But there was a time not so long ago when I would have performed car-seat breastfeeding acrobatics. Back then refusing ‘milky’ wasn’t an option. Now, at almost two she’s disappointed, but there’s potential for moving the conversation on, for a while at least.
“Look, what’s jangly sheep doing?” “Bouncing! Jangy seep bouncing!” “Uh uh uh uh!” “Oh Willow, you’ve lost all your toys – look here’s kitten…” “Luna kitten, Luna kitten, KITTEN!” “Shall we sing again? Oh the grand old duke of…” “Sun bwind off. Too bwight! TOO BWIGHT! … MILKIES!”
When Willow was born people kept referring to some advert on telly where a parent is driving round getting a baby to sleep and every time the car stops at traffic lights, the baby wakes up. “You’ll know about this!” They said.
But we didn’t. We had two children under fifteen months: we hadn’t watched telly in…well…fifteen months. And as for that myth of children going to sleep in car seats…?
One day I’ll have my front passenger seat back. I’ll sit back and relax and our biggest crisis as we head down the M1 will be a splash of tea escaping from my travel mug as we hit a pothole. Or that we’ve lost our place in the latest Sarah Waters novel on audiobook.
But for now, here I am in the middle back seat between two huge, rearward facing Isofix contraptions. I’m partially buried under a mound of crinkly, fluorescent Lamaze creatures all with terrifyingly huge eyes and at least two limbs joined together by a teething bar. I will replace the four sun blinds with suction-lacking suckers around 47 times during this 2-hour journey.
I will sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star’ repeatedly for twenty minutes while eyelids flicker and it seems they might just drop off. And I WILL enjoy this chaotic, noisy muddle of a journey, because when I’m back in that front passenger seat, I’ll surely miss it.