I have spots blooming all over my face and it means that, once again, I must put away my Tom Ford Cherry Lush because it matches both the deep red of my acne, and, alas, the deep metaphorical red of shame because I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS! Old ladies should be free of those pesky little spots of yore. And the worst, deeply tragic thing is that last week’s Aveda tribute to Dave Stewart, the Hair Cut of Fashionable Asymmetry, is a jawline-revealing crop. So, suddenly, my previously clear and spot-free jaw has been cruelly exposed to the world and it has responded by angrily camoflaging itself in weeping pustules. Hormones, I thank you, no, really I do, because you help me to Keep It Real. Without flashes of angry teenage-esque skin, I would be a botox-loving, vain and extravagant cosmetic-obsessed bore. And PHEW we don’t want that.
One nice thing about having children, I have latterly come to notice, is that they do not ever seem to see your hideous disfigurements. They always think you look like mothers are supposed to look. And ever since Noah had his grommets inserted and had his hearing restored, I have had the New Happy Noah Who Talks In Full Sentences giving me a daily little bit of Calculated Flattery in order to win me over and make like him more than the others. It totally works. He tells me every day, no matter what I am wearing, that he “likes my dress”. So, I could be in my ripped-at-the-inner-thigh-skinny-jeans-perhaps-they-were-a-bit-too-tight-after-all jeans and a stripy shirt with yogurt wiped all over it and he will creep up to me to tell me he likes my dress. And I always feel terribly pleased, even though he is four, wears pyjamas all day by choice, smells very much like ammonia, and has this odd compulsion to follow me into the toilet to tell me a lengthy story about princesses whose pants are shaped like the letter ‘o’. I have NO IDEA what he is on about, but he wins the Best Child competition and I would save him first in a fire. Because he gets me, sartorially, and that is GOLD, Dear Reader, GOLD.
But anyway. It is the school holidays, and it is day two. We have been to the zoo, and I drove the seven minutes up the Marylebone Road and I sweated and felt giddy and a bit nauseous because driving in London scares me to my very core. We go all that way, and I expend all that nervous exhaustion, and the buggers only ever want to see the giraffes for about three minutes, and then they run to the bouncy castle which costs £1 for five minutes and they get all sulky when I tell them that the bouncy castle is not what we are at the zoo for.
Me: Let’s go see some more animals!
Them: No. We want to go on the bouncy castle.
Me: Well, you can’t, you small but effective gang of INGRATES.
Them: (Scowling) OK. Can we have ice cream instead?
Them: Ok. The elephants, then.
Me: There are no elephants at this zoo.
Casper: The dinosaurs then.
And so we end up at the gorilla enclosure, and the gorilla mother has had a little baby, and she is swinging him roughly but kind of tenderly and nursing him and I get misty- eyed and love them both and think that me and the gorilla mummy are JUST THE SAME, because we love our babies the same and her baby has little baby feet and so does mine, and my boobs look a little bit droopy and old like hers, and we have a moment, then I see the children are engrossed in watching a dying fly trapped in the glass. What, I ask you, is the POINT?
Ingrates with very short attention spans. Four of them. All day long, for practically the whole of April. Which brings me to Istanbul. We are going to a wedding and spending four days there in September. It will be excellent, and even excellent-er will be when we figure out who is going to look after the children while we are away. I am hoping the answer will become clear to me, like a sign from God, a stigmata, a piece of toast with the name and mobile number of a reliable babysitter burnt into it in a mysterious and miraculous way. I really hope I don’t have to wait too long.