When I started writing Tales From The Crib I was seven months pregnant. I had no kids and lots of time. Time to do all the things I wish I could do now. Watch American cop shows on TV, eat all morning and sleep all afternoon.
Now, three years later, I have two kids, but no time. I am constantly hungry and I don’t get enough sleep. So, sadly, this will be my last column for a little while. Of course I am going to miss telling you how wonderful my children are. More than that, though, I will miss the excuse to shut myself away for a full day every month to ‘work’. Confession number one is to my husband: most of the time I was looking at shoes on the internet. Either that or telling my Facebook friends about the shoes I’d just spotted on the internet.
Regular readers of Time Out Kids have seen my children grow up. Sam’s first trip to the hospital, Joe’s first night at home, my husband’s first attempt at nappy-changing and a nightmare holiday in Ras Al Khaimah – I’ve tried to tell it as it happened and not leave out any gory details. (If you really want to read about my 23-hour labour or C-section the details can still be found on the website).
But along the way I might have missed a few things out. History, it is said, is written by winners. In writing this column I’ve been charting my family’s finest moments. Given the choice of telling you about the time Sam pushed an ice cream in my face or when he told an entire train-load of people he loved me, of course I was going to take the self-fulfilling route. I don’t think Joe would ever forgive me if he found these magazines in his memory box only to discover he once vomited over a salad bowl at a brunch. Much better that he knows he was a strong baby with excellent bowels. After all, I am hoping a future daughter-in-law is going to read this one day too.
But, as this is the last column, I should share some of the family secrets. Next up is potty training. We are, to put it bluntly (yet accurately), doing c**p. Neither boy is interested and I don’t have the fight left in me to make the act of going to the loo sound exciting. Nappies are just so easy and we’re getting along so well at the moment I simply can’t be bothered. I know it puts me firmly in slummy mummy territory, but I thought I might just skip this stage of development altogether and let both of them stay in diapers until they are old enough to buy (and wash) their own underwear.
My third confession is to the editor of this magazine: I’ve done so much research on the potty training subject that I could write a book, but I’ve never once offered to submit an article. The shame has been too great.
I also distinctly remember sharing my top tips on juvenile disciplinary techniques, smugly informing readers that my firm but fair guidance had led to a naughty corner success in the Milner household. Yes, it was a gold star for me when Sam started to respect the rules and do as he was told. I neglected to update you a month later when he began committing ‘crimes’ just so he could spend more time in the naughty corner. Or that he and Joe had decided to set up camp there (with Winnie The Pooh and Jelly Cat) for a lost weekend of mischief and mummy-baiting.
If I’ve given the impression that life at Milner Towers is one long cultural diversion, then I’ve been economical with the truth. We’re the family that spent an entire weekend burping television theme tunes. We’re the family that goes to the supermarket dressed in pyjamas and slippers. We’re the family that has been barred by at least one major hotel chain and will probably not be welcomed back to Sharjah any time soon. We’re the family that does things our own way and has a great time doing it.
So my final confession is to you, the mums of Dubai. I’ve never told you how amazing I think you all are. Everything I’ve learned about parenting has come from you. Without your patience, advice, support and ideas I would have done everything by the book, and where would be the fun in that?