Get your Valentine’s Day inspiration, urges the email from the lingerie company. Last chance for our early love bird offer, says the one from Pizza Express. Please choose your child’s Valentine’s Day lunch options, asks the one from Bear’s school. And then there’s Boots on the telly, urging us to buy thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts. They suggest plasters.
I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. I even wrote an article about it for the Sunday Times in my twenties, about why it should die. (Interesting fact: a Superstar French chef once told me that smart restaurants actually hate Valentine’s Day and make hardly any money from it because they can only seat two people at each table).
Andrew and I have steadfastly ignored anything to do with the day during the nine years we’ve been together. Nevertheless, this year I thought I might at least get a blog out of it, when a surprise explosion of pink came into our lives a few days ago.
As ever, please bear with me. There is a long and convoluted story to wade through, before I get to the point.
The other morning Bear told me to shut up for the first time. A serious shut up, a retort when I told him to make his bed. He got a serious telling off back. We left for school, he spent the entire walk about five metres ahead, head down, hands in pockets.
When we got to school we made up. After the hugs and ‘I love you’s’ his face fell serious again.
‘I’ve got something to tell you,’ he said in a very solemn tone.
I raced through all the terrible things he was about to confess. What if he’d told his teacher or a classmate to shut up…or worse? Was I about to get hauled off to the Headmistress’s office? I braced myself as he opened his mouth.
‘You’ve got a bit of snot hanging out your nose.’
I went home and made myself feel better by looking at those pictures of Beyonce being all pregnant and gorgeous in her pants.
Nowadays when Andrew sees me in mine he just laughs. He thinks that quickly adding ‘Your bump is just so beautiful,’ afterwards makes it OK.
It’s fair to say, that in the run up to Valentine’s Day, I am not feeling like Beyonce. I have turned my attention instead to our house.
Recently I’ve had a very strong urge to paint our bedroom pink. I know in the forthcoming months, once the baby is here, I am going to be spending a lot of time looking at the bedroom walls. I’d like them not to be magnolia. I’ve been further encouraged by a friend who has told me pink is scientifically proven to help calm you.
So later that morning I went to Travis Perkins and got four pink sample pots of paint. As I went to open the car door to put them inside I dropped one in the footwell. It exploded. All over the carpet and my coat, which was also on the floor. As Porcelain Blush spread everywhere, the only thing I could do was stare in utter disbelief, and say Bad Words. Quite a lot.
As I drove back home and the pink spread further and further I got crosser and crosser with myself. Of all the idiotic things I didn’t need in the final few weeks of pregnancy, a car covered in pink paint was pretty much top of the list.
I went to find Andrew in school. He took one look at my face and shivering body as I walked through the rain and assumed I must be going into labour. As we walked to the car I told him what had happened and he tried to reassure me.
‘It can’t be that bad…BLOODYHELLWHATHAVEYOUDONE?!’
Pink was not proving to be a calming colour after all. Nor a very romantic one.
He helped me get the worst of the paint off, I hosed down my coat and went to pick up Raff from nursery. Once I got home I put Raff to bed then spent half an hour in the freezing rain, bent over, desperately trying to scrub the rest of the paint off. In a thrilling amalgamation of pregnancy symptoms I got burning indigestion (cold samosa and packet of fudge for lunch) at the same time as a locked back.
The whole morning was an exercise in crossness, disappointment and acid reflux. And to make things worse I now had the afternoon school run to deal with. I’d have to wake Raff early from his afternoon nap, which would mean he’d yell at me for the entire half an hour it takes to walk to school and back. In the torrential rain. Without my coat, which was now in the wash.
But my husband came to my rescue by agreeing to get our snot spotting, shut-up saying eldest son instead. And I was so relieved about this that I decided I would write a lovely blog about the whole experience, which I could hook onto Valentine’s Day and, y’know, pink. And that after nearly a decade of being together, doing the school run in the rain is what romance looks like now, blah blah blah.
Except the first thing Bear said when he got back home was, ‘Ha! Dad said you spilt paint all over the car! Haaaaaa! Haaaaa! Haaaaa!’
Pink can fuck off and Valentine’s Day can die. I bet Beyonce doesn’t have to put up with this shit.