Congratulations on what is about to become the most exciting journey of your life. Being a first-time mother is an experience like no other; a joy. You and your partner have gradually created a beautiful home which will undoubtedly play host to lots of fun and laughter as the years pass.
As a visitor, I have never had a problem with taking off my shoes to ensure your walnut floors don’t get scuffed and your use of coasters is entirely understandable – that Carl Hansen coffee table really is a beaut. I didn’t mind when you winced as my little ones attempted to lift breakables off your shelves. You were totally justified and I will replace the Vera Wang vase.
I’m writing this letter to warn you about the reality that lies ahead for your expanding family and to give you a chance to adjust your expectations a little. At this point you believe that certain rooms will remain ‘out-of-bounds’ for your own little ones. You may also believe that when you firmly say ‘no’ as your child attempts to spread peanut butter on your Mulberry cushion, they will listen and obey. You are being naive and you are grossly underestimating a child’s capacity for destruction.
Take a moment to enjoy your beautiful home one last time. Admire your unsullied couch, your clean walls and your picture frames on low shelving. Enjoy an odour-free existence and a world in which remote controls don’t end up in the washing machine. There are certain things that will inevitably happen in a home with children and these are just some of them.
- Dirty hand-prints will be found on 70% of your surfaces. Only 40% will be fully removable.
- A child will drag a sharp-cornered plastic box across your wooden floor. It will leave a welt in the shape of a wry smile that makes your jaw tighten every time you see it.
- A child will block a toilet with either toilet paper, clothing or a Furby.
- A child will take a crap on the beige Saxony carpet in your front room. It will be trodden deep into the fibres. You will treat it with an array of products and the stain will fade, but you will always see its faint yellowish outline in a certain light.
- A child will draw a self-portrait on a wall with a permanent marker.
- A ball will crack a window. If not yours, a neighbour’s.
- Your kitchen table will be forever stained pink by the weekly Bolognaise. Nothing gets that stain off, not even the hardcore chemicals you bought for the carpet.
- A half-eaten banana will be hidden in the cavernous pot of your Ficus plant. It will remain there for an unknown period. You will search for the source of the smell for weeks and blame the poo. When you find the offending article it will be a mushy decomposing mess that smells like feet and sweet vomit.
- Hardened, fluorescent Play-Doh will be identified clinging to the strands of your high pile rug. Play-Doh is second only to meconium on the list of parents’ most hated substances.
- Entire boxes of cereal will be upended into the dishwasher.
- The letterbox will be filled with yogurt.
- Cream crackers will become lodged in the DVD drive.
- A child will dig up a freshly-planted flower bed in order to build a tomb for a Transformer.
- A Sylvanian Family member will meet a sticky end in the microwave.
- You will never be able to find the remote. Ever.
But hey, what do I know? Maybe your kid will be different.
Best of luck on the beautiful and exciting journey ahead – such a special time!
Lots of love,
P.S. You’ve got accidental damage cover on your home insurance policy, right?
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