It started with the sleep sheep – a gadget that promises a steady row of zzz’s from the urchin with a medley of the animal kingdom’s greatest hits. There’s soft mooing, gentle baaing and allegedly calming clucking. In the darkest days of keeping-the-small-human-alive, it was my lifeline. That, and Calpol, of course.
Now, this wasn’t because it lulled the kid into a deep slumber – not even the boldly-named Miracle Blanket could nail that; save your money folks – but because of the tropical bird setting. Somewhere in the depths of farmyard hell, a little toucan and his mates chirped up. There was the background noise of waves crashing against a (powdery white?) beach and the occasional flutter of a grasshopper – or, perhaps, a rare multi-hued butterfly?
Either way, as my life seemed to be crumbling – face/hair/house/social life/undercarriage a mess – around me, I’d found this small oasis in all the baby bedlam that reminded me of a far, far off place where sleeping was of the essence and the funbags were, well, fun. It was a place I could park up my mind with a piña colada and a Mills and Boon (love a retro grot read), if not my body and soul.
Whatever it is – a cupboard, a draw, a song (Kavinsky’s Nightcall offered nightfeeding solace) or an adult naughty corner – it’s my space. A small oasis that, despite all the Ella’s Kitchen lids and urchin paraphernalia spilling out of cupboards, is all about the ‘me’ (not ‘me time’, which for some irrational reason grates).
Prior to project procreation the bricks and mortar were yours. You were positively basking in space for your mind to run wild and dream up crazy themes for crazy parties that ended up with people turning up in feather boas and a bottle of unlabelled pear schnapps, regardless of the agreed theme.
But now the IKEA POÄNG chair is swathed in mangled washing and the 1000-pack of tea lights have been banished. For me it started with a two-minute long chirp from a faux exotic bird and has ended up with an hour on a Saturday morning where I kick the entire familial team out so I can do/watch (with Twiglets) my Tracy Anderson DVD.
It’s not much, but I’m upgrading every year/week and, who knows, perhaps in 17 years I’ll be ploughing into a grot read, listening to non-faux exotic wildlife once more.
(Big up to all the toucans out there. You saved my mind.)