It is widely accepted that babies make it pretty difficult to have a proper social life due to their incessant need to eat, sleep and generally take up all of your time and attention. This evening however, Daddy has arranged to go out for the evening with Mummy and The Baby. This is the second such excursion Daddy has planned. He has learned from the first, where RB stayed up until nearly midnight roaring at the top of her lungs and laughing at herself for no apparent reason whatsoever. This time, Daddy has purchased a travel cot and arranged a nice quiet evening playing board games with nice quiet friends, who also have little people asleep in the house and will be calm and civil. Mummy is to come with The Baby and pretend to understand the complicated board games that Daddy likes to play whilst sipping pink wine under the table (for beer is the acceptable drink at such events) and willing The Baby to sleep in her newly acquired bed.
Mummy insists that Daddy puts the travel cot up at home to check it works properly. Not wanting to waste more than a minute of his precious evening on such a task, Daddy has got a Super Duper Instant Idiot-proof Pop-up Travel Cot, which promises to take less than a minute to put up and down.
He opens the bag and… Pop! Out it leaps with encouraging success, one self-contained little baby-tent in which RB can snooze the night away.
So far so good, thinks Mummy. Now all Daddy has to do it put it away again.
This does not prove so easy. The instructions tell Daddy to simply ‘twist and collapse,’ but Daddy spends a good twenty minutes twisting forwards, backwards, inside out and back to front with little joy. He looks at the travel cot and looks at the bag it must go in, and assumes that some sort of shift in the fabric of time and space has occurred, as there is no feasible way that it could have fitted into the same bag only moments before.
After immeasurably more twisting and grunting, eventually Daddy does something right and magically the travel cot is transformed into a tiny little package which slips neatly into the case. Daddy has no idea how this happened. It seems the travel cot has supernatural powers.
Mummy and Daddy arrive at the nice quiet friends’ house with RB already in her pyjamas, for they are thoughtful and organised, and the whole evening will go without a hitch. Daddy pops up the travel cot in less than a minute and Mummy sits down in a nice quiet corner to feed the baby into a sleepy stupor and pop her into her lovely comfy new bed.
Rebel Baby, however, has had a sneaky nap in the car on the way over and is very well rested indeed. All she needs now is a quick feed for some energy and she’s ready for a good night out.
“The Baby is wide awake and lively,” says Mummy. “I will look after The Baby while you play your complicated board game and drink beer.”
“No, no,” say Daddy and the nice quiet friends, “you must play as well, and The Baby will be OK.” Daddy looks at the game and sees and evening of fun; Mummy sees an evening of choking hazards.
So Mummy and The Baby join in the complicated board game. Mummy has no idea what is going on but understands there is a lot of strategy involved, which is one of Daddy’s very favourite things. Rebel Baby likes knocking over the shiny game pieces and licking the playing cards, which makes Daddy twitchy, for the game pieces are Sacred and Important. It is very difficult for Mummy to hold the baby whilst also drinking pink wine under the table, but she concentrates very hard and just about manages it. The Super Duper Instant Idiot-proof Pop-up Travel Cot rests, redundant, in a dark corner.
As the game goes on, it becomes more intense and The Men are having lots of complicated discussions about their very important strategies for world domination. Rebel Baby has taken to making fake choking noises until her face goes a bit purple and then laughing at herself, which is enough to give Mummy an actual heart attack. The nice quiet friends have found her some baby toys to stop her licking the playing cards, so now Mummy has a wriggly, choke-laughing baby, lots of Sacred and Important game pieces and a pile of baby toys in the way of access to her pink wine.
“Isn’t it lovely to get out and relax!” says Daddy, as he plots his next genius move.
“Oh yes, absolutely!” pants Mummy as she extracts her playing pieces from a dribbly fist and picks up Sophie la Giraffe for the gazillionth time.
“Please go to sleep,” Mummy wills The Baby, trying again and again to persuade her into the peaceful haven that is the expensive new travel cot. But no, The Baby is wide awake.
The game takes so long that Mummy ends up pacing the room with The Baby while The Men negotiate their complicated battle plans. Every now and then someone tells Mummy it is her turn, and she goes and rearranges some ponies on the map to keep them happy. It is getting very late, and The Baby has transitioned from lively and wired to increasingly deranged but still refusing to sleep.
“I think I need to get her home soon…” ventures Mummy.
“Yes, yes,” says Daddy, “I am going to conquer the world any minute now and the game will be over. It is your turn.”
Mummy and The Baby go over and move some ponies…. Mummy has won!!!
“Pah hahahahahaha!! I have won!!!” crows Mummy, for she is a modest and humble winner. Daddy is scratching is head and trying to work out how Mummy must be wrong. But Mummy is not wrong – she has conquered the world! Daddy has no idea how this happened. It seems Mummy has supernatural powers.
“Ho… hum… very good,” mumble Daddy and the lovely friends. Mummy is smiling very much indeed, for Mummy loves to win. It has been a very good night out.
It is finally time to get The Baby home to bed, before she absolutely loses it. And as if defeat were not bad enough, Daddy must now wrestle the Super Duper Instant Idiot-proof Pop-up Travel Cot back into its bag in less than a minute.
“Maybe next time it would be better if you stayed at home with The Baby,” says Daddy on the way to the car.