Our family is growing quicker than I imagined

After a lifetime shunning responsibility, I feel like I’m finally a fully-fledged grown-up.

There’s the fanfare in the distance, can you hear it?

I now hold my head high, proud in the knowledge that I’m contributing to society, imparting what little knowledge I have, and loving unconditionally (‘cos that’s the meaning of life, right? Or is that a bag of Minstrels and back-to-back episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker?).

Yes peeps, I’ve become a parent.

Emily Bridgewater

No longer will all my friends with kids look at me with withering pity at my sad child-free existence, knowing I can’t possibly share in their collective joy and despair.

There will be no: “I thought I was happy until we had the children. They complete us, we’re a proper family now.”

Or, my other favourite: “Don’t get used to jetting off on these care-free holidays to exotic destinations where the cocktails are cheap and the waiters are pretty, because it’ll all change when you have kids.”

Well, they were right about one thing.

Life has changed. Remarkably so.

These days, I can identify in their desperation of endless sleepless nights, worrying myself sick about how I’ll feed and shelter my brood for the next God knows how many years.

Like them, I’m spending my days wondering whether they’ll grow up to be like their peers; will they be tall, short, healthy, good looking even?

If nothing else, it’s certainly brought me and the other half closer together. The only problem is that it’s all we talk about.

I guess that’s just how it is.

Now, I know you’re wondering how I’ve managed to conceal such a revelation from my friends, family and colleagues. My dress size has stayed the same, I‘ve had no time off work, and while I’m always hungry and craving weird combos of food, it’s no more than usual.

Well, the truth of the matter is that my new brood, which would put the Jolie/Pitt clan to shame, isn’t strictly human.

Ah-ha! Must be a litter of puppies, I hear you cry.

As if. I’m allergic to – otherwise known as frightened of – anything on four legs.

And no, I haven’t stocked up on life-like movie figurines from Forbidden Planet. I gave that up years ago along with trips to the orthodontist and red hairdye.

No, my new family is solely made up of potted herbs.

I can hear you guffaw now.

Potted herbs? They aren’t like children. How difficult can they be to look after?

Well the answer is very.

Perhaps we bit off more than we can chew, moved too quickly to extend our family; we’ve gone from a two-person unit to one of more than 15.

And they’ve all got their own personalities and demands. Light, shade, hot, cold, water, Baby bloomin’ Bio. It’s never ending.

“Do you think the oregano is growing properly? Does the parsely needs re-potting yet? Will the basil need clean PE kit for Tuesday?” These are the questions consuming our now-life.

Naturally, our main concern is that they grow up to be happy and healthy, although it’d be brilliant if they were useful and, one day, lucrative.

‘Cos that’s the real reason for starting a family, isn’t it?

No? Oh right.

Maybe I’ll just stick to growing herbs.