Written Autumn 2014
Daughter and dogs wrapped in blankets and towels, snuggled up in the back of the car, munching snacks after a long walk in the fresh air collecting sticks, shouting at clouds and of course jumping in muddy puddles. Dirty, naked and happy.
A fleeting moment of simple contentment, you just have to breathe and suck it all right in…
Well, not exactly.
Before you sneer at something that sounds like made-up-trite perfect-life-and-beautiful-kids Mummy-blog imagery, here’s the reality:
1) daughter has yelled “ASS SHAKE!” – her almost-obscenity of choice – at everyone who has passed us by, and/or she has barked at them,
2) the dogs have barked at everyone that the daughter failed to, and have big-time rolled in shit,
3) the blanket is not fluffy and soft, it has dried dog sick on it; the towels are stinking and slightly mouldy from sitting wet in a bag in the car for the past two weeks since the husband and daughter last went swimming,
4) the back of the car is a rubbish dump – darling daughter is barely visible above all the detritus and wrappers she’s previously discarded – and the snack is not a homemade muffin, it’s not even fruit, it is a family-sized packet of crisps.
5) the crisps were deployed as the most effective way to stop the hysterical screaming triggered by my decree that we are not going to bring home the handfuls of collected sticks (“but they are my FRIENDS and they have SPIRITS and we CAN’T JUST LEAVE THEM TO DIE!”), plus
6) shouting at clouds might sound romantic but remember: we’re shouting “ASS SHAKE!” today, and “darling look at that cloud, what do you think it looks like?” as a pathetic attempt at distraction just resulted in a temporary switch to “BOOBIES!” and then there’s our great challenge,
7) sensory processing disorder, more specifically acute tactile defensiveness, meaning that whilst I was suitably dressed in mac and wellies, the little one’s attire for the muddy rainy walk consisted of a DIY crop top (a vest hacked off at the midriff with kitchen scissors and decorated with felt tip pens), shortie pajama bottoms and a rancid pair of flip-flops.
But even when life really gets under my skin, I only have to think back to sitting in that steamed-up car, looking at those sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks and remember that we were very happy.
To be honest, I’m lucky, I’m generally happy. Being happy is important. All kudos to Pharrell for reminding the rest of the miserable world.
So that’s what it’s all about, really. Generally, the house, car, dogs and daughter are dirty, the daughter is also naked, but we’re happy.