New(ish) mum Samantha Dooey-Miles is charting her life in doodles. This week, she knows why her friends and relatives are so keen to join in the play.

What they don’t tell you, as you humph your huge pregnant belly around and put up with the same questions day in, day out for the six months the news you’re expecting is public knowledge (“Due in September. No, we don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy. No, we don’t have a gender preference. No, I won’t be finding out.”) is that the baby inside you isn’t just for you and your family.

Your child is Test Subject A to every childfree friend, relative, co-worker and even on occasion total stranger who wants to know how they’d handle having their own child at some point in the future.

In the first months of motherhood when I was off my face from sleep deprivation and hormones, I was concerned I wasn’t paying my loved ones enough attention when I saw them. It is now very much the other way around. I’ll pop over for a natter and am besieged with offers to play with my daughter which I gratefully accept.

I am left chugging cups of tea to the soundtrack of laughter and fun, which I am not invited to join in with, filling my ears. This is a strange gift. I gain sweet, sweet childfree time but lose out on the equally as rare socialising I expected.

Do not take this observation as a complaint. I understand. I used to view the children of my friends as little experiments. I wrongly assumed I’d expertly disguised my intentions by offering my friends ‘a break’. What I meant was, ‘I’m going to play with your child and imagine for a minute he is mine and if he was, if I could keep him happy and alive.’

I suspect my friends think they’re hiding what they’re up to too. That I don’t notice the sly cautious looks they make to their partner as they play with my daughter, silently communicating to one another, ‘I knew we would be great parents.’

That I have no idea that, after I’ve left and they talk about their day, they congratulate each another on how good they were with her, how they are both naturals with children, destined for parental greatness. Well pals, I see you, I know what you’re up to.

See Samantha’s other doodles


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Written by Samantha Dooey-Miles

Sam is a first-time mum doodling and blogging her way through teething, nappies and the constant struggle of never quite being sure whether she lives in Essex or London. Find her blog at anewessexgirl.com.