I always admire people who say ‘you just have to laugh, really’, when something annoying/terrible/very perculiar happens to them. This last year has been a whole year of ‘you just have to laugh, really’ and I wanted to record it, mostly for purely selfish reasons and also because a lot of the things that have happened to Sarah and I this year are genuinely hilarious. 2011, the year of laughing in the face of stuff!
So, the story of 2011 starts in late 2010 (annoying really, that it doesn’t neatly squish into a year, but life doesn’t always do neat.) I met Sarah at a playgroup (Russell Park Baptist playgroup, if you’re interested, excellent toy selection, nice coffee. Mostly known as Tuesday playgroup, for those of us who multi-playgroup. Yikes!) Playgroups, if you haven’t been since it was you fighting another child for a fisherprice telephone, are much like the dating scene. You arrive at one, newly produced baby under one arm, the least-shoddy handbag you could find in the other, and hope to Meet Another Mum. Someone who you can really get on with, who doesn’t find your child alarming, who perhaps likes some of the un-child-related stuff you like. A friend in other words. Playgroup is full of small talk, of swapped baby advice, toy/school/nursery recommendation, and that’s all great, but sometimes it is nice to meet people you can have a normal conversation with. And perhaps wine. (Outside playgroup hours, obviously. Drunk-at-10am mummies are usually a bit frowned upon.)
I was doing OK with the small talk, but after the billionth Which Feeding Cup? conversation, I was looking for someone I could have interesting, non – baby conversation with, someone who just got me. Sarah sat down next to me, we mutually admired each others’ clothing choices and I confessed my obsession with stripes. Our daughters were the same age – 5 days apart -and we were both wearing Converse. We exchanged numbers. I wondered if she’d call. Then, a few days later, at half tennish on a Friday night, I got a call. No speaking, just giggling and muffled footsteps. Weird, although, y’know, it’s good to keep an open mind about people. Then she rang back, explaining that she’d, ahem, been carrying laundry up the stairs and managed to sit on her phone. (There may, or may not have been wine involved…I am not one to speculate.) I didn’t care. I was sold. Here was the mummy-mate for me!
And then, well, and then we had this brilliant idea…