When you are a kid, midnight seems an elusive and magical time- impossible to stay awake for, but so full of promise (did anyone else dream of midnight feasts with ‘scrumptious tea cakes and lashings of ginger beer‘ or was that just me and my Enid Blyton obsession?)
In my late teens and early twenties, I often didn’t even consider going out until after 10.00pm, so most of my night out occurred after midnight, and usually included lots of dancing, drinking, and fun times. Seeing the sun come up after a dance party was not unusual, and my body seemed to function pretty well on a small amount of sleep and an egg & bacon McMuffin or two (this was an unfortunately small period of my life when my body reacted so well to alcohol, lack of sleep, and fast food- those days are looooong gone!)
In my thirties, I wanted nothing to do with midnight, I was all about sleep and how to get more of it. Throughout the night there was often a baby wanting to be breastfed, a toddlers wet bed to deal with, or a young child’s nightmares to soothe. My husband and I often enjoyed the fun bonding game of “I’m going to pretend I’m still asleep, so the other person gets up first.” The only thing I learned about midnight during this period is that there is nothing good on TV when you have to feed a baby in the middle of the night, and never ever purchase anything on a late night shopping channel, even if it is going to revolutionise your life (unless it’s one of those rotating hot iron hair straighteners- you should buy that and tell me if it really will smooth my frizzy locks!)
These days, midnight is no longer something to be feared, as all my children sleep through the night. If they get up early (as they invariably do) they all know how to make themselves a bowl of cereal and keep themselves amused until I come down the stairs to see the kitchen in a complete shambles (they never get tired of delighting me with that vista). However, I am speaking from experience when I say that on the other side of forty nothing good ever happens after midnight. Let me give you two hypothetical scenarios to prove my hypothesis (ok, so they both might have happened to me!)
Example one: You have paid for a babysitter to look after your children, while you and your partner go to a real life actual grown up party in your local neighbourhood- yippee! You confidently tell the delightful young babysitter that you’ll be home just before midnight. So off you go wearing grown up high heels, and soon you are talking to real life grown ups, having a real life grown up great time, when you suddenly notice that it is 11.58pm (when you last checked the time it was 9.30pm- how did that happen?) Somehow you have to remove your husband from his life or death conversation about sport, say good bye to everyone, have a fight about who’s going to drive, look for where you left your jacket, and then as neither of you can safely drive, you walk home in bare feet with your uncomfortable shoes in hand. When you finally arrive home, you end up giving the babysitter a big tip because you are so late, and see a note from your son on the kitchen bench informing you he has an away game of soccer at 8.30 in the morning, he can’t find his soccer boots, and you are on orange and lolly duty…
Still not convinced?
Example 2: The girls night out. You and your besties have all cleared your schedules, left plans and dinner with your significant others, and have managed to put on an outfit that makes you feel somewhat young and with it (or at the very least not too old and without it). You are going out for a nice dinner in the city, and decide to have a glass of champagne at a friends house before you catch the train. Two glasses later, you are feeling on fire, and head into town, where the hip new restaurant that doesn’t take bookings informs you that the next table of 6 will be available at 9.45pm. You decide to go to a bar because tonight you are young and wild and free- a few more drinks are had and the conversation and laughter is flowing. By the time you are seated for dinner it is past 10.00pm, and you would eat the coasters you are so tipsy and starving. When the food finally arrives you wolf it down, and end up eating a number of kimchi tacos and mini sliders at $12 a pop, that you barely tasted. Someone decides that an espresso martini is a good idea for dessert, and you miss the last train home and have to get a taxi. You finally get home at 1.30am, tired, starving, quite possibly drunk, and have spent a small nations GDP on your night out. Oh, and your husband has left you a note reminding you that you are on canteen duty for soccer in the morning…
Do you have any great stories about the other side of midnight? Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me (more or less!)