Guest Blog: The Abi Chronicles
Back in the early 70’s, a drive across England from London to west Cornwall, was best spread over two days, with a night in the middle to break the journey. (Especially with 3 kids, in the tiny red Austin my parents drove.)
During one of our regular layovers, my young parents decided to spend some quality time doing what every reasonable, engaged parent does on a regular basis: eavesdropping on their angels. The convo, legend has it, goes this-a-way:
William Pugh, 4: ‘Abigail, what do the grownups actually do when we are asleep?’
Abigail Pugh, Keeper of Knowledge, at 5: ‘Duh, don’t you know anything? They play leapfrog, natch
Leapfrog, to my upwardly-mobile mind, was the absolute apogee; the sine qua non; the apex of adult dexterity. I logically surmised: If you could actually leapfrog, why on earth would you do anything else once the kids are down?
Once my parents had dabbed away their tears of laughter, I’m sure they walked off for some quality ‘leapfrog time’ in the hotel bar. I think the expression is the perfect shorthand for hallowed domestic downtime. Leapfrog time is when I can creep past Sheba’s door in sweats and slippers, on my way to grownup music, wine and unbroken conversation – pausing on the way to hear her guttural mini-snores or dim her lights.
It’s when I get to make phonecalls of a length and intensity that recall a younger self, or compulsively watch yet another violent episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ with John. Or put in an important hour’s online research into celebrity plastic surgery.
Then there are the nights when leapfrog time comes to a shrieking halt: ‘Waaaaater!’/‘Go peeeeee!’/ ‘Wannanother hug!’/ ‘Wanna go mummysanddaddysbed!’.
It’s counterintuitive to feel so eager to put the laptop down and dispense one last hug. I’m like a budgie allowed free-flight around the living room only to circle straight back inside where it’s familiar. My guess is, I’m soothed by the immediacy and the fixability of these humble requests: Fetch water. Give kisses. Facilitate urination. This is the rhythmic, one-foot-in-front-of-another quality of parenthood.
About The Abi Chronicles:
As our in-house blogger, Abi reports on the full spectrum of parenting – from the searching, essential questions to the quirkier territory all families sometimes inhabit.