David Adam, dad to Isabelle, 3, and Anna, 1, admits he has a tendency to prattle on endlessly about his offspring to anyone who’ll listen – and he’s making no apologies for it
There’s a boring person hidden inside most of us, but generally we learn to suppress him as we get older. Indeed, this may be a key factor in the survival of our species: if I had not conquered the boring inner me who believed, during my mid-teens, that the way to a woman’s heart was through impressing her with in-depth knowledge of football trivia and/or early Bruce Springsteen records, then I doubt my children would ever have been born.
The boring you often gets a new lease of life once you become a parent, however. The trouble is, many new mums and dads find it very hard to think of anything to talk about. We won’t have been getting out much, and we’re unlikely to have had a great deal of time or energy even for reading books or watching TV. We might try to come up with something interesting or witty to say, but all we can think about is the smell of Calpol and the day’s most spectacular nappy.
So, if we’re given any excuse to start burbling about the kids, we’re up and running. Suddenly we have an almost infinite number of things to say: about whether or not the baby has been genuinely smiling or grimacing with wind, if they are above or below average weight for their age, or discussing the optimum positions for quick and easy post-feed burp production.
Who could fail to be utterly thrilled by these topics? We could then move on to an in-depth discussion of the best pushchairs and finally, if our friends are really lucky, we’ll start talking about poo.
Some people may at first seem happy to listen to your detailed description of how and where the baby has pooed this week, but after 10 minutes they will no longer be listening, but will instead be staring at the dried baby food stuck to your chin, and wondering how to escape before they lose consciousness. After 15 minutes, they’re planning to kill you and make it look like an accident.
Other friends won’t even let you get that far. One man I know, when faced with parents eager to show off photos of their offspring, immediately backs off at speed, shouting: ‘Oh GOD, you are so BORING!’ (Although, now I come to think about it, he did that to me before I had children.) But, well, whatever. What I say to nonparent types is, get over it. Get back to your conversations about fancy holidays, going to see live music, meals out whenever you like, lie-ins, and all those other things you can do, which we almost always have to live without. Just leave us baby-obsessives alone, as we compete with each other about the most impressive vomiting our children have ever done, or how we’re currently getting by on 13 minutes of sleep a week.
Each night, just before I turn in, I go to check on the kids, and stand between the bed and the cot, watching them sleep and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer extraordinary glory of their existence. And if becoming unbearably tedious is the price I have to pay for that feeling, I think I can live with that.
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