You know you’re a parent when …

Baby Duck is home, hallelujah! It’s so good to have him back to his usual cheeky self. His wound is still a little tender and his appetite’s not great, but otherwise he’s back to normal.

He actually came home a week ago, but it’s taken this long to get ourselves back to some kind of normality. We did a great deal of sleeping and not much else for the first few days. It’s surprising how exhausting just sitting around in hospital is – I suppose it’s the stress. They kept him in for a full two weeks. I guess they wanted to be sure he really was fixed this time before sending him home again!

So here we are, reunited at last. “I love my family,” he said to me once in hospital. “I wouldn’t swap them for anything … except maybe [Demon Duck].” Obviously he was feeling well enough to crack jokes by that stage.

But we are enjoying being home together. It’s school holidays and very cold, so we’re spending a lot of time cuddled up together chatting or watching DVDs. Nice to have some down time before Real Life with all its activities and deadlines sweeps us away again.

But of course, this is Real Life too – the best part, in fact! The jokes and cuddles and tickles, the little things like reading books together, or having a chat while you shoot hoops in the backyard, these are the small moments that make me happy.

Like the one at four o’clock in the morning on my birthday, when Baby Duck rolled over in his hospital bed.


“What’s wrong?” I asked, coming instantly awake. Did he need pain relief? A trip to the toilet? Was he going to be sick?

He gave me a beatific smile. “Happy birthday!” Then he shut his eyes and went straight back to sleep.

I lay awake, thinking Big Thoughts about life and change and happiness. Particularly about parenthood, and how it affects all three.

So here’s the fruit of my musings for your edification:

You know you’re a parent when … your idea of a great night isn’t dinner and a show but eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

You know you’re a parent when … the movie release you’re most looking forward to this year is Kung Fu Panda 2.

You know you’re a parent when … your favourite birthday present is the poo your son finally does a week after his bowel operation.

You know you’re a parent when … you gleefully text your relatives about said poo.

Yes, we’re not in Kansas any more, Dorothy. Parenthood is a whole ‘nother country – the natives are friendly but a little strange.

Nice place to live, though.

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