Youngest Child has left me in charge of the kitten while she goes for a driving lesson. After a mad ten minutes careering around the house it settles on my lap and sleeps soundly as I work at my computer.
An hour later Youngest is back, catching up on missed phone alerts as the kitten leaps onto her shoulder.
“I can’t believe how many people are pregnant and having babies,” she says, scrolling.
“‘People’ as in people you know in real life, or are we talking Kardashians and influencers?” I ask.
“No, people I know. Loads of them.”
“Hmmm,” I say, restraining my response, instead of croaking ‘what are they thinking, it costs gazillions to raise a child, you can hardly go out because babies need 24 hour care and you can’t afford it anyway since your income is slashed because you can’t work full time unless you pay exorbitant nursery fees or have support, so your wages, pension and job prospects take a nosedive, while the father’s upward career trajectory continues on its merry way, that’s if they stick around.” (I usually soften it with: “But I’m still glad I had you three, lights of my life,” if I remember.)
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s cute baby shower Insta parade, plus Youngest’s heard it all before, but there’s no need for me to go full ‘just telling it like it is’ mode as the arrival of the kitten has focused her on the weight of responsibility even a tiny bundle of fluff brings.
“God, even looking after a kitten is hard, never mind a baby,” she says, putting down her phone to sweep up cat litter peppered around the floor by the tiny tornado that can U-turn faster than Liz Truss and appears to be able to fly and yet be simultaneously underfoot.
“Yes, at this age, it’s round the clock,” I say, rescuing the kitten who is teetering on the top of a clothes horse, “but it is sooooo cute.”
“It is quite intense looking after a kitten,” says Youngest, retreating to her room with it for a ‘nap’, the only sounds thereafter being the occasional muffled “OMG” and “not my clothes!”.
Guess this is not the time to tell her how my stress levels have plummeted thanks to the kitten sleeping on my lapathon that took place while she was out.