Home is … wherever I’m with you

This week I have been visiting houses: flats, maisonettes, detached and semi … I’ve viewed an unreasonable number of overpriced abodes in varying states of decoration and repair.

House hunting is always stressful, but never more so than when you have a small and sticky person to accommodate. It seems that miniature humans are personae non gratae for many a landlord, presumably fearful of crayon marks on their otherwise pristine walls. (Pristine? Ha. Aha. Ahahahahaha.)

I mean, it’s not as if the little tinkers are the future generations who’ll be paying for our pensions and keeping the world turning once our generation is old and grey. No, they are merely a nuisance, to be avoided at all costs.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind if the landlord had met my child and found him to be lacking in social graces (a thing that would never happen, obviously) but to be against all kids, irrespective of age or behaviour…?

Why is it OK to discriminate against ALL wee folk, when you’d never get away with precluding huge swathes of the adult population from inhabiting your de luxe dwelling? Sure, some kids are noisy and some kids are messy, but hey … plenty of adults’ behaviour leaves a lot to be desired, too.

Anyway, ranting is pointless, but the truth is, it’s fiendishly difficult to find accommodation in this town, without being excluded from the ‘nicer’ stuff from the off. I’ve seen any number of premium-priced pads with walls that infant artwork could only improve and carpets that pre-date my son by at least a decade. And all of them are snapped up by eager beavers with more cash than sense … or at least a sense of desperation that exceeds my own.

Now, if I were paired off, then the combined income of me and my beau would surely afford us something more sophisticated (such as a mortgage) but the spending power of one – in combination with exorbitant nursery fees – means that my boy and I are destined for the lower echelons of the rentals market, where cleanliness is considered an optional extra.

The thing is, when you’re childless, a few homeless days between contracts means kipping on a friend’s couch. When you’ve got a nipper, things take on a different complexion. Little people need routine, and they protest vociferously if that routine is disrupted – usually at two-hourly intervals throughout the night.

And so the search continues. Quite what I’ll do if the perfect property fails to materialise I just don’t know. I suppose I’ve always got a tent … just nowhere to pitch it.

Still, on a positive note, the little guy continues to amaze and delight with his new-found word power (sample conversation: “Do you want to go to bed?” “Yes!” “Are you sure?” “No.”) and his sudden ability to sleep until 6am. (Yesssss!)

Even better, the Baby Daddy and the wee man finally spent some quality time together. At Daddy’s insistence, mummy wasn’t present … which means that mummy was able to loaf in the park with a book while some serious father-and-son bonding took place. Splendid.

Furthermore, the Aura of Romantic Doom continues to abate: I’m in conversation with yet another potentially charming gentleman, which at least gives the illusion of progress even if the correspondence has yet to bear fruit.

So now all I need is a roof over my head. If anyone fancies playing landlord to the two best tenants in the world, drop me a line at the usual address.


The tide (finally) turns

I don’t know what happened to June: one minute it was there and the next – pofff! – it was July. Just like that.

Perhaps it was in contrast to previous periods of extended solitude, but June seems to have whizzed by in a haze of action and activity, from sunny Fridays lazing in the park to visits from old friends, barbecues a-go-go, a toddlerful of strawberries and even a day out at a festival.

(Admittedly, it was a festival aimed at the under 5s and filled with glue, glitter and sensory play, but it was a festival nonetheless.)

The last month has also seen the little guy’s word count zoom to …. ooh, about eleven.

In addition to yes, no, shoes, door, duck! (triumphant tone, applied to anything with wings) and buh-bye! (solemn hand-waving of the turn-the-tap-on-and-turn-it-off-again variety) we now have more! (insistent look) and no more! (an equivalent to more!), as well as any amount of earnest conversation that doesn’t quite amount to any recognised language.

Even my name has changed: I’m now a perfectly pronounced mom-my, rather than the ma-ma-ma of yore. Yes, my little pud is growing up. He even tried to dress himself today. And OK, he was draping the clothes over his limbs rather than actually slipping into them but hey, as some philosopher* once said, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

Yep, there’s a definite sense of change in the air, and it’s change for the better.

For starters, after hitting an all-time low, relations with the Baby Daddy finally – finally! – seem to be on the up. He’s sent a couple of messages lately full of enthusiasm about spending one-to-one time with the little guy.

Admittedly, it’s six weeks since he actually saw him and the proposal is mainly to avoid contact with me, but no matter. Father and son time is always good news in my book, and I’ll be happy for my little piglet to get some quality poppa time.

There are changes afoot in other areas too: it seems improbable, I know, but my Aura of Romantic Doom seems to be leaving me. Yep, this weekend I went on not one, not two, but THREE dates.

Surprisingly, for such a long-awaited event, there isn’t that much to say, except that coffee was drunk and the conversation flowed quite nicely, but … I’m not sure any of the candidates is set to be waltzing down the aisle with me any time soon.

Admittedly, it’s hard to gauge compatibility in a 90-minute ‘interview’; if you go on first impressions, you’ll only ever spot the instant hits with no chance of identifying the ‘growers’. Which means you might end up dating the equivalent of The Cheeky Girls, whilst passing up on slow burning – and possibly longer lasting – pleasures.

I also concede that the presence of a one-year-old doesn’t really give an authentic dating experience, but all three gentlemen were very gallant about it and acquiesced to the little guy’s demands with alacrity.

Still, even if I didn’t find Mr Right, it was nice to dip a toe into the waters and remind myself what it’s all about. Because, to stretch a watery metaphor, it finally feels as if the tide’s in my favour, so it surely can’t be long until my ship comes in.

*It was Laozi in the Tao Te Ching. I looked it up to spare you the trouble. And no, it wasn’t Confucius. Wikipedia told me so.