‘You know how new hair grows in under old hair?’ I said to Neil through the bathroom wall.
‘Well, all my new hair is gray,’ I said.
Before we headed off on our most recent road trip, I spent some time looking at myself in the mirror.
I figured out some things.
- I should probably drink more water.
- I may start wearing some make up, all the time. But not really.
- Ah’m no bad, as they say over here.
I left the bathroom and Neil and I high-fived our matching grays. I call mine Fred. He calls his Isla.
Have I mentioned that Isla wants a bunny rabbit for her fast-approaching fourth birthday? That might be good for a few more grays.
Please, don’t sent her a real bunny, or a horse or kittens that we have to keep in our house.
We’ve only just mastered the art of keeping our fish tank snail-free.
One of the goals for the road trip was to get some more fish. But we didn’t actually make it to the pet store.
‘Is it weird that I’m looking forward to Starbucks?’ says Neil.
I went all mushy, and hugged him and said, ‘Welcome to the family, son.’
‘Don’t call me son, though.’
‘It’s a saying. Go with it.’
But we never made it to Starbucks, either.
We trooped in the car, cranked up Mono and arrived in Inverness with the remnants of a car picnic and a kid who really needed to pee.
She sat on my lap and we raced to the toilet but she peed on me instead.
Isla changed and I attempted to dry my lap underneath the hand-dryer.
‘Aren’t you glad we carry Victoria around everywhere now?’
‘Shut up,’ I said to Neil. But Victoria the giant blue and generally annoying penguin was strategically-placed on my lap for the rest of the day.
We arrived at the Apple store just in time to go to the toy store next to it.
‘Can I get something?’ Isla asked.
‘Since Mum’s getting her toy fixed I s’pose you can get one. Something small, though.’ I said.
And so, after 17 minutes she carried Hungry, Hungry Hippos to the till. Because that game is small.
A teenager rang us up and asked if we needed a bag.
‘No,’ said Neil.
Yes, please,’ I said.
The teenager looked confused.
‘Rule number one of retail: always listen to the wife who’s just been peed on by the kid. And have a nice day,’ I said.
And so, we trooped to the Apple Store.
‘Please fix my Mummy’s computer,’ Isla said to anyone who’d listen. ‘My Campah spilled water on it, and I just peed on Mummy, too.’
The Apple Dude seemed to take us all in stride.
No, it won’t turn on. Yes, I hung it upside-down. I even gave it a rice bath. HALP.
The 25th, but probably sooner.
No. We’ll text you.
Please do, Apple Dude.
Have I mentioned that Isla had a tantrum during lunch because I didn’t let her break out her new game right there on the table? That she had another tantrum because I dipped some chicken into the BBQ sauce that was obliviously only for fries?
Well, that happened too. And then we got into a lift where I asked Isla to use her inside voice.
And then a stranger laughed. And the door opened.
‘Yes, it really is hysterical. Please move so we can leave you to your laughing,’ I said.
That happened, too.
Then Isla got her face painted. Because by that time we all needed some glitter.
And books. We got some books because I had some pennies left on my birthday vouchers. See I do have some self-restraint. Who knew?
And then. At around 5 clock, I actually went clothes shopping. I hate clothes shopping. No, scratch that. I hate only seeing clothes that are too small or too fugly.
‘Let’s try here,’ says Neil.
‘OK, but this is the fat lady one.’ I whisper.
‘DADDY, THIS IS THE FAT LADY SHOP,’ says Isla.
‘Isla, dearest. Don’t say Mummy words’, I whispered again.
Neil and Isla left me alone for precisely 7 minutes and 38 seconds.
Isla is up at the till talking to the nice lady behind it. ‘We’re giving my Mummy a break,’ she said. ‘Because SHE’S FRUSTRATED.’
Isla is so patient she gets a small toy. So her other small toys won’t be lonely.
Neil says I suck at shopping. I would say that places suck at having clothes I’d actually wear.
I buy two tops not unlike the ones I saw in Store one.
And that’s why why never made it to the pet store or to Starbucks.
Isla fell asleep on the way home. She was still a glittery butterfly cat, but she’d wiped off the lipstick and looked more like my kid. Herself.
‘Thanks for a nice day,’ I say to Neil.
‘Anytime,’ he says. ‘Thank you.’
Also published on Medium.