‘Chake me choo da burbs!’
Finn makes a break for the suburbs – and his mommies must follow.
It was bound to happen eventually. Children do this kind of thing to you. We’ve decided, after much resistance and consideration, to emigrate. To the suburbs. I never thought this would happen. It’s just that we can’t deny the signs any longer. I first had an inkling that living in the city in our small semi-detached cottage was getting a bit cramped when Finn starting doing laps around the dining room table. I’ve been taking him for a walk every day to the park, but it just no longer seems to be cutting it. The minute his feet touch the ground he bolts off, without so much as a glance back. It’s not even like he’s charging excitedly towards the merry-go-round. It’s kind of like he’s running for the hills. I think he’s trying to run away… to the suburbs.

I don’t blame him, suburbs have big gardens and garages and spare bedrooms for friends to sleep over. There are lots of other children in suburbs and you can even get a dog. We have none of that. We have short drives to work and the convenience of centrality. Hey, we don’t even have much housework or gardening to do. But we’re just rapidly running out of space. Roxi and I bump into each other getting to the toaster every morning, while stepping over Finn who’s doing his morning laps. Round and round he gallops babbling incoherently… it kind of sounds like, “chake me choo da burbs, chake me choo da burbs”.

The other problem is that, as small as he is, Finn has managed to accumulate an enormous amount of stuff. Roxi and I fitted very well into our semi until we got a pram, cot, changing table, and an array of suitable toys for a one-to-two year old. Who knew that one-to-two-year-olds needed such big and noisy toys? There’s a sizeable wooden cart that gets rammed into the furniture and cats on a regular basis. There’s a plastic wagon the size of a small townhouse complex packed with bulky building blocks. There’s a giant yellow duck, for heaven’s sake, that when pushed around, quacks out some long forgotten childhood tune. It’s traumatic. We need a mansion just to escape having to hear Twinkle Twinkle being mechanically belted out of something that really shouldn’t be playing music.

It was after one long day when the wind had kept us housebound that I decided to finally confront Roxi who has a particular attachment to living in the city bowl. ‘Babe, you know how you love gardening?’ I attempted. She looked at me blankly.

‘Well I think we need one – a garden. For you and Finn. Finn is nearly 18 months
and he needs room to move. The cats are running out of hiding places and just think,
we can get a dog.’ Roxi loves a pet.
‘But it’s great being so close to work and restaurants and bars and our friends,’ she tried.
‘We haven’t been near a bar, restaurant or a friend in months,’ I reminded her. ‘We might as well be living in the sticks. At least there’ll be less traffic and we won’t have to share walls with neighbours hellbent on reminding us that we no longer have a life by regularly throwing wild parties.’

And with that we’ve decided to move. We have our sights set on a particular spot that we like to think of as more of a village than a suburb. Frankly, we’re terrified. But who knows? We might discover what many before us have found… that being out of the city brings with it a range of benefits that we never even knew we were missing. Watch this space.

Do you think children need space? Or is it the parents?

Read more by Susan Newham

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