Parenting. Such a MAGICAL experience. Along with all the fear, desperation, exhaustion, irritation, frustration and total absolute dicking bollocks of parenting, comes guilt. GUILT. I feel it ALL THE COCKING TIME. I can’t escape it. I’m afraid to say, people, that when you spawn a tiny person you instantly and violently sign up for a LIFETIME of this emotional headfucking stuff. It’s overwhelming, and gives me heartburn. Yeesh.
I feel guilty…
that I don’t do enough ‘educational’ stuff with Moo
that I don’t spend enough time outdoors with Moo
that I let her watch too much TV
that I spend too much time on Twitter while she watches TV
that I don’t feed her enough food
that she eats too much junk food
that she doesn’t socialise with other children enough
that I don’t socialise with other parents enough
that sometimes I just want a break from the parenting stuff
that I should be looking for work even though it wouldn’t mean I was any better off right now
that I should be writing a novel/a screenplay/a play instead of blogging
that I should eat more healthily
that I should be a better sister/daughter/friend
that all this internal gibbering makes me a bad mother
that I’m not more proactive about a LOT of things
that I shout at Moo when I really don’t mean to
that sometimes I only really want some time on my own
that I’ve just spent fifteen quid in the supermarket on crap when I could budget properly and save cash
that I resent a lot of people who have what I don’t have even though I know that’s a horrid thing to do
that I know it could be a lot worse for me and I hate moaning
that I feel guilty about most of this stuff when I should just QUIT IT, FUCKSAKE – and man up…
You see? It’s a convoluted nightmare of epic proportions. And I’m only being a tiny bit dramatic there. Which I feel guilty about. Obvs.
What do you feel guilty about?
Moo sucks. Quite literally. Remember when I wrote this post? About her addiction to dummies? Yeah? Well, surprise sur-fucking-prise, time goes forward inexorably and all that, and it’s getting to the stage where Moo sucking on a dummy now is just a little bit, well, erm, how can I say this politely… a bit FUCKING WRONG. It sucks. She’s two and a half. She sucks. She’s got to stop.
Today I bought two new dummies. This does not aid the whole ‘stopping sucking’ thing, I agree. But her previous dummies were kind of grey. And droopy. One of them had a hair caught round it, and fluff caught in the hair, and tiny spiders caught in the fluff (I’m guessing). It’s gross. She loves it. She sucks on those bastards like a bastard. It’s scary how much she loves it. She goes all giggly and far-eyed when she sucks on those things. Like I do when I’m inhaling cheese. Addicted, fucksake. So I tried cleaning the old ones but they were still grey, and droopy. So I bought new ones. Because when I broached the subject of maybe taking the dummies away and Moo going to bed without them now, I got what I like to think of as A Top Level Death Stare.
‘Moo, you don’t need dummies any more.’
‘Moo, let’s put the dummies away and see how you get on.’
‘Moo – please don’t kill me, but – soon you’ll have to get rid of your dummies, because it’s gross now, OK?’
DEEEEEEEEATH STARE OF DEATH AND DOOM.
She’s two and a half, and still uses a dummy to settle herself at night. In my head, I’ve given her till she’s three to drop it. Realistically, it has to be sooner, because otherwise, I’ll wimp out and she’ll still be using them when she’s 26. I’m not generally a wimp in my parenting tactics. But, you see, I like that Moo sleeps at night. She’s GREAT at it. Aside from a few wobbles in the past, she’s in bed by 7 and FREQUENTLY does not wake till 8 the next morning. THAT IS UBER SLEEPING SKILLZ, bruv. I don’t want to jinx that. I don’t want to RUIN what is a perfectly awesome sleeping advantage for me. I have a direful notion that if I remove the dummies, it’s all going to go tits up. Or teats up. See what I did there. Har.
When she had The Pox recently, I indulged her. She was poorly and needed comfort. So the dummies came out during the day. This is not the usual routine. Dummies are for bye-byes. Apart from when struck down with Pox, obvs. Unfortunately, Moo now thinks she’s entitled to the dummies AT WHATEVER POINT OF THE DAY SHE SO DESIRES THEM. Man alive. And now she’s, like, a proper tiny person, she’ll just fetch them herself from upstairs and look totally aghast and calls her lawyer to report a breach of her basic human rights if I take them off her.
