Monday, August 9, 2010

Baby Blues

With the tent successfully erected as the sun set over the magnificent Gower, waves crashing against a not too distant shore, we cracked open a chilled cider. Footloose and child free.

Players in this weekend being Gareth and myself, my sister Tammi and her fella, Colin. We like hanging around with other childless couples who don’t want children. It means we can spend our time commenting on the things we’re enjoying now but couldn’t if we had dirty little pesky children running around demanding our every second of attention.

Tammi and Colin have pretty much decided child-rearing isn’t for them. This spurred Gareth and I on. Hurray! Other people who’d favour freedom and finance over poo and sick! We were in good company.

We spent the weekend lazily meandering between our campsite, the local pub and an exquisitely beautiful beach, where we downed shots of rum before hitting the sea to bodyboard. We went quad biking, and got up when we bloody well felt like it. All to the chorus of the strained parents and whining children in our campsite arguing over muddy shoes and fizzy drinks.

In the pub, Tammi got stroking a dog and soon the owners were chatting away. They happened to mention to our slightly sozzled crew that the dog was a child substitute – this couple had forgone children for a life on the open road. Naturally, we pounced on them.

‘We don’t want children either!’ I exclaimed. ‘How did it work for you?’

The next few hours were spent listening to their tales. ‘Prepare to lose friends,’ they warned. ‘And people will presume you’re infertile.’

But we were not deterred. This couple were us, just 15 years later. They were in good shape, hadn’t lost their physique to the emotional and physical drains and strains of parenthood. They were cheerful and not, as I’d feared, weird.

‘Did you know that if you have a baby, it renders everything else you could possibly do to reduce your carbon footprint, completely obsolete?’ I said, keen to impress our new friends.

They did mention that we might experience the odd pang of regret once in a while, in the years after the body can no longer provide, but the mind still wonders. But by then, I wasn’t listening. They’d said everything I wanted to hear. Negatives I wasn’t looking for.

Fuelled in confidence that if they could do it, we would to, we left them to their beer and headed inside for an intense game of poker, the mentioning of which serves only for me to gloat of my winning.

The following morning, Colin bought the Observer.

‘The happiness years: Once the kids have grown up and left’ said the well-timed headline.

There followed a report on how couples could expect to be £600 per month better off, endure less arguments, more hobbies and activities, less stress and more happiness. And, what’s more, they’ll feel ten years younger.

‘You’ll relight the fire, for life in general and each other,’ it declared.

Well, we’ll just cut out the middle man! Genius! Our £600 a month of happiness starts right now!

Smug in our self righteous decision to remain barren, rich and lonely, we headed home.

Home, to the news that one of my very best friends is up the duff.

I squealed in delight when she told me. A baby! A little tiny cute baby, for me to buy miniature Nike Air Max’s for! And a baby gro! And a bib that says: ‘I’m cute!’

My mind waivers. I’ll see how my friend gets on. If she positively glows from the whole experience, maybe I’ll declare my womb available for rent.

But if that baby so much as throws up on me, then it’s goodbye parenthood, hello yacht in the Caribbean, £600 a month for life and a ten year reduction in age.

Baby, it’s all down to you.


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