You are finding that certain things strike you in an entirely, and usually unanticipated light, now you have a child in tow.
Take the early darkening evenings, for example. You used to quite enjoy this. Coming home in the dark, twinkly lights, a chill in the air. It all gave you an excuse to eat hearty food and curl up under a blanket with your slipper socks on, a mug of tea at your elbow and a good book clamped firmly in your hand. Even if you don’t have a roaring fire to edge slowly away from.
You never noticed when it actually got dark either. Four, five. Doesn’t really matter when you rarely left before six.
Now, however, you are genuinely put out, not to say a little shocked to discover that even if you and the Star make it out by 3pm you’ve missed the best of the (quite impressive lately) sunshine, and dusk will be descending any minute. This is all wrong, particularly as your optimal routine calls for a walk between 3 and 4.30pm.
God forbid the facts of life should interfere with your routine.
You also failed to visualise what certain aspects of taking the Star along to an exhibition of Byzantium treasures at the Royal Academy would entail.
Not everything was a surprise. You are now totally familiar with the idea that for any trip out with the Star you need to start preparing well in advance. You have to check that the changing bag is well stocked. You need to make sure he’s slept fairly recently. You need to leave plenty of time to feed him before you go out. You need to remember to change him before you put his outside clothes on. You need to actually put his outside clothes on. Then you must dance around to calm him down after that a bit before pouring him into his bear suit. Then you need to take that off while you get dressed and then put it back on again, find the sling, put it on, add your coat, wrestle the Star into the sling, put his hat on and jiggle up and down in front of the mirror to stop him screaming, realise you left the keys upstairs, find the keys, unlock the door and make a break for the street.
And that’s just a regular trip. This time you also had to take bottle making accouterments as well.
However, all of that went quite well for once. The Star didn’t scream on public transport, despite your having to get two buses and you were early enough that you had time to find the cafe strip off all your outer wear, make up the Star’s bottle and be relaxing with a cup of tea for you and your Mother in Law and a cup of hot water for the Star’s bottle to stand in when your Mother and her friend arrived.
The Star, once fed, enjoyed being fussed over by your Mother, her friend, your Mother in Law and every single female patron of the gallery you met in the lobby. Who greeted his broad ‘people, bright lights, bustle, shiny Christmas decorations, wayhay’ smile with positive cries of delight and who all said how wonderful it was that you were introducing him to culture early.
That was before you stepped into the dim hushed interior of the exhibition rooms proper and the Star, now thoroughly overstimulated, let out a squeal of excitement.
Excellent acoustics, this particular antechamber, you thought. That sound really carried.
Luckily, you were carrying the complementary leaflet the entrance guard had thrust into your hand on the way in. The Star soon busied himself with holding it, crinkling it, scrunching it and putting it in his… oh no you don’t, son. Here look at this big plate. This big silver plate. Look Star, shiny shiny.
The Star, usually so interested in the contents of your china cabinet at home was uninterested in jewel encrusted communion plates. Still, you still had the bit of paper, so that was alright.
For three of the eight rooms, whereupon, the Star, concerned that there was no noise and no light and no one telling him how cute he was decided to do some energetic commentary to compensate.
It was at this point that you realised that you had never before really noticed how quiet and how dark exhibitions of old precious things are, or how diffficult they are to escape from. Particularly when you have to track down the rest of your party first to let them know you are abandoning ship.
Still, you managed to get out eventually, rescued you coat, wrapped the Star firmly back up in his snowsuit, accepted more compliments about how wonderful it was that… and made it onto the street. Where the Star promptly went to sleep.
Happy and, probably, replete.
Because despite the fact that today was scheduled as the First Day of Weaning, and in the face of your carefully chosen packet of organic baby rice, judging by the condition of the edges of your complimentary leaflet, the Star’s first meal seems after all to have been a (small) bit of chemical encrusted paper ingested at some point during your distracted dash for the exit.