For the first time in I can’t remember how long, this weekend I had a hangover. My night out had been organised for weeks but as I’d forgotten to put it on the kitchen calendar, which controls our lives, my boy had arranged to go out on the same night. There seems to be an unwritten rule that writing on this calendar is part of my job description, not his, along with ensuring that the children are fully vaccinated and our family and friends get birthday cards.
When it comes to nights on the town, our ideas of fun are very different. I don’t dance, he finds the highest speaker and commandeers it as his podium. I have a built in switch that informs me I have drank enough and to move to water, his tells him he’s had enough beer and to move to whisky. I am one of the first to leave, he is the ring leader of the gang who are still dancing when the lights go up. I call a cab, he starts walking. Over the years we have come to learn that every once in a while we are just best to go our separate ways and meet up later and compare notes.
With my Mum looking after the kids, safe in the knowledge that either he or I would be back by the stroke of midnight, I met the girls for a couple of pre-dinner French Martinis. Time with girl friends is so important isn’t it? I know that sounds cheesy and all ‘Sex and the City’ but I mean it. I feel a bit sad sometimes that boys don’t have relationships like that with their friends, it just seems different for them. I couldn’t do without my friends, knowing that no matter what they would drop everything for me and be there if I needed them. We had a great evening; we ate, drank and laughed, laughed, laughed.
Throughout the course of the evening, by our texts back and forth, it became apparent that I would be first home. No surprise there then. Probably just as well. After a night out the boy’s been known to strip off in the hall so he makes less noise when he falls into bed. I’m not sure Mum could take that, she got enough of an eye full at our wedding when he was taking part in a dance-off and performed the caterpillar manouvere wearing his kilt.
Although I’d had a fair bit I knew I hadn’t had too much drink as I didn’t end up on the bathroom floor. Sometimes I’m not even sick I just like to lie next to the loo, especially if the floor is tiled and cold. I find it strangely comforting. Sadly I’d obviously had enough to warrant the hangover that kicked in just about the time that the boy returned home in the early hours, all danced out.
Miss L showed up at the side of our bed in what felt like a few short hours later and we started the silent battle. You know the one where you both pretend you’re asleep and see who can ignore the children the longest. Even though the law was on my side, as it was my weekly Saturday lie-in, I gave in first and stomped downstairs to get Baby P her bottle. I allowed them 30 minutes of flopping about the bed being cute before I threw them out into the safe custody of their Dad who I couldn’t be sure wasn’t actually still drunk.
When I came downstairs an hour or so later I found the living room looking like a dirty bomb had gone off, every toy out of its box, even the messy ones reserved for rainy days, and lovely boy lying on the sofa squinting in the uncharacteristic sunny Scottish sunshine. Everything was too noisy, it all made my head rattle.
In need of fresh bakery produce to go with my big coffee I pulled on jeans and a hoody, threw the girls in the car and hit Sainsburys. I don’t know why but I don’t see a problem with nipping out at the weekend to get the papers with no underwear on. My Mum always said to make sure that we had clean pants on incase we ever got knocked over by a car. ‘Yes Doctor, she has a fractured pelvis and two broken legs. But never mind that, did you see the state of her draws?’ Luckily nobody noticed me as they were too busy checking out Miss L strutting down the aisles with a flamenco dancing dress and Belle high heeled shoes on. She asked me half way round why people were looking at her and smiling, bless. Handing over the £1 for our lottery ticket, with not a hint of humour, the assistant said she couldn’t accept the money from Miss L as she was clearly underage and it was against the law. Whether it was the reek of garlic and gin, the glint in my eye or she just knew better than to mess with a lady with no bra but she forced a bitter smile and put it through.
Then came the best part of the whole weekend. My sister offered to take both girls away for a couple of hours. Didn’t have to ask me twice. As soon as we’d waved them off and shut the door we went back to bed. At midday. On a sunny day. It felt wrong, but oh so right. As we lay there we realised that what we heard was silence. Not silence like when Peppa Pig is on and no-one is talking. Or when they’re eating chocolate. No, just complete and utter silence.
When we both woke with a jolt a couple of hours later it wasn’t in a ‘where are the children?’ panic. It was more a ‘have we slept too long, pushed our luck and she’ll not offer to take them again?’ panic. Hangovers I can take. Hangovers with two children? Not so much.