My sister Sausage and I have an expression for things that make you uncomfortable by being too ‘special’. It started out when everyone was just being too nice to one of us (forgotten which) on a birthday, and (whichever one it was) shouted ‘Argh! Stop being so Squeaky Birthday Clean!’ Since then we’ve used it for occasions when everyone’s being a bit patronising and possibly slightly superior and just won’t stop bloody going on about whatever the usually nice thing is. So you might have ‘Squeaky New Boyfriend Clean’, or ‘Squeaky Pregnant Clean’. Basically it feels like somebody is a) trying to be nice b) making more of a big deal of whatever it is than you, yourself are and c) in reality doesn’t give two hoots either way.
Currently I am suffering an extended dose of Squeaky Wedding Clean. Trulove and I are getting married in – aaaargh!!! – two weeks exactly. I wanted to go to a registry office and then to the pub with about fifty people. But that when you combine our respective extended families there are loads of people to invite and then of course there are our incredibly numerous (not really) friends and their partners and their kids. And our kids too. So instead of an understated knees-up the wedding has bloated into an enormous, diamante-studded-and-belting-out-a-showtune Event In the Social Calendar. And two things that do not go particularly well together are Planning a Wedding and having two small children at your side during their (and often your) every waking moment.
Yesterday we visited the wedding planner whose company is doing the catering for our wedding. My nearly mother in law met me there to taste the food selection (you have to say ‘selection’ not choice). I had to drive into central London because she was giving me a vast number of jam-jars to turn into exquisitely decorated candle holders during all that free time I have these days (everything has to be ‘exquisite’ not ‘lovely’ or ‘nice’). And I had to take the children. And they were awoken from their naps to attend. Those of you with small children can imagine the scenes that followed. Those of you without small children should not try to think about whatever might’ve happened because it will cause you unnecessary pain. You just carry on having your uninterrupted conversation or sleeping or whatever it is that you would’ve done in the time it takes to think about such things. Anyway, basically, thank Christ for the wedding planner who had ‘Tangled’ on her iPad. Ziggler and Pickle stared, mesmerised, smeared in Chocolate and Beetroot Muffin and Organic Couscous with Mint and something I’ve forgotten respectively (pickle tasted – and approved – everything on the menu as we attempted to stem her angry squawks) for long enough for us to have our meeting.
Then we went through absolutely everything in the minutest of detail. Don’t misunderstand me; I know you have to work extremely hard to seem effortlessly relaxed. I know it’s essential to discuss tablecloths and cutlery and the kind of knife you’re going to use for the Cake Cutting (you have to use the gerund – verbs are just not weddingy enough) and what kind of vegetables go best with the main dish. I know. Am I less of a proper woman because I just don’t – well, care all that much? I don’t care if the Cake-cutting knife doesn’t have a ribbon on it. I don’t even care all that much what kind of vegetables we have if I’m totally honest.
There seem to be lots of wedding things that it’s assumed you’ll do. I’ve just realised that I’ve been a bit swept away by a tide of convention and I might be too wussy to do anything about it. I don’t really want to make everyone stand up when Trulove and I go into dinner, even if it is tradition (really, very, Squeaky Wedding Clean). I’m not really sure I want a Cake Cutting (but we’ve ordered the special table and ribbon-y knife now). I’m quite sure and steadfast that I don’t want my dad to give me away and he doesn’t want to do it either, because I’m not my dad’s property and I won’t be Trulove’s once we’re married. But there doesn’t seem to be much room to say these things in a wedding planning discussion. I’m not blaming the quick-thinking wedding planning lady or my truly fabulous nearly mother-in-law for this stuff by the way – just the conventions. But I guess they exist so you don’t have to think of anything else (and God knows I don’t have time to do that).
So anyway after having driven home, Ziggler excited by the dark outside, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London as we passed (‘Look Mummy! London!), we got in the house and collapsed on the floor. I took Pickle’s nappy off and then realised I hadn’t got a fresh one to hand. In the time it took me to go to the bathroom and find a new nappy, she had shat, trodden in it, spread it all over the living room carpet, noticed it with interest and picked some up and smeared it over everything at Pickle height. I am still finding poo particles this evening. Not my perfect day I must say.
I have no moral objections to having children before marriage. I mean, obviously. But, seriously, if you’re reading this and you want to have kids and you think you want to get married too, HAVE THE WEDDING FIRST. Please. Otherwise, elope.