I know, I know. I’VE CREATED A MONSTER. In the post I’ve linked to above, I’m all ‘Yeah look at me not giving a shit about my baby having a dummy, I’ll just take it off her when she’s older, piece of piss bruv, bring it on, woop woop’ and now I’ve reached that point, I’m fucking bricking it. Moo is obstinate, defiant and bloody stubborn (no idea where she gets that from, ahem) so the thought of BATTLING her on this TERRIFIES me.
HEEEELP. People who have wrestled dummies from their children’s puckered mouths, HOW? Or am I fretting too soon about this stuff, and should just wait till she’s older and can be reasoned with (bribed)?
DO I JUST BURN ALL THE DUMMIES?
So, Eastenders, what a load of lovable tripe you are, eh? A joyous romp through all the darkness a world can provide, and I’m not just talking about Ian and Denise getting it on. Eeeewwwwww, to the power of infinity. C’mon, Denise. Ian Beale. Seriously. IAN BEALE. Just, no. ANYWAY. Funnily enough, all the stabbings, wailings, explosions, incest, murders, adultery, abandonment, and erm, the extortionate price of a knickerbocker glory in the caff, gets me PROPER DOWN, and I stop watching for a bit, until something major happens, and then I get sucked back in, cos I want to know who shot/stabbed/buggered/defenestrated Phil Mitchell. As ANYONE would. Natch.
Regular viewers will be aware of the current storyline involving Lola, the ‘scrappy smart-mouthed teen with too much eye make-up’, and her baby, ‘the cute baby’. If you’re NOT aware, here is a quick precis: the baby was taken off Lola by social services cos she’s a teenager, and therefore a crap mother, and placed in the care of Phil Mitchell, WHO IS A THUG AND A CRIMINAL AND A FORMER DRUG ADDICT AND LOOKS LIKE A BIG RED ANGRY THUMB, and therefore OBVIOUSLY better suited to caring for a baby. Nonsense. Utter nonsense. Nevertheless, ANYTHING involving small babies in peril makes me hysterically weepy, so I’ve been soppily sniffing in front of the TV four nights a week for gawd knows how long as Lola battles to be reunited with her daughter. YES I KNOW. I am a dumbass. Bite me.
Then last night, a Massive Plot Device happened, and so flaringly obvious it was that it might as well have come with a klaxon and a formal announcement by the BBC that ‘Look here, one of them important Massive Plot Devices is about to happen, pay attention now, you plebs’ before glibly carrying on with the programme. Basically, the baby was HOT and ILL and NO ONE knew what to do, apart from Lola, who spent a bit of time explaining to her hapless male relatives that ‘I’m ‘er muvver, I just KNOW sommat’s WRONG wiv ‘er!’ before calling NHS Direct and getting a response within 30 seconds, which is so far removed from real life it makes the rest of Eastenders look like a hard-hitting documentary. The baby was rushed to hospital while the entire population of the Square looked on, and then there was a party at the B&B but that’s a different plot and not as GOOD.
The baby was fine, btw. Gastroenteritis. But fine. Phew. You can stop fretting now.
The moral of the Massive Plot Device is, that Lola is a MUVVER and just KNOWS when something is seriously wrong with her child, unlike Phil, who is not the baby’s muvver, and spent most of the episode saying ‘she’s only a bit hot innit’. Lola has a parenting instinct and she’s not afraid to use it, which is handy as I’m pretty sure social services will now grandly rethink their previous decisions and hand the baby back to Lola with a quick flick of the Vs to Phil. Plot device DONE.
My point is (if you’re still reading, WELL DONE and THANK YOU) that there’s a lot to be said for instinct. After all, our ancient cave-dwelling ancestors relied on it a lot, and it served them well, seeing as they evolved into medieval people, and then, erm, Victorian people (history not my strong point. Nor evolution). Sometimes everything else gets in the way, and we end up struggling between what our heads and hearts are clamouring to inform us, when really, we need to listen to our gut, which has been right all along, typically.
Lola’s Massive Plot Device (which would be an AWESOME band name) got me thinking about how I’ve ignored my instinct lately. How I’ve let Other Things get in the way. How, when I’m typically an instinctive person, I’ve been dismissing it and letting Bastard Circumstance rule my decisions. At the risk of sounding WAY MORE CRYPTIC than I want to, I’m therefore going to give Instinct another go. And trust it.
