound]. Well, I made overtures towards being hip and cool. In retrospect, I could have gone a lot harder had I known how utterly exhausting and chaotic parenting would be, how much my baby-belly fat would enjoy its new home, how difficult it would be to extract myself for even one night from two tiny, dependent little humans. I wouldn’t give my girls up for the world of course, but there are certain signs in a parenting life that tell you that you’ve “arrived”:
- A stranger gives up his or her seat for you on the tram/train because “You’re pregnant”, 2 years after you’ve had your second child (hey, it was all the lemonade with champagne chasers I swear).
- You have to buy double Moov bottles to treat your own hair for nits.
- You measure your sanity by how many minutes your baby sleeps during the day. For the record, my sanity threshold was 44 minutes, 59 seconds (roughly the same length as a “Supernatural” episode). If my babies woke before that magical minute, I became a heaving emo with a subtle splash of Reagan. OK, maybe it wasn’t that subtle.
- You are not even surprised when you find your keys in the fridge after another sleepless night.
- You get a night out with your partner (finally!) at the Comedy Festival, when half way through you start wishing you’d bought those Teenas during the last supermarket run.
- You are told by your 9 year-old daughter (reputed to be the age of the Devil’s Spawn) that you are “so lame” whilst rocking out to vintage Eminem (complete with rap “gestures”).
- You start to see cufflinks made out of Scrabble tiles as viable art.
- Your marriage is reduced to high-fives in the corridor when you get the kiddies down to bed by 8pm, and absent-minded, yet soothing head-patting while watching TV.
- You experience your first big night-time blackout and are grateful that your kids eat at 5.30.
- You start using words like “seed” and “egg” when describing to your kids how babies are made rather than belting out a resounding, “We screwed each other senseless and it was MAGNIFICENT”.
What signs have hit you in the paunch to tell you that you were really and truly a parent now?