USED TO MEAN: a Saturday afternoon of pampering, blow-drying, maybe some Brent Cross outfit-shopping, followed by getting changed, made up, sorting an Uber and leaving the house.
NOW MEANS: a whole day of routine-tweaking to get the baby to sleep by 7pm. Fail, and eventually get them down an hour later. Madly Batiste hair, rub self with baby wipe, pick some clean (black) clothes out of wardrobe, pay £15.3 million to a baby sitter, give them 45-minute lecture about baby's routine, leave house at 9pm (you drive, too tired to drink), realise at 10pm you're knackered and would rather be in bed. Go home again.
USED TO MEAN: an afternoon reading in the park, an evening getting a massage at a spa, a night out with friends and a lot of wine.
NOW MEANS: the chance to do a poo on the loo with just Instagram for company, and no one redecorating the bathroom with toilet roll / asking about lunch / yanking on your leg.
"Just popping to the shops"
USED TO MEAN: walking out the door with a wallet, buying some milk / gin / Hula Hoops, coming back.
NOW MEANS: grappling an irate octopus into a car seat by promising said octopus rice cake snacks, proffering it three books and a spinning electronic toy, and playing the octopus's favourite six chords of the eighth track on a nursery rhyme CD repeatedly. Getting to the supermarket, doing six circuits of the car park before finding a space, trying 12 trolleys before finding one with a working baby chair AND seatbelt, rushing up the aisles doing a supermarket sweep whilst singing Ten Green Bottles, bagging up the food one-handed whilst keeping a now-screaming octopus in its seat.. Then going through the whole rigmarole on the way home.
USED TO MEAN: bed at 10pm, bit of Netflix, sleep an hour later, for a nice nine-hour slumber.
NOW MEANS: bed at 8pm, woken at 9pm by waaaaahh, same at 9.20pm, 9.40pm, 10pm. Then finally get the babe properly asleep, as you lie awake, unable to sleep. Wake up at 5am (not independently..)
USED TO MEAN: Thumbing through Ottolenghi / Nigella / bbcgoodfood.com to find a new recipe; pick any required ingredients (see above 'just popping to the shops'), spending an hour in the kitchen stirring, cooking, etc, then sitting down to eat said meal.
NOW MEANS: Opening up the Kitchen Drawer of Delights (tupperwares, spoons, pans, bowls) to allow toddler to take entire contents out and spread around downstairs of house (the tip of a wooden spoon makes a lovely protrusion to sit on in the sofa, I find). Chucking onion, tomato and mushroom into pan. Hurling drawer contents back (promising self will remember to wash said items before use, definitely). Giving now-bored toddler a bowl of cold water to stir / upturn on the floor / entertain self with. Cook pasta. Do kitchen dancing with toddler. Give toddler the pasta / sauce combo for dinner. Leave rest on stove for parental dinner in six hours' time after bathtime. Eat dinner, disturbed only by 45-minute cot back-patting session to get said toddler to sleep.
USED TO MEAN: Setting your phone to wake you up for work, at the time you wanted to wake up.
NOW MEANS: Being dragged awake at a time not of your making, too-often beginning with '5', but by the world's cutest alarm clock so that makes it OK.
USED TO MEAN: Device to read the news on, play Angry Birds on, quite nice entertainment for plane journeys.
NOW MEANS: Electronic babysitter, with a hard drive large enough for innumerable In the Night Garden / Peppa Pig / Paws Patrol episodes. As in, "He's tired - get the iPad". You won't get on a plane without it.
USED TO MEAN: A cocktail you might have on a summer's eve
NOW MEANS: Life-saving device with a better chance of getting a babe to sleep than ANYTHING.
USED TO MEAN: Yawned at one point today. Only got 8.75 hours sleep last night. Could do with an early night (see above).
NOW MEANS: You're in a heap on the carpet, counting the seconds til bedtime. (Theirs, and yours: it's the same thing). You've done 'all nighters' (hourly baby demands through the night, no dancing involved) for four nights/months/years in a row and feel like you were run over by the bin men's truck, sixteen times, and have dumb-bells hanging off your eyelids. You'd laugh at pre-parent you's idea of tired, but you're too tired.