My instinct right now is telling me I shouldn’t write about Eastenders ever again. Huh.
How much do you rely on instinct? Is it merely a tool in our parenting arsenal? Or is it essential in all walks of life?
And Ian and Denise, that’s just wrong, yeah? He is totes punching above his weight. Totes.
Five nights. FIVE NIGHTS. Next week I will have FIVE MOO-LESS NIGHTS. That’s five whole nights and six whole days without my toddler. SHRIEK! And also, YAY! I mean, OBVS I will miss her like mentalissimo, and will probably spend the first few hours wandering round my house and making Marmite sandwiches for teddy bears and mournfully watching Cbeebies and sniffing her clothes, but THEN I reckon all the headiness of freedom will kick in and I’ll go out and, like, DO stuff.
The question is: WHAT the crap DO I DO with all that free time?
What do I ACTUALLY do?
And I am SERIOUSLY asking you here. See, this is my serious face: *does serious face*
I need suggestions. Obvs I want to make the most of such rare, precious, parental-duty-free time, and not just meld into my sofa watching the DVD box sets of Game of Thrones and The Killing (both on my to do list, natch) but I don’t really know WHAT I could do.
So far I’ve come up with:
- have a manicure (never had one before)
- go out and get drunk a lot
- triple bill at the cinema
- maybe overnight stay at the cinema
- go out and get drunk a lot
- a trip somewhere to see some people
- a trip somewhere to see some stuff
- a trip somewhere to see, erm, other stuff
Doing well, yeah? I know, right. I have NO IMAGINATION and I’m PANICKING.
C’mon, helpmehelpmehelpmehelpme. I need THINGS to do which will distract me from having no Moo, but which won’t cost a small fortune, and don’t require removing any body hair or injections.
Who knows, I may even blog about my escapades, if y’all give me some good stuff to do
By the way, Moo is going to stay with her daddy for the week, I haven’t packed her off to the Foreign Legion or anyfink. Ahem.
Now I am very impressionable so keep your ideas clean, please. Oh fuck it who am I kidding, I want to feel like myself again. TELL ME WHAT TO DO. You know you want to…
*waits with bated breath*
Help. Oh, help. I seem to have bred a tiny, tornado-fuelled, proper little madam.
Y’know how I told you Moo had dropped her nap? Yeah? And it’s been a challenging time for us recently? Mmhmm? Well, I was downplaying it a bit. IT’S MUCH WORSE THAN THAT. Lately, Moo has changed. Once a sweet dainty baby, now a pocket toddler with attitude. She’s sometimes – frequently – horrible. I am literally actually admitting that on occasion, I don’t even LIKE her very much, cos she’s mean to me and has nasty tantrums and I’m just tired of it all. Innit.
I can’t be the only one to notice this. Toddlers DO this, right? This is them changing from baby-lovely to toddler-mare, unless I’m mistaken – what the initiated refer to as ‘the Terrible Twos’? For the love of Jeezus. MOO IS NOT EVEN TWO YET. Not for another 2 months. This is so unfair. She had to be all ADVANCED and get the demonic behaviour in there early, didn’t she. Obvs she has inherited my hatred of being late for anything. Much to my detriment, it seems. Bah.
So the tantrums. She strops when she doesn’t want to sit in the buggy, when she doesn’t want to walk, when I can’t carry her AND push the buggy, when we get to the park and the swings are already in use, when there are no available spades and/or buckets in the sandpit, when I don’t buy her a biscuit from the park café, when we don’t go to Co-op, when we do go to Co-op, when I change her nappy, when I say it’s bath time, when it’s bed time, when she wakes up, when I go to have a shower and have to leave her alone for TWO FARKING MINUTES, etc etc I could go on.
Bless her. I know why she’s doing it. It’s not cos she’s testing boundaries, or going through a clingy phase, or asserting her independence, or any of that shite. It’s cos she’s a farking drama queen and wants to cause a scene. She’s actually doing it ON PURPOSE cos she knows it pisses me off. That’s how VINDICTIVE she is. Saves it all up for somewhere nice and public, then lets rip with unearthly screeches and wails, and contorts her body into supernatural positions so that it looks like I’m tying her in knots whereas I am in fact attempting to ferry her home safely so that she can explode in the confines of our own home. I have begun to watch her when we’re out, like one would watch a ticking bomb, just counting down the seconds until the tantrumic blast rips through the soft play centre and I have to lever Moo’s writhing form out of a circle of shocked, open-mouthed mothers, while their own perfectly behaved offspring play peacefully in the background.
