I’ve had my urchin for nearly two years now and feel proud at the things I’ve ‘got’: breastfeeding while Facebooking; bottle feeding using only nasal hair friction and gravity to succeed; generally keeping the small human alive. But this week I mastered the ultimate skill: mumbathing.
If it doesn’t cause too much angst, remember those days when you could recline in a park and read an entire copy of Heat front-to-back, while casually sipping some kind of yoof beverage – Hooch, Reef… Archer’s and lemonade in a can. I was ready for the sleepless nights, I was ready for the outer body, bum-sagging, face-pummelling exhaustion of it all, but I just hadn’t looked at the small print.
When it came to Project Procreation, I hadn’t thought about park life – the thing that makes summer, well, summer. The opportunity to eat a M&S multipack of sausage rolls while catching up on Jordan’s latest cup size. In one fell swoop the urchin had obliterated an entire season with her desperation to perpetually harm herself on inane (there was a paperclip up-the-nose incident) objects.
That once Zen activity (whiling away an afternoon talking about JUST one catastrophic relationship – as opposed to the carcrash of emotions attached to parental life) has been replaced by me galloping about after the urchin like a coke-addled 90s raver, bleating the occasional ‘God, no, stop,’ [urchin playing with dog shit bin].
But today, I triumphed; I’ve got summer back from the urchin’s clutches and felt a renewed sense of self. Here’s the EXACT formula to follow if you want to grab a soya latte (the new Archer’s and lemonade, sigh) and mumbathe:
Take urchin to a shallow (nothing too drowny) pool or other similar enclosure where there are NO other kids. Other kids make mumbathing a horror show because you’re constantly weeding out your urchin from a haystack of other people’s spawn. And the noise, god the noise of everyone else’s familial baggage makes mumbathing nigh impossible.
The best place we’ve found in London so far is the John Madejski Gardens at the V&A. Sure the fashwan folk wafting about will lower their perfectly-plumped eyelashes at the sight of your Babybel-smattered offspring, but y’are mumbathin’, so whatevs. Squint a little and you could be back to 2003, M&S scotch egg in hand, scent of Piz Buin factor 10 in the air, reading about S Club’s inner turmoil.