It’s after 7pm and there’s laughter coming from the garden. Daddy T is bounding around on the trampoline with Rose. It’s bedtime. Sure, she’s happy – at this moment in time. But she no longer naps and she’s had a very, very busy day. I absolutely love watching them play. However I am sadly all too aware that this current joyous, carefree, fun Rose will soon be replaced by a demon from the seventh circle of hell and we’re living on borrowed time. Something will happen soon. Something small, insignificant to anyone above the age of three, and she’ll explode, because she’s too worn out to cope. Earlier this week she had a total meltdown because she hadn’t – and I quote – “seen a hedgehog for a while”. As I’m simply too tired myself for another Hedgehog Episode I know I’m going to have to take action.
Nee-naw-nee-naw-nee-naw… Uh oh, here she comes – the Fun Police. The Ender of All Things Happy. The Party Pooper. The Killjoy. The Bad Cop. That’s me. I’m Mummy, but I’m also the Grim Reaper of all things exciting and nice.
Daddy gets to be fun. He gets to be the one out on the trampoline with Rose who looks disapprovingly towards The Bringer of Misery standing on the decking as she calls (not shouting, oh no, never shouting, always calm, confident, unwavering, despite the fact she is mentally preparing for war) across to the Fun Havers to alert them that it is very much bedtime now and the good times are over.
In his defence, Daddy rarely sees his girls as he works all week, so it’s only fair he has fun with them when he does and he is bloody superb at it too, but I’m not all that convinced things would be any different if our employment roles were reversed. It’s like it’s automatically me. Im wired this way. I’m the ruddy Playtime Pilferer.
Anyway, things go downhill from there. The Ender of Good Times has to remind Rose that she must brush her teeth. And use the toilet. And wash her hands and face. And put on pyjamas. And go to bed. None of this is received well and the mood switch is hastily jolted from ‘Joyous’ to ‘Jog On’. Eventually bedtime stories are done, cuddles are given and calmness descends. She’s asleep and it actually didn’t go as badly as it could have done: there were no notable tears from me or Daddy and no-one is actually bleeding.
I’d love to go rogue. Just out of the blue one day, rip-open the Fun Police Uniform, flash my slightly-sagging boobs at anyone who’s looking and invoke a stealth attack of spontaneous ‘Oh f*ck it’. The problem is, I can’t imagine ever drinking enough to not care about bedtime. I can’t imagine ever taking enough drugs to not notice it’s late or that they haven’t eaten. And I simply cannot foresee a time where I might be so blinded by emotion that I wouldn’t remind them that they really shouldn’t put their bare arses on anything cold and wet (like a rain-soaked trampoline, for example).
The thing is: I’m Mum. I care. Probably too much. I just hope they can forgive me for loving them so much that they don’t get to suffer trampoline-induced piles.