Things I never have to do again…
Over the Christmas holidays, DS learned to ride his bike. In terms of undesirable things ones must do as a parent, teaching my children how to ride a bike is, because of all the back-breaking, bent-over running that goes with it, for me, right up there with potty training (think: on your knees in grotty public toilets saying ‘psssss’; wees on the side of 12-lane highways; and little puddles all over the living room floor).
And, just like potty-training, riding a bike is one of those things you think they’re never going to get the hang of. It just seems too difficult but, one day, out of the blue: bingo, they get it, and you laugh big belly laughs up at the sky, wondering what you ever worried about.
But this Christmas it was more than that. I felt, when DS pedalled off into the horizon on his own two wheels, that we’d passed a watershed; that, at four and a half, he’d suddenly become a lot more grown up; more manageable. I realised that I would never have to teach another child of mine to ride a bike.
And then I thought about all the other things I’m relieved to say I’ll never have to do again:
- Give birth.
- Lose the baby weight.
- Change a nappy.
- Shop at Mothercare and Mamas and Papas.
- Squirt Calpol Infant into a reluctant mouth in the wee hours.
- Heave a pram into the car.
- Find a lost dummy down the side of the bed at 4am.
- Worry about the quality of care at nursery schools.
- Purée vegetables.
And then I thought about all the things that still lie in wait for me:
- Waving DD off on the Y6 skiing trip (how will I do that?).
- Getting the children into suitable senior schools.
- Coaching the children through GCSEs and A-levels.
- Talking to the children about all those icky subjects like drugs, sex and social media.
- Meeting DS’s first serious girlfriend (poor love, she’ll never be good enough).
- Thinking up ways to stop DD going out in her dodgy boyfriend’s car.
- Actually, come to think of it, thinking up ways to stop DD going out at all.