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Monday, 18 June 2007

Shift work

Over the weekend we attended a party held by my good friend (and colleague and mentor) Mike. Unusually, it was a birthday party for a dog called Bruno, who had just turned 12. But that's not the point of my blog today. I was struck by the number of times people made comments to me along the lines of, "Goodness me. Three children. You're brave!" Quite a few of the comments came from people with two children of their own. It seems that crossing the boundary from two to three children takes you from average parents to the slightly insane kind. I guess it's the equivalent of moving from one or maybe even two cats to three or four - suddenly you're the 'mad cat lady' as opposed to the innocent pet owner. (Not that I'm in any way trying to suggest that having children is like having pets. Really!) Or to completely bastardise that infamous Oscar Wild comment, "To have one extra child ... may be regarded as a misfortune; to have two looks like carelessness." When I think about the way in which Paul and I operate when we're out with the kids I always have this funny vision of us passing them between us like rugby players making backwards passes. And I'm sure by the end of it we look about as exhausted, crumpled and generally beaten up as rugby players, too. People seem to look at Paul and I on occasions such as the party on Saturday with a mixture of horror, amusement, wonder and, I like to imagine, a bit of awe (but that last is probably just my ever-hopeful imagination). Oh, what it is to be something of a circus freak show!
The other thing that struck me on Saturday was the number of times people said to me, "Aren't you lucky to have a husband who's prepared to run around after the kids like that?" Each time I looked round to see him picking up Nath from the floor, wiping Ava's nose or generally beating me hands down in the baby-juggling stakes. I probably moan at and about Paul far too much. He is the too-often unsung hero in my baby-juggling reports. In fact, any baby-juggling 'prowess' I might claim is really nothing without him running around in the background. Here's to house husbands. And may they grow in number and in strength.

5 comments:

James said...

I was always led to believe that the barrier between having two children and having three was mostly about having to upgrade your Ford Focus or Vauxhall Zafira to a Renault Grand Espace ;-)

Lucy Diamond said...

I'll raise a glass to that. My partner has always looked after the kids two days a week while I've worked, so he's a dab hand at the old baby juggling too. And it's brilliant for the kids, spending so much time with Dad, and no guilt for me about working either, knowing that they're having a great time with him!

I've had my share of THREE children? remarks too. Lots of 'oh dear, was it an accident?' at the third pregnancy. And lots of 'You must be mad!'
Some people are so rude...

Stay at home dad said...

If there's drink going I'll raise a glass to it too!

Personally I have the utmost admiration for anyone with more than one...

Kate said...

Your husband does sound lovely! But here's to the day when it is no longer comment-worthy when a man actively cares for his children. . .

Working Mum said...

Hee, hee, James! We narrowly escaped with just a Renault Espace (of the non-Grand variety), only because I was sooooooo obsessed with the idea of NOT having a bus instead of a car.

Lucy: nice to hear from you! how's the move going?

SAHD: Personally, I have the utmost admiration for stay-at-home-dads who are enjoying the job as much as you seem to!

Kate: I couldn't agree more!!