My current method of tantrum management involves sitting it out if we’re at home, and removing her from the present location if we’re out. Is this correct? Is that what I should be doing? I’m BLIND on this one, folks, especially as when Moo kicks off, my instinct is to scream wordlessly back at her, tear off my blouse to reveal the words ‘WHY? WHY, MOO, WHY?’ inked onto my chest in red marker pen, and sob relentlessly into a ditch, until she goes away. I have a feeling that’s frowned upon, though.
Yeah, I know it’s a phase, and it will pass, and she’ll be a really pleasant person when she’s like, 38, or whatever, but I am hoping for some good times between then and now. Please share some wisdom, or at least let me know I’m not alone, by telling me about your devilish toddlers?
Or, I’ll set Moo on you. *readies the catapult*
That’s TERRORS. Not terriers. Terriers aren’t particularly terrifying, except for the ones with knives. But terrors – and specifically, night terrors – are actually bloody crapping terrifying. Innit.
The worse thing? It’s not me that’s having them. It’s my little Moo. Yep. That’s right. TWICE now, which, in my opinion is two times too many for a tiny person. Two nights this week she has woken up screaming. Proper screaming. Like I’ve not heard her scream before. Sheer desperate panic. Hideous. Nothing a parent ever wants to hear emanating from their child’s bedroom.
Of course I’m awake in a nanosecond. I’m in her room, next door to mine, in another nanosecond. I pick her up and she sobs, in my arms, for a bit. I do all my best cuddling moves. I whisper lovely stuff in her ear. I rock gently. She’s all right. She’s good. She wants to go back into her cot. That’s also good. All credit to Moo, she drops back to sleep after about twenty minutes, no problemo. Me? Nah, that’s me AWAKE TILL THE END OF TIME, then.
I’ve not Googled night terrors. Me and Google don’t get on when it comes to ailments, physical or otherwise. I’ve just assumed this is what’s happening. I know Moo has had nightmares before but nothing like this. And today – after last night’s funtime scream-a-thon – she refused to nap in her cot. So by the afternoon we are both tired, grumpy, tense and needing a lot of biscuits.
She’s gone to bed this evening well enough. But I am DREADING the wee hours now. I’m exhausted enough that it’s an early night for me, but I know I won’t sleep easy, one ear constantly vigilant for the slightest shift in rhythmic breathing. And of course, of course of course, there’s FARK ALL I can do about it. If she wakes screaming, from some unknown terror she can’t formulate into words for me, then there’s bugger all I can do to prevent it. I guess I can just be there for her, if she wakes, in that nanosecond or two.
Helpless. And tired.
Has anyone else experienced this before? Themselves or their children? Should I Google? And what’s faster than a nanosecond?
When I was preggo I went through a bit of a nasal apocalypse. Certain smells would make me heave. Toothpaste was one. And coffee was another. The husband liked to brew his coffee in one of those knobbly jobs on the stove. I would climb the walls when he did that, like some crazed harpy. Even now I can’t really abide that acrid stench. And I still boak a bit when I brush my teeth.
Which makes me think: I don’t know if my senses ever recovered from the whole having-a-baby shizzle.
So my smelling machinery is farked. My eyes were balls anyway, but now my sight is slowly worsening as I am subjected to hours of brightly coloured children’s TV presenter’s jeans. My hearing used to be pretty good but now all I can hear are the terrifying echoes of Wind The Farking Bobbin Up reverberating about my brains. And touch? My skin is a husk of a dried up sheath of a skin. It has not been the same since preggosville. Everything I touch feels like sand. In fact, some of it is ACTUALLY sand cos every time we go to the sandpit in the park, I end up bringing some home in my bra. Always. Even if I don’t wear a bra.
Other senses? Taste. Who knows. The last thing I ate was in such a hurry – before Moo could snatch it from my paws – that it barely touched the sides. I can taste rum, certainly. Almost all the time. And, erm. The sixth sense. Well, I can’t see dead people. But that’s FINE BY ME.
