Being Mum and Dad

Mummy and Daddy are watching Rio Ferdinand’s documentary Being Mum and Dad. Mummy is ploughing through the Kleenex in floods of tears. Daddy is pretending to be fine until Rio says it’s OK for men to cry. If a footballer says it, it must be true. Rio’s kids are putting memories of their mum in a jar.

“If I die, you must do this with the baby,” sobs Mummy.

“You can’t die,” says Daddy, “I couldn’t cope. In fact, you should probably not leave the house anymore, just to keep safe.”

“Rio’s wife had cancer,” points out Mummy, “you can get that indoors.”

“Oh no!” says Daddy. Mummy starts listing all the things Daddy needs to know and do if she dies… Mummy is proactive in the face of adversity.

“Stop! Stop!” says Daddy. “I cannot remember all these things. You are just not to die.”

There is a pause. Rio is being Mum and Dad and an international superstar footballing legend. He is on a plane to somewhere exotic, looking like a million dollars and phoning to check his kids have done their homework. He talks about how much he has to learn now he is Mum and Dad. Today, Mummy didn’t even manage to get the laundry in before it rained and that was literally the only thing she had to remember to do today. Mummy is not Rio.

“I want to go and cuddle The Baby now,” says Daddy when it finishes.  The Baby is asleep in her cot. Suddenly Mummy is on high alert, for Daddy does not always respect the sanctity of baby sleep and delicate balance of factors which achieve it.

“You will not touch The Baby,” says Mummy, “she is sleeping.” Daddy sulks a little. He thinks about Rio’s wife, who seemed much nicer and more fun than Mummy.

“I will look at The Baby?” says Daddy uncertainly. Mummy considers this for a moment. It was a very sad and moving documentary.

“You may look at The Baby,” says Mummy generously, “but you will not make any noise that will wake The Baby.”

Mummy goes upstairs to brush her teeth and Daddy goes to look at The Baby. Suddenly, Mummy hears an almighty thud. She goes to the nursery to see what has occurred.

Daddy has hit the deck and is lying flat on his stomach in the dark beside the cot. The Baby is stirring.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhh!” hisses Daddy, gesturing at Mummy not to enter.

“What did you do?!” mouths Mummy back. The Baby is rubbing her little eyes as if she might wake up.

“I just looked at her!” says Daddy almost completely inaudibly – quite a skill, Mummy observes.

Mummy looks at The Baby who is mumbling and threatening to wake.

“You looked at her wrong!” says Mummy. Daddy frowns. Until now, Daddy did not know there was a wrong way to look at a sleeping baby. He has much to learn. This must be what Rio was talking about, thinks Mummy.  It takes Daddy several minutes of hiding in the dark before he plucks up the courage to crawl out of the nursery – a very funny sight. Mummy is filled with love and thanks for Daddy and The Baby.

Being Mum and Dad must be the hardest thing in the world, thinks Mummy.