This morning my youngest bit his toast into an oblong shape and then announced that it was “the toast train”. He ordered me to get on it, which I duly did (you do so by touching the toast and saying “blip”). Then I asked him where the train was going (should really have done that before getting on), and he told me the destination was Gloucester (phew!). Thereafter we ran around the house for a bit, all aboard the imaginary train of toast.
For the rest of this morning I have had The Monkees’ Last Train to Clarksville stuck in my head. Only it’s Toast Train to Gloucester (try it: it scans perfectly). I like being on board the toast train to Gloucester. It’s somewhere I’d never have imagined being all by myself.
If you’re a parent and you meet someone who’s pregnant for the first time, what would your response be if, when you asked them why they wanted a child, they were to say “because they’re dead cute and say funny things”?* You’d most likely think “bloody hell, you’re naive. What about sleepless nights, dirty nappies, whining, fights, having no money, blah blah blah?” But then that isn’t what you’d asked them about. No one wants babies for the sleepless nights. But let’s face it, they just are really sodding cute. And cuteness has a lot to recommend it, in the early years at least.
Last night I got talking to one of the cleaners at work. We hadn’t spoken in years since her shift starts late and she was moved to a different floor during a company restructure. She was amazed to hear that the child she’d seen me pregnant with was now at school. She said “don’t they grow up fast”. She told me both her grandchildren were now in their teens. And also that one of them was on drugs because “there’s nothing for young people nowadays”. At this point I went all middle-class and awkward. I can’t remember what I said. Possibly something ridiculous about mine “not being on the hard stuff just yet”.
So for the time being at least I think I need to make the most of toast train to Gloucester moments, before, perhaps, it goes horribly wrong. I need to make the most of my son. Who happens to be amazingly, wonderfully cute, and can still think crazy thoughts without any chemical help. And who has also, just this moment, handed me some Spontex non-scratch scouring pads with a cheery “there you go!”. There I go indeed.
* I’ve almost certainly mixed up my tenses in that sentence. But it sort of makes sense.