I was reminded tonight how big the Proles are getting.

I simultaneously heard of the birth of a friend’s new baby and received an invitation to take the Proles to Berlin.

I suppose all parents are predisposed to think of their children as younger than they are, this is a useful evolutionary safety net that ensures someone is looking out for them even when they are old enough to wilfully not look after themselves.
This also ensures that when you are older ‘home’ is a place that is really nice to visit but somewhere you really could not stay for long.

I fully expect to be accused of smothering my children with over protective love in the future. For now I try to compensate by dressing them in silly clothes and writing about them on the internet.
The other day when we visited the optician’s for Prole1’s six monthly check up Prole2 and I were asked by the shop staff to stop making so much noise.
We were taking it in turns to try ridiculous glasses on Prole1 and then point at him.
Something inside was telling me something about deep emotional scarring and suppressed childhood trauma and that perhaps this was a bad thing but something else was telling me that he just looked Ace in the Peter’s and Lee sunglasses Prole2 found for him.
The assistant came over and asked pointedly if we were all right and if Prole1 had come to a decision about his new frames?

Opposite the opticians on the high street is roughly the place the wheels came off the buggy.
We had a Maclaren style baby buggy.
Don’t believe all the bad press, it’s a design classic and a good one can be operated, opened and closed with a baby under one arm and a car door being propped open with one leg and your car keys in your mouth, you can’t say that about many things.
Prole2 would sit in when he was quite small.
There was a buggy board as well so I would push, Prole2 would sit in front and Prole1 would be on the board between us, his head popping up behind the buggy like a portly tank commander.
He would point to things of interest like a small Blue Badge guide, occasionally waving to people he knew and shouting directions if he felt i needed guidance.

The buggy lasted a couple of years until Prole2 started to out grow it.
They both got heavier and heavier.
Prole1 crushed the buggy board so that it ground on the wheels and acted as brakes whenever he got on.
Off it came.
Prole1 was not best pleased about this, we were heading into winter, it was getting cold and wet and who would not want to be pushed around?

It all came to a head though.
It was raining in Redruth and I was struggling with the nappy bag on my shoulder, Prole1 in one hand and a bag of shopping in another, pushing Prole2.
I watched as one of the buggy wheels came loose, detached itself and rolled past us and away down the hill towards the cinema.
A second later the axle of the buggy popped out and we stopped.

Marooned in the middle of the high street, two Proles, shopping, nappy bag and a broken buggy.

I stood for a second not quite knowing what to do.

The thing about having kids is, that like so many situations in life, if you stop making decisions you are lost.

I took Prole2 out of the carcass of the buggy, hefted the two bags, grabbed the Proles hands and we all went and sat in a cafe and had a sticky bun.
Out the window we could see the buggy in the rain, slewed to one side and off balance.
After a while someone pushed it down the hill, past the cafe towards the bins.

Prole2 never went in a buggy again, from that moment on he walked.
Actually he didn’t, for the most part he walked but for the rest I had to carry him but I am trying not to spoil the point.
I could have bought another buggy but losing the first had suddenly made me look at my boys and realise how self sufficient they had become.

It took another couple of years to be finally free of the nappy bag. Just when you think you don’t need two complete sets of pants and trousers for you children you spectacularly do.
Life can deal some harsh lessons but improvising clothes for two small boys on a crowded city shopping street is one lesson I don’t need to go back over. I hope it is a subject I never have to revise.
I hated the bag in the end.
It weighed me down, it would slump to one side whenever I wanted to put my hand in it and every seam was clogged with that sticky, biscuity, browny black cludge that you only find in the vicinity of toddlers.
The stuff you find between the car seat cushions.
The stuff you find on the sofa.
I hate that stuff.
The only thing it fears in the wild is the wet wipe.

I have a lot of respect for the wet wipe, you can clean anything, and I mean anything, with a good wet wipe but I would not be upset if I NEVER saw one of those again as long as I live.

Living with Proles in the early days was like hanging out with tiny little drunks.

Emotional, belligerent, uncoordinated, unpredictable, mostly incoherent, really unsteady on their feet and barely continent.

Tonight I was on the phone at bed time. I whispered to them it was bed time.
As I was talking to my friend I watched the Proles put toys away, get dressed into pyjamas, brush their teeth and get into bed.
I am pleased they can do all this for themselves and also a tiny bit disappointed.

I am used to Prole2 being the smallest and the cutest child around. These days i look at him all boney and stringy like a great big frog and I know he is not that little toddler any more.

The arrival of the newest member of their social group certainly seals that if it had not been done before.

Tonight I thought about taking the Proles to a City in a foreign country and for the first time did not think how awful that might be.
I thought it might actually work.
I thought they might enjoy getting lost in other culture and language as much as I do.
I wonder how Prole1 would order vegetarian food in Germany? Better than me probably.

Perhaps as a family we are turning some kind of corner?