Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: 'Russell Brand's over there, I don't want to see him'

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

It is the end of a long day, most of which has been spent at London Zoo trying to avoid Russell Brand. "Where are we going?" my husband had resisted as I'd pulled him away from the gorilla enclosure by the arm.

"This way, Russell Brand's over there, I don't want to see him," I'd hissed back while batting the children forward with my right leg. "What are you talking about, you've never even met him, why would you need to get away from him? I don't think he's likely to accost you for a chat," my husband replies, unhelpfully.

"LOOK," I say, "it's not that. It is just that today is about me and you and the children and about nature. You know? I just want to see animals. Why does it always have to be about someone else? Is it not OK that I don't want to have to think about somebody whom I spend 90 per cent of my waking hours actively avoiding on TV and Facebook? Is it SO bad that I might want to spend a little bit of time with my family without being overshadowed by a man who is basically a very bossy Victorian?"

For a moment my words hang, fizzing, in the air. And then, with a nod, my husband changes the subject: "Did you see that gorilla looking at me?" he says, conspiratorially. I don't think he was looking at you, I say. Why would he be looking at you? "He was!" he retorts, outraged. "Maybe it's because I'm all dressed in black? I know you're not supposed to look them in the eye but he just kept staring at me – right into my eyes! There was nothing I could..."

Oh do shut up, I say. I think I'm bloody pregnant.

motherland.net

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