Maybe I’m just feeling a bit more wrecked than usual today. Maybe it’s cos I’m getting old. Maybe I’m glaring back at my pre-preggo self with rose-tinted spectacles cos it’s just one of those ‘remember when I was thin and shmexy’ days. But having a baby changes you physiologically in all kinds of mentalissimo ways. And I don’t just mean stretchy lady holes.
So. Pregnancy and thereafter. An assault on the senses. Anyone else notice this?
Today Moo and I went with a friend and her children to Horse World.
It’s not, as the name suggests, a world run by horses, like some weird equine dystopia. It is not like a horse theme park either, with horses on rollercoasters. Seriously, someone should open one of those though. No, it was just some stables with horses, fields with horses, barns with horses, and a massive playground. There were NO HORSES in the playground. Maybe they play there when everyone’s gone home.
There were other animals, too. Mostly horses, but we saw goats, pigs, donkeys – which are like bastard horses? – rabbits, chickens, and some ferrets. All these animals were allowed to dwell in Horse World. But OBVS the horses ruled. With, erm, iron hooves.
We saw big horses, little horses, grubby horses, fat horses, huge horses, friendly horses, and, thanks to a handy ‘Guide to a Horse’s Emotions’ poster, some totally grumpy horses. Molto horso. Horses-a-go-go. A horse? Of course! Loads of farking horses. An entire WORLD OF HORSES. Look! A horse on a rollercoaster! THIS IS HORSE MADNESS!
It was great.
Did Moo like the horses?
Did she bollocks.
Moo liked the running away from me when I wanted her to stay by my side for two minutes. Moo liked the hot, sweaty soft play building which was overrun by hot, sweaty kids and their hot, sweaty parents. Moo liked washing her hands in the sinks. Moo liked scooting around on the wheelie tractors they had in the playground. Moo liked the puddles. Moo liked the ice cream. Moo liked me carrying her about the place when she couldn’t be arsed to walk. Moo liked the FARKING GRAVEL on a random gravel path. Horses? What horses? This is a Horse World, you say? Who gives a FARK when there is a gravel path! WAHOOO!
I’m not moaning, really. Moo had fun. She got mucky, she ran around a lot, she played, she ate lunch, she did – briefly – show interest in the assembled menagerie. Maybe, in a way, it’s a GOOD THING that she doesn’t become obsessed with horses. Otherwise I’d be raising one of ‘those’ girls. Y’know. Girls with ponies. Ack.
But, take a kid to Horse World, kind of hope they like the horses. Innit.
Does anyone else’s children do this? What have they completely ignored when you’ve wanted them to be totes into it?
Moo, loving that gravel. That’s what she’s getting for her birthday. Gravel.
I try to be a good mother. I really do. It’s at the top of the list of things I’d like to be able to do properly, like ride a horse and sword fight at the same time, and knitting. I keep The Moo warm and dry, and make sure she has nice clothes to wear so that she can look fly when them fashion bloggers snap her street style, innit. I also endeavour to keep her fed and watered, and to change the straw in her cardboard box every now and again. See? Good mothering, for the win. Go me! Yay me!
Only there’s one thing I’ve noticed happening which is starting to piss me off a bit, and it kind of gets in the way of this good mothering business, cos it makes me not be a good mother very much at all.
Moo keeps nicking my food. MY FOOD. Mine. She STEALS it. Right in front of my face. Just HELPS HERSELF like she has higher authority over me, or summink. I mean, hello? It’s not like I eat a lot anyway, but when a baby-faced criminal is swiping the good stuff from my very plate without even so much as a ‘please may I taste your hummus, oh darling mother of mine?’ then BAM I find myself lying in bed at 3am with a growling stomach and a simmering resentment to my only child. Egad.
Apples. Biscuits. Crisps. Sandwiches. Alphabetti spaghetti. Yoghurt. Chicken goujons. Toast. Lettuce. Cucumber. Chips. Broccoli. ALL FOOD WHICH HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM ME IN THE LAST FEW DAYS. That’s not a bizarro shopping list. That’s a farking CRIME SCENE, mate. She is having a laugh. I give her exactly the same food as me, on one of her special plates, and still she half-inches my grub. Even if we’re having a cuddle on the sofa and I’m sipping a cup of tea, she’ll be like, ‘Tea! Tea! Tea? Tea! TEA!’ until my head explodes. But I ain’t that stupid – she ain’t nabbing my cuppa. No way, no how.
