Picture the scene, unless you were there, in which case just remember the scene. It’s 3.30am, and I’m standing in the dimly-lit kitchen holding Jemima in the crook of my left elbow and attempting to pour formula milk powder into her bottle whilst struggling with acute short-sightedness.
To my dismay I realise I have poured in too much powder, at which point my wife – whom I had assumed was in bed at this point – scared the heck out of me by appearing over my shoulder to snatch various things off me (apart from Jemima) and go about rectifying the situation.
It is at this point when the phenomena of Midnight Spats arises. Midnight Spats are those vicious, teeth-bared, poisonous hushed arguments you have through tight lips and gritted teeth in the early hours of the night, but which are forgotten by morning. They don’t tend to last long – both parties are desperate to go back to bed – but, exacerbated by the continual shriek of a hungry baby, they are intense and downright evil in nature. All that’s missing is a David Attenborough narration and you’ve got yourself a cat-fight.
You both say things, evil things, things you really don’t mean and are quite hurtful. You stop short at clawing your partner’s face off, but only because you’re holding a baby and she’s stronger than you. Finally, the argument ends with one of you stomping out of the room in a thunderous strop, muttering and spitting vile insults under your breath.
But, by morning, the Midnight Spat is forgotten; barely mentioned, except for both parents to have a bit of a chuckle at how mean they were. They are fleeting moments of incredible anger, which are left to live and die in the darkness of the night. And then the next day, it happens all over again.