Have kids! Get sick, spend money – fun times! Don’t bother about the screaming bloodiness of actually having a baby. You can enjoy a near-identical relationship by sticking a bow on a petrie dish and calling it Sophie.
Your Sophie will amaze you by constantly developing new, hideous and highly contagious malaises. Hand, foot and mouth disease? Croup? Slapped cheek syndrome? They’re just the ones with the medieval sounding names. Then there’s the virus where they get so hot they nearly spontaneously combust, endless mix n’match combinations of that fun duo, diahrrea n’vomiting, and the snot candles that repel any wipes known to man.
If you really love your Sophie, all this sickness will mean that spend a lot of time soothing her brow, thus acquiring the same maladies. You, Sophie and anyone else that you come into contact with will be spending a lot of time and money trying to cure the latest germfest. Unfortunately, during this time – and it’s all the time – Sophie won’t be able to go to crèche, or will have infected the childminder so badly that she’s in an isolation ward, and so you won’t be able to go to work, and thus earn the money to pay for medicaments. That leaves you poor, and still feeling like a badger’s arse.
Your infected, snotty, coughing ear-infected little dear will hold great appeal to other living creatures, all of which will be drawn like filings to the great germy magnet that you’ve incubated. The worms, lice and mites will all bring their families along, which is nice.
And when you go to A&E (which you will, sometimes weekly) with yet another near-severed limb or bloodied head, other families will engage you in a form of Health Scare Bingo.
‘Chickenpox? That’s nothing. Kawaski disease! Oh, ye boyo, it was murderous.’
‘Whooping Cough – that’s nothing. She had TB, only it turned out to be mumps. And impetigo.’
Your GP, in between rolling around in the wads of notes you keep handing him, will tell you that Sophie’s just ‘building up her immune system.’ Translated: not only does your child come into this world totally unequipped to do anything at all for themselves, they need to get sick as dogs for the first few years in order to have any chance of survival longer term.
Now, there’s a design flaw in there somewhere. But until they come up with a GM version that comes pre-immunised, stock up on the Calpol and disinfecting wipes. Batten down the hatches. And prepare to do war with a bazillion unseen enemies.
Jenny Coyle @missmitford