This is just a precursor to when she’ll be nicking my clothes and make-up and giant lasers, isn’t it? I’ve tried firmly discouraging her from grabbing my food, but I usually end up saying, ‘No, Moo, that’s mummy’s cake. That’s your [much smaller] piece there, on your plate. Eat yours. Not mine. No, not mine. No, Moo, NO FOR THE LOVE OF JEEZUS JUST EAT – oh, you’ve eaten mine. Oh great’ ad infinitum.
Am I being a tad over-sensitive with this? It’s OK to NOT share your food with your kid, isn’t it? Or should I just accept that what’s mine is hers from now until the end of days?
Moo is getting bigger. She keeps GROWING. Soon she’ll outgrow the cardboard box I keep her in under the stairs. She will probably want things as well. Bigger clothes. More food. A mobile phone. She’ll start talking properly. Go to pre-school. Get a proper job. Acquire some dubious vices. Y’know, grown up stuff. And, as she loses her babyness and chubby ickle wubbiness, I am – rather embarrassingly – wondering if I want another one.
Uhoh. I said it out loud. I am wondering whether I want another baby.
Biologically, my body says YES. In fact it’s saying ‘YEEEEEEESSSSS for the LOVE OF ALL THINGS SWEET AND HOLY you crazy fertile woman creature, PROCREATE! PROCREATE! PROCREEEEEEATE!’ It screams this at me, once a month, when I haphazardly ovulate. And then, it shakes its broody head sadly at me when I menstruate. Like it is massively disappointed. My periods are basically symbols of my bloody failure to conceive. Yep. My own body guilts me into wanting another baby. Bastard.
My brain, however, is saying this: ‘Erm, hello? What the actual fark? ANOTHER ONE? Are you mentalistic and loonissimo? Do you know what having another one means? It means DOING ALL THIS AGAIN. All the sleeplessness, feeding, weaning, nappies, worry, panic and stress that comes with tiny new babies. And, uh, in case you hadn’t noticed – a minor detail – nothing too important really – but, y’know, you may need some actual sperm. Innit. Thanks! Love, your brain.’
I’m in conflict with myself, then.
I was having a Twitter conversation t’other day about how our babies are growing up with the delightful Stressy Mummy who, when I said it was unlikely I’d have another one due to my current circumstances, quite casually mentioned that someone she knew had used a sperm donor to conceive. WHOA THERE. Hang on a farking moment. What? Is that my option? Is that what I’ve got to do now? I dunno. I’ve not thought about this seriously at all, apart from noting the whole womb-clenchingly clucky feeling I get within my core when I see a newborn baby. Ack. Being a slave to your hormones sucks. But it has hit me, over the head, in the brains, like a farking sledgehammer of obvious truth. I want a baby. I want another baby. Wow. I really should stop saying that. But I do. At some point in the future, I want another baby. I just don’t know how.
The thought that Moo might be it for me has kind of struck me somewhat. I have not acknowledged this before. I guess cos what with all the Stuff happening, the idea of another baby is immediately shelved as something beyond what I can attain at this time. No husband? No more babies. Which is shite, of course, cos I know I don’t need a husband to have a baby. But – oh my giddy days – I’m a single parent right now. I was essentially a single parent when Moo was tiny, while my ex-husband worked abroad, and, I can categorically state, I do not want to do all that again. Alone. Nope. No way. It is so much EASIER when there are two parents there. So, so much. I am still astonished at how much easier it is, when there are two parents. It is a gift. Wonderful. To be treasured. I want that as well. A baby, and a partner, and all that comes with it.
So. In a bid to NOT scare off anyone in particular: I am not going to morph into some Liz Jone-esque crazed sperm thief, squatting over used condoms in the dead of night and furtively fingering jism into myself. Really, really, not. And that’s a PROMISE. Eek.
But I have said it, now. It is out there.
I want another one.
I want Moo to have a sibling.
I know I’ve said before, ‘No way. I’m not interested. I don’t want another one.’
I was lying. Of course I do.
I don’t know how, when, where, or with whom. But I’m going to hope fervently that it happens. We’ll see.
Parent readers: is that it for you? Are you done with the baby making? Have you cooked your last batch? And my darling non-parent readers: kids – you wan’em? How many? Is that sort of thing something you plan? Who knows.
*dissolves into a puddle of hormones*